BYOD: Five Steps to Protect Your Clients and Save Money!

Everyone in business looks for that little tactical advantage, that one way to save money that has no impact on the quality of work. For most companies nowadays, overhead and employee perks have been one of the most popular places that companies have been seeking that edge – cutting back on company cars, health insurance plans, expensive office services. But that one perfect way to save, it turns out, didn’t happen through a cost-cutting analysis, but when the guy in the office next door began accessing his company email with his iPhone. In the fall of 2008, I offered to gather some information for my firm about a proposal to purchase Blackberrys for all of the attorneys in the office (at the time, of the 12 attorneys, only the five partners had firm-provided phones). It was the height of Blackberry dominance in the corporate business world, and many seemed to look at Blackberry as the only sensible option at the time. I prepared a full report to the associates about which line of phones and plans we should request, but to my shock, the plan to request the phones was voted down. I purchased my first iPhone shortly thereafter, and used its email system to connect to the firm’s Exchange server. Little did I know that instead of participating in the end of the glory days of Blackberry, I was part of a new trend in technology: “Bring Your Own Device,” or BYOD. Businesses everywhere have come to the realization that they can save a TON of money simply by allowing their employees to bring their devices with them... read more

Review: PDF Software for Attorneys

The Wisconsin State Bar recently published an impressive comparison chart reviewing PDF Software for attorneys. Four packages, Adobe Acrobat, Nitro Pro 8, PDF Converter Enterprise 8, and pdfDOCS, were reviewed in great detail. The analysis looks at each software with an eye towards what attorneys need from their PDF-creation software. Core requirements include creating searchable PDFs, adding comments, adding Bates stamp numbers, high-level image and text redaction, and the ability to remove metadata from the document. As far as comparison charts go, I’m quite impressed. They cover everything from word processor compatibility (including both Word and WordPerfect), other compatibility (Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), conversion capabilities (to and from various document types, including TXT, RTF, and image files), and compatibility with other software and apps commonly used by lawyers, like Evernote. The packages were also evaluated for Ease of Use, Feature Set, Value for Cost, and Manual/Help/Online Resources, on a scale of 1-10 for each category. So what is the best PDF software for attorneys? (Also, check out reviews of other PDF software packages in our Review Catalog) Adobe Acrobat XI: Professional Among Acrobat’s best features is the ability to directly edit a PDF document without having to locate the original hard copy. As most of us have experienced, too frequently when a change needed to be made, you would have to go find the original document, make any changes you wanted, re-scan or convert the document, and replace the existing PDF with your new, modified version. Acrobat dramatically reduces that need by providing the ability to edit directly. Acrobat also allows direct connection to web-based document storage such as Evernote... read more

This Is The Future of Courtroom Tech, and I Love It!

So I read this article yesterday from the ABA’s Law Technology Today about the future of courtroom tech, and I couldn’t help but be a little giddy. Trying to explain it to my girlfriend, my “nerd” was on full display. (Not that I really work too hard to conceal it, anyway… for my recent birthday I made her watch the entire original Star Wars trilogy. In my own defense, it WAS my birthday, and she’d never seen it.  I KNOW, right?) This courtroom, located in Louisville, Kentucky, is the future of courtroom tech, and it is sweet! As a brief introduction, this courtroom was set up based on finding a single solution to two separate issues: 1) how can lawyers adapt their courtroom presentation skills, particularly those that involve demonstrative exhibits and other visual aids, to a generation used to rapid access to information, and 2) how can lawyers best take advantage of information gained in recent studies that actually indicate that people learn better when exposed to multiple visual inputs at one time. (Specifically, the study demonstrated a 14-15% improvement in test scores when students were exposed to multiple simultaneous presentations, rather than watching one single presentation, a finding generally unsurprising for anyone from the ADD Generation). So what was that conclusion? A courtroom that has three independent video output devices, and an independent audio output device as well, for the attorneys to use during the presentation! Specifically, the courtroom is equipped with two large projection screens and a portable 55″ flat-panel monitor, all of which can be running independent content. As an example of how the technology... read more

Replace the Legal Pad!

There are few tools or devices that are uniform to nearly all types of law practice, yet also used almost exclusively by lawyers. Probably the single most important one of those tools is the Legal Pad. Seriously, other than lawyers, who else uses them regularly once they’re done with college? Exactly. Yet, if you’re a practicing lawyer (or spend much time around us), you know that we’re rarely without them. So here’s my pitch: Replace the Legal Pad! It has been my position for YEARS that the technological innovation that would be the lawyer’s version of “building a better mousetrap” was something that could eliminate the need for the legal pad. Evernote’s Penultimate 4.1 may be the closest thing yet to that proverbial “better mousetrap.” For more detailed reviews of Evernote’s Penultimate 4.1, check out our Review Catalog. At its heart, Penultimate 4.1 is a note-taking app. Using either your finger or a stylus, you can use the screen of your tablet just as you would your notepad – at least that’s what Evernote hopes you’ll believe. Despite my sarcasm (and skepticism), Penultimate actually succeeds at putting together a lot of the aspects of a legal pad, provided you don’t mind carrying around a stylus (which I hate). However, the best feature in the updated version of Penultimate has little to do with note-taking, but a LOT to do with one of my recurring themes in this blog – security. Assuming you’re paying for Evernote’s premium services ($45 annually), Penultimate allows the user to add an extra layer of security to their saved notes beyond simply logging in to... read more

Technology News Update (7/31/2013)

