The wellsettled.com search engine enables users to search four unique databases:
Leading legal search companies employ armies of attorneys to read judicial opinions and generate written summaries of them. At the same time however, judges (and their clerks) are also reading and summarizing prior decisions. Specifically, when citing to an earlier decision, judges will often include a parenthetical that concisely conveys the legal substance of the decision. Judge-generated case summaries are often of a better quality than those generated by the private sector. To date, the judge-generated case summaries tucked away in parentheticals have been grossly underutilized. The wellsettled.com engine seeks to change that by enabling users to run queries against, and only against, these summaries. The result is that attorneys can review case summaries that are at once concise, trustworthy, and free.
As with the case-summarizing parentheticals, these sentences were extracted verbatim from judicial opinions by leveraging certain conventions in judicial writing.
Unequivocal Articulations of Legal Principles
Occassionally a court will issue a written opinion containing an unequivocal articulation of a legal principle. If the common law were a biological genome, these articulations would be the "genes". Luckily, these common law genes are frequently introduced by specific phrases, the most prevelant of which are "It is well settled that...", "It is well established that...", and "It is axiomatic that...". Leveraging this convention, the wellsettled.com engine allows users to run queries against, and only against, concise articulations of law.
When the Supreme Court grants cert, it will ususally include a concise articulation of the question that will be before the Court. Over six hundred and fifty of these "Questions Presented", going back to 2007, have been loaded into the WS database.
Disclaimer The wellsettled.com engine provides information and software only. The site does not provide or participate in any legal representation. While the creator endeavors to have each collection at this site be accurate and complete, he does not warrant that the information is complete or accurate and disclaims all liability to any person for any loss caused by errors or omissions in this collection of information. wellsettled.com is designed to supplement, not replace, full-text legal search engines.
The wellsettled.com search engine is very much a work in progress. Phrases can be searched in quotations (e.g. "felony murder"). Rudimentary boolean searching is enabled using mySQL syntax. Full-text opinions are not available. Many full-text opinions are freely available from a number of sources including Casetext, CourtListener, and Google Scholar. Alternatively, users can download the Jureeka browser extension to generate links to full text opinions. Any and all feedback is welcome and appreciated, and can be directed to: parredon at stanford dot e d you.
The wellsettled.com engine was conceived and prototyped by Pablo Arredondo and is now being developed as a joint effort with Mark Bowman as a fellowship project at the Stanford Center For Legal Informatics.