Top 10 Apps for the Productive Lawyer

Vol. 16 No. 3

By

Vicki Steiner is with the UCLA School of Law, Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library. She can be contacted at steiner@law.ucla.edu.

Congratulations, young lawyers, on passing the bar exam and (hopefully) landing a great first job! After the celebratory dust settles and the realities of billable hours, client demands for instant accessibility, and filing deadlines come sharply into focus, how will you manage these demands on your time? Let’s talk apps.

Since the 2008 launch of the iTunes App Store, apps have become increasingly popular and relevant to all aspects of our daily lives, including the practice of law. Among the more than 500,000 apps that populate the iTunes App Store are apps for legal research, apps for legal news, apps for time management, and even apps for jury selection. Legal apps are not, of course, limited to Apple iOS devices. Legal apps appear in the app stores for Android devices and for BlackBerry devices—albeit to a significantly lesser extent.

The following list features a selection of iOS apps that can help lawyers effectively manage their time and increase their productivity. For a device-agnostic selection, please visit Mobile Applications for Law Students and Lawyers at http://libguides.law.ucla.edu/mobilelegalapps.

1.             Fastcase

While the iPad app for WestlawNext is stunning and the iPhone app for LexisNexis delivers the utility of Shepard’s, the bottom line is that Fastcase offers a legal-research app that not only is free, but easy to use. The Fastcase app provides access to U.S. cases and statutes, and searches may be performed using citations, phrases, or keywords. Free, iTunes

2.             Nolo’s Plain English Law Dictionary

A great—and free—alternative to the pricey Black’s Law Dictionary app, which currently sells for $54.99. Users may browse definitions by topic and search terms and definitions using keywords.
Free, iTunes and android market

3.             ABA Journal

A terrific app that provides breaking legal news and articles. Within the app, users may share articles of interest with various social networks, bookmark content to read later, browse the contents of the latest issue, and browse the contents of featured blawgs. Free, iTunes

4.             Court Days

Court Days helps lawyers calculate the number of court days or calendar days (or both) before or after a given date. Users can create custom court holidays, such as court furlough days that otherwise would not appear on a calendar. $0.99, iTunes

5.             Time Master + Billing

This app is a handy time-keeping app that is perfect for lawyers who often work out-of-pocket. The app allows users to track time by start, stop, and/or by duration, keep multiple running timers, organize time records by client, and track expenses. 
$9.99, iTunes

6.             Evernote

An award-winning app that lets users take notes, snapshots, and recordings on websites, lectures, meetings, and business cards. Notes and reminders are easily searchable on your device or desktop when the device is synchronized to the desktop. Free, iTunes, android market, and blackberry app world

7.             Dropbox

Another go-to productivity app, Dropbox serves as a cloud-based, shareable, virtual file system. The app allows users to view documents, spreadsheets, presentations, videos, and photos, and export files to other devices. A Dropbox account is required, but if you do not have one, the app will allow you to create one for free. Free, iTunes and android market

8.             Dragon Dictation

An easy-to-use voice recognition app that allows you to dictate messages using your device and update your status on social networks. Free, iTunes and blackberry app world

9.             Quickoffice Pro HD

The go-to app for mobile office productivity that allows you to easily edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents and offers integrated access to multiple cloud services, MobileMe, Dropbox, Google Docs, and Box.net. $19.99, iTunes; $14.99, android market

10.          AppAdvice

A great app that helps owners of iOS devices keep up to date on new apps, special offers for discounted and free apps, and news about iOS devices. $1.99, iTunes

Vicki Steiner is with the UCLA School of Law, Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library. She can be contacted at steiner@law.ucla.edu.

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