E-Resource Spotlight: Casetext

Casetext is a new free legal resource tool that combines research and analysis with   networking capabilities.  Founded and run by a team of attorneys and engineers, Casetext aims to make the law more accessible and more understandable by providing a community where people can easily interact and discuss the law.  The databases’s crowdsourcing approach to research has been discussed in a variety of articles and blogs, including this ABA Journal article.

Legal Research: Searching for primary sources is simple and straight forward.  You can search by case name, citation, keyword or phrase.  A quick glance to the Quick Facts section provides the holding, summary and key facts of a case.  Save cases, statutes, and regulations with bookmarks and easily return to where you left off.

Sort results by relevance, date, citation count and filter them by jurisdiction or topic, as shown below.
case text search_narrow

Currently the database contains U.S. Supreme Court cases, federal circuit and district court cases from 1925 to the present, state appellate cases from 1925 to February 2015, the United States Code, and the Code of Federal Regulations.  State statutes are expected to be added in the future.

Legal Analysis and Connection:  Perhaps the most unique feature of Casetext is the potential to share knowledge and ideas with other legal practitioners.  As law students you are well aware of how useful secondary resources can be in providing context and determining relevant primary sources.  Usually this means consulting treatises, practice guides, law review articles, and similar types of materials.  Casetext offers an additional type of secondary resource – annotations written by users.  Think of it as a sort of study group, only one that includes law professors, practicing attorneys, students, and other members of the legal community.  You can annotate cases yourself, read annotations written by other Casetext users, and post questions to other users.

As a Casetext user you can also join any of Casetext’s nearly four dozen Communities.  The Communities are online meeting places organized by legal topic. You can also create a personal profile page where you can include links to your prior posts and annotations, link to your personal webpage, and describe your legal and professional background.

Examples of Communities that might be of interest include alternative dispute resolution, appellate practice, criminal law, military law, Native American Law, business law, nonprofit organizations, or sports & entertainment law, as shown below.

case text eg of community

Signing up for Casetext is free.  Try it out for yourself here: https://casetext.com/.

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