You received exactly what you’d asked for this holiday season and now you’re holding a shiny new iPad in your hands. Now what? How do you figure out which apps to download to help to make you a more effective, efficient lawyer? Well, you’re in luck! Get started by downloading the 6 apps suggested below:
First, purchase PDF Expert ($9.99). It’s my favorite app for PDF annotation and storage. Using this app, you can easily import documents from many sources, including email attachments, your computer’s hard drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive and GoogleDocs. You can import a range of file types, including iWork, MS Office, Power Point, text files, images, music and video files and more.
Then, using this app you can fill in forms, add typewritten text in any number of fonts and colors, or insert handwritten text into documents. You can also mark up documents by highlighting text or striking through words.
Fastcase is another great app. This free app includes cases and statutes from all 50 states and the federal government and allows you to conduct free legal research on the fly, even if you don’t have a Fastcase subscription.
For a mobile scanner, consider the Scanner Pro app ($2.99). It allows you to use your iPad’s camera to capture an image of the document, then converts it into a PDF which you can then email or upload into any number of integrated online storage services.
Every lawyer needs a “to-do” app and Any.DO is a great choice. This free app is user-friendly and versatile and is flexible enough to fit into most workflows. It’s available as a browser extension for Chrome and other Web browsers as well as an iPad app. You can add tasks via the Web interface or the smartphone app, and can even share them with others if necessary.
But what sets it apart is the way that it integrates with your smartphone and with Gmail. So, if you add a task using your smartphone and the app will automatically include a link to any contact information stored on your phone relating to that person. The Web browser extension integrates with Gmail, prompting you to add an email-related task at the end of each email. The task you create is then linked to the email, so that you can quickly return to the email, should you need to do so in the future. Finally, the developers recently came out with a great, free calendar app, Cal, that integrates with Any.DO and GCal or your native iOS calendar.
Next, download Google Now. This free app is Google’s intelligent personal assistant that is designed to provide you with the information most relevant to your daily life, right on your smartphone. Like Siri, Apple’s personal assistant, the Google Now app responds to voice commands and also provides “information cards” catered to your needs, based on your interaction with your phone. The information is gleaned from your phone’s GPS data and the data that Google has collected regarding your search history. It then personalizes its results and predicts which “information cards” will be most useful to you.
And last but not least, don’t forget about law practice management apps. Most reputable Web-based law practice management companies offer iPad (and iPhone) apps which provide lawyers with 24/7 access to their firm’s documents, client files, contact information and more. And, some, such as MyCase’s app (the company for which I work), even offer a client-facing app which allows clients to securely communicate with their lawyers and access all of their case-related information as well.
So there you have it — a great list of apps to get you started. Download a few of them and see how much your new iDevice helps you to streamline your law practice and improve your productivity in 2014!
Nicole Black is a director at MyCase.com, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She is also of counsel to Fiandach & Fiandach in Rochester and is a GigaOM Pro analyst. She is the author of the ABA book “Cloud Computing for Lawyers,” coauthors the ABA book “Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier,” and co-authors “Criminal Law in New York,” a West-Thomson treatise. She speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes three legal blogs and can be reached at [email protected].