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Legal Research

Fastcase FAQs

Why am I having trouble logging in?

Fastcase is a member benefit of the Oklahoma Bar Association, and you can only access your subscription through the OBA Web site? Under the Fastcase logo, to log in enter your username (OBA number) and password PIN for the myokbar portion of the OBA Web site. (Your OBA PIN won?t work on the Fastcase.com Web site.) If you?re having trouble with your OBA PIN, check out your options or you can contact the bar at (405) 416-7068 during regular business hours.

What?s the easiest way to get started?

Once you’re logged in, Fastcase’s tutorial is a great place to start. It lasts about six minutes and covers most Fastcase features. You will find it under Help | Tutorials.

What internet browsers are compatible with Fastcase?

Fastcase works in most major browsers, including Internet Explorer 6.0 or greater, Netscape version 7.0 or greater and Firefox 1.5 or greater on PCs. Fastcase is also compatible with Mac versions of Firefox, IE, Safari and Netscape.

I thought Fastcase was supposed to be free. Then right in the middle of my research I get sent to a page that says I have to pay $95 per month. What gives?

When you do not actively use Fastcase for a while (e.g. you stop your research to take a phone call), you are automatically logged out after a short time even though the computer still displays the results of your last search.. Then when you return to your research and click on one of the links, because you are logged out, it takes you to the Fastcase main web page which of course supports their commerical subscription service of $95 per month. You need to go back to www.okbar.org to log back in.

Searches

What is the difference between keyword (“Boolean”) searches, natural language searches and citation searches?

?Boolean? (or ?keyword?) searches are familiar to most users of search on the Web. They allow searchers to use terms such as AND, OR, NOT, ( ), " ", to find cases germane to a research question. Using "w/n" between two search terms (where n is a number) will find cases in which the two terms appear within n words of each other. Fastcase uses the "implied AND" search protocol, which means if there is no connector between search terms, it is treated as if the "AND" connector was used. For a complete list of Boolean operators, select Boolean search on the Search screen and check the "Search Tips" box.

Natural language searches are much less precise, but are a good place to start if you don?t have exact search terms. Natural language searches return the best 100 results for your search, even if some of your terms don?t appear in the results, or even if more than 100 cases contain your search terms.

Citation searches should be used when you know the exact citation of the case you are looking for. Be sure to put in the volume number, the reporter identifier and the first page of the case only (e.g., 700 F.2d 1). For more information, see the search tips, located underneath the search box, for a list of correct citation formats.

How do I select a specific jurisdiction?

A jurisdiction or court can be chosen by clicking on the radio buttons below the search box. To select a jurisdiction other than those listed on the page, click on the last radio button ?select jurisdiction.? Then expand one or all of the four menus and check off the boxes to select your specific court(s).

Where are the statutes, constitutions, regulations and court rules?

In the navigation menu under the Fastcase logo, go to the Search menu to select your search type. Fastcase ?frames? the official statutes, constitutions, regulations and court rules directly from the Web sites of federal and state legislatures and courts, as a free convenience to our subscribers.

I’m not getting the results I expect with the w/n operator.

Fastcase is constantly improving its w/n feature (the ?within operator?). However, there are two syntaxes that we do not yet support. We list those syntaxes below, and some ways to reformat them to get results:
Incorrect Correct
A w/3 (B OR C) (A w/3 B) OR (A w/3 C)
A w/3 (B AND C) (A w/3 B) AND (A w/3 C)

Results

Can I Shepardize cases on Fastcase?

Fastcase's authority check feature displays a list of citing cases, as well as the text in which the citation occurs. Fastcase does not offer Shepard's authority checking system, which is a trademark of Shepard's Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reed Elsevier Inc.

Additionally, both LexisNexis and Westlaw offer affordable online versions of their citators, and you can pay transactionally, usually about $5 per case:
What is Authority Check?

Authority check searches for other cases that cite your case and displays the results as a list of hyperlinked case names. This is a great research tool for finding related precedents or to help determine the continuing value of a case as a precedent. In addition, you can use Authority Check on the Results page to sort search results in order of authority ? with the most often-cited cases at the top of the list. Note that authority check only lists citing precedents in the Fastcase database.

