Tag Archives: legal apps for iPads

HeinOnline for the iPhone

HeinOnline is a free premier online research source and is now available for your iPhone and iPad.  The HeinOnline app allows the user to “view the image-based PDFs, access content by citation, browse by volume, navigate a volume with the electronic table of contents, and use full advanced searching techniques.”


To get started, the user will need a username and password or the user can simply visit a law school campus and touch the “IP Authentication” button, which grants access to the user for 30 days from any location.  After 30 days, the user will need to visit the law school to re-authenticate the IP address to continue access.


This is the home screen that offers the user many different legal journals to choose from, depending on the topic of the research.  In this instance, I am looking for information on secondary copyright infringement.  So, I chose the broad option of Law Journal Library.


In the search box, I typed the search terms “secondary copyright infringement” and was presented with a list of law reviews that offered information on intellectual property and copyright infringement.


I chose “Copyright, Patent & Trademark Law” from the Washington and Lee Law Review.  This screen gives you the option of downloading the information in PDF format…


…or browsing the Table of Contents to pinpoint exactly what it is you are looking for.

I think the app has a lot of information that could potentially help the researcher immensely.  The problem with using an iPhone to search this site is that most of the journal names or titles of law reviews are cut off by the size of the small screen.  This is an irritating feature that is not remedied when you click on the title, as it is still cut off by ellipses on the following screen.

The HeinOnline app may work better on the iPad since it has a bigger screen to fully display journal and law review title names.  I think if you are in a rush and need to use a legal app to quickly find helpful information, I would use a different app.  This one takes too long to navigate and the small screen is an obstacle that is tough to ignore.  I would personally stick with HeinOnline on a computer and find another iPhone app to use for legal research at my fingertips.

~Catherine Chesnut, Class of 2013~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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OYEZTODAY at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law offers you the latest information and media on the current business of the Supreme Court of the United States. OYEZTODAY provides: easy-to-grasp abstracts for every case granted review, timely and searchable audio of oral arguments + transcripts, and up-to-date summaries of the Court’s most recent decisions including the Court’s full opinions. You will have access to all this information on your iPhone with the ability to share reactions on Facebook, Twitter, or by email. (Recordings of opinion announcements from the bench will follow when the Court releases these files to the National Archives at the start of the Court’s next Term).  ~www.oyez.org


Available for all iOS and Android Platforms

There are many features that I liked about the Oyez app, the first being that the app is free to download.   Additionally, the case detail does a nice job of synthesizing the issues and lets you know how the Justices voted.  The feature I enjoyed the most is the media component, which provides an audio version of each argument presented before the Court.


In addition to the list of cases provided through the application, there is a tab that provides background information about each Justice.  I personally liked this section because, in many instances, understanding a Justice’s background and philosophies provides you an insight which will allow you to effectively predict how certain justices will rule on specific issues.


While there are many features that I really enjoyed about this app, there are some features that I did not like.  The biggest drawback is that the app only goes back to the 2010 term.  Another key component missing from the app is a search function.  A researcher accessing the Oyez site on a laptop can search for specific cases by typing in the case title or case citation.  But with the Oyez app, you have to scroll through each page for a particular case, which can be extremely time consuming and not the most effective search method.

Overall, this app is beneficial in some instances and worth it for every law student to give it a try.  Did I mention it is FREE?!?

~Porcsha Daniels, Class of 2014~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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LexisNexis “Get Cases” Application

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~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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App – Congress Plus – Powered by THOMAS

This app costs $4.99 and is completely worth it.  Being a broke law student, I might have even paid $10.00 because the searching possibilities of this app are just about limitless.  When you first open the app, you are greeted with a list of all members of congress. This list includes their pictures and state, district and party affiliations. You can search for a member of Congress by name or by state by selecting the option in the top right corner.


