Bar News - January 18, 2017
Sharpening Your Research Skills Using Casemaker
Casemaker is the online law library that’s free to use for all NHBA members (visit the Member Dashboard for access). The following are some quick tips from Casemaker on how to get more out of your research time.
Keeping Track of Research Time
Need to keep track of time spent doing online research for a client? Utilizing the Client and Session Summary features of Casemaker can help. Simply create a Client and select the client each time you begin to conduct research for that client. Once you have finished, click the “Sign Out” link to sign out of Casemaker and view the Session Summary.
The Session Summary contains date, time and client for each search, which can be used to keep track of billable hours for the client. It is important to remember to print this information (or save as a PDF) as it cannot be retrieved after closing the Session Summary.
While you always can search for a statute with the help of the section radio button, sometimes browsing makes more sense. To browse any state’s statutes, begin with the State Materials tab. Click on the state name. Next, click on Statutes. This will open a listing of titles. You are now able to be click and explore, almost in an index or table of contents fashion. You can choose any title and easily view the content contained within it. Click on a chapter and view the information it contains.
All of this is organized in the expected hierarchy. Titles, chapters, and sections are clickable and ready for you to explore. Finally you can click on an individual statute number to view its text. Once you are reading the statute you will notice Browse Documents in the grey bar. Clicking on the arrows on either side of this will allow you to go to the previous or next statute. Want to see more at once? Look for the link labeled Combined while browsing. This will give you a chapter or section in its entirety.
Narrow by Circuit
While the Jurisdiction menu will aid you to narrow your search to Circuit court cases, it will not allow you to narrow to a specific circuit. However that option is still available. Once you perform your search, click to view all the case results. You can also click on the Cases link on the left. Either option will pull up your results list and a menu on the left side. This left side menu gives you the option to narrow your results by a variety of different ways. For example you could use the Jurisdiction option to narrow to check the box for Circuit. Note you may have to click a link at the bottom of the category to get all your options. Next you can the United States Court of Appeals you wish by checking off the appropriate box. Now your results should be narrowed to the Circuit court you prefer.
Searching by Party
Searching by party works best if the party or parties in question has a less than common name. Obviously, searching for the party name of Smith is going to yield quite large number of results compared to other less common names.
To search by party simply type the name of the party in the search bar and select the circle (often called a radio button) under the search bar labeled party. This will pull up all cases where that name is mentioned as a party in the case.
Free Live Webinar Training
Look for the webinar link in the upper right hand corner while you are in the desktop version of Casemaker. You can participate in the webinar training sessions as often as you like and they are always free.
Also, download the Casemaker app from IOS or Android to get on—the-go access to the Casemaker library.
Contacting the Help Desk
There are variety of ways to get help in using Casemaker. Click on “Help” on the top menu of any page, watch brief tutorial videos, access a user guide, or contact customer support with a phone call at 1-877-659-0801, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the “Live Chat” feature. The help desk is staffed weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.