WLAM Tech Tips-March 2021

By Marla McCowan

As the pandemic continues, many clients, attorneys, and court systems are making decisions around delaying proceedings when appropriate to do so.  In some cases, this might mean that a court hearing occurs months after the pleadings are filed.  Fortunately, all attorneys in Michigan have access to Casemaker, an incredible resource that allows for a quick review of a citations in a brief with a report indicating whether the authorities cited remain good law.  This is a helpful and time saving first step to preparing for a hearing and updating your research as necessary.

If you have not used Casemaker’s “CiteCheck” tool recently, now is the time to explore some updated features.  Start by going to the State Bar of Michigan’s website, www.michbar.org and log in using the credentials associated with your P# (the same username and password used to renew your bar dues online).  Once logged in, view the “Extras” column to locate the link to the Casemaker research website.  When you get to that site, you will see a prompt to get started with Casemaker 4, described as “faster, easier to use, with new features and tools.”[1]  Then, when you get to the Casemaker 4 page, navigate to the CiteCheck option near the middle of the ribbon’s menu.

Use the “browse” feature to attach your[2] brief (the brief can be a .pdf, Word, or text document) and then hit the “submit” button.  Now get ready for the magic to happen!  Within about one minute – up to 90 seconds for a really long document – you will see a notification in the top left corner that “your report is ready.”  You can download, print, and/or email it to yourself or a colleague.  The report includes all authorities found in the document with a green “thumbs up” or a red “thumbs down” icon.  The report displays in a really convenient grid-like format, with a blank column for notes to keep your work with the research file.

Obviously this is not the only step to preparing for a hearing, but this is a very good and reliable way to quickly and efficiently get started.  The CiteCheck feature allows you to focus your time on the important aspects of the case, including whether you need to revise your argument, or knowing that you are able to move forward exactly as originally planned.[3]

[1] https://casemaker4.casemakerlegal.com/Home
[2] Actually, you can attach any brief, including opposing counsel’s, as long as it is in a readable file.
[3] To the extent anyone is able to do anything as planned anymore.