News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Archive for the ‘Free Web Research’


Checkout Casetext: Free Online Legal Research

casetext logoCasetext is one of a growing number of free online sources for legal research. Developed by attorneys, data scientists, and engineers, Casetext offers free access to over 10 million cases, statutes, and regulations, plus articles and commentary from leading litigators. Coverage includes all United States Supreme Court decisions, Circuit Court and District Court decisions from 1925-present, all State Supreme and Appellate Courts decisions from 1950-present (including Ohio), federal statutes and regulations, and statutes from selected states (not including Ohio). To access the free database, enter search terms in the search box at the top of the page, then use the filters on the left-hand side to narrow the results.

When accessing court opinions, several features are included for free. Casetext shows negative treatment flags, key passages that highlight the most cited and discussed passages of your case, summaries from subsequent cases showing how your case fits into a legal argument, and insights from experts commentary from litigators and/or law professors.

Additional features are available for a fee. Casetext also offers CARA, a subscription-based research tool that uses machine learning and AI to assist with your legal research. For example, paying users can upload briefs, memos, and other legal documents, and CARA will find relevant cases, statutes, and regulations.

The Importance of Grit

According to the Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, grit (in terms of behavior) is defined as “firmness of mind or spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.”

Today in our weekly Monday Message from Dean Lee Fisher, he quoted a C|M|Law alumnus on the concept of grit. At last week’s Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association (CMLAA) Annual Meeting, outgoing President Tim Collins ’85 passed the gavel to new President Judge Michelle Paris ’84.   In her first speech as President, Judge Paris stated: “My journey has been a combination of grit…and gratitude. I am very grateful for the night program that allowed me to work and go to school. In the night program I was surrounded by people with grit – working, studying, trying to cross the finish line.”

Most people probably know they have to fight through adversity to reach goals. But the question sometimes is: how can I display grit? The American Bar Association has a Grit Project Program Toolkit that may be of use to students and practicing lawyers alike. The toolkit contains reading resources, tests, and quizzes on grit, as well as video scenarios to assist in developing a grit mindset.

Dead or Broken Link? The Wayback Machine Can Help

Have you ever come across a link for something interesting and been disappointed because the document is not found when you click on it? We at C|M|Law Library have had this happen several times of late working with patrons—one time a student was trying to cite check a law review article and another a patron was looking for a document cited in the Federal Register.

Websites change often and sometimes in the process of changing they may no longer have the information that the website once displayed. Link rot is a term sometimes used to apply to these situations where hyperlinks point to web pages, servers, or other resources that have become permanently unavailable. In these cases, The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine may be able to help. The Internet Archive is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “universal access to all knowledge.” The Internet Archive has numerous books (visual and audio), music, documentaries, and music among other things, including the Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine is a digital archive of the World Wide Web and other information on the Internet. Simply paste your URL into the Wayback Machine and it will reveal its content as it existed on certain days in the past.

 

Law Library Legal Research Seminars & Digital Badges

The Law Library has two upcoming live Legal Research Seminars particularly important for students who plan to work this summer.  Remember, each C|M|LAW student who earns 100 Legal Research Seminar points receives a Legal Research Seminar Letter of Recognition, as well as a Digital Badge that you can post to your LinkedIn page.

The Ohio Legal Research Crash Course is Thursday, March 29th, and Getting Ready to Clerk is Thursday, April 5th.  Each Seminar is 4:50pm-5:50pm, in Law Library Room A059, and light refreshments will be provided.  In the Ohio Legal Research Crash Course, we’ll examine key Ohio research resources, and discuss effective strategies and best practices for their use.  In the Getting Ready to Clerk Seminar, legal practitioners will talk with you about research projects done by clerks and new associates – how projects are assigned, typical projects, and feedback to expect.  Each of these Seminars is worth 25 points.

The Law Library also has eight online Legal Research Seminars, available on the Westlaw TWEN platform, that students can “attend” at their convenience:

  • Starting Research with Secondary Sources (17:02 mins; 12.5 points)
  • Bluebooking (38:47 mins; 25 points)
  • Terms & Connectors Searching (10:48 mins; 12.5 points)
  • Lexis Advance Overview (21:11 mins; 12.5 points)
  • Shepard’s (11:54 mins; 12.5 points)
  • Westlaw Overview (20:03 mins; 12.5 points)
  • KeyCite (10:16 mins; 12.5 points)
  • Bioethics Research & Scholarly Writing (28:33 mins; 25 points)

Your Seminar points are good for the entire time you are here at C|M|LAW, and you can earn multiple Letters of Recognition and Digital Badges.  Questions?  Contact Laura Ray, Outreach & Instructional Services Librarian, 216-687-6880, l.ray@csuohio.edu.

Online Access to State Legal Information

map of 50 US statesFollowing up on last week’s post about Sunshine Week, which focuses on freedom of information and government transparency, it is also important to highlight public access to state law. The Digital Access to Legal Information Committee of the American Association of Law Libraries maintains detailed tables of State Online Legal Information. The tables provide information about free online access to the essentials of state law: court opinions, session laws and statutes, and administrative registers and codes. For researchers relying on this access, it is important for them to know whether the online versions of these legal materials are official, authenticated, have guaranteed continued availability, and will be preserved. Each state, including the District of Columbia, has its own table. Check out Ohio.