Tag Archives: legal apps

Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — November 10, 2014

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ABA’s Grit Project Aims to Help Women Advance in the Profession

Alarmed by persistent evidence that women still are failing to enter the leadership ranks of the nation’s largest law firms in adequate numbers, the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession has launched a project to teach female lawyers about some things they surely never studied in law school—grit and a positive mindset. Some researchers say those two traits applied simultaneously can play a crucial role in helping women advance in the profession.

How to Network without Feeling Slimy [podcast]

Lawyers are often told how important professional networking is. But many find it so uncomfortable they feel physically dirty. Why is professional networking so distressing to so many? And how can you overcome it and be successful?

The Privacy Lowdown on Verizon and AT&T’s Smartphone ‘Permacookies’

This week, researchers discovered that smartphone carriers have started inserting a unique code into their customers’ network activity so that their customers can be tracked as they browse the Web and use smartphone apps

The Bridge Builders: Connecting Solos to Clients

We are going to talk about the new bridge-builders, the companies that are acting like Japanese fishing trawlers with their marketing prowess (and investment dollars) sweeping the many oceans for consumers with legal needs. These companies realize that in order to ensure their own survival and deliver on their promises to legal consumers (and their financial benefactors), lawyers have to not only survive, but actually thrive using their platforms.

Long Shot: Charlotte Photographers Capture Tryon Street

When the subject of your picture is 246 years old, it’s worth making a bit of a fuss.  Saturday evening, about 130 photographers did just that. They spread out along historic Tryon Street – laid down in the colonial era as Charlotte’s main drag – and at precisely 6:15 p.m. they took a portrait of the venerable avenue, one that when developed and stitched together will stretch for 100 feet and stand a mere 4 1/2 inches tall.  In all, they captured a mile of uptown within the Interstate 277 loop.

Signing and Singing: Sign-Language Karaoke

For the deaf and hard of hearing in North Carolina, sign-language karaoke is a way to stay connected to music.

Mac’s Speed Shop

A cross section of the Queen City gets its fix here at Mac’s Speed Shop. And if a motorcycle could run on barbecue, it’d fill up here, too.

Four Law Libraries that Fit in Your Pocket

On-the-go legal research is an important aspect of any law professional’s career. A firm might subscribe to any number of research services, each with different features. The following comparison of popular services’ mobile apps shows how to make the most of each one, whether you’re using a smartphone, a tablet, or even a PC or Mac.

America’s Star Libraries, 2014: Top-Rated Libraries

We are very pleased to announce the results of the seventh edition of the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service, sponsored by Baker & Taylor’s Bibliostat. The LJ Index is a measurement tool that compares U.S. public libraries with their spending peers based on four types of output measures of their per capita use.

The Science of Smiling

What can you accurately and reliable interpret from another’s smile?

To Feel Meaningful Is to Feel Immortal

Our existential lives have always fascinated philosophers and theologians. But now scientists are jumping into the fray, using empirical methods to ask questions that were once considered off limits to them. Specifically, empirical psychologists are exploring questions such as: Why do people seek meaning? What is it that makes life meaningful? And what are the mental and physical health consequences of finding (or not finding) meaning?

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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…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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Filed under Advanced Legal Research, electronic resources, Library, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Postings

Survey of CSL Student Opinion on Initial iPad Setup

In early 2010 Apple Inc announced the iPad and the tablet computer has caused quite a stir in both the education and legal fields. iPad applications allow users to interact with information in new ways and the portability of the device allows people to keep information, literally, at their fingertips.  Some modern courts have discussed going paperless and because of the the versatility of the iPad, it has the potential to replace the legal pad in the courtroom. Due to these developments institutions of legal education have begun adopting tablet technology into their educational models.

In the summer of 2011 the Dean of the Charlotte School of Law Library, Roberta (Bobbie) Studwell, mandated that the Law Library purchase and begin circulating iPads by the end of fall 2012 semester. Dean Studwell had informed the library staff she would be taking a position at a law library in Florida and that the library staff would be responsible for establishing the policies and procedures associated with the new library iPad program. To prepare the library staff for this venture into new technology iPads were ordered for the library staff to use in their daily work.  Over the next couple of months the staff became familiar with the different applications and resources offered by this new technology.

