Legal Research Blog


How do you use Fastcase for the iPhone?

Happy Wednesday loyal readers!  We are delighted to report that the response to Fastcase for the iPhone has been overwhelming.  Thank you to everyone who downloaded (or reviewed) our app and sent us feedback.

In case you haven’t been following the buzz on Twitter, here are some recent tweets from the front lines:

reiserlaw Fastcase iPhone App Review: It’s free, and it works like a charm. Already has paid for itself. about 9 hours ago from Echofon.

vpynchon Used fastcase app on iPhone today 2 check point of law for one of the attorneys in mediation – fast, accurate & helped settle case. about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck.

SheilaBlackford Fastcase on iPhone. Why go into the office? about 18 hours ago from AddToAny.

We would love to hear how you are using Fastcase for the iPhone in your practice, so drop us a line at or better yet, tweet it.

Happy searching!

Fastcase? There’s an App for That!

We at Fastcase,  are delighted to announce the launch of Fastcase for the iPhone our official iPhone Application, which is now available for download in the iTunes App Store. Fastcase for the iPhone is the first of its kind and a breakthrough for two of our biggest passions, legal tech and open access to law. While we are not calling everyone together for a glitzy unveiling, we are excited to confirm that Fastcase for the iPhone is the largest law database available on the iPhone.

What’s more, it’s completely free to download and use as much as you’d like.  It harnesses the full power, functionality, and extensive database of the Web-based Fastcase platform that our users depend on (click here for more information about our Web-based platform).   Full functionality means searching cases and statutes with Fastcase’s smarter tools and intuitive interface.

When searching cases, you can specify the jurisdiction, narrow the date range, limit the number of results, and choose to sort your results by relevance, date, short name, or by the number of times a case has been cited by others.  In addition to sorting results, you’ll also be able to choose how your results appear with three options—display ‘Title’ only for quick browsing, ‘Title + First Paragraph’ to see the beginning of the case, or ‘Title + Most Relevant Paragraph’ to see the portion of the case that refers to your keywords most often.

Other features include the ability to browse statutes, pull up a list of later citing cases with Authority Check, save a case for later, view recent searches, and change a document’s font size to small, medium, or large.

We’re proud to offer Fastcase for the iPhone with no strings attached.  If you are already a Fastcase subscriber or have signed up for a free trial with us in the past, then you are already registered to use Fastcase for iPhone.  Just click here to download the App from the App Store.  If you have forgotten your password, click here to retrieve it and have it sent to the e-mail address you used to register with Fastcase.

We are also proud to report that so far, the reviews have been very positive.  But we are eager to hear your impressions.  So check out Fastcase for the iPhone today and send us your comments via Twitter or e-mail.

Driving Under the Influence of Texting

Warning: if you’re driving right now, you may be breaking the law.  On Tuesday, following the growing trend of State driving-while-texting bans, the U.S. Department of Transportation has immediately banned bus and commercial truck drivers from texting while behind the wheel (click here for an up-to-date, interactive map of state-by-state texting laws from the IIHS).

Texting while driving by indyplanets, on Flickr

CC by indyplanets

And if you’re reading this post on the road–bookmark it and read it later, because some States ban data-entry in general, not just texting (good thing there are no free, robust legal research iPhone apps out there—that would be really tempting).

According to the DOT, research shows that folks who drive and text are some 20 times more likely to get in an accident.  Despite clear signs from research (and lots of anecdotal evidence) that multi-tasking while driving is downright dangerous, it’s one bad habit that’s harder to drop than…well, a phone call.

Know the law and be safe—the last thing you want is a wake-up call in the form of an accident.

California Supreme Court Authorizes DNA Warrants

In a groundbreaking 5-2 ruling, the California Supreme Court ruled this week that an arrest warrant can be issued for an unknown suspect on the basis of DNA evidence. The ruling, written by Justice Ming. W. Chin, enables law enforcement to beat filing deadlines in criminal cases with the suspect’s DNA profile as their unique qualifier.

The court held that DNA profiles describe the suspect sufficiently for identification. “A warrant or complaint is an accusation against a person, and not against a name, and [w]hen the name is unknown, the person may be identified with the best description available. … A genetic code describes a person with far greater precision than a physical description or a name.”

Dissenting Judge Carols Moreno, questioned the authenticity of “John Doe” warrants, stating that document was “a clever artifice intended solely to satisfy the statute of limitations until the identity of the perpetrator could be discovered.”

The court’s ruling upheld the conviction of Paul Robinson on sexual charges. Evidence linking Robinson to the crime was discovered when his DNA was mistakenly collected and entered into the state’s DNA database, which matched his profile with that of the suspect profile in the “John Doe” warrant.

Conan to part with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog? Say it ain’t so!

Does it bring you to tears to imagine Conan O’Brien’s comedy skits without characters like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and the Pimbot 5000? Does the pain strike you like a 1,000 bricks when flirting with the thought that you could never see Conan perform sketches about the Year 3000? Unfortunately for Conan, many of his memorable characters and sketches are now legal property of NBC.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by BobbyProm

[More after the jump]

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