We do not hold Authority Check out as a complete replacement for services such as Shepards or KeyCite ? both of which we like very much. Indeed, many Fastcase subscribers use the transactional Shepards or KeyCite services as a supplement to their Fastcase service. We also recommend searching for a few words in the heading of the case to find related precedent. Setting the results display to show the most relevant paragraph will show you some of what each court said about your case.

What is "Entire Database"?

Entire Database is a part of the Fastcase Authority Check family, showing the number of times a case has been cited in the Fastcase database. The number will show as a hyperlink in the search results, allowing you to view later citing cases. You can also click on the column header on the results page to list the most cited cases first ? a great way to read the most authoritative cases first. You can also find the feature at the top of your screen when you?re looking at the full text of a case.

What is "These Results"?

These Results shows how often a case is cited within the super-relevant set of other cases in the list of search results. In the peer group of search results germane to your research, the case cited most often should have a very high level of relevance and authority, and you can sort your search results to bring those cases to the top of the list.

Law Libraries

How current is the legal research database?

We update our libraries daily, and we add most appellate cases to the system between 24 and 48 hours from their release by the court. A full list of the currency of the system is available.

Does my member benefit include newspapers?

Fastcase offers newspaper searches through a partnership with NewsBank. Searching and getting abstracts of results is powerful, easy and free. You can also view the full text of any article for a transactional charge of about $3 per article.

Miscellaneous

Why am I having trouble seeing everything on my screen?
Why don't I have scrollbars on the right hand side and bottom of my screen?

Fastcase is set to work on a default screen resolution of at least 1024×768 pixels. Some users with screen resolutions set at 800×600 pixels, or with very small monitors might have trouble seeing the entire screen. Clicking within a case and using your keyboard's arrow keys will allow you to scroll. However, the best way to resolve this problem is to readjust your screen resolution. For Windows, right-click on your desktop, click Properties. Select the Settings tab, and under ?Screen Resolution? slide the arrow to the right until the setting is 1024×768 (or higher). Click OK and OK again to refresh the screen. Don?t worry that the screen goes blank for a few seconds ? this is normal. For other operating systems, consult the help documentation that came with your computer to set your screen to a higher resolution setting.

I am looking for a case and I know the citation but I can’t find it.

There are two main reasons users might not find a case: 1) The case is so new that we do not have the citation to the book yet. In this case, you might try searching by party name (Brown AND Board of Education); 2) The case is not in our database (a federal court of appeals case from before 1914, for example).

Why am I having trouble printing cases?

Fastcase?s dual-column printing is accessible in the menu under our logo, by going to Document | Print Document. The feature allows you to customize your display preferences, and print the case to Word, PDF or WordPerfect-compliant RTF format, and pops open the case in a new window. From there, you can print or save the case to your computer.

If you’re getting only one page of the case, you are probably printing from your browser instead of using the Fastcase print utility.

If you’re being prompted to subscribe, or nothing happens when you’re printing, a pop-up blocker on your computer may be blocking the Fastcase print window. In that case, add Fastcase as a “trusted site,” telling your computer not to block the print window: Go to Tools | Internet Options | Security. Click on Trusted Sites (the green checkmark) and then on "Sites." Add the following site: https://www.fastcase.com to the "Add this website to the zone." Click ADD and OK. Click OK on the INTERNET OPTIONS page.

How can I print statutes, constitutions, regulations and administrative codes?

Fastcase?s dual-column printing is only available for cases in Fastcase search results. Statutes, constitutions, regulations and administrative codes should be printed with your internet browser print function If you care still having trouble printing statutes, constitutions, regulations and administrative codes, trying copying and pasting the information into a word processing document and print from there.

What if I need more help?

You can contact the Fastcase Customer Service Group toll free at (866) 773-2782, or by e-mail at support@fastcase.com. The customer service desk is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (central standard time) Monday through Friday and is offered free of charge as part of the OBA member benefit. Please note that Fastcase customer service representatives cannot answer legal questions or provide legal advice.