My 8 Favorite Mobile Apps for Paperless Depositions

There may be no more clear example of when a lawyer truly needs to be mobile than a deposition. If you’re taking the deposition, you’re likely in hostile territory (opposing counsel’s office), asking questions of a party or witness who’s likely not on your side. Moreover, these days, cases are tried in deposition as opposed to a courtroom, so this isn’t something you can go into half-assed. You need to be ready. Thankfully, the world of mobile apps has kicked into high gear to make working away from your office possible – especially its advances over the past few years. All you need to do to  confirm is to look at the post I wrote three years ago about essential deposition apps, and compare the lists. There might be some apps making a repeat appearance, but even those apps are largely unrecognizable from their earlier versions. So what do I bring with me to a deposition?  8 Deposition Apps for the Mobile Lawyer: 1) Microsoft OneNote Price: Free (w/ Office 365 subscription) Available On: iOS / Android I used to take most of my deposition notes directly on my deposition outline. My preferred tool was iAnnotate PDF, which has some amazing annotation tools. However, nothing in my experience serves a deposition’s note-taking needs better than Microsoft OneNote. I am able to open an entire notebook for each deposition. Then, on the first tab, I paste my deposition outline (which includes images of each exhibit I want to introduce, and where in the deposition). During the deposition, I’m able to add notes in different colors right next to the questions.... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – May 2016

Download this Episode: Download Audio Summer is nearly upon us! As Memorial Day passes into the rear-view, let’s take stock of what an amazing month May was for a lot of apps that will fit quite well into your law practice. Here are the best new apps for lawyers released or updated in May 2016: Multi-Platform: Multi-platform apps begin at the (4:19) mark of the podcast. Docs (iOS, Android), Sheets (iOS, Android) & Slides (iOS, Android) by Google, Inc., free (Update). To start things off, let’s look at some major updates to Google’s Holy Trinity of Free Productivity Systems: Docs, Sheets, and Slides. First, all users will now have their most recent entries for all three systems automatically saved for off-line viewing. Sure, you could do this on your own before, but just like auto-recover is almost always more recent than the last time you saved your file, always downloaded is better than available when you remembered to download. Users of Google Sheets, on both iOS and Android, will now be able to view images and drawings within the spreadsheets. For those giving presentations in the near future, Slides has a couple pretty awesome upgrades too. First, “Slides Q&A” is now available on mobile. Q&A allows the audience to post questions to you without interrupting your presentation, and then allows others attending the presentation to up- or down-vote the question. For iOS users, you’ll be happy to know that ALL THREE of the apps are now 3D Touch enabled, allowing you to open your recent files directly from the home screen. ProtonMail by  Proton Technologies AG, free (iOS, Android) (Update). If you’re using ProtonMail, odds are... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – April 2016

Download this Episode: Download Audio Whew! Wow, how was your April? Mine was pretty damn busy! Then, as I go looking through my sources for the best new apps this month, I have to say I found an embarrassment of riches. While this was a particularly strong month for solid updates to existing platforms, there’s still plenty of new stuff too. Here are the best new apps for lawyers released or updated in April 2016: Multi-Platform: Multi-platform apps begin at the (1:02) mark of the podcast. Outlook by Microsoft Corp., free (iOS, Android) (Update). The flagship email platform of Microsoft, I not too long ago declared that Outlook was the winner of my review of the best overall email apps for mobile devices. Even then, Microsoft has been aggressive at pushing updates, making it even better. This update is no different. Ever since Microsoft purchased the Sunrise Calendar app in 2014, many wondered when the integrations that are a favorite feature on Sunrise would start to make their way to the Outlook app. Wait no longer, as this month Microsoft announced integration with Evernote, Wunderlist, and Facebook. Users of those platforms can now expect reminders in Evernote and Wunderlist to appear in your Outlook calendar, complete with a link to the native reminder. Facebook now links your birthday reminders right into your calendar. Additionally, Android Wear users now join Apple Watch users in being able to operate their Outlook – Dick Tracy style. WhatsApp Messenger by WhatsApp, Inc., free (iOS, Android) (Update). The big news in April among security enthusiasts was the announcement that WhatsApp, the ephemeral messaging service purchased by Facebook,... read more

