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App of the Week: Replace Paper Rule Books With the Rulebook App

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Rulebook is the first app to offer a truly viable replacement to the paper rule books all lawyers buy each year, saving lawyers hundreds of dollars each year. Rulebook does not require an Internet connection in order to read, search, highlight and annotate the various court rules, all of which are available in one app.

One of Rulebook’s best features, however, is the way it automatically updates rules when they are amended. This allows attorneys to know that their rules are up to date without the need to check pocket parts or go online. Rulebook’s updating process also preserves attorneys’ highlights, bookmarks and annotations even when rules are amended, something no other app, let alone paper rule books, can do.

When a book that has been downloaded to a lawyer’s personal library has been amended, the library icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the app glows orange. The lawyer needs merely touch the button to download the update. An attorney from New Jersey familiar with the updating process made the following comment about this function: Rulebook is “revolutionary—and I don’t say that lightly. The ability to have real-time, annotated reference materials like that, on any iOS device, and to customize that for your practice area, is one of my holy grails for legal technology.” All this, coupled with significantly lower prices than the paper equivalent attorneys are used to buying, makes Rulebook a great reference tool in the office as well as in court.

Rulebook is also one of the first legal apps to take advantage of Apple’s enterprise and B2B purchase models. Enterprise and B2B apps are essentially two variations of the same thing: apps built for a specific business that allow that business to customize the app and then buy it in bulk on behalf of its employees. Rulebook, for example, allows law firms to use their firm’s logo for the app icon and select which rule books they want included in the app (any jurisdiction) and which rule books they don’t. The firm can even choose to have its internal policies, employment manuals and other internal documents included in the app. The firm can then buy the app exclusively on behalf of all its lawyers and paralegals in a single transaction.

Rulebook is more than just another eBook reader. The principal feature setting the rulebook app apart from eBooks is the ability to navigate quickly through the various books in one’s personal library. Navigation may sound like a small thing until one considers that eBooks are designed for novels and other books meant to be read cover to cover, not reference books like court rules. The navigational features discussed below help explain why the rulebook app is superior to eBooks (in addition to price):

Organization: Rulebook is organized by rule instead of chapter. As a result, the app never splits a single rule over multiple pages. Rather, the entire rule is displayed on one page so that users do not have to turn pages back and forth as they study a rule. In contrast, eBooks are designed with text flowing continuously from page to page to facilitate cover-to-cover reading. This results in users having to turn pages back and forth to read a single rule.

Active Table of Contents: Rulebook also displays the table of contents and other navigational buttons continuously. This is not necessary for reading a novel, but when referencing random rules the ability to quickly and easily navigate through the book is very helpful. This is why the ultimate reference manual, the dictionary, is published as an app, not an eBook. See Merriam-Webster’s app.

Multitasking: Rulebook also offers users the ability to keep multiple rules (even from different sources) open at the same time. Thus, when a lawyer is writing or arguing a motion, he can have multiple authorities opened side by side for easy reference while he is making his argument.

External Hyperlinking and Cross-referencing: Rulebook allows users to jump easily back and forth among the various books they have downloaded in their personal library though active hyperlinks. Similarly, users will soon be able to create their own personal cross-references between various authorities.

You can download the app for free by following this link:
Currently, the rulebook app has the basic federal rules and the state rules for California, New York, Texas and Utah. More court rules role out every week.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Greg Hoole is the president of Ready Reference Apps, LLC and a partner at Hoole & King, L.C., where his practice focuses on civil litigation, litigation consulting and mediation. Mr. Hoole’s cases have been reported in such national periodicals as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Mr. Hoole has also appeared in relation to his cases on various law-related programs on national network and cable television, including Larry King Live and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.