Tag Archives: iPhone

Do Lawyers Need The iPhone 5S? Look At These New Legal Apps & Decide

This week, Apple announced the new features and selling price of the iPhone 5S and 5C.

Equipped with a newer, faster chip to provide desktop computer-esque performance, an improved camera, and a fingerprint security scanner, Apple’s senior vice president, Phil Schiller, claims the 5S is the “most forward-thinking phone perhaps anyone has ever made,” according to the Telegraph.

Now, instead of remembering four numbers (which, let’s face it, was just your birthdate) the circle button that has traditionally served as the iPhone’s home button will now work as a fingerprint sensor, called Touch ID (I guess Apple lost the trademark battle for iTouchID).

The iPhone 5C is a cheaper version of the iPhone 5S. Both are available in a variety of colors, and both have prices that will make you grown as loudly as the stock market. Right after the unveiling, Apple’s stock price declined. Why? Investors—along with consumers—were unhappy about the price.

“The timing of this launch is crucial as the industry is getting close to the end of the third financial quarter and the iPhone’s performance during this period has been largely below expectations, particularly in China where the growth rate is falling rapidly,” said Malik Saadi, analyst at Informa, said to the Telegraph.

“It is becoming obvious that Apple can no longer afford to address the whole world as a single market for its iPhone.”

The iPhone 5S will set you back $649 or £549 for 16G. Along with the additional power, customers will receive additional battery life.

Whatever your opinion on the new iPhone, you don’t need an upgrade to enjoy its mobile apps. Lawyers have been making the switch from Blackberry to iPhone in recent years, and here are a few reasons why:

  • The ABA Journal is free on the iPhone and iPod Touch.
  • The American Lawyer is free on the iPhone and iPad.
  • California lawyers can download California+ app for $4.99 to get detailed information about all members of the California legislature.
  • Cliff Maier of Waffle Turtle Software sells several iPhone legal reference apps for Federal Rules and various state statutes (including California and New York) at affordable download prices ranging from $0.99 to $8.99.
  • Courtroom Objections app is only available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, so lawyers can review lists of common objections to admissibility and objections to form on the go and on the spot. Select from categories like, “authentication” under “Objections to Admissibility,” and see suggested language for and an explanation of the objection. Then click “Rule” to view the relevant rule of evidence.
  • Lawyers make use of LawBox for iOS devices, a legal reference app that provides access to the text of the United States Code and state statutes from Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas.
  • Smart Dockets app by American Legalnet Inc. is a new legal calendaring app for the iPhone and iPad that helps you to calculate dates and deadlines using court rules…. for free.
  • TrialEvidence is an app available for iOS devices. This reference tool helps attorneys review common courtroom evidentiary foundations used to admit items into evidence. 

To see more legal apps, see UCLA’s School of Law website’s complete guide.

In sum, to get these great apps and more, you don’t need the new iPhone. But, to get these great new colors… well… that part’s up to you.

-WB

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Law Firm Security In The Age Of Technology–Human Error & Some Things That Never Change…

Security is on the minds of Americans these days. And, it seems, at least one law firm has developed paranoia.

King & Spalding announced to its employees this week that private e-mail will no longer be accessible at work. And, in the event firm network blocking measures are inadequate, employees have been advice not to open personal email accounts from a firm computer, according to a King & Spalding e-mail released by Above The Law Blog.

“The firm’s internal security experts, as well as our outside security experts, have advised us that accessing Personal Email Accounts from firm computers creates a significant security risk,” the widely-circulated e-mail states.

“The firm has installed a wireless network called ‘ksmobile’ in each office. This wireless network is reserved for K&S personnel (not clients or visitors who should be directed to the ksguest network), is a direct route to the Internet, and is appropriately sized to accommodate the many personal devices that are being used by K&S personnel.”

So, although checking personal e-mail on firm computers is prohibited, responsible and irresponsible Internet browsing is permitted on mobile devises, like smartphones. With network firewalls and digital security measures improving day-to-day, some wonder if this announcement isn’t a bit technologically too late.

