Casetext: Using Artificial Intelligence to Make Research Easier and Faster

By Andres Y. Gonzalez, WSRSL J.D. Candidate, Class of 2019

A few weeks ago, I woke up to a tweet that alarmed me quite a bit. My phone was not mistaken this time when it told me a #robotfight was about to take place during Legal Week, an event where companies showcase the newest technology in the market. Although it was a better tweet to wake up to than many others I have received since opening my account less than a year ago, I had no idea what it entailed but was confident Casetext was not going to let me down.

I learned about Casetext through an email Prof. Huffman shared with the student body letting us know we had free access to this tool. Taking advantage of the opportunity to procrastinate on my reading, I went to the website to learn more about the company. Casetext’s mission to use technology to increase access to justice sparked my curiosity, so I decided to register. And I am so glad I did it! Looking back, those few minutes I spent learning more about the company have since been recovered and I would like an opportunity to share my experience with you.

Have you ever been working on an assignment and thought about how great it would be to have more time? You may be wondering, how can Casetext help if they cannot give you time?

Well, one of the reasons Casetext attended Legal Week in San Francisco last month is not only because of robot fights, but also because some of its products are revolutionizing the legal industry. By using artificial intelligence (AI) to make searches more efficient, Casetext can shorten the time you spend doing research. AI enables machines to accomplish tasks humans can do but at an exponentially higher speed. When it comes to access to justice, increased speed and high quality results can enable attorneys to assist more clients. Alternatively, attorneys may chose to spend more time to ensure their clients have a good understanding of the legal problems and possible outcomes or they may be able to reduce overall costs by factoring out the time saved on research.

Even though Casetext cannot give you time, it can make things easier for you. CARA, for instance, allows you to upload a legal memo or brief and will provide you with a detailed list of additional sources to consider, including other briefs relevant to yours. Just like other emerging types of AI we see today, CARA cannot do your work nor it can replace attorneys. At this time, it cannot interview a prospective client, write a legal brief or litigate a case in court. What CARA succeeds at is ensuring all relevant sources are taken into account in order to put forward the best legal argument one can make.

What I like about Casetext is that they know legal knowledge cannot be exclusive to people in the legal profession. Because they believe access to justice requires making the information available to everyone in our communities, most Casetext’s products are not only accessible for free to law students but also to the general public. For my classmates who will be graduating in a few months, this is a very important tool to be familiar with. When the WestLaw and LexisNexis memberships expire after you are done with law school, but not yet settled in your new job, know that Casetext has your back.

I recently joined the Casetext team as an ambassador and would like to share with you what I have learned thus far. Please be on the lookout for upcoming events and maybe even some robot fights. If you have questions and would like to meet, do not hesitate to reach out at  Click here to claim your free account.

Andres will be tabling in the law library lobby, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 from 2-4pm. Be sure to see him then.

Critical Race Theory Exhibit at the UH Law Library

image of library displayCheck out our exhibit on Critical Race Theory (CRT) at the law library.

What is CRT?

How does it manifest in our society?

How do we combat it?


Our exhibit provides some tips and resources on how to understand and address institutionalized racism.  

Share your thoughts and observations about how race is an ingrained part of institutions, communities & policies. Additionally, let us know how race has affected your life.  

Leave a comment below.

Library Book Talk Series continues with Prof. Meda Chesney-Lind

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Law Library will hold the fourth installment of the Law Library Book Talk Series with Professor Meda Chesney-Lind, author of Juvenile Delinquency: Individual and Social Context. Professor Chesney-Lind’s talk will take place on Wednesday, February 28, from 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Law Library.

Professor Chesney-Lind is an advocate for humanitarian solutions to crime and criminal justice problems in Hawaiʻi.  She has spent more than two decades working with community-based agencies, local organizations, and legislators to develop a better correctional system in Hawaiʻi and alternatives to women’s incarceration.  Professor Chesney-Lind has published extensively on these subjects and has received national recognition for her distinguished contributions to the treatment of youth and women in the criminal justice system. The Western Society of Criminology created a new award in her honor to recognize “significant contributions to scholarship or activism on the intersection of women and crime.”

Please join us for some light refreshments and what is certain to be an inspiring and stimulating discussion.

When: Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Law Library Lobby
Speaker:  Professor Meda Chesney-Lind, Professor and Department Chair, Department of Women’s Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

* Light refreshments will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please RSVP  by February 23.

Federal Courts Web Archive

By Keiko Okuhara, Bibliographic Services/Systems Librarian

The Federal Courts Web Archive provides unique resources for scholars and others conducting retrospective research into the work of the federal judiciary. These sites contain a wide variety of resources prepared by federal courts, such as: slip opinions, transcripts, dockets, court rules, calendars, announcements, judicial biographies, statistics, educational resources, and reference materials. The materials available on the federal court websites were created to support a diverse array of users and needs, including attorneys and their clients, pro se litigants seeking to represent themselves, jurors, visitors to the court, and community outreach programs.

You can view the bibliographic record for this website in the University of Hawaii Law Library’s catalog (Firefox browser preferred) or alternately, go to the Voyager catalog and execute a title search for Federal Courts Web Archive.

