Wisconsin Lawyer: Inside the Bar: Fastcase Unleashes Members’ Potential:

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    Inside the Bar: Fastcase Unleashes Members’ Potential

    In offering one of the most exciting member benefits to date – free legal research powered by Fastcase – the State Bar helps members lower their overhead costs, increase their ability to compete, offer better service to clients, and improve access two justice.
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    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 81, No. 11, November 2008

    Inside the Bar

    Fastcase Unleashes Members’ Potential 

    In offering one of the most exciting member benefits to date – free legal research powered by Fastcase – the State Bar helps members lower their overhead costs, increase their ability to compete, offer better service to clients, and improve access to justice.  

    by George C. Brown,
    State Bar executive director

    George BrownThe State Bar of Wisconsin now offers free, coast-to-coast legal research to all of its members as a member benefit. Following a competitive selection process and exhaustive evaluation of legal research providers and their products, the State Bar selected Washington, D.C.-based Fastcase Inc., an online legal publisher, to provide the research benefit, which launched earlier this month.

    Fastcase was founded in 1999 by Ed Walters and Philip Rosenthal, two lawyers who could not find a comprehensive, low-cost solution to a client’s directive to hold down the cost of legal research. “No way we should be paying this much for the law,” Walters said of the $1,500 spent for four hours of online research. Being lawyers who want to solve particular problems, they set about creating their own solution. You’ll read more about the Fastcase founders in the December Wisconsin Lawyer.

    With Fastcase, State Bar members have unlimited access to all 50 states’ circuit and appellate courts; federal district, appellate, and bankruptcy courts; the U.S. Supreme Court; and Wisconsin statutes, supreme court rules, constitution, and attorney general opinions. Fastcase updates its databases every day; court opinions are added within 24 to 48 hours of their release.

    It’s easy to use. You can formulate a search using Boolean, natural language, and citation searching and sort results in many useful ways. Its powerful search function delivers results quickly and lists the most relevant results first – much like Google does. Fastcase provides live and “chat” support, tutorials, and demonstrations, and it provides a 98 percent uptime guarantee so you have access when you need it.

    There isn’t room here to adequately explain Fastcase and why the State Bar is excited to offer this benefit free to members. But we think you’ll save some money, and with that savings, perhaps be able to do even more good than you already do. Be sure to read the Legal Research column on page 41 for answers to questions members have asked thus far. Then visit wisbar.org/fastcase to learn even more.

    Fastcase might not be the legal research “Jonas Salk” solution to lowering costs and improving access to justice, but consider this. What if it was the expense of legal research that prevented a lawyer from taking on a pro bono case? Or expanding her business? Or writing a law journal article?

    Hyberbole? Log on to WisBar.org, select the Legal Research tab on the top of any page, click on “Fastcase” from the drop down menu, and enter your user login information. You be the judge.




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