The Mississippi Bar today announced that it is switching the research service it offers as a free benefit to its members from Casemaker to Fastcase. The switch will take effect for its more than 9,000 members on June 1.

“This new partnership allows us to support our members by providing free access to tools that will benefit them in their practice of law,” said Deanne Mosley, executive director of The Mississippi Bar, in a statement announcing the switch. “We’re proud to partner with Fastcase to provide access to such innovative research tools and online law libraries.”

Mississippi Bar members will be able to access Fastcase through the bar website at www.msbar.org, where they will be able to log in with their bar username and password.

According to Fastcase, 30 state bar associations and dozens of metro, county, and specialty bar associations offer its service as a free benefit to members. Through those partnerships, Fastcase says, its service is available for free to more than 800,000 lawyers — two-thirds of all lawyers in the U.S.

Twelve of those states switched to Fastcase after previously offering a different legal research service. Ten switched from Casemaker to Fastcase.

In 2016, the Minnesota Bar made the reverse switch, from Fastcase to Casemaker, only to reverse itself six months later.

 

 

Nearly a year ago, this blog first reported that legal research service Fastcase would launch an artificial intelligence sandbox for law firms — a testing environment where firms would have access to various AI platforms and data sets, as well as be able to bring in their own data. Soon thereafter, Fastcase launched an “unofficial” version of the sandbox. Today, it rolled out the official version of the Fastcase AI Sandbox, along with more information on the tools and data it offers and the firms that are using it.

“Fastcase’s AI Sandbox is a customized first-of-its-kind platform that allows law firms to use artificial intelligence in a secure environment to crunch their own big data, compare it with public legal data or metadata from Fastcase, and analyze it using cognitive intelligence tools such as IBM Watson Analytics and Watson Developer Cloud,” the announcement said.

Among the AI tools contained in this initial release, in addition to those from Watson, are indexing and visualization software from ElasticSearch; expert system platform Neota LogicContraxSuite, a machine learning tool for contract and document analytics from LexPredict; customized expert witness content from Courtroom Insight; and more. The platform will include legal data from Fastcase as well as docket data from Docket Alarm, which Fastcase acquired in January.

Firms already using the sandbox include BakerHostetler, DLA Piper and Baker Donelson, Fastcase said.

How can legal professionals use this? Fastcase offers these examples:

  • Litigators can create a brief bank and search for legal issues in their firms’ knowledge management system.
  • Corporate attorneys searching UCC filings can quickly run a comprehensive machine learning analysis of filed UCC agreements that show interest rates, security requirements, payment schedules, default penalties, liquidity and notification requirements.
  • Law school faculty and students can research legal trends and law school librarians can manage data-driven research projects.

Users can update their own data to use alone in the sandbox or combine it with other data sets. Firms could also choose to collaborate to harness comparative data, Fastcase suggests.

 

In January, Fastcase acquired Docket Alarm, a company that mines federal and state court dockets to provide litigation alerts and case-prediction analytics. (See my coverage here.) In its first update since the acquisition, Fastcase is today announcing that Docket Alarm has now expanded its coverage of state dockets to 11 states, is now integrating with case law in Fastcase, and is expanding its staff.

When Fastcase acquired Docket Alarm, the company covered dockets from federal courts and three states. With today’s announcement, it is adding eight states. It now has dockets for: California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

Also, as of today, Docket Alarm now integrates with case law in Fastcase. When a user views a docket document such as a brief or memorandum that contains citations to case law, the user will be able to view the cited case from Fastcase without a separate login. Users can share the cited cases with anyone else they choose.

Fastcase also said today that it is expanding the Docket Alarm team to support rapid development and product innovation. Joining Docket Alarm founder and managing director Michael Sander are:

  • Molly Lindblom as product manager. Lindblom has more than 18 years of product management and marketing leadership with companies such as LexisNexis, Bloomberg,and Wanted Analytics, and she led the creation of the litigation and client development analytics categories while at LexisNexis CourtLink.
  • David Nayer, as reference attorney and trainer. Nayer has a background in law and technology.
  • Liz Morgan, as a sales executive. Morgan has more than 20 years of experience in legal publishing and legal analytics sales with Lex Machina and Wolters Kluwer.

“It’s exciting to see the momentum we’ve created by putting the strength and capabilities of the Fastcase team behind the latest developments in Docket Alarm,” Sander said in a statement. “In a matter of weeks, we’ve formally launched state court dockets and a have linked millions of citations across opinions, briefs, and complaints to Fastcase, a first-of- its-kind product – and this is only the first step in our integration.”