Included in the collection are two archives from Hawaii: U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii and U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Hawaii.

Streamlining Website Navigation

By Cory Lenz, Reference and Instructional Services Librarian

At the Internet Librarian Conference in Monterey, California, librarian Kendall Hinesley discussed her experience redesigning the library website at California State University (CSU) Dominguez Hills and offered several smart tips for streamlining website navigation.

Successful redesign starts with a content audit of the webpages.  Google offers site audit template documents, spreadsheets, and slides to help with this process.  Kendall tailored the templates to suit her web redesign at CSU by including several personalized columns for Issues, Action (keep-as-is, delete, update, and investigate), Strategy, and Status (see photo below).  She recommends using the spreadsheets to note and propose strategies for fixing such issues as confusing, inconsistent, duplicative, or visually unappealing information, as well as wrong, outdated, and broken links.  For broken links, the Strategy column of an in-the-works redesign, might propose, for instance, using a web crawler to fix the broken links or assigning a student worker to check each link.

website redesign spreadsheet
Photo 1: Courtesy of Kendall Hinesley

Additionally, the site audit spreadsheet should include traffic and usage data with the help of tools like Google Analytics and Clicktale (or other heat mapping software), which show where visitors click their cursor or tap their finger on their electronic devices and how far down the webpage they go (see photo below).  Collecting this data gives the owner or administrator valuable information about how users interact with the website.

sample heat map
Photo 2: Courtesy of Kendall Hinesley

Nothing of course replaces going directly to the users themselves to better understand their experience.  Thus, Kendall recommends conducting short ten-minute user-experience sessions (consider gift cards as a nice incentive for longer sessions).  One of those sessions might be a wording survey to gauge the users’ understanding of the headings, labels, and titles used to aid site navigation.  To get there, try to carefully frame each question for the user as a task (i.e. “If you were asked to find the Highways Act of 1892, what would you click on?”), and be sure the words in the questions are well-designed (Kendall recommends that libraries avoid the terms library resources, library services, subject guides, and circulation because students generally do not know what they mean).

Another session might involve card sorting to evaluate the site’s information architecture. In a card sorting session, users use actual cards, pieces of paper, or online card-sorting software tools to organize topics and information from the website into categories that make sense to them.  The users may also help label these categories.  Once sorted, the cards are then placed in envelopes with the category name, and the data is then put into a spreadsheet showing how the users’ organized the cards (see photo below).  The owner or administrator of the site uses this data to streamline the architecture and navigation of the site to make it clearer, more consistent, and visually more appealing.

Photo 3: Courtesy of Kendall Hinesley

Before embarking on a website redesign, Kendall highly recommends consulting other similar institutions for their information architecture best practices.  She also recommends that the web redesign team read the series A Book Apart, the book The User Experience Team of One, and the blog A List Apart.

Walter Echo-Hawk & the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries & Museums Conference

By Storm Stoker, Technical Services Support Specialist

ATALM Program Book

The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums (ATALM) annual conference is the largest of its kind dedicated to professionals who work to support, protect, and preserve indigenous cultural heritage through their work in libraries, museums, language programs, and historical preservation centers. This was the tenth time this conference was held and over 800 people attended the 2017 conference, with 276 nations and 50 tribal nations represented. The Conference was held in Bernalillo, New Mexico at the Santa Ana Pueblo-owned Tamaya Hyatt Regency. The theme was Native Strong: Sustaining Culture in Challenging Times. I have attended the conference three times and presented twice.

Sessions at the conferences range from the correct way to display Navajo blankets to creating oral history projects, but all of the sessions have a few valuable and universal themes interlaced into their content:  Context, do no harm, and respect.

Theme 1: Context

Where does the artifact come from? Knowing this may also help to determine its care.  For example, artifacts made of feathers can be affected by dust, debris, and pests. A feather’s original context was that it was attached to a bird that flew through the wind in the sun. One technique for cleaning feathers in artifacts is to let a gentle wind blow through it outside in the sun (not too long to avoid color bleaching). This is a gentle way to remove dust and discourage pests. Many sessions suggested ways to return context to pieces without negatively affecting their condition. This can often be accomplished with technology. For example, I gave a presentation at ATALM in 2016 that taught participants how to build special effects using augmented reality technology to add context to artifacts, create meaningful tours, and add digital information to marketing materials, documents, and books. My 2017 talk was on fake news and determining good resources by understanding that the context can influence the way a news story is presented. For example, news organizations that have supporting interests in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) being built would refer to those trying to stop the construction as “rioters”. Those news organizations that were neutral, or did not support the construction referred to the dissenters as “protestors” or “water protectors”. Knowing who owns what news organization, and what they are invested in is important to understand, because it can bias their reporting. Leading patrons to unbiased resources is a cornerstone in the LAM fields.

