Fastcase Features: A Quick Guide for Former Casemaker Users, 0222 COBJ, Vol. 51, No. 2 Pg. 10

PositionVol. 51, 2 [Page 10]

51 Colo.Law. 10

Fastcase Features: A Quick Guide for Former Casemaker Users

No. Vol. 51, No. 2 [Page 10]

Colorado Lawyer

February, 2022


A Quick Guide for Former Casemaker Users


Fastcase's merger with Casemaker be-camefinalin2021, and as of December Fastcase has replaced Casemaker as the free legal research database for CBA members. In other words, if you haven't already mastered it, you will soon be an expert in using the Fastcase interface. For those who are new to it, or still miss the familiar Casemaker, this article reviews some of Fastcase's features and improvements.


Fastcase was founded in 1999 by Ed Walters and Phil Rosenthal, two attorneys who wanted to create something that would be more affordable and easier to use than what was available at the time. Their objective was to "democratize legal research" and "make the process smarter."1 The company has had its ups and downs, but with the recent merger, Fastcase seems well poised to achieve that ambitious goal. Fastcase has now been adopted by all 50 state bar associations—and many metro, county, and specialty bar associations—as the member benefit for legal research.2

Some will recall when Fastcase was known as the "low-cost, low-value" alternative to Casemaker.3 This was due largely to the fact that Fastcase had not yet acquired the content requisite for conducting comprehensive legal research. Essential secondary sources were missing, and there was no way to link to dockets. However, Fastcase's merger with Casemaker, in addition to its integration with Docket Alarm, ensures that the content it lacked is now part of the superior search engine for which they are known. After many iterations, this newest version of Fastcase (7) now presents users with the single search bar and predictive text searching that Google users will find familiar, and there is even more to this search engine's capability when you look under the hood.

Custom Algorithms

Fastcase has distinguished itself as the only search engine that allows users to customize their search algorithm. Critical legal research proponents argue that this highly lauded feature will put some control back in the hands of legal researchers at a time when the two dominant legal research databases, Westlaw and LexisNexis, keep a tight hold on the formulas used in their relevance algorithms.[4]

To adjust the algorithm, first go to the top-right corner of the home screen and click die circle with your initials labeled "Account." A drop-down menu will appear. Next, select "Settings" and scroll down to "Customize your Relevance Algorithm." Here you will find two categories of customization: Document Properties and Document Usage. l

Document Properties are based on the content of the document itself, with four subcategories: (1) Responsiveness, (2) Importance, (3) Authority, and (4) Date. Each of the four subcategories may be scaled up or down from 1 to 10. Responsiveness is the...

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