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Review of State Caselaw Sites Sees CaseMaker Overall Winner

March 22, 2010

On March 19th, Greg Latham, law librarian at King & Spalding, announced Casemaker the king of state case law when compared to Fastcase, Loislaw, and Google Scholar in his blog post, King of State Case Law Coverage (Non-Wexisberg) Goes to Casemaker.  His findings indicated that, while LoisLaw had the most pre-1950 law overall, Casemaker is the clear frontrunner in terms of % of total cases.  Additional analysis points to CaseMaker as the product most likely to have the broadest coverage.

I’m not surprised about Google Scholar, but I am with regards to Fastcase and LoisLaw.   Still, it’s not likely that state caselaw is enough to crown a king of this type of information product.   It would be interesting to see a similar comparison of features, other content and ease of use.  That would tell the whole story. 

Also, I’m guessing here, but isn’t the strength of the state case law based on the state bars that have struck deals with Casemaker or Fastcase and, possibly, what they determined was most valuable?  With Casemaker used by 28 bar associations and Fastcase in just 17 bar associations, it makes sense that Casemaker would have more state case law. 

For other recent (within the last year) reviews of Fastcase and Casemaker, see: 

Legal Research Pits Casemaker vs. Fastcase by Robert Ambrogi, Legal Technology News

Casemaker Revisited – A New Look by Wanda McDavid, Colorado Lawyer 

Fastcase Review by Laura Bergus, Social Media Law Student

Fastcase: Free Caselaw and Statute Research for the iPhone by Jeff Richardson, iPhone JD

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One Comment
  1. Nina,

    Actually, the relationship between the vendor that has the most coverage is not necessarily related to whether they have a contract with that state’s bar association. For example, my old state of Oklahoma is a Fastcase state, but Fastcase only goes back to 1950, whereas Casemaker and Loislaw go back to 1890. Kentucky is a Casemaker state, but Fastcase actually has more case law coverage. I’m not sure what the overall process is for determining which states the vendor determines needs more coverage over another. I initially would have thought the same thing you did, but as I got into each state it just didn’t pan out.

    I’m a little surprised in the first couple of comments that I got on 3 Geeks where they mentioned that they were content with 1950 as a starting point for case law research. In my opinion, that’s an insane approach to legal research… kind of like saying that reading the last five chapters of a 20 chapter book is just fine, and surely you’re not missing anything.

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