We’re loving this article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about how more lawyers are moving to online legal research. The article leads with a Fastcase success story:
Marc Daffner needed to check his iPhone.
The Allegheny County judge was staring at him from the bench, waiting. As was the district attorney to his right.
But he really, really needed to check his iPhone.
The fate of Mr. Daffner’s client depended on it, so he asked for a five-minute recess.
With his iPhone finally in hand, Mr. Daffner used an app to find session notes on a sentencing statute. The notes proved the DA was incorrectly applying the statute to put Mr. Daffner’s client behind bars. “It saved five to 10 years of my client’s life,” he said.
The app, of course, was Fastcase for the iPhone, which Marc used in the heat of the moment to win his case.
This is one good example of how the future of legal research is more mobile — not that legal research will be done primarily on mobile devices. The desktop is more convenient and powerful, at least for now. But mobile tools will empower people to do occasional research in more places, and at different times, than they could traditionally.
Marc Daffner’s experience shows that there are new tools in the trade, such as smartphones and tablets, which lawyers can use to their advantage in the practice of law. Lawyers can use the new tools to deliver unique value, such as real-time research in court. And we have to confess, we love stories like this — it’s fun to be one of the new tools in the lawyer’s bag.