Thursday, March 31, 2011

Defense Attorney In Court With iPhone

Fastcase has been promoting a recent, dramatic story from the Pittsburgh Gazette in which defense attorney Marc Daffner, in the middle of a hearing, calls for a recess, whips out his iPhone, and views notes on the sentencing guidelines that by report led to a reduction of 5-10 years of sentencing.

I have a few comments.

I may of course not have the whole story, but if this made such a difference, shouldn't Mr. Daffner have done his research well in advance?  That was a nice save, however, I wonder what else he might have missed. 

I also couldn't help noticing that the newspaper misspelled the name of the vendor as "FactCase" in the story.  And the vendor's link to the original story is broken.   Technology doesn't always work as smoothly as the story implies.

I do agree that greater access to caselaw, statutes and regulations is a great thing, for lawyers and the public, and I appreciate Fastcase's efforts on that front.

I also appreciate that mobile device access is not only cool, it can also help peripatetic lawyers provide better service to their clients.  Certainly law firm IT departments are receiving pressure to make the services they provide available to lawyers with such devices, because they are so easy to use and convenient.