Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The State of State Bar Association Benefits

Members of the state bars or bar associations in all fifty states enjoy free access to at least one online legal research service as a benefit of membership. Generally, these membership benefits provide access to either Fastcase or Casemaker; a few states offer access to both. These services each include state and federal case law, statutes, and regulations; each also offer some unique content courtesy of partnerships (law reviews through Fastcase's partnership with HeinOnline; foreign and international content on Casemaker via vLex).

Both services have been in the bar benefit market for many years, and occasionally jurisdictions will switch platforms. Today marks the first day of Fastcase's partnership with the Alabama State Bar, announced back in May. Members had previously received access to Casemaker.

The Goodson Law Library has tracked these changes to the landscape on our page Legal Research Via State Bar Associations. Current partnership lists for each research service are also posted at Fastcase and Casemaker, respectively. The services listed on these sites may also include county and local bar association benefits, which are not tracked on the Law Library's table.

Curious to check out the bar research benefit in your planned jurisdiction of law practice? The Duke University community has access to an educational version of Fastcase with a NetID and password (and can already test the new Fastcase interface, which will become the default later in September). You may also wish to investigate student membership options for bar associations in the locations where you plan to practice; they may provide student members with free or deeply discounted registration and access to member benefits, including legal research tools.

For help with navigating Fastcase or with other legal research tools that are available to the University and Law School communities, be sure to Ask a Librarian.