Legal Proof – Mobile App

Solution: Legal Proof – An app that enables people to capture evidence to use in their court cases

Conception Time:  3 to 4 hours to come up with app and key feature ideas

Construction Time: About 20 hours to code a working proof of concept app

Platform: iOS (iPhone/iPad)

Lawyers are not cheap and many people cannot afford them. Legal Aid Service providers are stretched thin trying to serve the needy and thus can only take a fraction of the cases that seek help. What people need is an app that Legal Aid Service providers can refer those they can’t serve, “This app will help you in court. Go download it.”

The app from an outside perspective looks very simple and primitive. However, that’s deceiving because this is one of the few apps out that doesn’t require any backend services. Our founder, Tom Ortega, wanted to make an application that would have no recurring costs associated with it. He wanted it to be a stand alone app that could continue in perpetuity with the only costs associated with it being Omega Ortega’s dev time. At a Access to Justice hackathon, a supportive judge verified Tom’s suspicion that email was an acceptable way to present evidence. Therefore, the app creates PDFs of evidence that users can then email to themselves, judges, lawyers or courts.

The app’s home screen let’s users take two actions: Create a new piece of legal proof or review some PDFs of past proofs. The key idea was to keep the mobile app simple and not overburden the functionality. People involved in court cases are already scared so they don’t need a hugely complex app scaring them on startup.
Once the photo is captured, the application also records location information in two formats: a human readable version and machine readable exact Latitude and Longitude coordinates. The user also has the opportunity to add some notes about this piece of evidence.
All this information is then packaged into a PDF and attached to an email. The user then decides who they want to email the proof too. If there’s no one else, they can simply send it to themselves so that it’s stored, timestamped, on an email server for later use. In addition, like we mentioned earlier, the PDFs are also stored locally so users can resend them around if necessary.

The potential for technology to disrupt how the needy receive their legal assistance is huge. Many people cannot afford a home phone/internet access AND a cell phone, thus they opt for the cell phone only. This means that the technology is getting cheap enough to be present everywhere. Omega Ortega is continuing it’s efforts with this application and look forward to making it even more useful with every release.