Real legal research on your iPhone (and a terrific bargain for some Ninth Circuit lawyers)

Image representing Fastcase as depicted in Cru...
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If you are an iPhone-using lawyer, you really should subscribe to the iPhoneJD blog, where New Orleans attorney Jeff Richardson keeps you updated not only on specific legal uses for the iPhone, but on all things iPhone.

Yesterday, he reviewed Fastcase, an iPhone app for legal research, and the opening paragraph could hardly have been more glowing:

I will start this review with what probably belongs in my conclusion:  Every single lawyer using an iPhone should download the Fastcase app.  Moreover, the availability of the free Fastcase app is a compelling reason for any attorney not using an iPhone to purchase one today.  This app is that useful.

The rest of his review is very thorough.

The application itself is free, but the two subscription plans offered have an annual cost of  $700 and $1000. While that’s a heck of a lot less expensive than commercial services like Westlaw and Lexis, Fastcase will hardly replace either. It will be most useful for quick lookups on the go.

A lucky few won’t have to conduct any cost-benefit analysis. Seventeen bar associations (so far) offer Fastcase to their members free. That includes several statewide bar associations. Unfortunately, California is not among them, but a couple of Ninth Circuit states are: Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. [CORRECTION: I was confusing the desktop and iPhone versions. The subscription fee is for the desktop version of Fastcase only. The iPhone version is free for everyone.]

UPDATE (2/2/10): On second thought, this application might be good for a lot more than just the occasional quick lookup. On an iPad, it will be a lot more readable. Hmmm, up until know, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to buy an iPad.

(Cross-posted at The California Blog of Appeal.)

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