The Best VPN Technology to Secure Your Confidential Data

In my post last week, I posed this question: Aside from your law firm’s office firewall and VPN system, do you need to have a personal VPN on your computers and mobile devices. Helpfully, I then told you YES!! So, in the interest of being helpful, I’ve written this post on how to determine the best VPN technology for you, and I’ve gone ahead and included a review of some of the best VPN solutions on the market. So, without further ado: How to Choose the Best VPN for You? Go ahead, ask if you’re going to need one. The answer is yes, yes you do. So now it becomes a question of what type. First, do you need an enterprise level VPN? Your law firm probably does, and you might even want a more serious VPN option for your home network if you do a lot of work there as well. The benefit to those types of VPN is that they protect your connections with your office server, and also go a long way to protecting your web browsing while you’re using the same router. For these, the available solutions are myriad, and a little too varied and purpose-specific for me to discuss in great detail here. I’d strongly recommend speaking to your IT people/contractor about this. Second, do you need personal VPN technology? Once you’re outside of your office environment, you’ll no longer be protected by your office’s VPN. So, if you use your laptop, tablet, or smartphone both for personal web browsing/email and to connect to your office network, then you absolutely need to have VPN technology... read more

The Best of ABA TECHSHOW 2016: Rocket Matter’s Redesign

Special Guest: Larry Port Download this Episode: Download Audio As one of the original cloud-based law practice management systems, Rocket Matter has helped to pave the way for a significant number of legal technology companies and startups, particularly those targeting solo and small firms. However, being one of the first means that everyone gets the chance to learn from your successes and your failures before you get to. One of the biggest problems for Rocket Matter: its user interface (“UI”) was designed for an era where our computer screens were very different than they are now. As you can see, the original layout was designed for the 4:3 standard screens of last decade. If you wanted to take advantage of the widescreen layout (or just be able to read the information on your screen), the result was to provide an extremely limited field of view. Additionally, the old interface actually provided considerable difficulty for Rocket Matter’s designers to implement many of the updates and fixes that they wanted, due to it’s increasingly outdated framework. So instead of a facelift or simple cosmetic changes, Larry Port describes the process as “tearing the whole thing down.” Rocket Matter’s UI Overhaul Starting with the user interface, Rocket Matter set out to make their system easier to use. Starting with the look, they appear to have taken my advice and decided that the interface aesthetic originally given to their iPad app would be applied to the entire system. I certainly approve! Moreover, they took advantage of the teardown to make the entire system much more user friendly and accessible. Now using the full width of... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – March 2016

Download this Episode: Download Audio Spring has sprung… unless you live in the northeast, where it’s apparently shrunk back into its cave, awaiting better weather. Regardless, with the flipping of the calendar page we go from March to April, as the most exciting month in sports – March – gives way to the sleepy, almost punch-drunk beginning of baseball. March was fun in other ways too, most notably for ABA TECHSHOW. I was honored to join Jeff Richardson of iPhone JD, Tom Mighell and Natalie Kelly. It was a great time and a well-received presentation: Take a moment to appreciate the clean slide design & easy animations in the #ABATECHSHOW iOS/Android Apps session. — Randall A. Juip (@rajuip) March 19, 2016 Excited to see how VR might help law students practice for trial classes or moot court in the future. #ABATECHSHOW — Will Harrelson (@willharrelson) March 19, 2016 Anyway, enough about my month, here are my best new apps for lawyers released in March 2016: Multi-Platform: Multi-platform apps begin at the (1:48) mark of the podcast. ProtonMail by Proton Technologies, AG, free (iOS, Android). Even before the Apple v. FBI issue brought the security of mobile devices to the top of the news cycle, this year’s ABA TECHSHOW was already planning on making sure that security and encryption were front and center. As it should – we lawyers have an ethical duty to preserve our clients’ confidential information, and encryption is one of the best ways to do so. However, one of the things that has been roundly lamented is the lack of a good email client containing end-to-end encryption.... read more

10 Best Email Apps to Tame Your Runaway Inbox

Email is everywhere. It’s ubiquitous and universal. And thanks to Smartphones, it’s always with us. The universal “ever-presence” of email makes managing your email accounts not just important, but essential to maintaining even the most basic semblance of organization. Ok, so maybe I’m being a little more dramatic than necessary. However, when I became disillusioned with the stock mail app on my iPhone, I decided to make my personal quest to find a better email app into a much greater adventure – figuring out what makes an email app good, great, or better… and then figuring out which app does it best, on iOS and Android. Here are the 10 Best Email Apps for iOS and Android: Criteria for Selecting the Best Email App: My first task was to figure out what I was really looking for in an email app. I need an app that combines accounts from different services in one place. It turns out that’s called a “Unified Inbox.” A brief search turned up far too many apps for me to investigate, so my review became a two-step process: First, I needed to narrow the list of apps, so I set some basic threshold requirements for any apps I would review. Once I had my list of the best available email apps, I selected what I felt was the most relevant criteria to compare the email apps and determine which was the best. The Basics First, in order to be considered, the app: Must be an email client (i.e. capable of supporting email accounts from different service providers) – this eliminated some pretty cool apps like... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – February 2016

