Case Viewer

Case Viewer is a macOS app built for fast, frictionless access to high-quality representations of judicial opinions.

With a few keystrokes, you can retrieve cases from a variety of publicly available sources—without stepping out of the flow of whatever else you're doing. And Case Viewer will pre-process the opinions to facilitate navigation, enhance formatting, and remove junk.

Requires macOS 13+

Release notes (version 0.9.3)

Case Viewer Screenshot

Features

Unified Search

From a Spotlight-style interface, Case Viewer will retrieve cases from the Library of Congress, Google Scholar, the Caselaw Access Project, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s website. Just press Control + Spacebar or click the menu bar icon.

Opinion Navigation

Case Viewer detects majority and separate opinions within a case and bookmarks them for easy navigation, within the app and in any PDF saved from the app.

Enhanced Formatting

Cases retrieved as web content are hyphenated for better justification, shorn of parallel reporter citations, formatted in a bundled or user-selected font, and otherwise spiffed-up. Footnotes are converted to clickable popovers.

Cropping and Scaling

Case Viewer automatically crops PDFs to remove random white space. And when a window is resized, content is logically reformatted to take advantage of the available space (e.g., a PDF will switch to two-page mode in a wide window, and non-PDF text will reflow and zoom logically without losing reading position).

Case Navigation

For web-based sources, hyperlinked case citations are processed for in-app navigation. Most pincites are recognized, too, so that you can jump to the cited portion of a linked case. Where possible, Case Viewer will also retrieve the original reporter PDF of the linked case and save your position in the original case if you navigate back.

Sharing and Export

In addition to standard output options, Case Viewer can export almost any case to .docx format—with meaningful Word styles applied, separate opinions identified, and footnotes intact. Exported or printed PDFs are reformatted with wider margins, physical page numbers and source attribution.

Copy with Citation

For web-based sources, you can select text within a case and copy it with a citation and pincite attached, formatted for use in different contexts (e.g., as a citation with a parenthetical quotation, or as an inline quotation with a following citation). Quotation marks are automatically reprocessed from double to single, and generated pincites account for footnotes.

Statutes

Although Case Viewer is focused on cases, it will also handle any U.S. Code citation, drawing from the database maintained by the U.S. House of Representatives' Office of the Law Revision Counsel. U.S. Code citations are automatically hyperlinked in cases as well, and U.S. Code provisions can be exported to Word, with formatting intact.

macOS Integration

Pull up a case in Case Viewer from within another app by highlighting relevant text and using the macOS “Services” menu (or a keyboard shortcut). And send cases directly from Case Viewer to system services, like Mail, Messages, or Notes.

Bear in Mind

The data presented and processed by Case Viewer comes from other sources that may contain errors. Errors are most common for text-based representations of state cases, because the Caselaw Access Project provides these with uncorrected OCR. Use your judgment and check reporter PDFs (which are generally available within the app) as needed.

About Case Viewer

In my day job as a law professor, I pull up lots of cases—sometimes to read them (nearly) in full, but often just to remind myself of some particular argument or give myself some context for whatever else I’m reading or writing. For the most part, I’ve found myself opening a web browser window, typing the case name or citation into a search engine, and scrolling through the text on whatever webpage comes up first—because that’s usually been the most convenient, least flow-disrupting way of accessing the case. But this is clunky, and cases accessed this way are practically never formatted the way I’d want them to be.

I built Case Viewer as a tool to solve those problems for myself (and to reconnect with a dormant hobby). The project began as a simple script to download PDFs from the Library of Congress, but it’s grown into a feature-rich, Swift-based app. I think the app could be of use to a wide range of people—students, colleagues, lawyers—so I’m making it available to anyone who wants it.

The download is described as a “beta” release because the app undoubtedly still has some kinks. I’d be delighted to hear about any bugs you discover, improvements you’d suggest, or other impressions you have. (At the same time, the app is provided on an “as-is” basis—and I have limited capacity to provide ongoing support, so please don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back.)

As of now, Case Viewer is only available for macOS. If you think support for other platforms would be valuable—and especially if you’d be interested in contributing to that project—please let me know.

Pay What You Want

At least for the time being, Case Viewer is available on a “pay what you want” (or “value for value”) basis. You can download and use the app for free. But if you are inclined to make a small contribution to support the project, thank you! You can contribute $5, $10, or $15 here:

My hope is that this model will make the app available to anyone who wants it, while also ensuring a modest revenue stream to make the project sustainable and support further development. If you are a current student of mine, please do not contribute.

I will use contributions first to cover development-related costs. I plan to contribute at least half of any remaining funds to highly effective charities. If you want to use the app without making a contribution, that’s fine too.

Finally, if you are interested in contributing to the project in other ways, please feel free to get in touch with me!

P.S. If I do charge a modest fee for the app in the future, I will make sure that user accounts are credited for any past voluntary contributions.