I first explored the app to determine just what it had to offer. Honestly, I was shocked at the options and the quick links to important sites. It is almost as if the makers of the app knew just how we law students like things to be quick and easy.  Along the bottom of the opening screen, as shown above, you have options to view Senate members, House members, Legislation, etc..  The app begins to get interesting after you press on the “more” button, found at the far right bottom of the screen.  Although a law student’s primary need will be the legislation option, sometimes you need to play.  If you choose to do so, you will be able to access news, DC job openings, Factcheck.org, News articles from Politico with a search option, open seats in congress, the political composition of each house, and even, donors.


After playing around for about thirty minutes, I decided to conduct a search.  The research topic I conjured up was a topic involving eminent domain.  I was curious as to whether there were any federal repercussions for states that use the power of eminent domain to confiscate land from a private owner to make a public park, and then later decide to close the park and sell that land to an apartment developer.  I tapped the “Legislation” option on the bottom tool bar and was presented with the option to search for legislation by name or phrase, or by entering the bill number. I entered “eminent domain” “public parks” into the search bar.  The results were many bill listings separated into three different categories: (1) “Listing of 4 bills containing all your search words near each other in any order,” (2) “Listing of 76 bills containing all your search words but not near each other,” and (3) “List containing 995 bills containing one or more of your search words.” When I selected the first bill in the search list, a table of contents page appeared with links to each subject.


Also, the app gives you the option to look at a bill summary, explore the sponsors of the bill and information about each member, etc..  I selected the bill summary just to see if I was on the right track, and the CRS Summary paraphrased every relevant section of the bill for a rapid assessment of the bill’s usefulness.  To top it all off, if you press on “Home,” at the top left of the screen, you are taken directly to the THOMAS site.


So, if you feel your search options are limited with the Congress Plus app, you are given the full spectrum of search power through THOMAS.

I truly enjoyed using this app because it ran very smoothly, with no hiccups, and there are no obvious organizational changes to make.  It is worth every penny, especially if you are involved in politics.

~Laura Dean, Class of 2013~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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The OpenRegs App is a limited search tool for federal regulations.  For example, the Internal Revenue Code has its own separate Revenue Regulations that are posted to help a student, attorney or researcher get clarity on a certain topic or code section from the Internal Revenue Code. But, unfortunately, OpenRegs does not let you use the numbers of the regulations to search through all of the ones posted.

The content of the application covers the most recent regulations that each agency has posted, as well as many pending regulations that are still up for commentary. Because there is no ‘general search’ option to this application, you are only permitted to search regulations by agency name or the name of the regulation.  It would be helpful to the researcher to also know the date the regulation was either discussed or finalized, as both of these dates are found within the app.

As a student currently taking Federal Income Tax, I know that the names of particular regulations are less important to the study and practice of tax law than the numbers of the regulations themselves.  For example, we know the general topic or subject matter within the Internal Revenue Code that the regulations fall under, but we learn them by number, not by name.  Additionally, the Court references the regulations by number, not by name. Therefore, this application helps a student or researcher looking for more information on a regulation only if they have the name of that regulation.

Because an attorney practicing in the field will have knowledge about proposed regulations that are being discussed and finalized, this application might be useful to them, not to mention for the reason that the regulations are current.  The application, however, tries to be more student-friendly, as well.  For instance, once you get to a particular agency, the app links you to a Wikipedia article about that agency. As a law student, I would never use Wikipedia as a reliable source, and I find it hard to believe any attorney would rely on Wikipedia either.

The major problem with this app is that the researcher cannot conduct a general search of regulatory information.  There is no searchable database for all regulations that have been passed by certain agencies, only for those regulations that are current.           OpenRegs is unlikely to become a necessary app for an attorney’s “tool box” of legal resources. I would not recommend this app for attorneys, or to students attempting to use it for class research. There are better resources available that provide the proposed regulations and, unlike OpenRegs, permit a search of all regulations finalized under an agency.  In these cases, the attorney will have the opportunity to search the regulations by its number, and not just by name or finalization date, as with OpenRegs.

~ Karen Walker, Class of 2014 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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