Here at the law library, we like to investigate new legal
research tools that can help our faculty members and students. In fact, about
six weeks ago we
wrote about the Casetext platform on the Carolina Blawg and suggested that
you try it out. Well, it just so happens that since then the folks at Casetext
have introduced a new feature, called LegalPad, which aims to make writing about
the law for a public audience more pleasant in a variety of ways. It is
potentially a big step forward for academics and specialists looking to share
their expertise, or for students to read up on current legal events and perhaps
make contributions of their own.
LegalPad allows writers to pull up bookmarked cases from their research accounts and
easily drop in quotes (with citations) or links in posts. And while LegalPad is
not a blogging platform, per se, it does provide a place to share commentary
publicly while also engaging with annotations made by other Casetext users. The
site design is clear and uncluttered, with plenty of whitespace – perfect for
reading online. In fact, I agree with those who have written that it reminds them of Medium.
Birckhead, associate professor of law and the director of clinical programs
at Carolina Law, was among the first scholars to test out LegalPad. (It was
only announced last Thursday, June 18!) In a post titled “Prisoners in Isolation,”
she discusses the significance of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy’s
disapproval of solitary confinement in his concurrence in Davis v.
Ayala. It is fascinating reading, and makes use of Casetext’s freely
available full-text opinions. (For instance, see Davis v. Ayala as displayed on
Casetext as opposed to the link above, which goes to the slip opinion
published on the Supreme Court’s website.) We recommend you go read the post on
your own, because our summary would not do it justice.
It isn’t necessary to create an account on Casetext to view or
create posts on LegalPad, but doing so allows users to access other site
features, join communities, and upvote LegalPad posts. You can also follow
particular authors or keep up with areas of law that interest you. Perhaps you
are curious about the recent California Labor Commission decision concerning
the classification of Uber drivers for employment purposes? Well, there’s a
LegalPad post on the topic already! Or maybe you’re doing research on copyright law this
summer? Casetext allows you to follow that subject area.
All of these features are completely free for now, and will
help keep you up to speed with new developments in the law.
Posted by Aaron S. Kirschenfeld on Mon. June 22, 2015 2:59 PM