I have said before and I continue to believe that for a legal research company to compete against the longstanding dominance of Westlaw and LexisNexis, having secondary content such as treatises and practice guides is the Holy Grail.

Fastcase clearly sees it the same way. It has steadily been building its libraries of secondary content, acquiring Loislaw in 2015, bringing on former LexisNexis VP Steve Errick to develop new editorial products, adding blog posts and commentary from the LexBlog network, launching a legal publishing arm in November, and, just two weeks ago, debuting its first law journal, RAIL: The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law.

Today, Fastcase is announcing another step in that direction. Through a partnership with Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S., it will offer an extensive collection of WK’s expert treatises, handbooks and other secondary sources.

The collection includes 129 titles covering areas of law such as bankruptcy, business, construction, elder law, employment, estate planning, family, litigation, health, insurance, pension and benefits, personal injury and real estate.

“This partnership intentionally closes the gap between Fastcase and the incumbents in the legal publishing market,” Fastcase CEO Ed Walters said. “There are vanishingly few advantages that the old players have left. With the analytics of Docket Alarm, secondary treatises from Wolters Kluwer, legal news from LexBlog, and our innovative research platform and mobile apps, Fastcase is a complete solution for legal researchers.”

But for Fastcase subscribers, there are two limitations. One is that the titles will be available only by purchase. So, if a subscriber wants, for example, Bankruptcy Litigation and Practice, the subscriber will have to purchase it for an annual price of $510. (A complete list of titles and prices is below.)

Second, Fastcase’s licensing agreement with WK permits it to sell these titles only to subscribers in firms of 1-9 lawyers. Subscribers at larger firms will be able to purchase these only through WK.

Fastcase users will see the new titles in the library immediately as of today. Those in firms of fewer than 10 lawyers will be able to subscribe to and use the materials from directly within the Fastcase application.

The agreement to provide the Wolters Kluwer content extends a partnership that began when Fastcase purchased legal research provider Loislaw from Wolters Kluwer in 2015, but this agreement includes titles that were not available for sale in Loislaw.

For WK, the licensing agreement provides an effective distribution channel for it to reach a wider audience in the small firm segment, said Dean Sonderegger, vice president and general manager of Legal Markets, Innovation at WK. “As a rising innovator in the space, Fastcase was the clear choice and we’re pleased that our titles and expert authors will receive even greater exposure and reach more professionals.”

Below is the full list of titles that will be available and their prices.

