Search for caselaw without using keywords? That’s the goal of CARA AI from Casetext. Casetext, a legal research alternative to Westlaw and Lexis, uses CARA AI (Case Analysis Research Assistant, Artificial Intelligence) to locate relevant case law without keyword searching. Upload a memo or brief into CARA (with or without case citations) and Casetext will provide you with a list of cases tailored to your legal issue and jurisdiction. After analyzing your document, CARA deletes it from its system to preserve confidentiality.
I tried CARA using a judicial opinion that was foundational for establishing a point of law in Utah. I haven’t experimented enough to know whether I can rely on CARA exclusively for my research (and when do I ever rely on anything exclusively?), but the results I got back looked really good. CARA plucked out the relevant legal issue (preexisting conditions in workers comp) and gave me cases I had found using Lexis and Westlaw.
The drawback to CARA is when using an opinion (or brief) is that it may contain multiple points of law, and CARA may focus on an issue that isn’t your issue. In that situation CARA will perform better with some keyword guidance from the user.
Pablo Arredondo from Casetext says they tested CARA by uploading a district court opinion and seeing if CARA predicted the cases that were cited in the appellate opinion, or using the complaint to test what was used in the opinion. I want to see test using a statement of my facts and jurisdiction and see how accurate CARA is at predicting the cases I selected.
Casetext has some other nice features. I like Casetext’s holdings, which are similar to Headnotes in Lexis and Key Notes in Westlaw, but simpler. Casetext also offers “Black Letter Law,” points of law it pulls out from cases by identifying sentences that start with phrases such as “It is well settled that…” and “It is axiomatic that…” Casetext has a legal citator but has fewer cases in its system to draw from than Shepard’s and KeyCite. Casetext does not have as many published opinions and lacks secondary materials, other than blog postings from attorneys. The pared down content can be a plus when you only want to focus on case law. The clean interface also helps.
The price is right with Casetext—you can subscribe for a flat fee of $65 a month, and support staff can get access for free. Some bar associations provide Casetext as a perk of membership. Law students also get access to Casetext for free. Sign up and try it out!