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March 30, 2016 Articles

The Seven Apps Attorneys Absolutely Should Not Live Without

By Patrick Soon and Rebecca Bellow

Here is something to think about: It has only been a little over six years since Apple first launched its App Store. At that time, the most notable titles were applications like Super Monkey Ball, Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D, and Rolando. Who would have thought that just a short time later, there would be over 1 million apps to choose from for iOS, Android, tablets, laptops, desktops, and virtually any mobile device? And who could have imagined that the millions of apps now available would be so integrated in improving our daily lives at home, school, and the office?

One downside of this explosion is that the number of apps to choose from has become overwhelming. This can make it very difficult to find the ideal applications that meet our needs. Most attorneys simply do not have hours of free time to search Google Play or Apple’s App Store. But we have done some of the legwork for you by compiling a list of seven applications that are particularly helpful for lawyers. While some of these apps are not specifically designed for the legal profession, they can nevertheless be of great assistance.

1Password, Version 5(Free upgrade for iOS v.4 owners): Android, iPhone

The recent theft of over 1 billion passwords by Russian hackers has highlighted the need for improved internet security, and this is certainly true for lawyers. Counselors who carelessly access the web not only put their own confidential information at risk, but that of their clients as well. It is therefore vital that attorneys stop using their birthdates, addresses, or pet’s names as passwords, and instead use long, complex codes that are difficult to guess. It is also important to use a different password for every website.

With 1Password, users can generate extremely secure passwords for every service with a click. Then, users only need to remember the master password for 1Password5 itself. Version 5 is a free upgrade for Version 4 owners, and it includes Touch ID, direct Safari integration, and many more new features.

Quip (free): Android, iPhone

Quip allows the user to easily share a to-do list, a document, or a project with others. A team of attorneys can now work together on a draft at the same time without creating chaos. Quip shows the entire history of edits through a single chat-like thread of updates called “diffs.” And because messages show up in real time, a group can communicate directly through the update thread instead of having to separately send emails.

The Quip home screen has an inbox that allows users to see documents that have been shared, as well as any new edits or additions. These features also work offline—such as during a flight—and any edits will sync automatically and seamlessly when users reconnect to the Internet.

Feedly(free): Android, iPhone

Anyone who wants timely, and regularly delivered, content on any subject should use Feedly. This app is a type of RSS feed that provides a method for websites to publish information once and syndicate it automatically among millions of subscribers. An aggregator captures and organizes feeds to simplify the consumption of news. With this app, users can have their favorite news delivered directly to their mobile phone. It is therefore no longer necessary to revisit the same site several times a day, looking for what’s new.

With Feedly, news feeds from a variety of online sources are compiled into a single, customized view, and users can more easily access and share content. This feature can be very useful for attorneys practicing intellectual property law, as IP attorneys will be better able to stay on top of headlines and developments in the tech and entertainment industries.

Hootsuite(Free for up to 3 social profiles): Android, iPhone

With Hootsuite, attorneys are better able to market their services on social media. This app allows users to view and respond to up to three social media sites on a single dashboard for free, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, FourSquare and Instagram. Through such social network integration, users can easily and efficiently track mentions of their personal name or even a law firm’s name in tweets, messages, or conversations. Further, attorneys will be less likely to miss an important inquiry from a potential new client.

The app’s Social Media Analytics tool tracks which marketing efforts are producing results—and which are not. Hootsuite, which recently reached a valuation of $1 billion, has announced that it will also soon allow users to schedule and manage paid media marketing across their channels.

Evernote (free): Android, iPhone

Most attorneys have heard of Evernote by now, but very few practitioners appreciate the full potential of this app to assist in their practice. Though the name suggests it is primarily used for taking notes from scratch, it can actually be used to store and organize virtually any digital media, including photos, voice notes, and online research. For example, instead of using a bookmark, users can capture a whole webpage (or part of a webpage), write notes directly on the page, store it, and retrieve it later.

Evernote’s versatility has made it a sort of hub to which many other services connect. LinkedIn members, for example, can scan a business card with Evernote, enter comments on it, and send it directly to their network. Most importantly, Evernote does not bury information and make it difficult to find. Evernote makes accessing and retrieving files easy with its highly efficient search function.

Fastcase(free for mobile devices): Android, iPhone

While the full version of Fastcase requires a subscription, the mobile application is free. This powerful legal research tool essentially allows users to carry the entire American law library in one place. Users can search by citation, keyword (in Boolean or natural language), or browse entire statute collections. The best results are promoted to the top and include a citation analysis so that users can see which cases are most cited.

The downside of using Fastcase, however, is that it does not Shepardize, and so cannot indicate whether a case is still good law. Nevertheless, this free app is a must-have for attorneys on the go. Twenty-one state bar associations and dozens of other organizations agree and have purchased full-version Fastcase subscriptions for their members.

TripIt (free, $49/year for TripIt Pro): Android, iPhone

For many lawyers, traveling is a necessary part of the job. With TripIt, attorneys can easily organize their travel plans into an itinerary that has all of their trip details in one place. Users simply forward all the confirmation emails for flights, hotels, restaurants and events to [email protected], and TripIt automatically creates an itinerary. A Tripit itinerary includes maps of destinations and airport terminals, and it can be accessed anytime from one’s mobile device. TripIt Pro includes additional features such as alerts for flight delays or cancellations, notification for refund eligibility, auto-sharing, and information about alternative flights.

Keywords: litigation, technology for the litigator, apps for attorneys, smartphone apps

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