Fastcase, a Washington D.C. based company, is the premiere American provider of online legal research.
Here's just some of what Fastcase includes:
Yes. It is brought to you by the ISBA Mutual Insurance Company.
You may access Fastcase from any page in the Illinois State Bar Association's website by clicking on the Fastcase logo in the upper right of the page (it is also accessible through the Practice Tools menu). You will be asked to sign in (if you aren't logged in) and the will be taken straight to the Fastcase Quick Case Law Search Page.
Fastcase updates its libraries daily, and they add most appellate cases in slip form to the system between 24 and 48 hours from their release by the court.
Fastcase's authority check feature displays a list of latter citing cases, as well as the text in which the citation occurs. Many Fastcase subscribers use Authority Check as a "first run" for finding out if a case is still good law, and then for a more comprehensive service, will double-check using Shepards or Keycite. They offer links to both services underneath Authority Check, which will direct you away from Fastcase to Lexis or West respectively, where there is a charge of about $5 per case.
Authority Check searches for other cases that cite your case and displays the results as a list of hyperlinked case names. This is a great research tool for finding related precedents, or to help determine the continuing value of a case as a precedent. In addition, you can use Authority Check on the Results page to sort search results in order of authority — with the most often-cited cases at the top of the list. Note that Authority Check only lists citing precedents in the Fastcase database.
Fastcase does not hold Authority Check out as a replacement for services such as Shepards or KeyCite — both of which we like very much. Many Fastcase subscribers use the transactional Shepards or KeyCite services as a supplement to their Fastcase service. We also recommend searching for a few words in the heading of the case to find related precedent. Setting the results display to show the most relevant paragraph will show you some of what each court said about your case.
"Boolean" (or "keyword") searches are familiar to most Web users. They allow searchers to use terms such as AND, OR, NOT, ( ), " ", to find cases germane to a research question. Using "w/n" between two search terms (where n is a number) will find cases in which the two terms appear within n words of each other. Fastcase uses the "implied AND" search protocol, which means if there is no connector between search terms, it is treated as if the "AND" connector was used.
Natural language searches are much less precise, but are a good place to start if you don't have exact search terms. Natural Language searches return the best 100 results for your search, even if some of your terms don't appear in the results, or even if more than 100 cases contain your search terms. This search works well if you want to include certain words in your keyword search that might or might not appear in the result. For example, if you wanted to search for the phrase "Rule 11 sanctions for frivolous filing", a Boolean search, the search would only list cases using the word "frivolous", whereas a Natural Language search would return the most relevant 100 results, even if the word "frivolous" did not appear.
Citation searches should be used when you know the exact citation of the case you are looking for. Be sure to put in the volume number, the reporter identifier, and the first page of the case only (e.g., 700 F.2d 1). For more information, see the search tips, located underneath the search box, for a list of correct citation formats.
Fastcase has recently partnered with Choicepoint, the nation's leading database of public records, to integrate public records searches into its site. You must be accredited to access the materials on Choicepoint; to do so, select "search public records" on Fastcase, fill out the accreditation documents, and then sign in! For more information about Choicepoint and how to conduct a search of public records, please contact Fastcase Customer Outreach at 1866-773-2782.
You will be able to contact the Fastcase Customer Service Group by e-mail or by a toll free support number. The customer service desk is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday, and is offered free of charge as part of The Illinois State Bar Association member benefit. Please note that Fastcase customer service representatives cannot answer legal questions or provide legal advice.
Please contact Fastcase Customer Service at 1866-773-2782 or firstname.lastname@example.org