NCBA members have access to the Fastcase Legal Research platform by virtue of their membership. Fastcase is a 50 state legal research database, which includes caselaw, legislative materials, administrative materials, court rules, treatises, and the North Carolina Pattern Jury Instructions (click “Browse” to see all the content available). The new Fastcase 7 (toggle over from 6 in the top right corner) has many improvements including a more intuitive interface, powerful natural language searches, and useful features. Here are a few all NCBA members should know about.
In addition to easily filtering by Jurisdiction/Source, Fastcase 7 lets you add or exclude words/phrases using Suggested Terms, an updated Tag Cloud feature in Fastcase 7. Suggested Terms appear as a list in the bottom left of your search results page. Click the plus to include a term or minus to exclude a term from your search results. Don’t forget you can also filter by a date range! These filters are all in the left pane of your search results.
Did you know that Fastcase7 has a feature called Type-Ahead? Like a Google search, when you enter a word or phrase Fastcase 7 will immediately show you matches for terms of art and case names. Switch to Fastcase 7 by toggling the orange button from FC in the upper right corner of the screen when you are logged into Fastcase.
Personalized Search Libraries
You can now set and select your personalized favorite libraries by clicking the gear icon to the right of the bright blue browse tab. If you click on the “Jurisdiction & Sources” tab and select the jurisdictions you want to search then click the star icon to add those sources in “Saved Sources”. In the “Saved Sources” tab pick your customized default for jurisdiction restrictions and see your saved search sources from previous searches. Mouse over a saved search source to see options to apply these jurisdictional filters to your current search or set a default search source.
The gear icon to the right of the search bar also lets you build a guided search or see Boolean search tips. Click on the “Guided Search” tab to see all the options to hone your search. For instance, want more precision with your searches? Try the proximity operator! The search “Grant* w/5 “motion for summary judgment” returns cases where the court granted a motion for summary judgment.
History and Saved Searches
In the top navigation bar click the clock within a circle icon on the right. There you will find your search history, documents history, saved documents, saved searches and caselaw alerts. If you have searched for something, read a case or saved a case or search you can find it all again with a click.
Caselaw Search Alerts
Don’t miss a case. Set search results as an alert by clicking the bell icon in the search box and receive a daily email of all new cases that match that search query. You can also find and manage your search alerts under “History and Favorites”.
Paste with Citation
Finish briefs faster by using “citation with copied text”. Highlight the portion of the text you want, right-click to copy then paste the text you want anywhere in a document.
Click the square of squares icon in the upper right corner and choose “Cloud Linking” to be able to upload a PDF or Word document and have Fastcase identify case citations and turn them into hyperlinks that are accessible to the public. Whether a brief or a client memo you can let the reader link directly to the case and read more about it without a Fastcase account or the need for any other legal research account.
Need help? North Carolina Bar Association members using Fastcase have access to Reference Attorneys, free with your bar benefit. Reference attorneys help draft search queries and answer questions related to navigating Fastcase. They are available from 8am–9pm ET via 866.773.2782 (Phone),
firstname.lastname@example.org (Email) or live chat within the Fastcase system