As more law students and lawyers make the transition to iPhones or iPod Touches (and as many of us will soon venture forth with the unfortunately named iPad), I thought I would wander around the App Store to see what, if any, applications exist that law students might find helpful. Here are some of the ones I’ve found. If you have found others that you like, please comment to this post with your review. Happy app’ing!
Legal Reference & Research
There are a few legal dictionary apps available, but I will only mention 2. The first is Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed) coming in at $49.99. This is quite a hefty app, both in price and content. It’s also one edition behind its print format. A product description from West may be found here.
If you want a less expensive option with a price tag of “free,” NOLO has a legal dictionary app. Known for its publications aimed at the layman audience, this dictionary continues that tradition. Its coverage is nice for a free legal dictionary. For more information, check out this review from iPhoneJD.
What about rule books? Ever wish there was an app that contained just the text of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or just the US Code? Well, as you can guess, there are apps for that.
Law Stack combines the current text of the US Constitution, the federal rules of Civil Procedure, Appellate Procedure, Evidence, Bankruptcy Procedure, and Criminal Procedure. Price: free. All rules are current through December 2009.
There is also a free app for the current text of the US Code. More information can be found here.
There are also legal research apps available from LexisNexis and Fastcase. The LexisNexis app allows users who already have a LexisNexis account to retrieve a case by citation and Shepardize it. For lawyers, it also provides a place to enter a client code. The bad news is that there are not hyperlinks available to cases cited in the retrieved case and its Shepard’s functionality is not as robust as the web-based Shepard’s. A review of this app may be found at LegalGeekery.
Fastcase also has an app that provides access to state and federal case law from all 50 states as well as a library of statutes for most states. You can search by citation, keyword (Boolean or natural language) or browse statutes. Free registration is required. The Fastcase website has more information.
Apps for state-specific legal resources are also available from many different app developers. The easiest way to locate these apps is to do a search in the App Store by state. Be prepared, though–you will likely wade through many useless apps before finding the legal ones. Some states will take their statutes and break them down into subject areas to create a smaller, less expensive application.
Study aid apps are also available on the iPhone. Two of the biggest are the Law in a Flash flash cards and the Sum & Substance audio series.
The Law in a Flash flash cards carry an average price of $31.99 (only Professional Responsibility comes in higher at $47.99). Functionality includes shuffle mode and the ability to make notes on the cards. The downside to purchasing study aids in this format, though, is resale. Once you’ve purchased these flash cards, they are yours. An upside to this is that when it comes time to study for the bar, buyers will have one additional study resource. iPhoneJD has a review.
For the aural learners, West has made its Sum & Substance audio resources available as an app. Consult the West website for topics available. Prices range from $49.99 to $59.99. Again, like the flash cards, once buyers purchase, there is no resale.