Best New Apps for Lawyers – June 2014

I was asking for it. Last month, I suggested that the reason I didn’t include new Windows Phone apps in my list was that I didn’t know any lawyers who used them. The first response from a lawyer with a Windows Phone came within about 15 minutes of publishing my post. So, here you go, my first post including new apps from all three major smartphone operating systems. In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t care at all about Blackberry OS users. My first post-USA defeat in the World Cup (you guys were awesome, proud to be an American Outlaw!) list of new apps is here. These are my Best New Apps for Lawyers – June 2014: iOS: In-Depth PowerPoint Remote by Jia Jiancang, $4.99. As we become more accustomed to presentations in PowerPoint or other slideshow-based format, it gets continually more important to make sure we have a way to present those slideshows professionally. However, it is also necessary that we do so in a way that stands out. PowerPoint Remote is an incredibly deep presentation app that allows you to control, preview, and annotate your PowerPoint presentation on the go. While your presentation is running, you’re able to preview your upcoming slides, or even just have your upcoming slides in a thumbnail section on the screen. Instantly add annotations to any part of your presentation, and even pause your presentation and bring up an electronic “blackboard” at any point (this feature is by FAR my favorite). Options to highlight text, create a “laser pointer” effect on the screen, and even track how long your presentation has lasted... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – May 2014

Well, as May rolls into June, 2014 keeps marching along! It also means it’s time for me to release my list of best new apps for lawyers, for both Android and iOS (I would consider posting new apps for the Windows phone, but first need to actually hear of an attorney actually using that platform). So, without further ado, here are my Best New Apps for Lawyers – May 2014: iOS: U.S. Code Pro by AppCube, Ltd., free ($11.99 in-app purchase for annual subscription). Ok, I’m a sucker for apps actually designed for use by legal professionals, and our first offering of the day, U.S. Code Pro, is certainly that. This app contains the entirety of the U.S. Federal Code, up to date, and with frequent updates to make sure it’s kept current – if you’re willing to pay the annual $11.99 subscription price. In my opinion, the subscription is a bit on the high side for what’s being offered – regular updates to the statutes – but the app has several other features that many attorneys and law students will likely find useful. There is a full search function, which is indexed to titles and content. That way, you don’t NEED to know the name of the statute you’re looking for. The app also allows users to insert notes and annotations into the statutes, which attorneys who routinely find themselves in federal court may find handy. Notifyr by Arnoldus Wilhelmus Jacobus van Dijk (now THAT’S a name!), $3.99 Let’s face it, we live in a connected world now, and making sure that we receive timely notifications of messages,... read more

Clio’s New Task Lists vs. MyCase’s Workflows

Although the series of reviews I conducted last year between the top three cloud-based practice management services – Clio, Rocket Matter, and MyCase – resulted in Clio getting the highest marks, my favorite single feature of all the services was MyCase’s Workflows. The Workflows feature, which allows you to set up a series of tasks under the umbrella of one overarching workflow, was something that true case automation requires. Don’t let anyone tell you that each case is entirely different from the next, because for many practices, including mine, the only significant difference from case to case is the names of the parties and a few important details. For about 95-98% of my cases, the methods and procedures for handling the cases are identical. By having a cookie-cutter approach to these areas of your practice that are always the same, you’re able to put the appropriate time and energy into the areas that are always different – particularly into your direct relationship with your clients. Clio’s new Task Lists accomplishes this goal. Yes, it may seem a basic addition to what Clio offers. However, looks can be deceiving – this addition is crucial. MyCase’s Workflows is the current gold standard for easy creation of inter-linked tasks.   My favorite example of the utility of a one-step process for adding a series of nearly universal tasks is discovery responses. Currently, my entry in Clio tasks for any given case includes one discovery entry – the date discovery is due. However, if I were truly being honest, the entry “Respond to plaintiff’s discovery requests” includes a significant number of tasks, including:... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – March & April 2014

