Inside Track: Justia Opinion Alerts – An Easy Way to Keep Up on Recent Case Law:

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  • Justia Opinion Alerts – An Easy Way to Keep Up on Recent Case Law

    Justia Opinion Alerts is a useful tool that enables quick, efficient viewing and sharing of newly released decisions. It’s a budget-friendly way to keep up on recent case law and stay connected.

    Devin Rogers

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    May 7, 2014 – Keeping up with recent case law can be a constant challenge for legal professionals. That’s where free tools like Justia Opinion Alerts can prove useful and help you stay ahead.

    The newest feature on Justia.com allows you to subscribe to free newsletters of opinion summaries by subject area or jurisdiction. Alerts are available multiple formats including email, Facebook, Twitter, or other feed options.

    Justia is a robust website with a mission to “advance the availability of legal resources for the benefit of society.” At its core, it compiles and provides access to free legal materials and community resources available on the Internet. These research materials include case law, codes, statutes, regulations, journal articles, social media, and links to related nonprofit organizations.

    Getting Started

    You can take advantage of the opinion summaries feature in a variety of ways. To sign up for an email subscription, create an account by visiting daily.justia.com. Signing up is simple and requires at a minimum, a username, password, and birthdate.

    Michael B. BrennanDevin Rogers is the cataloger at the Wisconsin State Law Library in Madison. She catalogs materials in a variety of formats and provides reference and research assistance to library users.

    Alternatively, you can receive summary feeds through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or by using other web standard newsfeeds. From the subscription page, you can sign up with an existing Facebook or Twitter account. A hyperlink to the newsfeed is also provided.

    When you first subscribe, you can select opinions from a list of jurisdictions and practice areas. Daily opinion summaries are available for U.S. federal courts (supreme court and appellate courts) and the U.S. state supreme courts. Weekly opinion summaries are available by practice area. You can choose from more than 60 practice areas including criminal law, labor and employment law, family law, and bankruptcy. Similarly, Facebook subscribers can “like” and Twitter folks can “follow” the jurisdictions and practice areas that interest you.

    Case Summaries

    Whether you have subscribed to the email newsletter or through a social media platform, the content remains the same. In the message, a short digest of cases appears at the beginning, followed by a short summary of each case below. The summary includes the party names, court, docket, opinion date, judge, and areas of law. At the bottom of each summary, there is a short permanent link to the case summary and opinion on Justia.com and also hyperlinks to view the full decision on the Justia website or through Google Scholar. If you choose to view the full opinion on Justia.com through either link, the summary appears again followed by an embedded full-text PDF version of the decision. From here, you can view it in its entirety, or download or print it. The Google Scholar link performs a case name search and takes you to the full text of the opinion.

    Sharing the summaries is also made easy. At the top of each email newsletter is a reminder to share or forward the email as you wish. At the bottom of the page is a link to forward the email to someone else, or share on Facebook or Twitter.

    Takeaways

    Justia Opinion Alerts is a useful tool that enables quick, efficient viewing and sharing of newly released decisions. It’s a budget-friendly way to keep up on recent case law and stay connected.