Best New Apps for Lawyers – March 2015

Well, the Madness of March has come and gone. I’m sure most of you, like me, had your brackets obliterated early on (much appreciated, Iowa State and Virginia), and only the random guy from Wisconsin in your office is even getting points for the championship game. In addition, it was also another great month for apps. I had to leave off several pretty cool apps. Here are my best new apps for lawyers released in March 2015: Multi-Platform: Caliber by Tiplinks, Inc. (iOS, Android), free. Technically, Caliber is not a new app. It was released last year, and this version is technically Caliber 2.0. But Caliber IS a new app, completely redesigned, and definitely worthwhile. And the updated version seems as though it was designed with attorneys in mind. Caliber is a contacts app that connects with your LinkedIn profile (the most popular social network for lawyers by far), and imports your contacts. Once that’s done, Caliber asks you for your interests, and begins suggesting relevant professionals you might want to connect with. What happens next really should be a lesson for LinkedIn. If the person you want to connect with has Caliber, the invitation will appear in the app. If not, it’ll go through LinkedIn. If they respond, you get added to their contacts. Caliber even offers a limited text system that many will find more convenient than LinkedIn’s InMail. by Infinite Takes, LLC (iOS, Android), free. Unless you either live under a rock or spent the last month in depositions in construction defect cases (like me), you’ve by now heard about the app sensation Meerkat. Although there’s a decent... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – February 2015

Hopefully everyone was able to get through that miserable February weather… just in time for March to enter like a lion, or whatever that proverb says. We’re expecting both temperatures in the 70s and snow this week in North Carolina, so hopefully it’s crazy everywhere! Fortunately, February marked the second month in a row of some pretty excellent apps to talk about. So, without further ado… Here are my best new apps for lawyers released in February 2015: Multi-Platform: IF Do Button (iOS, Android), Do Camera (iOS, Android), Do Note (iOS, Android) by IFTTT, free. One of the best automation platforms available, IFTTT has been helping you organize your life for a while now – at least if you’re like me. Recently, they’ve decided to go through an entire re-branding of their system, taking the “If-This-Then=That” and making it into separate apps for convenience. Now, using three separate apps, the team at IF wants to make it a bit easier to operate some of the most frequently used functions. Using the Do Button, you’re able to trigger one of a significant number of actions based on a particular input, like controlling your smart light system at home. Do Camera, as should be painfully obvious, triggers events based on taking pictures on your phone. Do Note triggers many of the note-taking features, such as copying to Evernote or Pocket – a feature I use daily to collect my resources for these very monthly new app posts! It’s one of the best tools on the market, so if you’re not using it yet, you should really get to it! iOS: Teleprompter... read more

The Best New Apps for Lawyers – January 2015

February has arrived! Anyone else really confused as to why the Seahawks decided to pass the ball on 2nd and goal from the 1 yard line? Other than Cris Collinsworth, who was apparently even more baffled by the call than I was. Anyway, another month has passed, and a whole new slate of apps have been released. And when I say a whole new slate, I mean a WHOLE new slate. As in, so many that I had to leave a bunch of good apps off the list, like the new apps FullContact, Timeline, and Bluenote, which I nevertheless highly recommend checking out. Here are my best new apps for lawyers released in January 2015: Multi-Platform: Facebook at Work by Facebook, Inc., free (iOS, Android). Well, it’s not necessarily the best start for quite an impressive list of new apps, but there’s no denying that when Facebook releases a whole new system for enterprise social networking, it needs to be discussed. Facebook at Work wants to help you, well, Facebook at Work. If your company utilizes an enterprise communication system (meaning you’re able to send instant messages to your co-workers), then Facebook hopes you’ll consider trying this new offering. Designed with a news feed for staying up-to-date with the goings-on of your company, the best feature is probably the groups settings, allowing for collaboration between any number of your co-workers. I personally wonder whether Facebook at Work or Google Hangouts will win this battle. Any thoughts? Comment below! Starlike by AOL, Inc., free (iOS, Android). Most people may not think that being able to follow feeds from multiple social... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – December 2014

