Docket In Your Pocket
One type of mobile app favored by law firms is an application that provides some type of resource to client and potential clients. Plaintiff and small business-oriented lawyers have been particularly active in generating such apps (especially for documenting the aftermath of a vehicle collision). But attorney Matt Haindfield, a civil litigation attorney practicing in Des Moines, Iowa, has created a resource app that provides access to Pennsylvania court records, including criminal charges, lawsuit filings and civil judgments, and traffic offenses. While this app does not appear to have direct relevance to his practice, the profile raising value of creating the app appears to have paid off.
The current version of the app provides the user with access to:
- Pennsylvania’s Criminal Courts of Common Pleas
- Pennsylvania’s Magisterial District Courts
- Philadelphia Municipal Court
He claims to have docket information for all Pennsylvania counties. There are limits to certain types of data in the database. For example, the app excludes civil litigation records arising from most car accidents, malpractice claims, premises liability actions, personal injuries, etc.
As one possible use for the App, Mr. Haindfield said,
I wanted to ensure that when [students are] living away from home or are out on the dating scene, they’ll be better able to make informed decisions about the people they’ll encounter. Knowledge is power, and more information means smarter choices.
Why Pennsylvania? “We wanted a state with a large percentage of smartphone users and where there was an existing database of criminal records,” Haindfield says. He plans to expand the app to all 50 states in the future.
This app (and Mr. Haindfield) received impressive exposure in media outlets, including WPVI-TV – ABC Philadelphia, WTAE-TV – ABC Pittsburgh, KYW-AM 1060 Radio – Philadelphia, KQV-AM 1410 News Radio – Pittsburgh, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- Law App Guy