Well, to say that March and April of 2014 have been crazier than I expected would be a MAJOR understatement. Regardless, I’ve neglected you wonderful readers of my blog for far too long, and I pledge not to allow it to happen again for, well… at least for a few months. Ok, my daunting schedule aside, I’ve decided to combine the best apps from March and April into one post. And, by my review of the apps, I may really be making my life difficult. On the other hand, there are always plenty of interesting new apps to check out. Well, once more into the breach, dear friends, once more!: iOS: FireChat by Open Garden, Inc., free. This app may not have any particularly important features for lawyers, per se, but it’s one of the coolest features that I’ve seen. And, since this is my list, here it is! Did you know that iOS 7 included a hidden little gem called the Multipeer Connectivity Network? Me either. What does it do? It connects you. To other phones. Without WiFi OR wireless signal. So how does FireChat take advantage of that little system? By turning your iPhone into a can on a string… connected to every other can in the area. You can send messages and even photos to those around you. Even more important, you can create exclusive groups for your communication. Sitting in a mediation and want to talk to co-counsel, without shouting across the room? How about reminding your associate (or boss!) not to forget about a topic during a deposition? No need for a wireless signal, a WiFi... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – February 2014

It’s been a few weeks since my most recent post. A combination of work, life, and snow/ice has gotten in the way of writing, for which I apologize. But enough about me! February is over, and as a resident of the southeast, I say Thank God! However, February was an excellent month for new apps that the tech-savvy attorney can benefit greatly from. Without any further ado, here are the Best New Apps for Lawyers from February 2014: iOS: DkT by Matthew Zorn, free. Do you need access to federal court litigation documents? If so, then you undoubtedly use the PACER system to file, search for, or review documents in federal cases. DkT is an app designed to significantly improve your access to PACER documents on iOS devices. DkT directly interfaces with the PACER and ECF systems for all district, appellate, and bankruptcy courts across the country. DkT improves your mobile access to the PACER and ECF system by creating an interface and overlay with a custom mobile interface. Additionally, you will now have easy mobile access to bookmarking, batch downloading, quick emailing, and saving, printing and bundling PACER documents. Paper by Facebook, Inc., free. Ok, I admit it, this app isn’t on this list for any particular use in the practice of law. Instead, it’s an app that anyone who utilizes Facebook, for personal use, professional use, or any combination thereof, should check out. When you log onto Facebook, where do you get most of your information? From your crowded News Feed. Well, Paper takes your News Feed and turns it into a sleek, streamlined, aesthetically impressive news aggregator. Swipe... read more

Review: Authentic3D – Presenting Human Anatomy in 3D

Not long ago, I was contacted by a developer to ask me for my thoughts on his company’s newest product, Authentic3D. The developer, Jorey Chernett, and his company, Intrinsic Medical Imaging LLC, developed software that renders CT-Scans and MRIs in 3D. Originally the software was designed to assist health care professionals review and explain diagnostic tests. But one day, Mr. Chernett got a call from a friend, an attorney interested in using the software at trial. As a medical malpractice defense attorney, I am always skeptical of anything designed to display medical images, particularly from an evidentiary standpoint. But when I opened the first sample video, I was blown away…   Pretty cool, huh? The Problem: MRI and CT Images aren’t exactly “jury friendly.” MRI and CT-Scan images contain a wealth of information. However, without help, it’s probably too much information to be effectively used at trial. The first time I ever looked at the processed images of an MRI (a knee injury), I gave up on the idea of trying to show the image to a jury in a matter of seconds. For the uninitiated, CT-Scans and MRIs essentially create many 2D images, or “slices,” of a particular body part. The “slices” are then reviewed by a radiologist. A radiologist who knows what he or she is looking for. And already understands human anatomy. Jurors don’t have the education or training to interpret the raw images. Most jurors, on the other hand, don’t. They don’t know what a “signal change” means, or which little circle on the image is the person’s ACL. Attempting to teach the jury what... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – January 2014

Ah, January. That time of year when we return to work from the holidays to find that, generally, being away for the holidays didn’t make work any better! So sad. Another sad fact about January – the selection of brand spankin’ new apps is a bit slim. The holidays have passed, and with LegalTech 2014 coming up in February, it’s a little bit more difficult to identify those new apps for lawyers. But I’m no quitter! Here are the Best New Apps for Lawyers from January 2014: iOS: Interviewy by Carl Gresswell, free. We’re starting off this month’s list with a slightly unusual app. Ever had to go back and listen to the audio of a recorded conversation, wishing you had the ability to skip right to the important part? That’s exactly what Interviewy seeks to accomplish. Although the app was designed with journalists in mind, it’s certainly easy to think of how many ways this kind of app would be useful for attorneys. Whether you’re in the middle of dictating and need to remember an important thought, or want to be able to quickly access important parts of a deposition or witness interview, you’ll find plenty of uses for Interviewy in your practice. Yahoo News Digest by Yahoo!, free. It’s taken a few months, but now we know what Yahoo! wanted to create when they purchased the news app Summly last spring: the Yahoo News Digest app. Taking on the mission of keeping readers apprised of the most important news of the day, Yahoo News Digest provides users with 10 news items twice per day – once in... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – December 2013

