This summer, members of the Texas bar were introduced to Fastcase, a legal research database that allows users to search case law, statutes, administrative materials, and other aspects of law at no additional cost. Fastcase is now available in addition to Casemaker, making Texas the first and only state to offer free access to both popular systems.
In 2013, Fastcase partnered with HeinOnline to share their many resources. Under the agreement, Hein will provide federal and state case law to HeinOnline subscribers via inline hyperlinks powered by Fastcase. In addition, Fastcase now completely integrates HeinOnline’s extensive law review collection in search results. For many years, one of the biggest disadvantages to using these low-cost legal research systems has been the lack of reliable secondary sources. With this partnership, when a case law search is performed in Fastcase, suggested results from HeinOnline journals appear in a sidebar. The journals may also be searched individually, or as a group.
Though Fastcase is completely free for members of the Texas bar, accessing HeinOnline journal articles does come at an additional cost. Users will see article titles and brief snippets in suggested results, but will need a HeinOnline subscription in order to access the full PDF of the article. If you are a HeinOnline subscriber through your law school or firm, there’s no additional cost to access the articles through Fastcase. But, users who are not subscribers will need to subscribe (or search for the suggested articles elsewhere) in order to view the full-text. Subscriptions have no ongoing commitment and are priced at $59 per month for an individual user, and $595 per year. Subscriptions are also available for small and midsize firms. Fastcase intends to offer more of HeinOnline’s vast resources in future updates and it will be interesting to see how this innovative partnership develops.