 Download this Episode: Download Audio So we’ve made it through February and into March. Hopefully yours came in like a lamb, and not like the angst-filled El Nino, raging drunk and coked out of his goard, that we’ve been hearing about! Anyway, this is ABA TECHSHOW month. Next week, I have the distinct honor of joining some of the best in legal technology – all of whom are much smarter than I am – to talk about a number of tech-related issues… including the best mobile apps for lawyers! Hope to see you there! Until then… Here are my best new apps for lawyers released in February 2016: Multi-Platform: Multi-platform apps begin at the (2:29) mark of the podcast. Hound by SoundHound, Inc., free (iOS, Android). Do you remember the scene from Back to the Future 2 when Marty shows a couple of kids how amazing he is at a Quick-Draw arcade game? After his “Crack Shot” display, one of the unimpressed kids responds: “You mean you have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy!” So, that’s just one of several predictions that Spielberg’s vision of 2015 might have missed on slightly. But only slightly. The advent of the smartphone has brought hands-free digital assistants into the regular lives of millions. “Hey Siri” has become a part of the American vernacular, despite growing pains. However, competition in the digital assistant area has generally been limited to the services offered by your phone’s OS – Siri, Google Now, and Cortana. Hound is a new digital assistant app that might just signal a changing of the guards in this area.... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – January 2016

Download this Episode: Download Audio Well, what a crazy month January has been! Hopefully everyone made it through ok! This month wasn’t quite as much of a blockbuster month for apps, but there are still plenty of good ones to talk about. Here are my best new apps for lawyers released in January 2016: Multi-Platform: Multi-platform apps begin at the (1:28) mark of the podcast. Outlook by Microsoft Corp., free (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) (Update). Ok, the updates to Outlook across all platforms last month are so significant, I’m not going to waste any space with chit-chat: On iOS and Android devices, you can now schedule or join a Skype call directly from the Outlook app. Your calendar description will automatically include a link to the event, and can access the call directly via the link in their app. Navigation improvements and the three-day view have also been added. Don’t like Outlook’s contacts? You can push your contacts directly to your device’s native contacts app. iOS users are able to create an Outlook calendar widget in the Notification center, so scheduling doesn’t necessarily require opening the app. Additionally, users can now print directly using AirPrint printers, and Outlook is officially 3D Touch compatible. Android users are now able to save files and attachments directly from your inbox and cloud services to your device’s local storage. Even Windows Phone users don’t miss out, with a new Year view and improved email rendering via better image scaling. Google Docs (iOS, Android), Sheets (iOS, Android), Slides (iOS, Android) by Google, Inc., free (Update). Yep, I had to pile these apps all in together. It’s becoming trendy for... read more

Review: FullContact – Intelligent Contact Management

Ever since I became interested in technology for the legal profession, I’ve been looking for two specific types of software that matched my expectations. The first, case management solutions, have been attacked from all angles, and I’m convinced they’ll get it right soon. The second, well, I really want someone to come up with a system that can organize my damn contacts! Something short of a full CRM system (particularly the price point), yet more than what most contact books offered. In the end, I want a contact management system that allows me to keep track of the professional contacts that I develop over my career, with limited peripherals that help with networking. So as I continued on my expedition to find this mystical program, I came across FullContact… Ever since it’s acquisition of the mobile contact app Cobook, FullContact has been getting rave reviews for its contact management system – along with a few million dollars in venture capital funding. So I took it for a month-long test drive, to see how it would work for lawyers. It Helps Me Do… Contact management. Essentially, FullContact helps with two primary components of contact management and address book organization. First, it combines address books from a number of sources, so all of your contacts are in one place. Then, using the information you’ve added to your contacts, FullContact helps you to combine your duplicates and keep your contact information up-to-date. It Helps Me By… FullContact combines various contact books and social media accounts into one list – your “Unified Contacts.” In Unified Contacts, FullContact intelligently merges, de-dupes, and supplements information from public... read more
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