If you’re looking for a legal application to run reference materials and other information on your Android device, look no further than DroidLaw (free), developed by BigTwit Software LLC (visit their site).
I first started using the DroidLaw app off and on since I first discovered it over 8 months ago. I haven’t really used the program on my smartphone because I couldn’t justify trying to search and review statutes and case law on a 3 inch screen. My thought was always, “if I’m going to research, I’ll research from my computer.” However, that problem is dead with DroidLaw’s current version, 2.1.0, which is optimized for use on tablets. A huge bonus! On the gTablet, this program rocks!
The “stock” application comes preinstalled with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Appellate Procedure, Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Bankruptcy Procedure, and the Constitution. Other state-specific and more robust addons are available for purchase in the Android Market.
The application has a clean interface, which I prefer.
The Shortcuts menu makes it easy to find your add-on and move forward with your search. You can long-press on the screen to add more databases.
Clicking the Add-on takes you to the main page. Each main page has a “Filter” function that I found basically useless. I couldn’t figure out why you’d use it, and would prefer that the developer make this a search function instead (that’s what I assumed it was until I found search buried in the menu).
Here, one more click gets you to the applicable rules or statutes. One flaw (only slightly annoying) was the fact that I had to 2nd click through to get to the list of rules or statutes. I would have preferred 1-click pass-through once I selected my database.
Inside the database, it’s only a matter of clicking, searching, and swiping to find relevant statutes, rules, or cases.
One of the features which looks promising, although somewhat complicated to grasp, is the Workspace feature. In the Workspace, you can store files for offline use, or bookmarking.
The app’s search features are great, presenting at least a quick list of possible results.
Overall, this is a very useful application for attorneys looking for a limited, quick search reference guide to particular statutes or US Supreme Court cases. One criticism I found from another reviewer was the fact that it lacked robust legal research capability. I would agree, and would run fast from any lawyer who believes they could use this application as their legal research replacement. I believe, and would only use this application as a reference guide to supplement my more thorough research conducted in my office. This app will replace my reference guides published by a large company with a compass direction in its name.
Finally, this app is perfect for tablet users. I LOVED using it. For smartphone users, the small screen size may annoy you. However, having something at times is better than nothing.
One major drawback is the cost of Addons. Some, such as the United States Code and particular state statutes cost $9.99. For me, this wouldn’t be a huge turnoff (it’s cheaper than the publishing company’s copy), but some may complain. Add-ons for all 50 states and the Code of Federal Regulations (very cool), are available in the Android market.
Is this a “must have” application for attorneys, perhaps. Is this reference version worth the price, certainly.
I’ll give this application an 8 out of 10.