Are All Caselaw Citators Created Equal? A comparison of Google Scholar, Fastcase, Casemaker, LexisNexis, WestlawNext, and Bloomberg

During our live continuing legal education seminars we discuss how to use the information found in social media profiles for evidence and how to get profiles admitted into evidence. If a profile owner assumes a pseudonym, authenticating the owner of the profile has proven to be a challenge. Some courts admit the profile into evidence and some do not. For that reason, we’ve been following Tienda v. State, an unpublished Texas Appellate Court case, where a murderer appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial court erred in admitting evidence from his Myspace profile because there was no proof he had created and maintained that profile. As we prepare for more in-person MCLE seminars around the country, we wanted to see how prevalent this line of thinking was.

We also thought that our experiences updating this unpublished case would be a good opportunity to compare three of the most popular free and low-cost case law databases (Google Scholar, Fastcase, Casemaker) and their citator services, with the more expensive databases (LexisNexis, WestlawNext, and Bloomberg) and their citator services.Our white paper "Are all Citator Services Created Equal?" details the results of that comparison.

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