However, what any number of firewalls, complex passwords, and e-mail prohibitions can’t solve is human idiocy.

Seriously.

“There’s no device known to mankind that will prevent people from being idiots,” Mark Rasch, director of network security and privacy consulting for Falls Church, Virginia-based Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), said to Bloomberg.

Rasch is responding to an experiment conducted by The U.S. Department of Homeland Security where, in order to determine how easy it was for hackers to manipulate employees or gain access to computer systems, Homeland Security employees secretly dropped computer discs and USB thumb drives in the parking lots of government buildings and private contractors.

Not only did workers pick up those devises, but 60 percent of them plugged in the USB drives and inserted the discs into their office computers. If the devise displayed an official logo, 90 percent of workers installed the drive.

It turns out, curiosity does kill the cat—or, rather, scrambles the cat’s computer screen, steals its social security number, and swipes its confidential data through viruses, clandestine computer programming, and general digital mayhem, describes The Center For Competitive Management (C4CM)’s law blog.

“The test showed something computer security experts have long known: Humans are the weak link in the fight to secure networks against sophisticated hackers,” reports Bloomberg.

And, because 92 percent of lawyers agreed that email was the primary function of their smartphone in an ABA Legal Technology Resource Center survey, perhaps King & Spalding’s reaction isn’t as misguided as first believed. Accessing personal e-mails from a smartphone, according to participants, was more important than making a call, which goes to show how frequently lawyers rely on electronic communication, concludes an article about attorney mobile phone use.

Coupled with curiosity, perhaps law firms should consider even more stringent Internet policies.

It’s surprising how many liabilities and issues accompany Internet access in the office. And, smartphones open up an additional can of worms for curious cats.

Write a smartphone policy that addresses:

  • Handing data breeches
  • Use of company phones outside work
  • Wage and hour compliance
  • Text, talk driving issues
  • Text harassment
  • GPS tracking
  • Lost devices
  • Etiquette
  • Employee productivity
  • Photography in and out of the office

If you’re unsure how to draft a policy, including what kind of language and tone to use, take C4CM’s audio conference on crafting a bulletproof workplace policy for smartphones.

In the end, it’s important to write and implement a concrete and clear policy regarding Internet access, e-mail, and mobile phones. It’s important to highlight the security risks and repercussions for both employees and clients.

Make sure your employees know how to safely navigate the world wide web, only then will law firm managers have piece of mind when engaging in legal technology and software.

Remember, the “smart” in smartphone refers to requirements of the user, not the gadget.

-WB

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Six Reasons Why You Should Update Your Website

Almost a month after the iPhone 5 was released, customers remain impressed with the numerous upgrades to the phone’s touch screen, light weight, and high speed.

But, even such a well-received product has its flaws.

For example, critics instantly seized the opportunity to censure Apple’s foray in the navigation app market—iMaps. The search function is too complicated, locations flat-out wrong, and typos abound in place names.

Critics have also complained about wifi issues, excessive scratching on the back of certain models, and confusion over Passbook and other Apple apps.

Nevertheless, Apple iPhone 5 demand remains high ands its reception warm. Both tech analysts and the general public have welcomed this new phone with open arms and willing fingers.

Why? There’s no such thing as the perfect product or service. But, with proper updates and maintenance—like Apple iPhones have shown over time—companies (and law firms) can come close.

With this in mind, law firm managers should seriously consider the following six reasons for why it’s important to update your business website.

1. Attract more clients

If your Fall is feeling blue (not green), a change in your website may be just what you need to add some color to the firm’s billable-hour tree.

These days, legal services are found via the world wide web. Your firm’s website—specifically your home page—is akin to a first meeting with a new client. The first impression your site imparts should embody your work style and attitude.

For former or return clients, a stagnant website sends the message that your firm’s practice might be too. Instead, send the message that your firm is modern, up-to-date, and tech savvy.

Before he closes his browser, a client should feel as satisfied and confident with your legal services simply by perusing your website as if he had just been welcomed through the office door.

2. Rise in search engine index rankings

Another reason to ramp up your website is to rise in search engine index rankings.

