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Bar News - January 18, 2017


Casemaker vs. Google Scholar

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A number of attorneys have recently asked why they should use Casemaker through their bar association’s member benefits program rather than the legal research tool available on Google Scholar. It may seem like a legitimate question, but even the most cursory glance at a comparison of the content, features and capabilities of the two services shows that Casemaker is far superior in all of these important aspects as applied to legal research.

Content

Federal Cases – Both services have complete and current collections of federal case law.

Federal Code – Google has NO codes online, because it is very difficult to keep them up to date; Casemaker boasts the most current version of the US Code online. Casemaker’s US Code is also annotated, providing links to all cases citing each section of the code.

State Cases – Google has state cases from all 50 states with coverage back to 1950; Casemaker has state court cases from all 50 states with coverage back to statehood and in many cases, back to territorial decisions.

State Codes – Google has NO state codes online, because it is very difficult to keep them up to date; Casemaker boasts the most current version of the codes from all 50 states online. All state codes are annotated.

In addition to the standard federal and state appellate courts, Casemaker also provides many other specialty federal courts (i.e., Tax, Bankruptcy, etc.) and many state agency decisions. And, in addition to the full collection of state and federal codes, Casemaker also provides current administrative codes, sessions law and Public Laws.

Citator

It is impossible to conduct thorough and accurate legal research without the benefit of a citator to tell you whether the cases you are viewing are still good law – impossible and inadvisable.

Google has NO Citator.

CaseCheck+ is Casemaker’s citator and it tracks a wide variety of negative treatments in the subsequent history of cases from all jurisdictions on Casemaker – for example, overruled, reversed, modified, vacated, superseded decisions – it also includes criticized and questioned.

CiteCheck is a service that allows the user to upload a brief, the brief is scanned by CiteCheck, and the user receives a report that includes a list of all cases cited in that document with a determination as to the validity of each case. The process takes about 60 seconds.

Search Capabilities

Casemaker and Google each allow the user to enter search terms with no restrictions, or with quotations (“equal protection”) to get specific phrases. But only Casemaker allows the use of Boolean Connectors (evict* w/5 noti*), a more powerful and effective way to conduct legal research.

Google Scholar is a powerful search engine that is available for free, so many people think it provides an authoritative solution for legal research.

But, through the bar member benefits program, Casemaker is also free. And it provides a more powerful and flexible search engine with far broader and deeper content and tools specifically designed to enhance and support your legal research. When you can get more content, more precise search results and a verification that your cases are still good law, it is clear that Casemaker is the better choice for serious legal research.


Jim Corbett, director of business development for Lawriter, Casemaker’s parent company, has been in the online legal research field since its inception, having worked for Lexis Nexis, Versus Law, CourtsOnline, and CourtTrax. He is a graduate of Seattle University School of Law and has a master’s in library information science from SUNY Albany.

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