For attorneys who practice in federal court, there’s nothing worse that having to check out case dockets using PACER. If you don’t know what PACER is, then be grateful. The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) site is the
government’s way of charging ten cents to gain access to case documents Federal Court system’s case management and electronic records system.
The PACER system isn’t all bad, it’s just way too frustrating to use on a mobile device.
Unfortunately, there aren’t too many options available if you need to view PACER documents. Additionally, if you’re trying to download documents, like pleadings, I’ve noticed “corruption” issues when trying to view them on my Android device.
A short time ago, I received an email promoting the Federal Courts ($2.99) app. I was slightly enthusiastic about getting the application, though I waited a short while to fully test the app. The developer, KosInteractive LLC, has several apps in Google Play all pushing the concept of mobile access to PACER and local federal courts.
I just want to view my pleadings
Ultimately, if all of the other apps are as poor as this one, you’re wasting your money. Sadly, the biggest benefit of the Federal Courts app is the fact it acts as a mobile shell to more easily view the PACER site on a mobile device. Except that PACER already has a mobile site that looks really good on Android devices.
And the one place I was hoping the Federal Courts app could fix — the corrupted document issue — I couldn’t ever get to work. The app just “loaded” indefinitely and restricted any other functions inside PACER.
Some other functions
If you’re interested, the Federal Courts app allows you to view the rules of civil procedure and local rules for all of the federal courts.
The design isn’t perfect (far from perfect, actually), but at least you can grab the document.
The $2.99 is a pretty expensive price to pay for a free document available on the District Court’s site. Of course, I like the almost instantaneous availability when you need the document.
Ultimately, this app needs a lot more work before it’s ready to go into you law office arsenal. At this point, the app’s only getting 1.5 of 5 stars.