The mobile revolution changed the way we work and interact with each other. It also has provided lawyers with plenty of new, useful tools for their mobile devices. In this week’s article, we have a look at some interesting apps for lawyers. We’ll first focus on specifically legal apps, and then continue with more general apps that lawyers are also using to increase their productivity. If there are specific ones that stand out, we’ll mention them by name.
Legal Case Management Software
Virtually all major legal case management software packages offer apps for mobile devices. Typically, these apps do not offer the full functionality of the package, but rather focus on the most commonly used actions: they provide access to case files, contacts, agendas, etc.
Many publishers of legal documentation offer apps and/or mobile access to their information. The same applies to some legal dictionaries.
If, as a lawyer, you do a lot of litigation, there is an app that can be used in court that is specifically designed to organize, annotate, and present evidence. TrialPad, www.litsoftware.com/trialpad/, includes powerful presentation tools that call out sections of documents, highlight text, create side-by-side document comparisons You can edit and show video clips, add exhibit stickers to documents, search document text, etc. (iOS devices only).
Other Apps to increase productivity
Apart from the specifically legal apps, there also are other apps that are very useful for lawyers. These are some of the most commonly used ones, arranged by the purpose of the app. Most of these apps store your information in the cloud, so it is available anywhere, at any time, and synchs between devices in real time.
Evernote (evernote.com) and Microsoft’s OneNote (www.onenote.com) are the two apps that are most used for taking notes. Both offer excellent tools to organize, search and retrieve notes, and are available in different versions: web version, desktop applications, mobile apps.
For those who prefer to take handwritten notes, there even are apps for that, though most of them are available for iOS devices only.
PDF Annotation etc.
There are dozens of apps available that allow you to view and annotate PDF documents on your mobile device. Most offer the same core functionalities (view, annotate, highlight).
One app that isn’t specifically designed for legal research, but that is frequently used to that purpose, is Feedly, feedly.com/i/welcome. It allows you to keep track and organize content and documentation, to add your comments, and to share both (information and comments) with others. (Slack, mentioned further down, also could be used for legal research).
Lawyers often dictate texts, and there are plenty of apps for that, too. They largely fall in one of two groups: they can either just record what you’re saying, or they can convert speech to text, in which case they’re usually language dependent.
Messaging / Communication
One of the most used apps for messaging and communication is Skype (www.skype.com). The free version allows video conferencing for up to 10 simultaneous users. Also commonly used, but only available for iOS devices, is FaceTime.
In a previous article, we pointed out that a lot of communication between lawyers and their customers (and suppliers) happens through Social Media: Facebook / Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Also worth having a look at, is Slack (slack.com): it calls itself a messaging app for teams and collaboration. You can have discussions, share documents, etc. It can also be used for research.
There are many reasons to store information in the cloud: as a backup, to be accessible anywhere at any time, on multiple devices with real-time synchronization, etc. All major cloud storage service providers have apps for mobile devices: Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.
If you are using legal case management software, you probably won’t need a separate app to manage your tasks, as it will be included in the package. If it is not, you may want to have a look at Todoist, todoist.com.
And finally, there is Zapier, zapier.com/. If you perform certain tasks routinely, then there’s a chance Zapier can automate that process for you. It connects your apps and automates workflows. Zapier can move info between your web apps automatically.