DroidLaw is FOR SALE!

DroidLaw’s response to PCWorld’s review

by on Oct.29, 2010, under DroidLaw Blog Posts

In the interest of DroidLaw’s reputation I have decided to respond to the recent PCWorld article written by 4 month veteran freelance writer Paul Jickling. If you would like to show your support for (or against) DroidLaw please leave a comment here. I will provide links to Paul Jickling’s review below should you have a desire to comment on the original article.

DroidLaw is useless to professionals and covers topics that are of little to no interest for casual users.

  • It is hard for me to take this statement serious when DroidLaw has a user base of over 25,000 with an average rating of 4.6/5.0 stars.

It is hard to figure out what to make of DroidLaw. Essentially, it is a free legal research and reference tool, but with such a limited capacity for research that I can’t imagine any legal professional would be caught dead using it in place of traditional research methods and resources.

  • DroidLaw does provide the Federal Rules and a few other reference materials free of charge to the legal community. Legal professionals should never rely exclusively on DroidLaw for their legal research needs, this is a given.
  • Mr. Jickling, pay attention to detail; If you were thorough in your assessment of DroidLaw you would have noticed the Legal Disclaimer that states in part:

“The information contained within DroidLaw… DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. We made all attempts at providing the most up to date and quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to DroidLaw and its associates. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, thus nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.”

The best way to illustrate the problem with DroidLaw is to try a little thought experiment. Imagine that someone has just got into a nasty car collision with someone else and is seeing a personal injury lawyer about a lawsuit. The lawyer gets to work figuring out what he needs to do to get the lawsuit moving by consulting DroidLaw. After the client gets billed some enormous sum for legal research because the lawyer inefficiently spent a lot of time looking up statutes and rules on DroidLaw, a well-written complaint that follows all the rules according to federal court is finally completed and sent to court and to the other party.

  • Mr. Jickling, you do not “consult” DroidLaw. The hypothetical situation you present above exemplifies an individual lawyer’s violation of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Any half intelligent lawyer is well aware of their ethical obligations and responsibilities. For you to present this as a “little thought experiment” is insulting to the legal profession.
  • This hypothetical does not illustrate a problem with DroidLaw, sir, it illustrates a problem with the personal injury lawyer’s ability to practice law competently. Your “thought experiment” is not very well thought through and is simply illogical.

A week or so later, the case is dismissed because the lawyer did not file in the right court. For what could be a variety of reasons, the lawyer didn’t know that the case should have been filed in state court, not federal court. Had the lawyer used traditional research methods, he would have known better, but the lawyer could not find any information about that on DroidLaw. The client in turn sues the lawyer for malpractice and wins, and a court opinion is written stating that an attorney cannot use a program like DroidLaw to conduct legal research. However, you wouldn’t be able to read about that opinion on DroidLaw because it doesn’t include a feature to look up court opinions.

  • I agree with you; a court would likely see this as malpractice. However, this begs the question of why, in reviewing DroidLaw, you would bring up such a hypothetical situation. Again, this is not an issue with DroidLaw; the real issue has to do with the way in which the individual lawyer conducted his research. There are a wide variety of reference resources available to legal professionals today, mobile or otherwise. It goes to the professional responsibility of the individual to know the limitations of each resource he or she uses. Lawyers, law students and paralegals should all be well aware of this. Mr. Jickling, having been certified in Paralegal Studies, why would you not take this into account when writing your review?

These are most of the important issues that prevent DroidLaw from being used as a serious legal research tool: It covers a limited amount of material, the search tools are crude, it is difficult to navigate and read, and it currently has no material available other than certain federal procedural rules (no court opinions, either). It has other problems as well, but I don’t want to belabor the point too much. DroidLaw simply is in no way a tool for good legal research.

  • DroidLaw is not and has never held itself out to be a serious legal research tool. DroidLaw is a legal reference mobile application.
  • Yes, DroidLaw covers a limited amount of material but we are working hard every day with what limited resources we have to increase the content. We are no Westlaw or LexisNexis. By the end of November all 50 state codes will be available to DroidLaw users. Your review is an insult to all the hard work we’ve put in to get to this point.
  • Mr. Jickling, your article is factually incorrect. DroidLaw currently has additional material other than “certain federal procedural rules”. For starters, the entire United States Code, United State Supreme Court case opinions and various state laws are available.

You can buy add-ons to expand the amount of material on DroidLaw, but even this is pretty limited in scope. Some state law gets added, but so far the only states listed are California, Florida, New York, and Texas. None are comprehensive, and I would recommend against buying any of this material anyway, since most of it can be found on the Internet for free.

  • According to my purchase logs, Mr. Jickling has not purchased a single add-on for DroidLaw. Again, if this review was fair, professional and thorough the author would have first-hand knowledge of what it is he is criticizing.
  • Mr. Jickling, what basis to you have to say “None are comprehensive” when you have not even seen the material? The Ohio Revised Code (which you failed to mention in your article) contains Ohio’s revised code in its entirety. The United States Code add-on (which, again, you failed to mention in your article) contains the entire comprehensive United States Code.
  • It is no secret that all the material is freely available on the internet. However, DroidLaw provides legal reference material in a format for mobile devices. The value is associated with convenience, ease of access, and the MANY OTHER FEATURES you failed to mention:
      • Users can save all the content offline eliminating the need for a data connection (many courtrooms have issues with 3G connectivity).
      • Users can create different “workspaces” where they can bookmark and organize Federal Rules, case opinions, RSS feeds and laws to their liking.
      • Users can cut/copy/paste the material.
      • Users can share all of the material via the Android “Share” function.

