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The Fastcase iPhone App Delivers the Goods for Legal Research

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

There is no shortage of smartphone apps for lawyers. In fact, there might be too many. You may wonder which apps are actually worth your time. Here's one that is: Fastcase.

First and foremost, the app is free. Yes, you can actually conduct free legal research on your iPhone or iPad.

Signing up for an account only takes a few minutes. The app also offers a surprisingly wide breadth of legal coverage.

Fastcase has nearly all state codes and many court opinions.

Codes for 50 states are in the app. Some state statutes are "unavailable" due to copyright issues. But Fastcase conveniently provides a web link to these laws so you can peruse codes using a separate browser.

Looking for case law? Look no further. A complete listing of what Fastcase has to offer is on their website. But all state and federal courts appear to be available. The app also has an authority check.

Cases are formatted nicely and make for some easy viewing:

Fastcase cases

Search using your favorite Boolean operator or by citations.

Fastcase offers a flexible search function. You can dig through the database using Boolean operators. You can also pull up cases by inputting the appropriate citation.

Searching within the case itself is a cinch too. There is a search toolbar on the top of the case page where you can input keywords and terms.

Even better: Fastcase's search page is free of clutter and easy-to-navigate:

Fastcase search

But there are some drawbacks.

The app certainly fills the niche for a comprehensive -- and free -- legal research tool. But there are some caveats. You can't email or print out documents through the app. The Fastcase website indicates that the company is working on creating a desktop sync. But, the desktop version of Fastcase requires a paid subscription.

And the authority check may not be as comprehensive as Shepardizing or KeyCiting a case.

The bottom line: Fastcase is useful, there's no doubt about it. But just realize you likely will need another database to supplement your research. The app is currently available for iPhone and iPad users.

Need to know which legal apps are the best -- or worst? Wondering if you should part with $9.99 for that legal app? We know you are aching to find the perfect app(s) for your smart phone. So don't worry, we got you covered. Check back here as we break down all the top legal apps in our ongoing series. Got an app you think we should review? Let us know over at our Facebook for Legal Professionals Facebook page.

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