Subject Title Annual Price
Bankruptcy Advanced Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Practice, 2nd Edition $416
Bankruptcy Bankruptcy Litigation and Practice, 4th Edition $510
Bankruptcy Bankruptcy Litigation Manual $653
Bankruptcy Ginsberg & Martin on Bankruptcy, 5th Edition $863
Bankruptcy Ordin on Contesting Confirmation, 5th Edition $472
Bankruptcy Strategies for Creditors in Bankruptcy Proceedings, 6th Edition $267
Bankruptcy Tax Planning for Troubled Corporations $536
Business Practice S Corporation Taxation Guide $429
Business Torts Business Torts Reporter $829
Business Torts Business Torts: A Fifty-State Guide $363
Business Torts Civil RICO Practice Manual, 3rd Edition $423
Construction Law Alternative Clauses to Standard Construction Contracts, 3rd Edition $261
Construction Law Construction Disputes: Practice Guide with Forms, 2nd Edition $334
Construction Law Construction Law Handbook, 2nd Edition $210
Construction Law Fifty State Construction Lien and Bond Law, 3rd Edition $544
Consumer Finance Structuring Commercial Real Estate Workouts, 2nd Edition $932
Drunk Driving Defense Drunk Driving Defense, 7th Edition $426
Elder Law Elder Law Answer Book, 3rd Edition $209
Elder Law Loring & Rounds: A Trustee’s Handbook $423
Elder Law Representing the Elderly Client Law & Practice $666
Elder Law Social Security & Medicare Answer Book, 5th Edition $497
Elder Law Special Needs Trust Handbook $478
Elder Law The Elder Law Forms Manual $652
Elder Law The Elder Law Portfolio Series $1,016
Elder Law The Elder Law Report $422
Employment Discrimination Americans with Disabilities Act Handbook, 4th Edition $953
Employment Discrimination Civil Rights in the Workplace, 3rd Edition $456
Employment Discrimination Employment Discrimination Law & Practice, 4th Edition $724
Employment Discrimination Representing Plaintiffs in Title VII Actions, 4th Edition $671
Employment Discrimination Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Law and Practice, 4th Edition $680
Employment Law AIDS and the Law $456
Employment Law Covenants Not to Compete, 3rd Edition $571
Employment Law Employee Dismissal Law & Practice, 5th Edition $576
Employment Law Employment Law Answer Book, 8th Edition $505
Employment Law Employment Law Update $519
Employment Law Employment Relationships: Law & Practice $446
Employment Law Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance Guide $490
Employment Law Labor & Employment Law Handbook $395
Employment Law Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Deskbook $489
Employment Law State by State Guide to Human Resources Law $485
Estate Planning Estate & Gift Tax Handbook $435
Estate Planning Estate & Retirement Planning Answer Book $399
Estate Planning Internal Revenue Code $301
Estate Planning Multistate Guide to Estate Planning $490
Estate Planning Practical Guide to Estate Planning $338
Estate Planning Price on Contemporary Estate Planning $579
Evidence Destruction of Evidence $455
Evidence Evidence: Practice Under the Rules, 4th Edition $416
Family Law American Journal of Family Law $453
Family Law Child Support Guidelines: Interpretation & Application, 2nd Edition $556
Family Law Drafting Prenuptial Agreements $793
Family Law Family Law Update $681
Family Law Psychological Experts in Divorce Actions, 6th Edition $388
Family Law Qualified Domestic Relations Order Handbook, 3rd Edition $511
Family Law Valuation Strategies in Divorce, 5th Edition $382
Family Law Value of Pensions in Divorce,  5th Edition $499
Family Law Valuing Specific Assets in Divorce $355
General Litigation Discovery Practice, 6th Edition $406
General Litigation Electronic Discovery, 2nd Edition $371
General Litigation Expert Witness Update $275
General Litigation Judgment Enforcement, 3rd Edition $423
General Litigation Jury Selection, 4th Edition $384
General Litigation Motion Practice, 6th Edition $508
Health Law & Compliance Clinical Research Compliance Manual $581
Health Law & Compliance Consent to Treatment $593
Health Law & Compliance Emergency Department Compliance Manual $421
Health Law & Compliance Health Care Organizations Risk Management $452
Health Law & Compliance Health Law & Compliance Update $370
Health Law & Compliance HIPAA Compliance Handbook $367
Health Law & Compliance HIPAA: A Guide to Health Care Privacy and Security Law $782
Health Law & Compliance Hospital Legal Forms, Checklists and Guidelines $1,226
Health Law & Compliance Medical Group Practice $603
Health Law & Compliance Medical Staff Management $543
Insurance CGL Policy Handbook, 2nd Edition $365
Insurance Insurance Coverage Litigation, 2nd Edition $410
Insurance Policyholder’s Guide to the Law of Insurance Coverage $448
Insurance Practitioner’s Guide to Litigating Insurance Coverage Actions, 2nd Ed $643
Law Practice Resources Lawyer’s Desk Book $409
Law Practice Resources The Lawyer’s Almanac $540
Limited Liability Federal & State Taxation of Limited Liability Companies $499
Payroll California Payroll Guide $596
Payroll Complete Guide to Federal & State Garnishment $694
Payroll Multistate Payroll Guide $539
Payroll Payroll Answer Book $560
Payroll Wage and Hour Answer Book $576
Payroll Wage Hour Compliance Handbook $539
Pension & Benefits 401(k) Answer Book $499
Pension & Benefits 5500 Preparer’s Manual $499
Pension & Benefits Cash Balance Plan Answer Book $497
Pension & Benefits COBRA Handbook $505
Pension & Benefits Coverage & Nondiscrimination Answer Book $506
Pension & Benefits Defined Benefit Answer Book $497
Pension & Benefits Dividing Pensions in Divorce $511
Pension & Benefits Employee Benefits Answer Book $487
Pension & Benefits Employee Benefits in Mergers & Acquisitions $487
Pension & Benefits Employee Stock Ownership Plan Answer Book $513
Pension & Benefits ERISA Fiduciary Answer Book $497
Pension & Benefits ERISA Law Answer Book $487
Pension & Benefits ERISA: A Comprehensive Guide $506
Pension & Benefits Executive Compensation Answer Book $497
Pension & Benefits Governmental Plans Answer Book $491
Pension & Benefits Handbook on ERISA Litigation $511
Pension & Benefits Health Insurance Answer Book $519
Pension & Benefits Health Savings Account Answer Book $497
Pension & Benefits Individual Retirement Account Answer Book $511
Pension & Benefits Mandated Benefits Compliance Guide $511
Pension & Benefits Medicare Handbook $511
Pension & Benefits Multistate Guide to Benefits Law $497
Pension & Benefits Pension Distribution Answer Book $497
Pension & Benefits Plan Correction Answer Book $497
Pension & Benefits Plan Termination Answer Book $511
Pension & Benefits Qualified Domestic Relations Order Answer Book $497
Pension & Benefits Quick Reference to ERISA Compliance $511
Pension & Benefits Quick Reference to HIPAA Compliance $510
Pension & Benefits Roth IRA Answer Book $511
Pension & Benefits SIMPLE, SEP and SARSEP Answer Book $511
Pension & Benefits State by State Guide to Managed Care Law $534
Personal Injury Tort Law Desk Reference: A Fifty State Compendium $445
Personal Injury Understanding the AMA Guides in Workers’ Compensation, 5th Edition $534
Product Liability Product Liability Case Digest $405
Product Liability Product Liability Desk Reference a Fifty-State Compendium $391
Product Liability The Preparation of a Product Liability Case, 3rd Edition $381
Real Estate Commercial Real Estate Leases, 5th Edition $365
Real Estate Commercial Real Estate Transactions Handbook, 4th Edition $330
Real Estate Environmental Liability & Real Property Transactions: Law & Practice, 2nd Edition $1,288
Real Estate Law of Real Estate Brokers, 3rd Edition $324
Real Estate Law of Title Insurance, 3rd Edition $336
Real Estate State-By-State Guide to Commercial Real Estate Leases, 5th Edition $891
Remedies Proving and Defending Damage Claims: A Fifty-State Guide $380

