A reality of 21st century lawyering is that attorneys increasingly rely on technology to make legal practice more efficient. Smartphones have increasingly become an important part of modern living, and lawyers are increasingly turning to their favorite apps.
According to a 2016 ABA Tech Survey, Fastcase is the second most downloaded legal app by attorneys. We will now explore some of the app’s features and the usefulness of these features to the practicing attorney.
Fastcase: A Review of its Features and Benefits
Available for both iOS and Android, Fastcase sets itself apart from other legal apps by offering a comprehensive legal library of both state and federal law.
The app makes it easy to find what the attorney is looking for by using either the “Search Case law” or “Search Statutes” function of the app. Using either of these features allows one to search by search phrase or citation, and the app recognizes Boolean searches that can effectively narrow search results.
An additional feature that significantly narrows case law search results is the ability to filter cases by jurisdiction. Fastcase includes the ability to filter by federal appellate court (U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit courts), as well as all bankruptcy courts and all state courts. Fastcase also provides visualized search results designed to help you quickly view the most relevant or most cited cases.
Case law may also be narrowed by filtering cases based on a date range or authority check, with results being sorted by:
- Relevance to the search term or terms
- Decision date
- The case’s short name
- Authority check (cited generally or cited within)
The ability to find the seminal case that is most cited within a given search result is, naturally, an integral aspect of effective case law research. Fastcase clearly understands this, which is why the app helps lawyers find the most cited cases within search results at the press of a button.
Fastcase’s “Search Statutes” feature similarly allows you to filter based on statute sources, which includes federal statutes (U.S. Code), as well as state statutory codes by year. If you are unsure of the precise statute you are looking for, the app also lets you browse federal and state statutes by title.
On the whole, the app does exactly what its name implies by making both case law and statutory research faster. Best of all, having a substantive legal research tool on your smartphone is completely free for lawyers who are members of 28 state bar associations and dozens more voluntary bar associations.
Visit the Fastcase website to learn more about the app and their bar association subscribers to determine whether the app is a must-download that will meet your mobile research needs at no charge.