Crowdsourcing Legal Research with Casetext and Mootus

One of the more interesting ideas discussed at ABA TECHSHOW was the concept of crowdsourcing legal research using Casetext or Mootus:

“On Casetext, judicial opinions and statutes are annotated with analysis by prominent law professors and attorneys at leading firms, giving you unique insight. And everything is 100% free.”

Mootus “…helps law students and lawyers at all levels build reputation and knowledge through competitive, collaborative legal argument.

Okay … but what is it exactly?

Here are three quick answers curated from the 2014 ABA TECHSHOW:

  • Crowdsourcing: people contribute to a common project. Social curation: filtering info for others – e.g. Twitter. @lisasolomon
  • Mootus: crowdsourcing (offers) answers to legal questions. Users vote up/down contributions (also a Casetext feature). @lisasolomon
  • Crowdsourced annotations, links to blog posts and commentary big benefit of @casetext approach to legal research. @RealSheree

It turns out that crowdsourcing isn’t exactly new.  Bob Ambrogi first wrote about it in 2010 for the Oregon State Bar Bulletin.  See “Crowdsourcing the Law: Trends and Other Innovations.”  

Here is Bob’s more recent take on Casetext, which I recommend you read if you are at all interested in this approach to research. In a very rudimentary way, think of it as Fastcase + Wikipedia together in one place.  Here is a snippet from Bob’s post:

“But what makes the site unique is the ability of its users to add descriptions and annotations to the cases. When you view a case, the screen is divided in half. On the left side, what you first see is a section of “Quick Facts” about the case — its holding, citation, court, judges, docket number and the like. After that comes a section called “Case Wiki” with a more narrative description of the case. Following those two sections comes the case itself.

Both of those first two sections — Quick Facts and Case Wiki — are fully editable by registered users. Simply click the “edit” button and revise or supplement any of the text. Click the “revisions” button to see the full history of edits by all users.

Similarly, the right side of the screen contains sections for “tags,” “cases,” “sources,” “analysis,” and “record.” Users can create and edit any of these items.”

Thank you Bob Ambrogi!

 

 

The Year in Review – Useful Tips You May Have Missed

Thank you readers!  I hope this has been a fruitful year for you.  Just in case you missed a tip or two, here is a list of 2012 blog posts for your perusal:

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

All Rights Reserved 2012 Beverly Michaelis

25 Law Practice Tips from Twitter

If you follow this blog, then you know I’m a fan of Twitter – in part because it is a great source for law practice and technology tips.  Consider these 25 recent tweets in the areas of organization, financial management, marketing, security, and iPhone/iPad tips:

Organization

  • Are you an e-hoarder? Here’s how to tell. http://t.co/4FmX6ZH8 (So true!) (RT @NetworkWorld)
  • Protect yourself from e-mail overload: http://t.co/codvw2Ad #smallbiz #organization #business (RT @bettybudget)
  • Organizing your workspace based on function zones http://t.co/RYBW3duG #organization (Good tips from The Unclutterer) (RT @rocketmatter)
  • 17 Best Tools and Apps for Building New Habits and Goals. http://t.co/pjViXVgA #SPU Do you use any? (RT @SoloPracticeU)

Financial Management

  • What lawyers need to know about 1099s and other tax compliance issues: Wash St Bar News, p. 32: http://t.co/i08xDml (from @OreLawPracMgmt)
  • “The sky still hasn’t fallen on the hourly rate model” | Daily Report http://t.co/m0yRUSuE (RT @AdvertisingLaw)
  • Can I Double My Fee if the Client Doesn’t Pay? http://t.co/WFr124BK(from @OreLawPracMgmt)
  • Don’t Leave Receivables in Limbo http://t.co/7Ek7A8zQ (unless you want to go out of business) (RT @Law_Practice)
  • In some sense, all lawyers are sole practitioners. Why *you* should build a portable book of business, http://t.co/gf7h36Kp (from @OreLawPracMgmt)
  • Check Scams Continue to Plague Oregon Lawyers, http://t.co/PPvlZDJV(from @OreLawPracMgmt)

Marketing

  • Cross-Selling, Up-Selling, and Communication Increase Revenue http://t.co/kcSsrIUJ (RT @lawyerist)
  • How to promote your law blog – RLHB http://t.co/k3XrbGLi (RT @jaredcorreia RT @rodneydowell RT @kevinokeefe)
  • Myrland Marketing Moment: Not happy others aren’t commenting on your Social Media? How often do you comment? (RT @NancyMyrland)
  • Online Marketing Strategies for Small Budgets – @attnyatwork http://t.co/8Zct2GL6 (RT @rocketmatter)

Security

  • Are Passwords the Weak Link in Your Firm’s Security Chain? http://t.co/yJt690rl (RT @ltrc RT @jaredcorreia RT @erikmazzone)
  • The State of Mobile App Security [TCTV] | @scoopit http://t.co/DUcrZtZf… (RT @deboraplehn)
  • Please Rob Me! Posting Location Data on Facebook http://t.co/Qsmc9U25 (from @OreLawPracMgmt)
  • Are You Safe & Secure On The Web? http://t.co/NjZTYJ1Y (RT @rocketmatter RT @nikiblack: via @advocatesstudio)
  • What Lawyers Should Know About Cloud Computing Security http://t.co/oqzSar5z (RT @PhilNugent RT @sfinnovation)

iPad and iPhone Tips

Social media offers a virtual means to share, exchange, engage, and learn.  Consider getting involved today!

The Best Legal Research Tools are Free: In Brief

When is the last time you used the PLF publication In Brief as a resource in your practice?  Did you know that In Brief addresses 23 areas of practice plus civil procedure, cases of note, malpractice traps, and practice management tips?

Our archive of informative articles is fully searchable online and free to all Oregon lawyers.  Login to www.osbplf.org > In Brief or check out our Index of Articles.

Free CLE for Oregon Legal Assistants

On October 11 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., the Oregon State Bar will host a FREE CLE for legal assistants.  Topics include:

  • Information about regulatory deadlines
  • MCLE compliance
  • Features of the OSB Web site
  • How to use BarBooks
  • Fastcase legal research
  • How to update communication preferences or address information

Essentially – everything you ever wanted to know about the Oregon State Bar and using the OSB Web site.

If you are a legal secretary, paralegal, office manager, or fulfill another support role in a law firm, please consider attending this event.  The program will be held at the bar center in Tigard.

How to RSVP for the FREE CLE:

Send an email to events@osbar.org indicating your interest in attending “OSB for Legal Assistants.”  If you are RSVPing for multiple attendees, be sure to give a full head count and provide a list of names.  This program is not MCLE accredited, but “DOOR PRIZES … WILL BE PROVIDED FOR A FEW LUCKY ATTENDEES.”

Please help spread the word and RSVP early as space for this event is likely to go quickly!