Vol. 81, No. 11, November
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
George C. Brown,
State Bar executive director
The 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.