Here’s what litigators need to know about developments in legal research. Episode 290 (Duration 34:28)
What would you build if you discovered your neighbor was a genius physicist?
Well, Ed Walters decided to revolutionize legal research. In this episode, Ed Walters, co-founder and chief executive officer of fastcase, stops by the Criminal Nuggets to tell his story.
…and the topic of legal research may have also come up.
Legal research software has come a long way.
Fastcase is currently in the process of rolling out its latest version, fastcase 7. No matter how frequently or infrequently you “hit the books” and dive into a legal research project, fastcase 7 promises to make the experience as painless as possible.
About Ed Walters
In 1999, Ed Walters was telling his neighbor about how a big corporate client was complaining about the legal research fees his firm and other law offices were racking up.
Ed’s neighbor just so happened to be a brilliant physicist who taught physics with Stephen Hawking at Caltech. So when the neighbor asked him what he wanted to do about it,
…things got real.
Many work nights and weekends later, fastcase was born. What Ed and his neighbor, Phil Rosenthal, did was revolutionize legal research. To see how they did it, listen to this 34 minute podcast.
Fastcase 7 has been designed to democratize legal research. Ed Walters also said one of the goals was to “make legal research less stupid.” One of the ways they met their goals was by taking advantage of the horizontal, high aspect ratio and high definition features of modern computing screens.
Give it a test run and see for yourself. Have they managed to…
(1) Make modern legal research easily accessible
(2) While balancing simplicity of use with robust and powerful features?
If your mission is to find what you need fast and easy then you’ll want to listen to this interview.
Important Links & Resources
- About Ed Walters
- LawSitesBlog | Exclusive First Look: All New Version of Fastcase Out Today in Beta | by Robert Ambrogi
- LawSitesBlog | Fastcase Begins Broad Rollout Of Its All-New Fastcase 7 Platform | by Robert Ambrogi
- DeweyBStretgic | Meet Fastcase 7: The (not so) Little (search) Engine That Could and Did! | by Jean P. O’Grady
- Legal Rebels | For Fastcase founders, the message is: Change, and do it faster! (podcast) | by Stephanie F. Ward
- Internet for Lawyers | Fastcase 7: Better Than a Tesla | by Carole Levitt
- [DOWNLOAD] the fastcase app for iPhone
- [DOWNLOAD] the fastcase app for Android
What’s In This Episode
✓ From Ed’s own lips: the story of how in 1999 even big corporate clients with deep pockets were crying about expensive legal research fees, and what they wanted Ed to do about it. This is about the time Ed discovered his next door neighbor was a Caltech physicist. – Go to 1:19
✓ Beautiful and gorgeous, fast and accessible…I almost forgot we were talking about legal software.
✓ Modern software has to be beautiful – even gorgeous – to the user, it has to have enough functionality to be worth it’s while, yet remain simple to use and accessible. Yet true democratization only happens when the price point becomes reasonable. The legacy legal research companies could not square this circle. – Go to 4:02 to see how fastcase did it.
✓ And get this: fastcase didn’t just pick one state or one jurisdiction in 1999, to figure things out, they went big right from the get-go across all 50 states and jurisdictions. Listen in to discover how they made it work. – Go to 5:38
✓ The paradox of legal research is that the data bases draw from free public domain sources. Why the hell was it so expensive then? – Go to 6:01
✓ Do you know the difference between an editorial research structure versus an arithmetic strategy? Ed & Phil sure did. – Go to 6:09
✓ fastcase has become one of the biggest law libraries in the world. It has one of the largest subscriptions services in the United States. There you can read every single law review article ever written in America. If you are any kind of legal researcher, I think you’ll find what you need there. – Go to 7:10
✓ In 1994, Yahoo was indexing the web by hand. Google came along and did it better and faster with machine learning. – Go to 7:58
✓ Legacy legal research firms still depend on people to fulfill important aspects of their service. The fastcase system relies on software, machine learning, and results of prior searches. – Go to 9:15
✓ 2/3 of every lawyer in the United States has access to fastcase. Are you taking advantage of it? Here’s how to make the most of it. – Go to 10:36
✓ [DOWNLOAD] the fastcase app. It’s FREE!! Never get blindsided by an opponent’s case in court. With the app you can instantly see the thing without leaving the courtroom. Sync the app to your desktop account and you’ll unlock even more powerful features. – Go to 10:50
✓ The “quantum interface” technology that allows fastcase to live up to its name by actually making it blazing fast. – Go to 13:01
✓ The nuts & bolts of using fastcase: How to quickly find what you need and filter out the noise by using “libraries.” – Go to 15:19
✓ REVEALED: The valuable information contained in the “interactive timeline.” There are shaded circles plotted over time at the bottom of a search. (Hint: There’s valuable information in there that may reveal exactly what you’re looking for.) – Go to 17:12
✓ Sometimes your legal research can be lead astray when you spend hours in the woods in a fruitless search simply because you use one wrong word. Use the “tag cloud” to find the right words. – Go to 18:05
✓ Your first search often reports every relevant case your looking for, right? You know it doesn’t work like that. Learn how fastcase “forecite” can save your butt. – Go to 20:35
✓ “If you can search Google, you can search fastcase.” – Go to 22:19
✓ Why you won’t see a “terms and connectors” or a boolean search in fastcase 7. (Note: Feel free to use a natural language or boolean search. Both will work.) – Go to 22:57
✓ The best way to move cheese. – Go to 23:44
✓ The easiest way to save time is to search multiple data sets or libraries simultaneously. Some legal research firms haven’t figured this out yet. This feature is 100% supported on fastcase 7. – Go to 26:29
✓ How accessibility, democratization, and affordability of the law all mean the same thing. – Go to 29:29
Before You Go…
Access to the law is crucial to zealous and effective advocacy. And I’m extremely confident most Illinois criminal law attorneys have access to fastcase 7 through their membership of a bar association.
Digging in and truly mastering one area of the law is another thing.
If you’re interested in taking the first step towards mastering your Illinois criminal courtroom then hit the link below.