The Caselaw API Identified As Part Of My University API Research

Another API I came across while studying the API conversation at US universities was the Caselaw API over at Harvard. It was another fairly simple API that could use a Postman collection. The Caselaw Access Project API, also known as CAPAPI, serves all official US court cases published in books from 1658 to 2018. The collection includes over six million cases scanned from the Harvard Law Library shelves. Providing for a pretty rich target for adding to my API search index, a process that requires me creating a Postman collection, which provides me with an executable API definition for each API I’m tracking on.

Unlike many other APIs that I profile the Caselaw API is actually pretty well documented, but even the best documented API will benefit from their being a complete Postman collection present for developers to get up and running with a single click. The Caselaw API provides access to X number of individual resources, including it’s base search:

  1. Base - This is the base endpoint of CAPAPI. It just lists all of the available endpoints.
  2. Cases - Use this endpoint to retrieve a single case.
  3. Citations - This will return a list of reporter series.
  4. Jurisdictions - This will return a list of jurisdictions.
  5. Courts - This will return a list of courts.
  6. Volumes - This will return a complete list of volumes.
  7. Reporters - Get all reporters in a jurisdiction.
  8. Bulk - Bulk Download all cases from whitelisted jurisdictions
  9. Ngrams - For any given term, this endpoint returns a year-by-year list of: the number of cases in which that term appears, and the total number of cases, and the number of times that term appears in all cases, and the total number of terms

The Caselaw API provides another valuable legal API for my index, adding to the Free Law Project — I am going to make a dedicated Postman workspace for legal APIs, creating a single location where I can invite users to access and put the APIs to work without having to wade through the documentation, and can comment and engage in discussion with me via the workspace. I’m going to be adding workspaces for all the major industries and topics I track on, helping me better organize my APIs publicly, but also privately where I can invite trusted users, and save them a significant amount of time when it comes to on boarding with these Apis.

This API is open and available to use without a key, but has limited access, and you will be able to make more API calls if you sign up for a key. Like all the other APIs I am profiling I have published a Postman Collection, as well public API documentation, which will also be available as a template as soon as it is approved. Making the API available to anyone who wants to run the collection in their postman environment, and save the executable API definition to their own workspace. If you’d like to be invited to the workspace I have setup for my legal APIs feel free to email me at [email protected] and I’ll consider adding you to the workspace which has Caselaw, Free Law Project, and other legal related APIs published, providing quick and easy access to a suite of legal and court related API resources.