DroidLaw is a great app for a quick reference guide to legal information. It has recently upgraded to dLaw, but both versions are available in app stores. The app comes with the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Bankruptcy Procedure, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Evidence. In addition to these materials, you can “purchase” the U.S. Constitution, Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, and a Legal Dictionary for free. You can purchase add-ons such as NC General Statutes for $9.99, United States Code for $14.99, CA Penal Code for $1.99, and much more. Though the cost of add-ons may deter some users, it is much cheaper than buying books from Westlaw, Lexis, or some other commercial publisher and is convenient on-the-go. The app is also available on tablets, which are preferable to some users due to SmartPhones’ small screens.
If you open an add-on, you have the option of scrolling through the “table of contents” and narrowing down to your topic, or “filtering” results by keyword search. However, this option is limited to the section you have open. If you are searching for a particular topic, it must be the title of the section or you will not retrieve any results.
When you have a particular section open, you can slide the screen to the next section for easy browsing. You are provided with the option to bookmark, share, save offline, or change the font size. If you choose to bookmark a section, you can save it to a workbook that you create and add a note about the section. There does not appear to be a word limit or character count for the note you add. If you return to the workbook, where you saved the section, you can simply click to review, or hold down to select – this allows you to delete the section or edit your notes.
The app also has an RSS feed that allows you to access legal news and popular law blogs. There is not an option for searching but it can be useful if you want to read current legal news. There is a limited list of popular law blogs but you have the option of adding feeds to the list by naming the feed and including the URL.
Another free app that is comparable to dLaw is SmartLeges. This app is very similar but has the U.S. Code and some state material, specifically California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas for free. SmartLeges plans on adding more states, which would make this app preferable to dLaw because there is no cost. Both of these apps are limited but provide you with quick and convenient access to materials. For attorneys who are in the courtroom or on-the-go frequently, both can be useful when you need information the app provides. It would not serve as a replacement for other legal research resources but may be used as a supplement or for quick reference.
~ Teresa McCollum, Class of 2014 ~