A Crazy Productive Summer at Fastcase

The Fastcase team has been hustling this summer, creating some cool new tools, analytics, and books. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s been cooking.

Ed Walters
Aug 17, 2018 · 6 min read

Sometimes working at a legal tech company is like working in a submarine. Lots of the work happens below the surface, and you can’t really show people until you surface and get to port. The people on the Fastcase and Docket Alarm teams have been cranking this summer, and as we head out to #ILTACON18 next week, I wanted to take a minute to surface and share what we’ve been working on.

New State Docket Analytics on Docket Alarm

Docket Alarm has long been a leader for federal court docket tracking, research, and analytics. We announced earlier this spring that Docket Alarm had added state court docket tracking for 11 states. Accelerating state courts (long-considered the “holy grail” of legal analytics) was an important goal of the Fastcase-Docket Alarm combination, and Michael Sander and the Docket Alarm team have been delivering on that promise.

As we’re heading into ILTACON this weekend, we’re announcing that Docket Alarm now covers 15 states, and just added ten new county and appellate courts to its coverage.

Docket Alarm Analytics Workbench: Deep, Custom Analysis

Speaking of Docket Alarm, we’ve also just rolled out the Docket Alarm Analytics Workbench. This tool allows you to define what you’d like to analyze in state or federal courts and to create your own analytics. It’s a whole new class of products.

I love analytics, but until now, even the best analytics have been read-only, like running a report. Any firm can run the same report and get the same result. The promise of the Analytics Workbench is that you can define for yourself what you want to analyze.

Docket Alarm’s Analytics Workbench can create analytics around categories that *you* define, such as how judges in state courts decide motions for preliminary injunctions.

This is a new category of products — there’s nothing else like it. The ability to define custom analytics, in state or federal court, really defines the new ceiling in legal research. And the insights that one firm creates will be unique to that firm — real differentiators when it comes time to win the work of clients.

AI Sandbox: Law Firms Using AI to Create Insights from Their Data

Speaking of hand-curated insights, the pioneer class of law firms using the AI Sandbox has been working on projects to analyze their pricing for different matters, building internal directories of expert witnesses, benchmarking their prices for handling different federal court cases against PACER averages, and much more.

One of the cool data sets we’ve been working on for AI Sandbox is PACER metadata. We’ve collected the metadata about every case filed in every federal court from 2011-17, data for more than 4 million cases (!), and the view is amazing. Firms are slicing the data, benchmarking their own firm’s results, and creating amazing data visualizations.

At the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting a few weeks ago in Baltimore, Katherine Lowry of Baker & Hostetler LLP, Stacy Pangilinan of DLA Piper, and Shawn Nevers of BYU Law School, all showed projects that they had created with artificial intelligence and data analytics in their own law libraries. It was a pretty amazing demonstration of maker analytics.

Also, at the suggestion of some friends, we’re rolling out an AI Sandbox learning module for law schools. Let’s get the next generation of law students some hands-on skills in data analysis!

Fastcase 7 gets a big upgrade with the Mercury release this fall.

Fastcase 7 Mercury Release

We’ve launched the new Fastcase 7 platform in beta, and people love it! (Brian Huddleston of Loyola University New Orleans has published Fastcase: The Definitive Guide, a full guide to the new version of Fastcase.)

Because Fastcase is an agile software development shop, we release new versions of our software all the time. And starting this fall, we’ll wrap up big new releases every few months, including both innovations from our team and improvements suggested by Fastcase users. This will kick off with the Mercury release in October (the new releases will be named after planets, working their way out from the sun).

Mercury will feature faster page loading, a new Interactive Timeline, mobile-responsive pages, and a host of new advanced search features. Because of a Seventh Circuit opinion yesterday, we updated support for emoji, too. (You can get a preview of Mercury at ILTACON — come visit us at Booth 336 in the exhibit hall!)

Full Court Press and Treatises in Fastcase

One of the big reasons people haven’t switched from their legacy legal research services is that they need editorial treatises. For more and more firms, Fastcase is becoming a complete legal research solution, including new secondary treatises in the service.

Fastcase started its new publishing arm, Full Court Press, in the last year, including its inaugural journal, RAIL: The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law.

In addition, Fastcase licensed more than 120 fantastic Aspen and CCH treatises from Wolters Kluwer, 79 labor and employment titles from Littler, and criminal law treatises from Carolina Academic Press. These are terrific, expert guides, like Barry Zalma’s insurance law series. We’ve also added several new state bar association deskbook collections, and many new collections in the pipeline.

Barry Zalma’s new insurance law treatise series on Full Court Press.

Fastcase has gone from a handful of secondary treatises to more than 400 secondary treatises in about 14 months, with lots more to come. And while we’re talking about secondary materials, let’s not forget that Fastcase’s partnership with LexBlog incorporates more than 15,000 of the best blogs of legal analysis, and our partnership with HeinOnline includes the full run of every law review in America.

State Bar Associations

Fastcase continues to be the leading choice for state bar association member benefits. Our team loves working with state bar associations — our mission is to democratize the law, and by working with state bar associations to make legal research an included part of their membership, we allow more than 850,000 lawyers to get innovative, high-quality legal research for free.

And those lawyers love the service. Users run more than 1 million searches per week on Fastcase. We’re very happy to welcome members of The Mississippi Bar to Fastcase on June 1, the 30th state bar association to offer Fastcase to its members.

Sign up for a classroom session at ILTACON to see for yourself.

This is a lot to roll out during the summertime, and it’s fun to collect all of these developments into a single post. It’s nice to surface the submarine to show some of the things our team has been working on.

These are some of the things we’ll be showing at ILTACON, and if you’d like to see for yourself, you can sign up for a classroom session here.

We’ll have promotional copies of RAIL and Fastcase: The Definitive Guide at the booth, and I’ll sign copies of my new book Data-Driven Law: Data Analytics and the New Legal Services.

It’s been a bonkers productive spring and summer, and I’m super proud of our team’s work. We look forward to showing you what we’ve been working on!

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store