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Legal research no longer limited to keywords

Tom Goldstein – SCOTUS Blog – “Longtime readers of SCOTUSblog are by now familiar with Casetext’s legal search tool. It solves an ever-present need for our team: finding opinions from all levels of the court system for our articles and case pages. Practitioners who read this blog, on the other hand, face a different need in their day-to-day work with the law. Rather than searching cases by name, attorneys need a way to search case law to find support for specific propositions. This task is challenging not just because the common law is vast, but because judges will use different articulations for the same proposition or principle. Casetext addresses this formidable challenge head on with their new tool: Parallel Search. As opposed to simple keyword search, the limitations of which most of us are intimately familiar with, Parallel Search uses machine learning technology to match full phrases and sentences with those with similar meanings in case law, even if the results and query have almost no words in common. It’s so powerful that users have described the technology as “straight up witchcraft” and “almost … like cheating” (though it certainly isn’t)…”

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