If you are litigating business cases, or any kind of cases where you might be doing legal research, Firefox is the best internet browser and you should dump Internet Explorer and change to Firefox. Right now.
Why should you do that, especially if it puts you in the minority of internet users? There are probably a lot of reasons, but this post is about only two of them. They are both "add-ons" for Firefox. Add-ons let you customize Firefox.
Jureeka automatically adds a hyperlnk to a court decision or a statutory reference on a web page if it can find it. Jureeka does that by looking to the open law sources like PreCYdent, which is one of a number of ventures putting case law and statutory law in the public domain. Another one is the Public Library of Law, which calls itself "the world’s largest free law library," and another is altlaw.com. These sites have federal decisions and a lot of state court decisions that you would ordinarily have to go to Westlaw or LEXIS to find.
Here’s an example of why this is a useful thing: last month, I wrote a post about a decision from the Middle District of North Carolina which found jurisdiction over a defendant because of its use of metatags on its website. In the post, I referenced a decision to the contrary from the Second Circuit. If you were looking at that post in Firefox, with the Jureeka add-on, you would have seen the Second Circuit case with a hyperlink, looking like this:
You could just click on the hyperlink (it’s not live in this post) and save yourself the trouble of going to Westlaw or LEXIS or whatever electronic service you use for federal decisions. And speaking of those services, the other add-on I really like is Citegenie. This takes care of something I find really annoying in Westlaw, the citation format you get when you copy a quotation from a case. Here’s an example of a quote from a case and the citation generated by Westlaw:
The district court erred by allowing plaintiffs to advance their claims for breach of fiduciary duty when there is no indication that North Carolina law would recognize the existence of a fiduciary relationship between franchisee and franchisor.
Broussard v. Meineke Discount Muffler Shops, Inc. 155 F.3d 331, 347 (C.A.4 (N.C.),1998)
C.A.4 (N.C), 1998? Who at West thought of that for citation format? It doesn’t have any resemblance to Bluebook form. And if your quotation goes across more than one page in the official report, Westlaw doesn’t give you proper page references, you have to dig them out yourself.
Citegenie fixes this. If you copy that same excerpt in Citegenie, this is what you get:
The district court erred by allowing plaintiffs to advance their claims for breach of fiduciary duty when there is no indication that North Carolina law would recognize the existence of a fiduciary relationship between franchisee and franchisor. Broussard v. Meineke Discount Muffler Shops, Inc., 155 F.3d 331, 347 (4th Cir. 1998).
Citegenie adds a clear, Bluebook form pinpoint citation, with the case name in italics or underlined, depending on your preference, to what you cut and paste from Westlaw. If your citation goes more than one page in the case, it gets that right also. Citegenie has a range of citation form settings you can choose from in addition to the Bluebook, including the Chicago Manual of Style. That’s undoubtedly going to become more authoritative in the Obama administration.
If you click on the image at the top, it will take you to a site where you can download Firefox. The links to Jureeka and Citegenie are above as well. They are both free. Just like Firefox. And this blog.
I got started with Firefox after reading this post on the Res Ipsa Blog called "Top Twenty Firefox Add-ons that Make Firefox the Researcher’s Browser of Choice."