Bar News - November 16, 2016
Casemaker Legal Research Service Favored by Smaller Firms
By: Dan Wise
Casemaker, a comprehensive online law library offered to members at no charge, is used by slightly more than half of NH Bar members, based on the Associationís survey conducted earlier this year.
Overall more than half of Bar members use Casemaker, with 13 percent relying on it exclusively or in conjunction with other resources (40.9 percent). About one-third of association members are aware of Casemaker and donít use it (27 percent) or used it in the past but no longer (6.8 percent).
Use of Casemaker varies widely depending on age and gender, and by firm size.
Casemaker use is highest amongst solo and small-firm attorneys. More than 68 percent of attorneys in solo firms and 57 percent of attorneys in firms with 2- 10 attorneys said they use Casemaker, while only 26.7 percent of attorneys in large firms (10+ attorneys) use Casemaker at all, with 19.8 percent of attorneys at large firms unaware of the Casemaker benefit.
While their usage is still significant, younger attorneys are less likely to use Casemaker.
More than 60 percent of male and female attorneys age 50 and over rely on Casemaker exclusively or with other sources; less than half of attorneys under age 50 do. (See graphic.)
Increasingly, many attorneys are turning to free sources such as Google and Google Scholar for their legal research, according to a 2014 national survey by the American Bar Association, and an NHBA poll from 2013.
The ABA found that 38 percent of all attorneys were using Google Ė often as a first step or supplement Ė in their legal research, but that this trend was much less pronounced among solos. Only 26 percent of solos in the ABA survey reported using Google for legal research, and instead cited the online library offered by their state bar association (typically Casemaker or Fastcase, a similar service.)
The NH Barís 2013 poll, conducted during a review process that resulted in a renewal of the Barís contract with Casemaker showed Casemaker as the most-often used source, followed by Google and then law books, with Westlaw and Lexis mentioned less often.