Fastcase, an alternative legal research database, can be found on Gould Law Library’s Online Databases page. Fastcase provides comprehensive coverage of federal and state primary law, as well as access to federal filings, newspapers and legal forms. Fastcase offers many different ways to sort search results including by: relevance; case name; decision date; number of citations; jurisdiction and court hierarchy. These results can be sorted in the traditional list view or you can chose to see your search results displayed on a graph, called the Interactive Timeline (see photo below). The horizontal axis of the graph shows how the results occur over time and the vertical axis displays the relevance of the cases to your search query or may be changed to display results by court level. Cases are plotted as circles and information regarding the number of times each case has been cited by cases in your search results, as well as by cases in the entire database, and the summary of the cases is available by hovering over these circles.
Fastcase also has another innovative tool, available from the list view, called Forecite. Forecite identifies additional decisions that may be relevant for your issue, even if your search terms do not retrieve them. Forecite performs an integrated citation analysis on cases retrieved in your search result, locating additional cases that are frequently cited by these retrieved cases, and then suggests those additional cases to you. Further, Fastcase’s Authority Check provides a list of later cases that cite the retrieved cases.
Finally, you can also download Fastcase’s free legal research app for iPhone (or iPad), which won the American Association of Law Library’s (AALL) 2010 Best New Product of the of Year Award.
For more information about using Fastcase (and to see the Interactive Timeline in action), check out the tutorials at: http://www.fastcase.com/support/.