Saving time and effort is awesome.
It’s especially awesome when you’re an attorney. Lawyering tends to make the connection between time and money especially explicit, so the more you can do, the more you can earn. Being able to work quickly and efficiently on your phone is a major win.
Whether you want to expedite keeping time, calendaring, or even deposition and court transcripts review on your mobile, these apps are here to help. For all categories, I’ve tried to find either the best or the most popular choice for Android and iPhone users.
Everyone agrees the billable hour is kinda the worst. And yet, like print media, fax machines, and Cher, it inexplicably survives. You’re not going to kill it, so how do you prevent it from killing you?
One feature that sets some timekeeping tools apart is the ability to use multiple timers simultaneously. If you can pause a timer for one project and start another without having to close out and save the first one it saves time when, for instance, a phone call from a client interrupts your work for another client.
The Cyber Advocate has a great list of timekeeping apps for lawyers.
Capterra also has a plethora of time tracking software for your perusal.
Sign up for an account on the CamCard website to sync all your scanned information across all devices. Scanning cards is way easier and faster than manually typing in the information.
iOS and Android. Free.
Sign documents anywhere or get anyone’s signature.
- Upload any PDF or Word doc from your email, Dropbox or camera.
- Sign with your finger.
- Email the signed document, or save it to a free SignNow account.
Works for letters of representation or powers of attorney, or closing a real estate transaction. You can also use it to fill in PDF forms, turn a picture into a PDF, and get signatures from clients online or on their mobile devices.
The iDownload blog has a good list of other options for free and paid business card scanning apps for iPhone and Android.
On Attorney at Work, Heidi Alexander recognizes that most lawyers are still taking notes by hand *shudder*. She recommends the Livescribe 3 smartpen, which captures handwriting and sends it to your phone as searchable text. Exports to other programs as PDF.
Evernote is the king of notetaking apps, and Verge says it’s the best notetaking app for Android. It works on every operating system and syncs automatically between them all. You can type, speak, or photograph your notes. Scan your (or your boss’) handwritten notes and it’ll read the words to make them searchable. Organize notes into notebooks or with tags. It’s actually great for a few tasks on this list, including scanning business cards, dication, and creating to-do lists.
As robust as Evernote is, it can be a little intimidating to learn. MacStories called Drafts “An elegant and automated note-taking app with no equal on iOS.” Drafts is simple and easy. Its user interface mimics email, so you basically already know how to use it. Drafts also makes it super easy to push notes out to social networks and other apps, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Wunderlist is a perfect marriage of simplicity and robustness. Just want a list of items you can check off? Done. Need to set deadlines, add notes, prioritize, and create and label multiple lists? Also possible. The extra features aren’t super intuitive to access, but the UI isn’t a headscratcher either. Doubleclick a list item to add due date and additional information. Drag to reorder lists and list items. It seamlessly syncs between mobile, tablet, and desktop.
Business News Daily calls Google Keep “a highly visual, no-nonsense app for creating notes and to-do lists in a hurry.” I do not know Google Keep’s nonsense quotient from experience. But I will say that since getting badly burned when Google dumped Google Reader, I am loathe to entangle myself again in something that might not last. For those willing to risk everything for love, Google Keep offers voice and photo input options.
Deposition and court transcripts review
- E-mail selections in Excel or PDF with yellow highlights to paralegal, associates or expert witnesses.
- App logs the lawyer’s billable time.
- Time log exportable into Excel or PDF
- Court reporters can upload transcripts.
- Lawyers can upload their own transcripts with upgrade.
Turns out there are lots of ways to have a deposition in your pocket. Mostly via various iPad apps.
iOS, Android. Free.
Court Days allows you to quickly calculate the number of court days, calendar days, weekdays (or a combination) between two dates. You can even make calculations accounting for court holidays particular to your jurisdiction. Email the results from the app.
Jim Calloway recommends Dictate+Connect for capturing voice dictation. It turns your phone into a handheld recorder which can go for 24-hours straight. Rewind and overwrite your dictation in the app. Instantly send the sound file to a transcriber or to anyone as a verbal memo. Record meetings with voice-activation. Free version allows you to test the apps with sound files limited to 30 seconds.
Brian Focht recommends Negotiation 360º for actually helping you improve your negotiating skills. Created by Harvard Business School professor Michael Wheeler, Negotiation 360º seeks to make you a better negotiator. It records and analyzes data on your negotiations, including self-evaluations. It’s an analytics tool for discovering your strengths and problem-solving style, and finding where you can improve your next negotiation.
According to Robert Ambrogi’s description, Picture It Settled uses predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and deep data to predict the course and outcome of a negotiation, down to the time and amount of the settlement. The app uses data from thousands of cases to predict the outcome of negotiation with “a high degree of accuracy.”
Alright, what apps did I miss? What can you not live without? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for Law Practice Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Law Practice Management software solutions.