An iPad task force was established to make decisions on tablet circulation policy, iPad security measures, and to make decisions on installed applications. The task force consisted of the library circulation manager, two reference librarians, and two members of the circulation staff (myself included in the last group.) Over the course of several semiweekly meetings, the task force discussed our opinions on the applications and circulation policy.  Each member of the task force did their own separate research on applications, looked into the way other schools (specifically law schools) circulated tablets and presented the information back to the group. We based many of our decisions on the policies used by our sister school, the Phoenix School of Law.  PSL’s iPad policies did not fit the scope the Charlotte iPad program so additional research was needed and other school policies were consulted.   In the end, policies were decided, iPad applications were earmarked and 20 iPads were purchased.

Over the course of the next year the implementation of the Charlotte School of Law Library iPad program was stagnated by a number of technological hurdles as well as some schedule conflicts. Until, October of 2012, I was asked to take on the responsibility of the initial iPad setup and making the final push in integrating the iPads into the library.

Concerns, Problems, Areas of Interest and Methodology

Even with over a year spent on preparation, a few questions needed to be addressed before the iPads could begin to circulate. After meeting with the library leadership team and explaining my idea it was decided that a short questionnaire would answer some needed questions and help to inform students about the upcoming iPad program. I wanted to keep the survey short and simple so I could hit a broader audience. Historically it has been hard to get busy law students to give more than a few seconds of their time, unless you bribe them with food which for the purpose of this survey I was not willing to provide.  I decided to conduct the survey at the circulation desk of the Charlotte School of Law Library.  It is one of the most visited desks in the building and it would insure we gain the opinions of the people that regularly used the library.  I setup three iPads with the decided upon applications and placed them at the circulation desk. I then asked the students to “play around” with the new technology and then take a short survey when they finished.

I created the CSL iPad survey by using the website www.surveymonkey.com. I chose to use this website because it is free to use, tracks the data, and allows the students to complete the survey on the actual iPad they were trying out. Using Safari, the default web browser on the iPad, I made a shortcut to the survey webpage that looks like an application icon and placed the short cut on the home screen of the device. This also made it much easier to have students participate in the survey when all they had to do was tap the icon labeled “iPad Survey.” Below is a screenshot of the survey taken from one of the demonstration iPads.

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These questions were chosen for a number of reasons. The first and most important reason was to allow students to begin thinking about how they would use this device.  Simply providing a piece of technology will not get people to use it. You have to let people make a personal connection to the technology. This is why it was essential to have the students explore the iPad and take the survey using the iPad.  By placing the device in their hands, the iPad stops being a concept and starts being a tool.  Secondly, most of the applications we installed on the iPads were law research related and I did not want this to stifle students’ ideas about the possible uses for these devices. It is my opinion that libraries provide resources and should not dictate how these resources are used. This is why I chose to ask several questions about the possible entertainment uses for these devices. Thirdly, I realize that even with all the research done by the library our student body may know of additional application that could be useful to our library patrons. Lastly, buying applications and study aids for 20 individual devices can be rather pricy and I wanted to use this survey to justify this expenditure. For this reason I wanted to get very specific information from individual students about what study aids they wanted to see on the circulating iPads.

Findings

Early in the CSL iPad project one of our reference librarians conducted a focus group on student opinion on the law library circulating iPads. The pool for the focus group consisted of students with experience using smartphones and tablets. The overall consensus of the study was negative toward the library integrating iPads.  I had hoped that opening the survey to a broader audience would lend more positive results. After two days of surveying the students coming to the circulation desk, 83% of the students said that they would checkout an iPad when they came available.

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The majority of students stated that they would most likely use the iPads to do legal research. Many of the students were also interested in web browsing and other entertainment applications.

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There was a stronger divide in student opinion over the installation of entertainment focused applications. Of the students that said they were interested in more entertainment applications, Facebook and Pandora were the most requested.

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As far as additional legal applications suggested by the student body there was no great consensus. Black’s Law Dictionary, a bar preparation application, and a language translator were all requested. Students appeared to be the most interested in question 6 regarding the purchase of study aids. Q&A appears to be the front runner of the suggested study aids to be purchase with Examples and Explanations, Glannon Guides, and Fins following close behind.  By using the data collected in this survey we will determine the applications to be used in the final product.

~Aaron Greene~

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OyezToday

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

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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.

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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.

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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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Filed under Advanced Legal Research, electronic resources, Library, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Postings

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Filed under Advanced Legal Research, electronic resources, Library, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Postings