Theme 2: Do No Harm

Ms. Stoker at ATALM ’17

Some workshops had experts preserving baskets and pottery, their aim was not always to reconstruct but to simply preserve the original artifact and to protect it from further damage or deterioration. In many cases pottery and other artifacts are not reassembled but when they are, special archival glue is used. The glue can be dissolved with acetone in the future if needed so the original artifact or document is not compromised. A major tenant of archival treatment in the current literature, is that every action taken towards an artifact should be reversible. In the past, repairs have sometimes ruined artifacts or destroyed contextual evidence. Aggressive repairs now could lead to harsh criticisms from future conservators who will judge what we do now against whatever technology and expertise they will acquire through innovation.

Theme 3: Respect

Protocols for indigenous resources were developed to help augment laws that have been passed pertaining to the rights of indigenous people to their own knowledge. Many of the laws, acts, and treaties passed in the U.S. are difficult to enforce or inadequate in the protection of cultural resources. Professional organizations like the American Library Association (ALA) and the Society of American Archivist (SAA) work to create policies that will demonstrate a commitment to indigenous cultural knowledge and protocols, while also staying within the boundaries of U.S. law, which emphasizes equal access and intellectual freedom.

Some of the issues protocols attempt to address include:[i]

  • Intellectual property – who owns the knowledge? Who can benefit or profit from the knowledge?
  • The rights to access certain resources as some items may be sacred or have cultural restrictions placed upon them such as gender, age, or rank/status within that culture, or membership in the culture
  • How offensive material is handled and shared
  • How something is catalogued or described
  • Education and training requirements needed before access is granted
  • Copying and displaying resources
  • Repatriation and how items or knowledge was acquired
  • Some resources may require approval to be shared
  • The handling and preservation of material
  • Research methods considerations
  • Hiring that prioritizes a representative workforce in cultural institutions
  • Awareness of indigenous peoples, history, and issues
  • Consultation of the community when questions arise or policies are being developed or altered.[ii]
Mr. Echo-Hawk

The Master of Ceremonies, Walter Echo-Hawk, has been the Board Chair of ATALM since 2010. He has the impressive distinction of being the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Kickapoo Tribe; of Counsel, Crowe & Dunlevy, Oklahoma’s oldest and largest law firm; and Adjunct Professor at Tulsa University School of Law (2010). He was a staff attorney, from 1973–2008, for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), where he represented Native Hawaiians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives on legal issues federal Indian law. As a lawyer, tribal judge, scholar, author, and activist, his cases have involved Native American religious freedom, prisoner rights, water rights, treaty rights, and reburial\repatriation rights. He is admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, Colorado Supreme Court, Oklahoma Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Eighth, Ninth, District of Columbia, and Tenth Circuits, and a host of federal District Courts. He is the Founding Chairman of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Board of Directors. At the conference he gave the seminar “Taking Stock, and Marching to Justice” where he discussed the developments over the past ten years since the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted. He explained the present-day usage of the Declaration and its continued implementation.[iii] Mr. Echo-Hawk is a member of the Pawnee Nation. He received a political science degree from Oklahoma State University (1970) and his law degree from the University of New Mexico (1973). He is the author of In the Courts of the Conqueror: The Ten Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided ​(2010) and, more recently, In the Light of Justice (2013).​ He is now the 2018 UH Mānoa Dan and Maggie Inouye Chair in Democratic Ideals with the William S. Richardson School of Law.

The goal of ATALM is to serve the needs of those who work to protect and advance cultural sovereignty and I can think of no better example of someone who does this than Mr. Echo-Hawk. I was privileged to participate in three of the wonderful conferences he has chaired, and I am thrilled that he is here in Hawaiʻi to once again share his manaʻo with us.

Walter Echo-Hawk, Retired Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a contingent of Hawaii Librarians & Ms. Stoker -ATALM ’16



[i] First Archivist Circle. “Protocols for Native American Archival Materials.” 2007. (29 June, 2014). Available at: (15 Dec., 2017).

[ii] Frank Boles, David George-Shongo, and Christine Weideman,. “Report: Task Force To Review Protocols for Native American Archival Materials.” Society of American Archivists Council Meeting, February 7-10 2008. Available at: (15 Dec., 2017). 1-140.

[iii]  ATALM 2017 Program Book, (15 Dec., 2017).

The UH School of Law Library’s First Scavenger Hunt

By Taylor Brack, Juris Doctor Candidate 2019

In honor of the 50th issue of Uncle Bill’s Bathroom Reader, the Law Library hosted a scavenger hunt from Nov. 27 – Dec. 1, 2017. The hunt was designed to test student’s researching skills and knowledge of the library. The hunt also prompted students to familiarize themselves with some of the best resources our library has to offer.

After riffling through Richardson professors’ written work, examining library artwork, and searching high and low for that one restatement, three winners prevailed. The first three to complete the hunt were: Eric Robinson (1L), Megan McDonald (3L), and Anita Hulburt (3L)- each receiving a $75, $50, or $25 gift certificate respectively as well as a box of Godiva truffles.

Happy Scavenger Hunt Winners

In addition, each person who completed the hunt was awarded 350 LexisNexis points. Congratulations to all students who participated in the hunt and Mahalo to our loyal bathroom readers.

At the conclusion of this event, free cupcakes were given out.