Android App Review: Federal Courts

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.

PACER home page

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.

PACER file issue

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.

PACER Mobile

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.

FedCt Spin

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.

FedCtsHome

Local Rules

The design isn’t perfect (far from perfect, actually), but at least you can grab the document.

Download 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.

Get this app on Google Play

Thumbnails

FedCtsHome Local Rules Download Document FedCt Spin OKWD Rules Rules of Procedure OKWD Rules Download

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.