Bar News - November 16, 2016
Casemaker User Tips – Beginner to Advanced
The NH Bar Association offers members access to a comprehensive online legal research library as a free benefit of membership.
It’s all for the taking after logging into the member dashboard at www.nhbar.org. (Look for the Casemaker tab at the top of the dashboard.)
For the initiated, the newbies, and even those regular users looking for yet another shortcut, here’s some tips on searching in Casemaker from the Casemaker Help Desk.
Better than White-Out:
Auto-Correct in Casemaker
Casemaker’s search box is equipped with auto-correct capabilities for mistyped citations. For example, if you enter the citation 270ne2d46 in the search box, it will recognize the lack of spacing, punctuation, and capitalization in the citation and correct it to 270 N.E.2d 436.
However, you must properly abbreviate your reporters. Casemaker goes by Blue Book citation guidelines for citation abbreviations. If you are unsure how to form your query, you can click on the blue search tips link under the search button to find a list of common operators and examples to guide you in forming your search.
Close, Closer, Closest:
Proximity and Suffix Searches
It’s been a long day. You have been going non-stop and now all you want is to do a quick search and find cases involving “drilling without a permit.” The case law search is pulling some cases, but it’s skipping some cases you know are there – perhaps cases with the target word in a different form. For example, you entered “drill” but not “drilled” and “drilling.” You really don’t want to spend all night doing this search over and over with each possible word.
Remedy: Use an asterisk (*) with your search term. Using the asterisk tells Casemaker to find documents that have the characters before the asterisk but with any ending. So, drill* will pull up documents with driller, drilling, drilled and so on.
Time to narrow down: This time you enter drill* well “without a permit” and you get more cases. The results list is now too long. While documents mention “drill” and “well,” in some of the cases “drill” is several paragraphs away from “well.”
It’s time for the proximity (or “within”) search indicated by the symbol w/ followed by a number.
When using Casemaker, w/ means “within” so w/5 would mean within five words. In the case of our search, five words feels about right to clean up these results. So we enter drill* w/5 well “without a permit.”
This reaps a much cleaner list of cases. If that’s all you have time for, save that search by clicking on the blue save search link near the search button. Now this painstakingly created results list is saved on your menu page and can be reviewed carefully when you return to this task tomorrow morning – after a nice long night’s sleep.
Contacting the Help Desk
There are variety of ways to get Casemaker help. Click “Help” on the top menu of any page, watch brief tutorial videos, access a user guide, or contact customer support at 1-877-659-0801, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the “Live Chat” feature. The help desk is staffed weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.