Here’s today’s Technology News Update, a look at a few of the news reports, previews, reviews and tech gossip stories that are making waves today, including news from the ABA, Verizon, Microsoft, and Bret Taylor (former executive at Google and Facebook). Oh, and a solar powered tent, for anyone who may be interested… The most recent tech survey, conducted by the American Bar Association, sought to determine what smart devices attorneys use the most.  The results: a great and growing number of attorneys are using iPhones and iPads.  Not only are more attorneys utilizing smart devices than before (which is pretty self-evident), Apple has essentially replaced Blackberry as the dominant player among lawyers who do utilize smartphones and tablets.  Apple’s market share increased from 31% last year to a staggering 55% this year.  Over the same time period, Android devices increased their market share from 15% to 20%, and the number of attorneys who reported using no smart devices at all decreased from 12% to 9%.  For more on the survey, click here.  To see how Samsung is now beating Apple in customer satisfaction in the U.S., click here. Verizon, which had originally been set to launch its version of the HTC One smartphone, has pushed back the release date to August 15th.  It is unclear why the delay is necessary, or how the delay will affect Verizon’s sales of the HTC One, which has been available on other networks for some time.  Further unclear is how the delay will affect overall sales of the HTC One, considering that the highly-anticipated Moto X is scheduled for launch tomorrow. Microsoft... read more

Technology News Update (7/30/2013)

Here’s today’s Technology News Update, a look at a few of the news reports, previews, reviews and tech gossip that are making waves today, including news from Bloomberg Law, Amazon, Apple and Google: Bloomberg Law, an alternative to LexisNexis and Westlaw for the uninitiated, is changing its name to Bloomberg BNA, according to a report from the Law Technology News.  Some industry analysts believe that the re-branding is a tacit acknowledgment that Bloomberg’s strategy to compete in the field of legal research lacked the name recognition of BNA, hence the switch.  The company will remain headquartered in Arlington, VA, and it is believed that employees located in New York will be encouraged to relocate to Virginia. Amazon announced the specs for its new lineup of Kindle devices today, including the surprise announcement that all three of the new Kindle models will come equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon chip set.  What does this mean?  Basically, it means that all the work that was put into advertising the new Nexus 7, particularly its processor, is about to go to waste, because the cheaper Kindle Fire will run circles around it. To see available reviews of Google’s Nexus 7, click here. The latest beta version of Apple’s iOS 7 appears to include an option for unlocking the phone with your fingerprint, rather than a passcode.  An investigation by Extreme Tech revealed code that demonstrates support for fingerprint scanning through the home button, but it is unclear whether, if such functionality exists,  the functionality would be available to other applications. And finally, Google Chromecast is getting more impressive by the day.  Vimeo and... read more

Does Google’s Nexus 7 beat the iPad Mini?

That’s the question a recent review of Google’s latest tablet offering seeks to answer. The Nexus 7 boasts many features that put it at the very least on par with Apple’s feature mini-tablet.  However, the Nexus 7 has several key features that the iPad Mini cannot match… First, and most significantly to me, the Nexus 7 offers wireless recharging.  In order for an iPad to recharge, it has to be plugged in either to a computer or a wall socket via specialized USB converter. The Nexus 7 is capable of recharging via a wireless induction recharging pad which, although it requires an additional investment, provides an option that Apple doesn’t have. Additionally, the Nexus 7 has Google’s best screen to date, slightly sharper than the iPad Mini, and is set up for viewing on a 16:9 ratio, ideal for movies, unlike the iPad Mini’s 4:3 screen.  The Nexus 7 also has a processor that should exceed the capabilities of the iPad Mini, particularly when using apps that utilize the new capabilities of Android OS 4.3. The final factor that cannot be overlooked is the price.  The Nexus 7 16GB model sells for $229, compared to $339 for the 16GB iPad Mini.  Jump up to 32 GB, and the price advantage of the Nexus 7 ($269 vs. $429 for the iPad Mini) is even greater.[poll id=”3″] The review acknowledges that the tablets are otherwise dead even, and that the advantages of the Nexus 7 are no so significant that tablet buyers who are loyal to Apple will switch.  However, anyone not tied down to the iOS or otherwise concerned about... read more

Better for Lawyers: iPhone vs. Android

Well, I had to get to a product review sooner or later (in order to finally make my blog useful to someone other than myself), so here is my first: which mobile OS is better for lawyers, Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android OS? Disclosure: I’m an Apple guy; I have the iPhone 5 (and two prior models), I have an iPad 2, and a Macbook. I acknowledge my loyalty to Apple, so in order to provide a more unbiased review, I give you the opinions of others! An analysis in Law Technology News compared iOS and Android based on the following criteria: 1) available apps, 2) screen size, 3) interface (connection to other device), 4) text and data entry, 5) file attachments, 6) security, and 7) copying files. The outcome was a landslide for Android. The iOS was only superior to Android for security, and the systems were rated as “even” in terms of available apps. However, I was unable to find any other reviewer that was willing to give either system a clear win. Most reviews fell back on that all-too-familiar adage within the legal profession: “It depends.” My research did turn up a few surprises, though. The biggest surprise was that the iOS’s advantage in security is likely worth more than the weight it was given by LTN. In fact, some experts suggest that Security should actually be the most important factpr for lawyers… Andrea Linares, in her ihearttech legal technology blog, recommended users purchase an iPhone based on some frightening statistics on security vulnerabilities in the Android OS, including a study showing that 79% of new... read more
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