In Conclusion:

Mr. Jickling, thank you for the large jump in DroidLaw installs. DroidLaw is fortunate enough to have a target audience intelligent enough to realize the true scope, use, purpose and limitations of the mobile application.

My advice to you; do your homework before writing such a scathing review, be thorough and complete in your analysis, don’t speak to things in which you have no first-hand knowledge and lastly, don’t use hypothetical situations that illogically come to an erroneous conclusion.

You may possibly want to entertain the idea of turning that Paralegal Certificate into a Juris Doctorate.

Links:

MSN Tech & Gadget (via PCWorld): http://tech.ca.msn.com/pcworld-article.aspx?cp-documentid=26145687

NetworkWorld: http://www.networkworld.com/reviews/2010/102910-.html

ComputerWorld: http://news.idg.no/cw/art.cfm?id=F894DC07-1A64-67EA-E4D4A8DF22879C85#

Washington Post (Unfortunately you cannot comment): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/29/AR2010102903895.html

PCWorld’s DroidLaw App Profile (CAN POST OWN REVIEW): http://www.pcworld.com/appguide/app.html?id=567825&expand=false


8 Comments for this entry

  • AttyNY

    Mr. Jicking should keep his day job.

  • little guy paying taxes

    Dumbing down is a sad practice, especially when human instinct is to overcome..and we will. Your app is outstanding and and informative. The liberalistic viewpoints in this country are alarming and the education system is being infiltrated with this diabolical narrative from the left that serves only the purpose of my first two words. God bless you American and may God bless its following children.

  • Slad

    Let me say this with a professional voice, “Jickling IS a Moron.”

    Obviously Mr. J has no idea about the subject matter or usefulness of Droidlaw. I am sure someone with his aspirations could easily right up an expose’ on the flaws of D’Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

    Droidlaw is not used in the way….wait,you know what? Nevermind. Mr.J. is not worth responding to. Droidlaw is what it is – golden to the legal community!

    Maybe someone would be lucky enough to be opposing counsel to Mr.J’s pro se defense in a slander suit some day – and reference Droidlaw just for the fun of it.

  • Charles H Nadler

    I have DroidLaw installed on my Droid X. I must say that we criminal defense lawyers in Colorado were looking for something that could give us the CRS, while in court. Now we have it! As soon as we can download the CRS to our SD cards, it will be even more useful. The reviewer obviously has never had to talk with a client in prison or jail. With this we can build trust, which is very important when practicing law!

  • meach741

    Wow! To comment on Jickling’s review is like, metaphorically of course, challenging a Kindergartner to a knowledge competition in Physics or Calculus. What’s the point? You know you are going to win anyway.

    His review garners one word…Fail! Okay, two – Mega Fail. I am sure he blames his pencil for spelling mistakes as well.

    On to the positives, this app is great! As a working Law Enforcement professional, this app is well worth the small amount of money paid to get my state’s law in a mobile, searchable format. I have also downloaded the Supreme Court Cases add-on just to stay up to day with cases coming out and to review those all important cases concerning how I do my job (Terry, Miranda, Garner, etc.). Maybe Mr. Jickling should actually download and use the app, and not just from a “how can I sue somebody” point of view. But that may be like asking the Kindergartner to explain Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient – just ain’t gonna happen.

    Thanks for the app.

  • kelly allen

    I’m in hearty agreement. Mr Jickling`s infant-like understanding of the research process is the impetus for his ignorant commentary. Any professional who does not have the wherewithal to invest in decent research materials is likely a professional which is practicing without a license.; or soon will be practicing without a license. These types of research resources are helpful with fundamental precepts; not authoritative resources upon which one should ultimatley rely in providing advice,

  • Brigham Bush

    This article by Jickling is completely opinion based without Any knowledge of the legal world. Now I have no knowledge either. But i do have common sense to always read the legal disclaimerser in any app. And or plugin. As Droid law mention this is not source for legal advise. This is for what I see as quick reference for a lawyer on the go who has something he or she needs to check on and jot their notes in another app. Then when they get to the office they further their research. Now I’m just a standard person who has no training in law, or have any desire to. But i do like to debate with friends about the government and to keep me from sounding ignorant I use this app as my reliable source. And I save to info I really need for offline use. My debatesare for fun but i still need tks have something to back myself up with. I use this as a hobby app for arguing.slash debating in a grown up matter. In the terms of adults needing a lawyer or doing research for their case. This is a magnificent source. Then the client would consult with their attorneys. Now you may see I’m now professional but I do my best with a few disabilitiesbi have. I also know as a college student you have to do research on everything before you can state even an opinion such as jicklings review. I will still purchase plugins for Droidlaw to support there hard word and magnificent interface. They way it functions is amazing. So I support you DroidLaw and Jicklings needs to do his research before he states his unsupported opinions.

  • skincarerx.com coupons

    Nice respond in return of this query with solid arguments and explaining the whole thing concerning that.

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