Citations to Old Cases

Last week I blogged about the HeinOnline/Fastcase partnership.  One of the things I’ve noticed as I’ve been looking at the cases provided by Fastcase in HeinOnline is that Hein’s ScholarCheck (its version of Shepard’s/KeyCite) is available with each of the cases.  That means researchers can easily find law review and journal articles that cite the case you’re looking up.  Can’t you do that with Shepard’s/KeyCite, you might ask?  To a point.  Remember, that the law review and journals available in Westlaw and Lexis generally only go back to the 1980s or early 1990s.  (There are exceptions in Westlaw for some of the most prominent journals.)  That means that if you have an older case, Shepard’s/KeyCite may miss many of the pre-1990s articles that cite your case.  This might be important if you’re working on an article about an historic case.  Let’s look at an example.

Say we’re looking at Judge Learned Hand’s opinion in United States v. Carroll Towing Co., 1159 F.2d 169 (2d Cir. 1947).  Shepardizing it shows 1,353 law review articles, none before 1982.  KeyCite gives you 1,525 with a few from some major law reviews before the 1980s.  HeinOnline gives you 2,071 articles, many of them from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s that likely won’t be in Westlaw or Lexis.

While you could have reached the same result in HeinOnline by searching for the citation of Carroll Towing in Hein’s law journal library, the Fastcase integration makes this research more intuitive for researchers.  Just find your case and click on the ScholarCheck link.

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