A new year is upon us! As I write this, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is going strong in Las Vegas, and soon you’ll be hearing all about the devices, software, and other tech that will drive the future of our world! However, it’s also important to know about the present. What can you do NOW with the devices you have NOW. In other words, what are the best apps out there? These are my Best New Apps for Lawyers – December 2014: Multi-Platform: MSN Money by Microsoft Corp., free (iOS and Android). While it’s not the sexiest part of being an attorney, keeping track of your finances is a must. There are hundreds of apps and systems available, but few have the established clout of Microsoft Money. Keep your entire financial portfolio at your fingertips, for free. With updates about stock, financial, and commodities markets, you’ll always be up-to-date. Tools like a tip calculator (for those of you who need it), mortgage calculator, retirement fund guides, and more give you everything you need to manage your finances. Sync with your established version of Microsoft Money for quick access to all of your financial information. TurboTax by Intuit, Inc., free (iOS and Android). It’s not sexy, I know. But it’s necessary, and it’s tax season. In the past, I’ve been somewhat critical of Intuit, Inc.’s absurd lobbying in opposition to free online filing of tax returns, but even I have to admit that this year’s offering is nice. Simply snap a photo of your W2 with the app, and TurboTax takes care of the rest. Allowing you to share... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – November 2014

Have you finished digesting your Thanksgiving turkey? Did you get everything you were supposed to get on Black Friday? Have you nursed those wounds from the stampede? Good! It’s December now, so it’s time to take a look back at the best apps for lawyers from this past month. These are my Best New Apps for Lawyers – November 2014: Multi-Platform: Facebook Groups by Facebook, Inc., free (iOS, Android). That’s right, Facebook has come out with another app! Facebook’s Groups function, similar to groups features in other social media apps, allows people to post and share content exclusive to the group. Unlike Facebook’s Messenger app, which is no longer available in Facebook’s mobile app, Groups are still accessible. The new Facebook Groups App is designed to allow you to “share faster and more easily” with the members of your groups. In the standard Facebook app, group interactions are a bit buried and difficult to use amid the other functionality. View all of your groups right from the main page, listed by most recent interactions, or create new groups. For attorneys who rely on collaboration with online communities, this app can really save you time. iOS: TranscriptPad 2.0 by LIT Software, $89.99. LIT Software, makers of the incredibly popular TrialPad app, have completely overhauled their companion app, TranscriptPad. Designed to put your depositions all in one place on your iPad, TranscriptPad takes an electronic transcript reader and adds annotation tools that typically required a highlighter, numerous post-it notes, and a large box for hauling massive deposition transcripts. The key upgrade in 2.0 is based on the concept that efficiency is key. After... read more

Review: Ravel Law – Legal Research for the 21st Century

Ever been frustrated by legal research? Ha, just kidding. If you’ve ever performed legal research, you know that there is no “perfect” system. If you’re like me, you’ve identified about 100 things that you’d like to be able to do with legal research, but can’t (at least without a massive learning curve or 20 click-throughs). Moreover, you just KNOW that the system of typing in keyword searches and sifting through the results is hugely inefficient. If you’re not familiar with the interesting tech developments going on at Stanford University’s School of Law, you should really check it out. One of those projects recently spun out on its own: Ravel Law. Ravel Law describes itself as “a new legal search, analytics, and visualization platform” for legal research. Using visualization tools unlike anything offered by the traditional legal research tools, Ravel Law wants to change the way you do research. Recently, I had the opportunity to take Ravel Law for a test toast. It Helps Me Do… Legal Research and analysis. Ravel Law’s system can best be described as a new way to present legal research. However, there’s no escaping the fact that legal research platforms like Westlaw Next and Lexis Advanced all have significant learning curves. Moreover, there is a process that we have all become accustomed to: enter search terms, get a list of cases. Ravel Law, to their credit, did not mess with this formula. However, beyond that simple formula, what Ravel Law does will blow your mind. It Helps Me By… Visualizing my legal research, and putting important information in prominent locations. You enter your search terms,... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – October 2014

Fall is in the air! The leaves are changing color, a cool wind is blowing, and they’ve added pumpkin spice to everything you never wanted to taste like pumpkin. The past month has been a flurry of activity for tech companies like Apple, Samsung, and Amazon.  New product launches usually slow the introduction of new apps so developers can match them to the new products, but October still saw some excellent new additions. These are my Best New Apps for Lawyers – October 2014: Multi-Platform: Inbox by Gmail by Google, Inc., free (iOS, Android). Inbox is Google’s newest entry into the email department. But Google has Gmail, right? Depends on how successful Inbox is, according to most of the experts. You have to request an invite, so before you do, what will you be getting? Inbox bundles similar emails so that you can review them all at once. Get highlights of each of your emails without opening them, just in case you’re REALLY busy.  What can you do with your highlights? Check in for flights, see photos, and even see the shipping information for your purchases.  You’re even able to set reminders right from your emails, and then snooze those reminders when necessary. Is that enough to replace Gmail? We’ll see. iOS: Slideshare Presentations by Linkedin Corp., free. Slideshare is the largest online repository of electronic slideshows. Need some help on a topic you want to present about? Want more information from experts in your field? Odds are, there’s a presentation on Slideshare to help you out. Download and upload presentations on any topic, from many different types of... read more

