On June 3, 2019, Casemaker, a free member service offered by the State Bar of Michigan, launched Casemaker4, a redesign of its web-based legal research platform. The new version, according to the company, keeps features users liked while improving search speed and design responsiveness.
When you log in through the SBM Member Area, you will at first be linked to the old Casemaker system; however, you can try out the new system by clicking on Casemaker4 found on the right of the Casemaker home page.
The new home page is designed to be easily used for searching or browsing. If you choose to browse, start with a jurisdiction, for example, Michigan; next, use the tree view or list view to select the libraries you desire. The libraries can then be searched for subsections and specific documents. Suppose you find a statute, you can use the archive view to search for earlier versions or the annotator view to find cases citing that statute. It is also possible to add notes to the document.
The search bar has also been enhanced. When you click in the space to search, a drop-down menu will appear. It displays your recent searches, a list of search tips, and an advanced search menu. Click on recent searches and you will find a list of your recent activity, search tips lists ways to more effectively search, and the advanced search helps narrow the results.
Conveniently, a section on the search page shows how you navigated to where you are and you can click anywhere to return to a previous point.
The case results include a graph next to each case that shows how often the case has been cited. This information indicates the relative importance of that case. Because the SBM also provides the subscription service CaseCheck+ free to members, you will also see a green thumbs up hand if the case is still good law or a red thumbs down if it has been overturned. You can link to the cases mentioning the case you are searching.
Casemaker4 allows you to set alerts for changes in cases, statutes, and administrative codes and have them delivered by email. The new service includes:
- Shareable links—link to any document you can share even if the other person has no account.
- Associate a search with a client.
- Search results by court level.
- Case Digest, which offers summaries of cases, now has its own tab making it easier to find.
To help you adjust to the new service and learn all its features, there are videos and help materials found at the top of all pages. If you get stuck and need Casemaker customer support, call (877) 659-0801 available 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday–Friday or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
After years practicing law, Roberta Gubbins served as editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides legal content writing for lawyers. She is editor of The Mentor, the SBM Master Lawyers newsletter. Writing as Alexandra Hawthorne, she published a cozy mystery, Murder One in Midvale Corners.
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