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BEV BUTULA: Ravel – A new view on legal research

There are several options when conducting legal research.

Most of us rely on Fastcase, Google Scholar, Westlaw or Lexis. A new website recently launched in beta that puts a new perspective on conducting legal research.

It’s called Ravel.

Results are presented within a graphical and interactive interface which allows users to review a large amount of information.

It appears that only U.S. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals decisions are available on the site. Researchers can enter a case name, case number, or conduct a keyword search. If you are searching by citation, it is important to put it in quotes (e.g. “125 F.3d 1”) in order to obtain a proper result list.

One clear use for the website is to quickly locate citing references. Using the citation above as a test (State Police Ass’n of Mass. v. C.I.R., 125 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 1997)), I was able to easily obtain a copy of the decision and a listing of other cases that cite to the case. Ravel did not, however, alert me if the case was or was not still “good law.”

For additional information, I recommend reading the recent Nota Bene Blog post and Court Technology Bulletin’s Q&A with Daniel Lewis, a co-founder of Ravel.

Thanks to Megan at Marquette University Law Library for the tip.

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