Follow Up Webinar Questions:
You Asked, Carole And Mark Answered!

InternetLegalResearch_CoverDuring our most recent webinar, “Legal And Investigative Research On A Budget,” you learned the ins and outs of conducting cost effective legal and investigative research from Carole Levitt, Esq. and Mark Rosch, principals of Internet For Lawyers and co-authors of six ABA Internet research books, including Internet Legal Research On a Budget and The Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet.

If you missed it, you can watch a recording of the webinar and view the slide deck here to learn all about how to obtain information that was once only available from fee-based databases but is now available for free on the Internet.

During the webinar, there were a number of great questions asked from attendees that Carole and Mark didn’t have sufficient time to answer. Fortunately, they were kind enough to provide us with their answers below:

[Editor’s note: Most of the answers to these questions can be found in Carole Levitt’s new book, Internet Legal Research on a Budget (2014), published by the ABA LPD. To order the book at a 37% discount, follow this link and use the discount code: mycase. If you already own the book, they have indicated on which page their answers came from so you can read a fuller explanation.]

1) Can you Shepardize cases using Casemaker and Fastcase?

Yes and no! Casemaker (“Case Check” and “Case Check +”), Google Scholar (“How Cited”) and Fastcase (“Authority Check” and “Bad Law Bot”) all show you what cases have cited to your case, but you will not see the level of editorial treatment that Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg provide. Casemaker and Fastcase will indicate if there is subsequent negative history about your case but you will need to read the citing cases to learn if your case was overruled, reversed, criticized, etc. Be aware that if Casemaker, Google Scholar and Fastcase include an “unpublished” case in their database, they do NOT include it in their citation product. You will need to run a search using the docket number of the unpublished case or the party names as keywords to learn if there was any subsequent history for your unpublished case.

This information is from Levitt’s book: Internet Legal Research on a Budget, pages 71-82, 133-134, 136-138, and 150-152.

2) Do either Casemaker of Fastcase allow you to track case histories?

Fastcase and Google Scholar both have Alert services, but Casemaker does not.

This information is from Levitt’s book: Internet Legal Research on a Budget, pages 79 81 and 147-148.

3) So many of these resources handle case law. Other than the Federal Code Service and Cornell Law’s website, what is a good resource for statutes, regulations and annotations?

For the U.S. Code Casemaker and Fastcase’s databases both include all states’ statutes, the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, and various states’ regulations. They both offer annotations to their statute databases. On Casemaker, as you are reading a statute look towards the top of the page and click the word “Annotator” to see if there are any cases annotating your statutes. On Fastcase, it’s a bit more obvious. As you are reading a statute look towards the bottom and you will see links to the case annotations.

There are two government websites that offer free online, searchable versions of the United States Code (and other legislative material): FDsys and the House of Representatives’ Office of the Law Revision Counsel (OLRC) United States Code Online. They do not provide annotated statutes.

In addition to the U.S. Code, the FDsys site also offers the Code of Federal Regulations, Congressional Bills, Congressional Hearings, Federal Register, Statutes at Large, and other types of federal materials.

This information is from Levitt’s book: Internet Legal Research on a Budget, pages 52-58, 134 and 152, 159-177.

4) What’s the web address for Recap?

To search Recap, go to this link and to volunteer to add a plug-in to your browser see (volunteers who already subscribe to PACER download an “add on” to their Firefox or Chrome web browser. Once installed, each document they retrieve from PACER is then automatically uploaded to a public repository hosted by the Internet Archive where it becomes available for free to any RECAP visitor).

This information is from Levitt’s book: Internet Legal Research on a Budget, pages 266-268.

5) What is the average cost for Caselaw or Fastcase for a non-bar member?

You can subscribe to Casemaker here. It will cost you: $60.00 monthly or $600.00 annually. If you want to subscribe to Casemaker, CaseCheck+, and CasemakerDigest, it will cost you $95.00 monthly or $950.00.

You can purchase an individual Fastcase subscription here:
• National Premium: $95 per month or $995 annually
• National Appellate: $65 per month or $695 annually

If you are uncertain about Fastcase, try their twenty-four hour free trial subscription. You will need to contact Fastcase to learn about enterprise pricing. If you don’t mind searching Fastcase on your mobile device, there is a free (even to non-subscribers) mobile Fastcase App for iOS and Android devices.

This information is from Levitt’s book: Internet Legal Research on a Budget, pages 118 and 155.

6) Are there any good websites to use for looking up addresses or phone numbers of individuals?

I go to my public library’s Web site and look for their databases that I can access remotely (you might them listed under “Homework” or “Research” or “Database”). I enter my library card number (and some libraries also require a pin). Then I look for the ReferenceUSA database or the A-Z database. Not all public libraries provide access to these, however. I also subscribe to and use it when I can’t find the information free. I also use the free and sites.

This information is from Levitt’s book: Internet Legal Research on a Budget, pages 118 and 155.

7) Is there any way to find out what people are actually being charged for Westlaw/Nexis?

Yes, ask Westlaw/Nexis. They have so many different plans—depending on what portions of their databases you want to subscribe to and how big your firm is.

8) Will you tell us more about Hein Online?

You can subscribe to HeinOnline on your own or access it through Fastcase. HeinOnline’s database is comprised of: over 1,800 titles back to their first volumes, Session Laws, State Attorney General Reports and Opinions, a Historical Archive of State Statutes and other historical state statutory materials. Recently Fastcase and Hein entered into a partnership where HeinOnline subscribers will be able to hyperlink to Fastcase’s federal and state case law anytime a case is mentioned in a publication hosted at HeinOnline. In addition, HeinOnline subscribers can access Fastcase’s citation tool (Authority Check) and Bad Law Bot. On the flip-side, Fastcase has integrated HeinOnline’s database into Fastcase’s search results. However, Fastcase users will only be able to view HeinOnline’s list of results and its abstracts for free. To access the full articles, Fastcase subscribers would also have to subscribe to HeinOnline unless their Bar Association has opted to add the HeinOnline material to their member benefit plan.

This information is from Levitt’s book: Internet Legal Research on a Budget, page 156.

9) Is there any way to search international case dockets?

I am not an international law expert so I would ask you to send me the country you are interested in and I could pose the question to the law library listserv.

10) What is the best way to research legislative history, to get congressional or state legislature testimony, etc.

For federal legislative history, see, which by the end of 2014, will completely replace, the site that had provided the federal government’s legislative information since 1995.

For state legislative history, all bets are off. Every state has different rules about what materials the legislature must send to the state law library (if they have rules at all and if they have a state law library). Some states have private vendors that will create a legislative history report for you. When I was a law librarian in Los Angeles, we would use two services out of Sacramento. They literally would visit the legislators and ask for materials to add to their company’s collection. If I were you, I would contact my state law library (or state library) or county law library for advice. To use California as an example, this is what you will learn about legislative history research:

This site contains legislation from the 1993-1994 Regular Session of the Legislature to the current Session only. California was the first State in the Nation to offer Legislative information online, following the passage of Assembly Bill 1624 in 1993. When the first Legislative Information website was built, the decision was made not to attempt to put the entire Legislative Record online.

Information on older legislation may be obtained by contacting the State Law Library at 916-654-0185. Questions related to Legislative Research can be directed to the staff at the California Law Library at 916-654-0185.

This information is from the California State Law Library site.

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