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ABA TECHSHOW

Some Fastcase Hints and Tips

by Charles Lowry 

Since the Minnesota State Bar Association is offering Fastcase access as a valuable part of your member benefits package, Fastcase has supplied these hints and tips to make your use of Fastcase as effective and efficient as possible. In the coming months, we will publish more series notes, and you'll have a little primer on the use of Fastcase. We'll start with three easy ones: 

ACCESS

"How or where do I find Fastcase?" 
You must log in not through the Fastcase page (www.fastcase.com) but through the Minnesota State Bar Association homepage at (www.mnbar.org). You must sign in with your registered email and password. If you have forgotten either your username or password, please contact the MSBA at 1-800-882-6722.

CONTENT

"So what does my access offer me?"  The access arrangement the MSBA has negotiated on your behalf includes Fastcase for free. You get U.S. Supreme Court, all the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, all U.S. District and Bankruptcy Courts and the two highest court levels from each state—and your plan includes access to all the states. If you need a [state] case or [federal] case, it is all part of your plan, at no additional cost. Your plan also includes several specialty courts or tribunals covered by Fastcase: Court of International Trade, U.S. Court of Claims, U.S. Tax Court, Board of Immigration Appeals, etc. For more information, visit www.fastcase.com/barmembers. 

UPDATING

"How soon do new cases show up in Fastcase?"  Fastcase offers daily updating for every court covered in our database: Wednesday's work is in the database on Thursday, Thursday's work on Friday, Friday's work on Monday, etc. All decisions go in as slip opinions. When/if the case subsequently appears in a case reporter, the slip opinion is removed from the database and replaced by the reported version, complete with reporter citation. If the case is not subsequently covered in a reporter, the slip opinion stays in the database as an unreported (or unpublished) case, still searchable by key word. 

In future notes, I'll get into the "nuts and bolts" of Fastcase: how do I find a case, how do I run a search, how do I frame my search terms, how do I organize and sort my results, how do I print or e-mail or save a case, how do I find out what courts have said about a case, what special Fastcase features can help me make my research as good as possible, how do I get help if I want to learn more or run into a problem, can I use Fastcase if I'm outside the office? If you have suggestions for topics to cover in future notes, please offer them. We want this to be as useful as possible! 


Chuck Lowry is a sales representative for Fastcase. He can be reached at clowry@fastcase.com.