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While it is facing some stiff competition, the BlackBerry is still the most popular smartphone for lawyers. There are thousands of BlackBerry apps, including a broad selection of lawyer-specific apps that can help boost productivity. Here are some of our favorites
Cortado Flight Mode. Get your BlackBerry ready for takeoff with just one click. Turn this app on and it downloads all e-mail texts that have not yet been completely retrieved, and then turns off your wireless connections. This puts all your e-mails in their full length at your disposal during flight so you can effectively use the time to work. After landing, the deactivated connections are just as easily reestablished.
Google Apps. Google offers a number of nifty apps for BlackBerry users.
Documents To Go . On top of letting you view PDF files, this app from DataViz turns your BlackBerry into a mini-computer by allowing you to view, edit and create Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.
TwitterBerry and UberTwitter. These are both decent tools for keeping up with the tweets and sending a few of your own.
RememberTheMilk. This is an intuitive task manager that you can customize with lists, tags and notes—it just makes managing tasks fun. Collaborate with others (your spouse or significant other) and receive reminders via e-mail, SMS or instant message. (All major IM services are supported.)
Instango. Instango gives you free access to all popular IM networks, so you can take your instant messaging buddies with you. Simply enter your GoogleTalk, ICQ, AIM, MSN, Yahoo, QQ, Gadu-Gadu or XMPP/Jabber credentials and Instango will show all your buddies on these networks in its contact list.
Vlingo. This voice command app gives you hands-free voice control. You can instantly send a text or e-mail message, call a friend, search the Web, update your Facebook or Twitter status or create a “note to self” by simply speaking into your smartphone. Vlingo Everywhere, a new feature of Vlingo 4.0, lets you use your voice to add text anywhere you’d normally type, for example, when instant messaging, making calendar entries, adding contacts or getting directions.
The Law Pod Federal Rules series. This app offers full searchable copies of the federal rules (Civil, Criminal, Appellate, Bankruptcy and Evidence). Can anyone remember carrying around an actual set of the rules in book form?
Pandora Internet Radio. Listen to great music on your mobile phone in the car, at the gym, on the train—wherever and whenever.
Verizon VZ Navigator. Here’s the frugal lawyer’s GPS. No, it’s not quite the real thing, but it’s reasonably close.
Timekeeping tools. These are all great options for tracking your time when you are on the road:
UPS Mobile. This app lets you track your courier packages, even when you are moving around as much as they are.
Evernote. Evernote is an amazing way to capture and save all your ideas and the things you see or read in one place on the Web so you can easily find them all from any computer or device you use—and it’s all for free. Wow!
Viigo. Bring the world to your BlackBerry. If information is out there on the Web, Viigo will collect and download it to your BlackBerry. The list goes on and on—weather; sports; business and finance; local interest; shopping; social networks; entertainment; flights and travel; audio and podcasts and more.
CarFinder. Yes, just because sometimes you can’t remember where you parked.
BlackBerry App World. You can download this at www.blackberry.com/appworld to get access to an entire catalog of all the more popular BlackBerry apps. Though not on the scale of the Apple Apps store, there’s plenty here for BlackBerry addicts.
Dan Pinnington is Director of practicePRO for LAWPRO, where he helps lawyers avoid legal malpractice claims. He blogs at AvoidAClaim.com.
Toby Brown leads the Business Development & Alternative Fee Arrangements initiative at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP.