The Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg features articles, reviews and news of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals. This blog is published by Ted Brooks, a Trial Presentation and Legal Technology Consultant, Author and Speaker. Ted's trial experience includes the Los Angeles Dodgers divorce trial, People v. Robert Blake murder trial, and a hundreds of high profile, high value and complex civil matters.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mobile Apps for Law – A New Searchable Database for Legal Professionals

First, I’ll share the press release:

“Mobile Apps for Law ( is a just-released comprehensive database on the web covering all legal research and utility apps for all types of mobile devices. Whether you use an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, BlackBerry, Android, Palm PC, or...this is the place to find out which law apps are available for your device.

“The database includes over 800 different mobile applications for law and lawyers, and is growing weekly. Each entry provides detailed information, including: title, publisher, description, subjects, price, devices, version, size, last update date, links to reviews, where available, and most importantly, a link to click on to download the app immediately to your device.  Powered by dtSearch, the search function allows you to search through the entire database, or to limit by specific fields, such as title, subject, or device.

“Brought to you by InfoSources Publishing, pioneers in the field of reference publishing for law since 1981, Mobile Apps for Law is the only database devoted to mobile apps for lawyers. For a limited time, subscriptions are being offered at a 50% discount.”

At first, I wondered, since this a paid subscription service, if I would be getting downloads of the software included as part of the fee – now that would be nice. Well, if that sounds too good to be true…
So, at the “Special Introductory Price” of $25 for the subscription (50% off), what does it include, and do I need this?
The full-featured search functionality is similar to what you’d find in litigation support software – in fact, dtSearch has been used for years by law firms and vendors. While the search engine is much better than you might expect, it appears the searchable data may have a few holes.

I ran several searches to see what would turn up, and what would not. Here are the results of a few search terms:

Trial Presentation - No hits for “trial presentation,” even though Evidence included both terms in its description, and TrialPad included the terms “trial” and “present.” It makes me wonder how the search is configured. I can’t see how it could miss this with a simple Boolean search.

Present - Brought 2 app hits: Evidence and TrialPad. The TrialPad app result listing shows version 1.02 (rel. 1/6/2011), although the current version is 1.5 (rel. 1/26/2011) Not sure how frequently this database is updated, but this is already at least a day behind.
Jury - Brings 4 hits, including TrialPad, which only mentions the term in the description. The search did not locate another new jury selection app, Jury Duty, released 1/18/2011 – nine days prior to writing this article. With the crazy-fast pace of iPad app development, it would be nice if there were truly some way to have an up-to-the-minute resource. The search doesn’t appear to be operating in a consistent fashion, unless perhaps it is searching another set of linked data.

California Rules - did not turn up any apps published later than 7/27/2010, thus not including AB 2284, the new Expedited Civil Jury Trial Act – a very important recent California law. Looking at the actual app site for one of them revealed that it had indeed been updated as of 1/13/2011.

With a 32 bit browser, clicking the link to download goes to the iTunes web page and then launches iTunes on your computer with the app all linked and ready for downloading. A 64 bit browser does not launch iTunes properly.

Links to reviews are included in the search results. Although several of my reviews have been published on this blog, Law Technology News, and even at least one on an app site, they were not included in the listings (now that hurts). TrialPad had no reviews listed. Clicking a link to a review leaves the current page. It would be better if the site launched a new page, leaving the search results in place. There appear to be a few minor html coding issues with the site. Once again, I am curious as to where the information is coming from, as the currency and search results appear to be somewhat inconsistent.

Next, I decided to try searching for an app that is not legal-specific, but yet is very popular in the legal community.

Documents – This term brought a number of apps, including “Documents To Go.” When I isolated it to the BlackBerry version of the app, there no apps listed, even though the DataViz site shows several.


So, would I recommend shelling out $25 to be able to locate some, but not necessarily all available apps? This site is brand new, and I would expect it to be refined and tuned up in the coming months. If you are looking for one place to get a lot of info with direct, easy links, this is a good resource. However, after seeing the actual results, I would also want to search iTunes and the web for any others I might have missed. It looks promising, but I’m not sure I’m ready to pay for searching for openly-accessible apps or information just yet, unless I’m getting something else with it, and/or I know that it will bring every possible result.
Ted Brooks, President
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