A fresh release of the client (ver. 22.214.171.124) is now available for manual installation. This is a bugfix release, all users should install the new version.
The bugs addressed and the new behavior—plus a crowd-sourcing invitation for legal abbreviation data—are described below.
In the initial release, variant fields were omitted from searches. This release will search variants as well as main fields. The fix may slow search performance slightly on large databases, but the code can be optimized with a little effort. If you find searches to be uncomfortably slow, post to the lists and I will take a look when time permits.
Abbreviations: the Court field
Changes to abbreviation support for legal references are as described in a previous post. To recap, all legal-case references should include a Court entry, and the Court entry should be set to the appropriate form via the Abbreviation Filter, in the Institution Part listing. In most citations, the Jurisdiction value will not appear directly, but abbreviation of the Court name can the set to apply within a specific jurisdiction.
Typing in the Court field will open a dropdown list of courts known to exist within the selected jurisdiction. Selecting a court from the list will set the value in the field. However, a bug in the initial release of Juris-M 5.0 allowed only entries from the list—which is a problem if the court you need to cite is not in it.
With this release, arbitrary text can be entered in the Court field. Non-matching entries will be highlighted in yellow. (If a non-matching entry is eventually added to Juris-M’s internal lists, the yellow highlight will disappear.)
Abbreviations: crowdsourcing for law
The abbreviation conventions for citing legal resources are arcane and detailed. For US law, the are fully described in the Indigo Book, a publication of Public.Resource.org. The controlled lists for jurisdiction and court names make it possible to automate the application of correct abbreviations in legal citations.
Automation requires data, and the task matching abbreviations specified in the Indigo Book to their respective Juris-M codes is (straightforward but) time-consuming.
In the hope of soliciting a little help from our user community, I have opened a Google Sheet containing all of the US jurisdiction/court pairs currently known to Juris-M. I will post an editing link to the Juris-M support lists shortly. Users should feel free to share the link with anyone who might like to contribute.
Once the sheet is complete, I will grind the data into the machine-readable form expected by Juris-M, and add it to the standard abbreviation lists bundled with the Abbreviation Filter.