The first step I took, in test-driving the LexisNexis “Get Cases” Application, was to input my username and password. After successfully logging on, I input a citation (“18 USC 924”) and clicked “Get a Document” – seeing as how this and Shepardizing were my only two search options. This search yielded three results, all of which gave direct links to the statute itself.
Using the same citation, I then clicked “Shepardize.” I was provided with a warning that the citation I provided has received negative treatment and that my search yielded over 20,000 results. Naturally, I was told to restrict my search. Although Shepard’s is used as both a finding tool and validation tool, when trying to restrict my search after clicking “Shepardize,” I had a lot of difficulty getting anything back in terms of results. Ultimately, what I discovered was that this application works best with explicit citations – not necessarily keywords, case names or Boolean searches.
To test this, I input a random case citation (131 F.2d 313) and, from the home-screen, clicked on both “Get a Document” and “Shepardize.” This time, I received results for both searches.
I found this app’s functionality and usability as a legal research tool to be rather adequate. Although it has restrictions when it comes to generalized legal research, this app could prove to be essential to any attorney who needs to look up specific information regarding a case and/or statute. Because this application works best with specific citations, an attorney or other legal professional who needs to quickly reference a specific issue in a case or statute can access that law by using this app. You are able to instantly review case law – including the rules, the Court’s reasoning, and the legal issues at hand. In addition, to help evaluate the results you receive, you are then able to use LexisNexis’s Shepard’s system to get information regarding the treatment of a specific case, statute, etc.
In comparing legal research on phones/tablets to “traditional” technologies (i.e. laptops and desktops), I think that we are very lucky to have such amazing portable research tools available to us as legal professionals. Although this particular application does not provide every tool that would be available to any Lexis subscriber using their laptop, it is only one of many apps out there. LexisNexis, alone, has several applications (the majority of which are free to download): Lexis Advance, eBooks from LexisNexis, CourtLink, lexis.com Mobile, LexisNexis Get Cases, LexisNexis Welcome Center, etc.
To summarize, LexisNexis’s Get Cases Application is a great and essential tool for any legal professional to learn how to use. Not only does it provide someone with a mobile legal research tool, but users are able to access an incredible amount of information that could aid any attorney in an “on the spot” or ambiguous legal question.
~Madeline Gould, Class of 2013~