Tuesday, October 18, 2016

CARA - New Feature on Casetext

Do you find it difficult to translate a legal issue into a search query to generate a manageable list of on-point cases? Check out CARA - a new Casetext tool!


Casetext
If you are not yet familiar with Casetext, it provides free caselaw research to over 10 million cases, statutes, and regulations; it includes all federal cases since 1925 (published and unpublished) and state appellate cases from all 50 states. It is updated daily. See my previous post about Casetext.





CARA
Casetext rolled out a new feature called CARA (Case Analysis Research Assistant) in July. CARA will find cases that are relevant to a particular legal memorandum or brief. Users upload a document and CARA analyzes it and generates a list of relevant cases not cited in the document. CARA does this by identifying dozens of factors including the legal authority cited and the subject matter discussed in the document. CARA uses a proprietary algorithm, then automatically searches Casetext's database to locate similar, on-point cases. CARA uses indicators to weigh relevance, including how often cases are jointly cited.

CARA could be very useful in a couple of ways:

l. If you just received your opponent's memorandum in support of a motion to dismiss, upload the document to CARA and it will quickly generate a list of cases that are on point with your issue, but that your opponent has not included in the document. This can be a very effective tool as you research and begin drafting your reply, and are trying to find potential missing arguments or alternative arguments not discussed within your opponent's document.

2. Double-check your own research, whether in rough draft or a final version, by uploading your document to CARA to see if you have missed any important cases.

CARA does not replace traditional legal research systems, but it could be a powerful supplementary tool. It may help you locate cases you missed using other search methods or help you locate cases more efficiently. Legal research continues to be a very human process, but one that can be prone to human error.

Caveats
l. CARA is not effective for case law that is less than one year old. If cases cited within a document are more than one or two years old, CARA can be very effective.
2. If you are using a scanned document, be sure to OCR it before uploading.
3. CARA is not accessible in the free Casetext basic plan. Check out the cost of their research plans.

Privacy Issue?
Attorneys may be concerned with security and confidentiality of legal documents they upload to CARA. Casetext, however, addresses this concern by encrypting the uploaded document and, after processing, the document is immediately deleted from Casetext's servers.

Want to Try It?
If you are a Casetext registered user, just sign in and click on the CARA link. If you are new to Casetext, you will need to sign up for a free trial.

Another exciting  new development on the legal research front!

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