Federal Courts App

Federal Courts

By Meghan Starr

KosInteractive has just released a new app for $2.99 that allows users to access “the full text of all of the federal rules of procedure and the local rules for every federal court in the country – including district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts,” as well as a login portal to PACER.

I am not an “app” kind of person. My phone is mostly used for talking, although I do know how to text, check my email, and play Bubble Shooter. For that reason, I decided to test how user friendly the app is. Since I am taking Advanced Evidence this semester, my goal was to find the Federal Rules of Evidence and see how helpful it would be. The first challenge was to get the app on my phone. I outsourced that to tech support (my husband).

After that, I found the app to be intuitive and simple to navigate. The home screen provides users with 3 options: Rules of Procedure, Local Rules, and Pacer Login. After choosing Rules of Procedure, I had the following choices:

  • Appellate Procedure
  • Bankruptcy Procedure
  • Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • FISA Court

Here is where I hit the first problem – only the top half of the letters appeared on the page. Still it was easy enough to find “Evidence” and proceed. The document must be downloaded before viewing, but it didn’t take too long.

Once downloaded, I could view all of the Federal Rules of Evidence – in one big, long document. You can swipe to move between pages or bring up thumbnail images to scroll through quickly; you can “go to” a specific page number; however, you cannot search to find “Rule 801” or “hearsay.” You must know what you are looking for and thumb through all the prior pages to find it.

It should be noted that: The text was of the rules only, no Advisory Committee notes. The font could be enlarged, but the lines of text did not adjust, forcing you to toggle back and forth while reading the text. Finally, a “help” tab exists, but other than contacting KosInteractive with comments, there is little help available.

Overall, I still like having it on my phone. It is a handy reference that I can quickly access on the go. While I not a resource to pull out for a quick objection in court, I do a lot of reading on the move with my kids, and I see it being used to refresh Rules of Procedure when I am preparing for the bar.

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