Let’s face it - family lawyers are “mobile lawyers.” We are typically not the type of attorneys who sit in an office drafting lengthy contracts all day; rather, we are in meetings, mediation, court, arguing motions, preparing discovery, negotiating complex parenting plans, or holding the hands of a distraught client. We must be mobile. It is not always practical to carry a laptop or casefile to every place we go. At the same time, however, we need to remain on top of our work, or else the volume of unanswered emails alone will cripple us. Family lawyers need to harness the power of mobile devices - tablets, smartphones, and even smart watches to be efficient.
You can use your mobile devices as part of your practice in a variety of ways
- Law Practice Management.
- Enter your time at the end of a long day on your cell phone. Most time keeping programs easily provide for this.
- Scan a stipulation drafted by a mediator at the courthouse before it is filed with the clerk using a scanner application, such as Adobe or Genius Scan.
- Keep your firm’s management in tip-top shape while on the go.
- Check out Readdle, Evernote, and the apps for Clio and MyCase.
- Mobile Access.
- If you save your case files to the Cloud, you will be able to access them from your mobile device.
- If you need to read that great ABA book on premarital agreements, why not buy it as an ebook?
- If you need to log in to your court’s e-filing to check on the status of that motion your paralegal submitted, you can do that and more.
- Try the Kindle app, iBooks, DropBox, and iManage.
- Bring a preloaded tablet to court for you and one for your client, so both can follow along with your exhibits and your opening statement.
- Bring copies of all of your disclosures and editable budget forms to your mediation to make the most of your time.
- Keep Task Lists that sync across every device you own, so you can be sure to meet all of your deadlines no matter where you are.
- Look into Things-3, Remember the Milk, the iPad Pro, and GoodNotes.
- E-mail, text message, WhatsApp, or even Zoom, Skype, or Teams - you can stay connected to your staff and your clients on the go.
- Try WhatsApp, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the iPhone email app
Things you need to consider
- Security, Security, Security.
- Be wary of logging into public WiFi where your device may be susceptible to hacking by others also logged in.
- Install antivirus software and a VPN on your mobile device to provide proper protections.
- Ensure everything is password protected by a long (more than 4-digit) password.
- Use a password saver app. Make sure you have a unique password to access it.
- Always update your apps and operating systems on every device whenever a new version is available.
- Look into 1Password, Dashlane and Norton 360
- Confidentiality & Ethics. Do not throw caution to the wind. Who among us has not accidentally hit Reply All in an email chain when that was not the intended result? Be doubly cautious when responding to correspondence on your phone or mobile device. The emails may be organized differently and it may be easier to overlook content or respond to unintended recipients. On the upside, tablets are often easier to read than looking at text on a computer, so your eye strain may not be as pronounced! Consider an external keyboard for easier typing, as well as your mobile device’s voice recognition software.
- Making the most of the mobile devices. It’s great to have mobile devices, but to make them work for you in the best way possible, also look into the tools that go with them.
- Use a stylus, good headphones, or a bluetooth keyboard.
- Try mirroring images onto a dual monitor. But, with more devices also comes more bandwidth needs - look into a WiFi booster for your home or office, a WiFi mesh to ensure high quality connectivity, or a cellular signal booster (contact your cellular carrier first).
- Look into an Apple pencil, an Adonit Jot stylus, Apple Airpods, Duet Display, the Netgear Orbi Mesh and the Eero Pro Mesh.
Until next month’s Tech Talk Corner, you can find us at www.techtalklaw.com and find loads of tech resources and our webinar series. Please reach out to us so we can have a dialogue about our changing profession.
Melissa is a family lawyer in Washington, D.C. and can be found at www.mkfamily.law. Brian is a family lawyer in Southern Florida and can be found at www.ybkkaw.com.
Start Your Section Membership Today!
Join the ABA's Section of Family Law and gain value and insight in your career, no matter your experience level. Signing up is easy and grants you member-only access to the latest news, information, and thinking.