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season, taking a little well-earned respite from the chaos that is December. For me, it means having some time to put together my set of New Year’s resolutions that I’ll ignore approximately 31 hours into the new year. It also means taking some time to write more articles, and putting together my next installment of the Best New Apps for Lawyers. So here are the best apps, released or receiving a significant update, from December 2013: iOS: SG Project OnePage 5 by Simple Genius Software, $4.99. Legal professionals are gradually gaining an understanding of how useful project management tools and software can be in a law firm. By allowing a project manager or leader to track various elements of a project from planning through completion, they have a better handle of how a project is moving along and where additional resources should be committed. These tools can be incredibly effective for a legal professional utilizing associates, paralegals, and technical staff to work on different parts of one client’s case. Enter Project OnePage 5. This app provides the 30,000 foot view of all active projects that a manager has running at any single time. Utilizing a 12×12 approach (12 total tasks and 12 time slots per project), OnePage gives the project manager a broad overview of each project that is pending, restricting your attention to only the most important information and preventing you from getting lost in the details and minutia. Ideal for providing timely updates to your clients about their matters, this app gives you a broad look at all pending projects in... read more

12 Awesomely Funny Gifts for Lawyers (with Issues!)

12 Awesomely Funny Gifts for Lawyers (with Issues!) – Vol. 1 (You’re here) 12 Awesomely Funny Gifts for Lawyers (with Issues!) – Vol. 2 12 Awesomely Funny Gifts for Lawyers (with Issues!) – Vol. 3 Shopping for lawyers come holiday season can be a real drag. I know, I am one. However, I’m one of those fun-loving types, who enjoys little pranks and tricks, provided nobody is too embarrassed, and the property damage keeps any potential criminal convictions in the misdemeanor range. To me, there’s nothing better than a really funny gift. Gag gifts are nice, and have good humor value. But the truly excellent gifts are those that are both funny AND useful. So this holiday season, I’m here to offer some assistance to anyone who is looking for some gift ideas for attorneys like me (i.e. “with issues”). Here are my 12 Awesomely Funny Gifts for Lawyers (with Issues): 1) The Billable Hour™ Brass Desk Clock – $49.95 Make sure that your desk always looks professional… at first glance! This handsome desk clock, with a  classic – and classy – design, gives the look of stylish professionalism to all the senior partners who may walk by on their way to lunch. Fortunately for you, all the real decision makers consider the idea of entering into your office to be beneath them. On closer inspection, it’s an excellent homage to the life-consuming practice of billing time. Or, in the event you feel like bringing the soul crushing experience of billing time home, it’ll look great on your home office desk. Yes, I’m referring to the coffee table that also... read more

Review: eDiscovery Assistant for iPad

The prospect of taking on a case where eDiscovery is likely can be a daunting task, even for seasoned litigators. Just how daunting? Well, eDiscovery is the reason for the contentious debates about modifying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding discovery in general. Many seasoned litigators will turn a case down simply because it will involve eDiscovery. There are dozens of apps and hundreds of companies whose sole purpose is to provide all the eDiscovery assistance a firm can handle (or can afford). However, those companies have no interest in making sure you only buy the services you need – they’re selling services, after all. No, what you need before you even call your first eDiscovery contractor is a guide, a detailed walkthrough of the whole process. Enter eDiscovery Assistant for iPad, by ESI Attorneys, LLC, your guide to the eDiscovery process. It Helps Me Do… eDiscovery Assistant proclaims itself a “one-stop resource for all the rules, case law and practical information” for conducting eDiscovery. The app will provide you the legal roadmap for your case, while giving you advice on the logistics and order-of-operations you need to follow. It Helps Me By… eDiscovery Assistant provides two different methods to help guide you through the eDiscovery process. For those who have little-to-no experience with eDiscovery, it provides a fully customizable roadmap for your case. For those litigators who feel more comfortable with eDiscovery generally but have specific areas of concern, eDiscovery Assistant provides every individual section from the roadmap as an a-la-carte option. When you first enter a case in the roadmap, eDiscovery Assistant takes you to the customizable... read more
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