Fastcase today announced that it has acquired Docket Alarm,  a company that mines federal and state court dockets to provide litigation alerts and case-prediction analytics.

In announcing the acquisition, the company said:

Docket Alarm’s advanced analytical capabilities, customizable real-time litigation alerts, case prediction indicators, and technology-driven research tools complement Fastcase’s quest to add unique, must-have content for its subscribers and provide leading legal analysis with contributions from firm partners across the country.

Founded by intellectual property litigator Michael Sander, Docket Alarm started as a company focused on federal court docket alerts, but in recent years it has expanded the number of state court dockets it covers. It has also expanded in analytics, using docket data to predict litigation outcomes and to to provide analytical profiles of judges, parties, law firms, and attorneys. Its analytics can provide information such as win rates, time to decision, and gender diversity at law firms.

In addition to court dockets, Docket Alarm also includes data from the ITC, PTAB, and TTAB.

“Docket Alarm adds insights from court filings in cases that never result in an opinion, giving litigators a more complete picture in their research, said Ed Walters, Fastcase CEO. “Now Fastcase and Docket Alarm subscribers can search motions, pleadings, and briefs; get clear analytic insights into judges and law firms; and understand the history of similar cases. Analytics are the future, and Fastcase and Docket Alarm are going to be right in the center of it.”

Sander will join Fastcase as managing director of Docket Alarm and director of Fastcase Analytics. Current Docket Alarm subscribers will continue to have access to their accounts through docketalarm.com with their login and password with no disruption to their access.

In a post here two months ago, I reported on the launch by legal research service Fastcase of a new publishing arm called Full Court Press that will produce law journals, legal treatises, deskbooks, forms, checklists and workflow tools. At the time, Fastcase also announced the forthcoming arrival of what would be its first publication, RAIL: The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law.

Yesterday, RAIL arrived, as a multimedia publication available in print, as an ebook, and within the Fastcase legal research application. It will be published six times a year.

Fastcase subscribers will be able to access it through the research service. Others can purchase an annual print subscription, starting at $495, or a single-issue ebook for $70. Purchases can be made at www.fastcase.com/rail. Those curious to see more can request a free digital copy of any one article.

Fastcase says that the print edition of RAIL also will include an annual subscription to curated collectible items handpicked by the Full Court Press team, but secret until they are delivered.

The 2018 roadmap for Full Court Press includes co-developing digests, journals, books, and blogs with an array of partners, including state and specialty bar associations, leading law schools, firms, and franchise authors, Fastcase says.

Needless to say, the legal research market has long been dominated by Westlaw and LexisNexis. Even as any number of other legal research platforms have come along, what has continued to distinguish the big two are their libraries of secondary legal materials.