Review: Rocket Matter for iPad

I’ve long been a huge fan of the cloud-based practice management services, even though I have been critical of their offerings.  It’s criticism offered with love, because I don’t need any proof that they’re working to improve their products. With enterprise products like Pro Law or Amicus Attorney, you have to wait for the next version before you know whether your criticism has actually been heard.  With the cloud-based services, the response to your criticism may be just an update away. One area that all of the cloud services have recognized has been providing mobile access to their services.  Clio has a phenomenal iPhone (and now Android) app, but it’s designed for the phone.  While it has some features that I do like on my iPad, in reality, I’m better off using the web version (which is totally fine!). Rocket Matter, on the other hand, has decided to take advantage of the unique platform opportunities offered by the iPad, and customized an app taking full advantage of it. Recognizing that the major advantage that a tablet has over a smartphone is size, the Rocket Matter app has created a platform that provides a ton of information on one screen – which couldn’t be done effectively on a phone – while making sure it remains optimized for a touch-screen system that, despite its strengths, just isn’t the same as your desktop computer. The results are impressive. It Helps Me Do… Law practice management on the go. First, I should make this clear: this is NOT a fully-functioning, independent practice management system.  This app is intended to be used as a... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – August & September 2014

Fall is in the air!  Unfortunately, that means irritating and unstoppable campaign ads are on TV.  Even YouTube is sporting some annoying Americans for Prosperity ads, which just don’t seem appropriate right before a Beyonce music video.  Oh well.  At least there’s football (kind of).  And, of course, new apps. These are my Best New Apps for Lawyers – August & September 2014: iOS: PromptSmart by PromptSmart, $9.99. One of the biggest complaints with all previous attempts to use the iPad as a teleprompter was that the apps failed to allow for the fact that speeches rarely go at one speed.  While you’re presenting, you need to take a breath to let a major point sink in, turn to your slides to identify an important point, or simply pause to inform your audience that you KNOW they’re either sleeping or playing video games (this is particularly important in law school classrooms).  PromptSmart has not only solved that issue, they’ve got a patent pending on their solution! Welcome to voice-responsive teleprompting.  PromptSmart will actually follow your presentation, word-for-word, and scroll to the next part of your speech accordingly.  Don’t like fully scripted speeches?  Great, because PromptSmart comes with a notecard mode perfect for tracking key points in your presentation.  Seem too good to be true? Check out a video demonstration. Lockdown Two Factor Authentication by Cory Bohon, $3.99. Maybe it’s because I wish I was still at the 2014 Clio Cloud Conference, where I gave a presentation on Law Firms living in a BYOD World (a primer on the necessity of a BYOD Policy in law firms), but this set... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – July 2014

Well, summer has been in full swing, with world events (ok, my actual day job and the whole “planning a wedding” thing really) drawing my attention away from blogging. I intend to rectify that as the weather cools down, and my wedding planning concludes. However, I couldn’t possibly go without keeping y’all posted on the newest apps available! These are my Best New Apps for Lawyers – July 2014: Multi-Platform: Facebook Messenger by Facebook, Inc., free (iOS, Android). Yeah, I know, this isn’t some great new app that every lawyer needs to have because it’s new and fresh. Nope, it’s the app everyone needs to have because Facebook decided they wanted to publish an app that everyone needed to have. Quite a simple business plan, really… (once you’ve gotten past the whole “inventing a once in a generation product” part, that is…) The real reason? Well, Facebook has permanently separated your messenger from your Facebook app. This is part of what appears to be a number of features Facebook will rip out of their app and only allow you to use in a separate, stand-alone app. However, until we all decide to give MySpace another look, whatever Facebook does impacts pretty much everyone’s daily life. On the plus side, it’s an instant messenger service that’s independent of your phone’s minutes. It’s a video phone for those who don’t like FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangouts. It’s a trading hub for photos and videos. Oh, and if you’re on WiFi, it’ll only cost you the price of a full charge for your battery to use! Wiper Messenger by Wiper, Inc., free (iOS, Android) Ok, I realize... read more
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