Internet for Lawyers, an online CLE hub providing continuing education for lawyers, has made available their 2012 comparison of citators that compares the citator service capability of Google Scholar, Fastcase, Casemaker, LexisNexis, WestlawNext, and Bloomberg Law. The report is accompanied by screenshots and description of each service, and it concludes
[s]o, what’s a legal researcher to do if they don’t have access to LexisNexis, WestlawNext, or Bloomberg’s citator services? While we recommend NOT relying entirely on any of the citator services provided by Google Scholar, Fastcase, or Casemaker, legal researchers can still use these databases to learn if their cases are still good law by taking the extra step to run a search using the party names as keywords…. This will find all opinions with those same party names. You’ll need to read the resulting cases (but only those decided after your case was decided) and then discern for yourself how the subsequent cases treated your case.
One should keep in mind that although Google Scholar, Fastcase, and Casemaker are improving and continuously providing better “citator-like” service, they are not comprehensive citators (yet?).
Related Readings and Instructional Videos
- Fastcase’s ‘Authority Check’ Now Flags Bad Law by Robert Ambrogi (Apr. 25, 2013).
- Finding Significant Citations for Legal Opinions by Google Scholar Blog (Mar. 8, 2012).
- A First Look at the Newest Casemaker by Robert Ambrogi (Mr. 4, 2012).
- CaseCheck+: Casemaker’s Negative Treatment Citator by Casemaker Legal Videos (Sept. 20, 2012).
- Module 6: Precedential Analysis Using the Legal Citator on My LexisNexis by LexisNexis South Africa (Oct. 2, 2012).
- WestlawNext: Using KeyCite to Verify and Expand Your Research by WestlawInsider (Nov. 14, 2011).
- BCite in Bloomberg Law by GSU Law Library (Jun 29, 2012).
- Introducing Bad Law Bot from Fastcase by Vastcase Video (Apr. 24, 2013).