While it is relatively easy for a smaller legal research company to provide access to primary law such as cases and statutes, it is much more difficult and expensive to provide access to secondary content such as treatises, practice guides and expert commentary. In this sense, secondary content is the Holy Grail for any company aiming to compete in the big leagues.

Yet over the past decade, a rich body of expert commentary has developed in the form of thousands upon thousands of blog posts from lawyers who are experts in their fields across all areas of law. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the LexBlog network, where a company that started out creating blogs for lawyers is now host to a network of more than 15,000 legal bloggers regularly producing posts about virtually every legal topic.

So it makes perfect sense that Fastcase and LexBlog are today announcing a new Fastcase library of expert legal commentary, fueled by curated posts from LexBlog’s network of legal bloggers. The new library will be available at no extra cost to all Fastcase subscribers.

“We’re pushing hard to add the best secondary sources for our members,” said Fastcase CEO Ed Walters. “The LexBlog network is a platform for some of the nation’s leading experts in law to report and synthesize legal news and developments. And the collection of every day’s LexBlog posts reads like the most compelling legal newspaper in America.”

“In addition to providing new exposure to the great writers on LexBlog, we hope that our partnership with Fastcase creates incentives for bloggers to write more and better, more substantive posts about the law,” said LexBlog CEO Kevin O’Keefe. “Every blog on our network is a powerful platform to share expertise – but all of them together, on a popular service like Fastcase, creates an even more powerful channel for law firms.”

The LexBlog content is available only in Fastcase 7. I learned of this news last night and was able to try it briefly with a couple of quick searches. I found some useful and in-depth articles about some rather esoteric topics. It is nice to be able to search across a wide range of blogs and quickly find relevant posts.

A brief before and after using Cloud Linking.

The legal research company Fastcase is introducing a new feature today, Cloud Linking, that automatically converts case citations in legal documents into hyperlinks to the full-text cases.

Cloud Linking is notable because the links it creates are public and free — anyone can follow them regardless of whether they have a Fastcase account. While both LexisNexis and Westlaw also have tools that convert citations into hyperlinks, the person following their links must have a subscription to view the source material.

“We’re trying to make public law more public and useful – to move from a world in which law is scarce to one in which law is abundant,” said Ed Walters, Fastcase cofounder and CEO. “Our team at Fastcase has always said that law should be like electric power: nearly ubiquitous, inexpensive, reliable, and useful for powering other things.”

To convert a document using Cloud Linking, you must be a Fastcase subscriber. In Fastcase 7, Cloud Linking now appears as an option on the top menu bar. In Fastcase 6, click Options in the top menu bar and then select Cloud Linking.

Upload a document and the converted version is downloaded in less than a minute.

From there, simply upload a Microsoft Word or PDF document. A duplicate of your document is then downloaded, with all the case citations converted to hyperlinks. (Be sure your PDF document has been text-recognized; it won’t work with image-only PDFs.) Fastcase says the process should take less than a minute. The documents I tried took only seconds.

This is a beta version of Cloud Linking and it still has some limits. It currently works only with cases, not statutes or regulations. Fastcase plans to add these later. And it only converts full citations containing the volume, reporter and page. A short citation will not be converted. Needless to say, it works only for cases included in the Fastcase database, which goes back to the late 1800s for most jurisdictions.

In addition to using this for your own pleadings and briefs, you could use it to add links to an incoming brief from an opponent, to make it easier to access the cited cases. It can also be used to add links to blog posts, client alerts, or any other kind of document.

In speaking yesterday to Fastcase CEO Ed Walters about the company’s hiring of Steve Errick as COO, which I wrote about earlier today, I learned about other news of interest from Fastcase.  In July, Fastcase will launch a new, first-of-its-kind product — an artificial intelligence sandbox for law firms.

A sandbox typically refers to a testing environment for software. But from Walter’s description, the yet-to-be-named product sounds more like a working environment where law firms can have access to various AI platforms and various sets of data, as well as bring in their own data.

It will be a subscription product hosted on a secure, private server through Amazon Web Services. Fastcase will populate the product with AI tools such Neota Logic and IBM Watson, as well as with data provided by Fastcase. Law firms will be able to add their own data, as well.

The product will allow law firms to analyze just the Fastcase data, just their own data, or to run mash-ups using various sets of data.

Walters said the product will likely include court-docket data. It will add other forms of data — such as SEC filings, perhaps — based on what customers want.

The product will be announced during the American Association of Law Libraries annual meeting July 15-18 and will be online in time for the announcement, Walters said. I will provide more details when I have them.