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Fastcase
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The Algorithm Behind the Curtain

Computer algorithms guide and propel decisions we make every day, from the shows we choose on Netflix to the purchases we make on Amazon. Algorithms also operate behind the scenes of our professional lives. Susan Nevelow Mart, director of the University of Colorado Law School library, recently published a study (see https://bit.ly/2GJBmwW) that compared how six legal search platforms reacted to identical keyword queries. She and her team looked at the first 10 cases retrieved by Westlaw, Lexis Advance, Fastcase, Casetext, Ravel Law, and Google Scholar. She found, on average, that each platform listed four cases that did not appear within the first 10 results of any of the other platform’s top10 results.

However, Fastcase, which is available as a free benefit to members of the Illinois State Bar Association, now allows users to control how much weight its algorithm places on its search variables. The feature provides a way for users to take control of their searches rather than rely completely on complicated algorithms working silently behind the curtain of Fastcase’s search engine.  

Read more in the July issue of the Illinois Bar Journal.

Posted on July 2, 2018 by Rhys Saunders
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