Have you ever wanted to find only favorable cases involving money?
For instance, have you been in a case in which attorney fees are to be awarded? If you are a plaintiff and are to be awarded attorney fees, you will probably want to find those cases that award high hourly rates. If you are the defendant who will have to pay the fees, you will want to find cases with low hourly rates.
You can’t, as far as I know, with the normal online legal research tools, find the high or low fees you are looking for without reading all the fee cases. Not in Lexis, not in Westlaw, not even in Fastcase. But you can sort of narrow the field using Google Scholar. Google has a search term called “range.” That term is implemented by putting the high and the low amount separated by two dots — with no spaces. Google describes it this way:
Search for a number range: Separate numbers by two periods without spaces (..) to see results that contain numbers in a given range of things like dates, prices, and measurements.camera $50..$100.
Let’s say you want to find a refrigerator and are willing to pay between $150 and $250 for it.
You can search Google Scholar for refrigerator $150..$250. You may get some false hits because the syntax is not perfect. But, in the main, you will be able to zero in on what you want.
Now how does this affect lawyers? In the attorney fee situation, if you are the plaintiff’s attorney you may want to search only for fees that exceed $200 per hour. You might then search for “attorney fee” OR “attorney fees” “per hour” $201..$500 . You will get some cases that don’t seem correct, but this will probably be quicker than just doing the search without the range search.
Of course, if you are the paying party, you may want to see only the low hourly rate cases. So your search might be “attorney fee” OR “attorney fees” “per hour” $50..$150 . Another example would involve a land case in which you might be looking either for high or low per acre prices. The high and low searches might be “per acre” $150..$1000 or “per acre” $50..$150.
How do you find all of this in Google?
1. Type in the address bar scholar.google.com
2. Click on Case law and then on the applicable courts: Federal courts, Louisiana courts, or Select courts.
3. Put in your search
And all of this is free.
Moreover, Google has all sorts of information in Scholar. It has sort of a Shepard’s by its showing which later cases have cited earlier cases. (When you pull up a case, click on “Cited cases.” It won’t show whether the case was affirmed or reversed or whatever. You will have to read the later citing cases for that. But what do you expect for free?)
There are even more Google goodies, but that will be for another day. )
A more precise search could be developed using some additional Google search tools, but that too will have to wait for another day.
P.S. Please post any uses that you have found for the range option.
(C) Adolph J. Levy