TheLaw.com’s “Free Law Guide & Law Dictionary” App for iPhones and Android Phones
I initially considered writing this blog post on several iPad apps (Jury Duty, Jury Tracker & iJuror) that assist lawyers during voir dire in choosing and monitoring jurors but realized my efforts wouldn’t be particularly informative without (1) owning an iPad, (2) paying for these apps (ranging from $9.99 to $39.99 each), and (3) utilizing these apps during actual voir dires. Besides, Professor Thaddeus Hoffmeister has already done the topic justice (with many helpful links to articles reviewing these apps and links for purchasing the apps themselves), and so I simply link you to his blog: http://juries.typepad.com/juries/2011/01/review-of-new-ipad-application-jury-duty.html
Next, I ran a Google search for “free law apps,” which turned up several websites describing Fastcase’s free legal research app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, none of which I own. I then turned to a free law guide and law dictionary app offered by TheLaw.com (http://www.thelaw.com/the-law-guide-free-iphone-app-android-app/), which is available to download for both iPhones and Android phones. Finally – success (I own a Motorola Droid phone).
I eagerly looked for a link on TheLaw.com’s website to download the app for my Android phone, but alas, surprisingly could not find one. (A link to download the app on the iPhone, on the other hand, was easily found – http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=382017848&mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D6). Then, I realized that it may make more sense to search for “law guide dictionary” via my phone’s “Market” icon, which did indeed locate the app. Unfortunately, only version 1.0 was available for download on my Android phone (whereas version 2.0 is already available for the iPhone). Version 1.0 appears to have been quite problematic for some users. For example, users on AppBrain.com (http://www.appbrain.com/app/the-law-guide-dictionary/com.quoord.lawGuide) made such comments as “Search function does not work properly. That is definitely a key element of such a large list. Uninstalled.. DroidX” and “Was missing some basic legal terms. I am in lawschool and wanted legal terminology access from my phone.” While I have not encountered any problems with the search function so far, I do agree that the app is missing some desirable legal definitions. Although my searches for grand jury, ad hoc, ex parte, lessor, and lessee all generated good definitions, my search for a fortiori and arguendo did not return any results. Of course, the addition of new definitions will take time, and the website states that over 2000 new definitions have been added in version 2.0. Also note that you can access the U.S. Constitution and its amendments in the dictionary.
In addition, the app also has a “Resources” tab which apparently links you to TheLaw.com’s website for information on various practice areas, such as “Bankruptcy & Debt” and “Malpractice Law.” For additional features of this app and what to expect in version 2.0, please visit http://www.thelaw.com/the-law-guide-free-iphone-app-android-app/
Overall, I am impressed and appreciative of a free law dictionary and law guide available on my cell phone. It may definitely come in handy the next time I am away from a computer but need to look up something quickly.