Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The State of State Bar Research Benefits

Effective September 1, members of the Utah State Bar now receive the legal research service Fastcase as a benefit of membership (press release). Previously, Utah attorneys received free access to Casemaker. Bar associations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia provide members with access to at least one of these two low-cost legal research alternatives, making them a cost-effective first stop in legal research by practicing attorneys.

To track the changes in bar association research offerings over time, the Goodson Law Library has maintained a map of Legal Research via State Bar Associations. The map covers only state-level offerings; local and county bar associations may similarly offer members access to one of these services.

Both Fastcase and Casemaker contain U.S. primary legal materials: federal and state case law, statutory and regulatory codes, court rules, and constitutions. Additional features vary within each service. Fastcase offers a number of secondary source libraries, including law journal access via HeinOnline, as well as treatises by various external publishers as well as its own Full Court Press imprint. Casemaker includes legal forms, a memo bank, and content from the vLex database, containing primary domestic legal materials for more than 100 countries.

Want to check out the free research benefit in the state where you plan to practice? The Duke University community has access to an academic version of Fastcase. Law students and faculty are also eligible to sign up for an educational version of Casemaker called CasemakerX. Students may also be eligible for free or deeply-discounted membership to the bar association in their intended practice state, such as the North Carolina Bar Association's free membership for law students.