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Tech Report: A Free Benefit of CLA Membership: Fastcase Legal Research

A Free Benefit of CLA membership: Fastcase legal research
Tech Tips, Your AI In-House Editor
By Robert Klein, Los Angeles
A law practice devoted to helping personal injury victims.
robert@rkleinlaw.com

I am recently back from the first annual CLA Solo and Small Firm Summit. This year it was held in Huntington Beach and was a terrific event. It was intimate even with approximately 200 people attending. There was education, networking, sharing of business cards, vendors and a lovely environment in which to learn. The Solo and Small Firm section hosted an outdoor cocktail reception on Friday evening and sponsored a mobile truck providing free professional head shots.

Amazing speakers included a wonderful lunch conversation with California Supreme Court Associate Justice Carol A. Corrigan. There were approximately 30 programs, featuring as speakers Appellate Court Justice Eileen Moore, Associate Justice David A. Thompson, and Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson.

I want to talk about Fastcase, which is a free benefit to any member of the CLA. If you belong to any of the 16 sections of the CLA, you are a member of the CLA and have access to Fastcase. Let me share how this works.

Go to the CLA page (www.calawyers.org) and log in (found on the top, right side of your screen). Next, on the upper right you will see a link to “my account.” Click on that link and near the bottom of that dropdown menu you will see “Fastcase.” Click on Fastcase and you will be taken to the Fastcase website which allows you to research directly on Fastcase. This portal provides free access to the full, paid version of Fastcase which is part of your CLA membership. When you first go to Fastcase, you are also provided access to featured content to articles published by the CLA member section of which you are a member.

I am relatively new to Fastcase and getting used to how it functions. I tried a sample search. I started by clicking on options at the top of the screen, and was taken to a page which gave me search options. I wanted to find the current law on whether a property owner has a duty to maintain a sidewalk in front of their home or business. In the search tool, I entered the words sidewalk, then homeowner, and then “duty to maintain.” I then added all three terms to my “Current Search Terms” and ran my search. When results from all states appeared, I realized I failed to limit the jurisdiction. I narrowed results to California and “applied” the changes. One of the three cases got me started on my search. I printed the case, as a PDF, and moved it to the research folder for that client. Once you use Fastcase, you will find other features including cloud linking, a connection to Clio, creating a search history, a document history and favorite searches.

There are other benefits of your CLA membership including 10% off CEB books, onLAW titles and libraries, and 6 free hours of MCLE credit.

Finally, a quick plug for the Solo and Small Firm Section. Since the majority of CA lawyers are in solo practice or with firms with 5 or fewer lawyers, we feel our section should be the largest section. Tell me what you need from our section to make you a member? Is it programs, networking, and access to other lawyers to help answer a question, forms or anything else? Our goal is to grow and bring in more members. Help us reach our goal and help you as a solo or small firm practitioner.

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