Basically, when a person types into Goolge, “Best patent lawyer in San Francisco,” Google searches through a giant index for the most relevant webpages.

If you are a patent attorney in or around San Francisco, you want your website among them.

Believe it or not, there’s actually a way to increase your ranking on this mysterious webpage index and a method for achieving better results. It’s called, Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Your website designer is surely aware of this skill.

And, it’s time to improve your Internet visibility. Update your website to include the keywords, phrases, meta-tags, and HTML necessary to get you noticed.

These search engine indexes are constantly changing and reshuffling their content. So, why aren’t you?

3. Keep up with technology

When a professional service, like the field of law, brags about their ability and knowledge of technology today, the easiest way to verify this claim is by vetting their website.

It’s not just about first impressions. Beautiful, functional, and useful websites are also about credibility. In the 21st century, a firm’s ability to deliver high-quality, high-value services depends on its ability to master and apply new technology.

Consistently updating your website implies to clients that your law firm is constantly ready at the helm.

4. Update your business look

Update your business look with a new look on your website.

Did your law firm add a name partner? Did admin take high-res photos of your associates? Would you love to tout the legal expertise of a new hire?

Whether it’s a new logo or a new lawyer, keep your website as up-to-date as your know-how. Firm managers shouldn’t forget they’re running a legal business in addition to changing legislative bills.

5. Increase interaction

Law is an interactive industry. It requires constant communication. That’s why updating your website to include social media—blog links, Twitter, Google +, Facebook, etc.—will help your attorneys keep in touch with their clients.

It will also help your clients feel in touch with you.

You don’t have to publicize your cell phone number to make a client feel like they know who you are and trust your competency. All it takes is a photo of your warm smile on the online directory or a quick “Message from the partners” bannered on the homepage to improve the working relationship you have with both clients and colleagues.

6. Get feedback

Finally, since communication is a two-way street, add an area for comments and feedback.

Corporate clients are full of untapped resources and industry knowledge. Invite all website visitors to share their stories, opinions, and better-business suggestions with your management team.

After all these changes to your website, you may realize that’s not all your firm needs.

-WB

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

FREE iPhone Apps That Lawyers Can’t Do Without

Last year, the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Survey Report claimed 31 percent of lawyers (in private practice) use an iPhone and 13 percent also using an iPad.

That’s an estimated 300,000 lawyers nationwide.

So, for any law firm professional who regularly depends on his smartphone, below is a list of five iPhone apps you never knew you couldn’t do without. And, the best part? They’re all free.

LexisNexis® Legal News – FREE

The recently updated LexisNexis® Legal News app by Newstex draws information and updates from the vast LexisNexis content repository. The app provides selections of the best legal news, video, blog, and Twitter sources into a continuously updating content feed for the iPhone or the iPad.

With this app, law firm professionals can stay on top of breaking legal, business, and financial news; set alerts for news pertinent to your clients, competitors, or market conditions; and create customized searches for information from across a wide variety of content providers and formats including blogs, Twitter, and video.

After all, a lawyers should be able to provide the best service for their clients at no additional cost.

LexisNexis® CourtLink – FREE (with subscription)

Also a LexisNexis-developed app,LexisNexis CourtLink allows legal professionals to review recent court docket alert and tracking activity.

With this app, you can also set up alerts to monitor activity on a specific case, as well as receive lists of newly filed cases in a particular practice area or involving specific parties.

Technically the app is free, but a subscription to CourtLink is required. The app markets itself to a variety of professionals related to the field of law, including:

  • Legal Professionals, so they can argue more effectively and grow their business.
  • Corporate Counsel, so they can hire and manage outside counsel more effectively; manage internal caseload more easily; and investigate patent questions (and more).
  • Financial Services/Insurance Providers, so they can improve investment decisions knowing the full risk picture; and improve profitability by preventing and detecting fraud.
  • Media Professionals, so they can be alerted to newsworthy litigation, receive updates on ongoing cases quickly, and research litigation trends.
  • Litigation Support, so they are immediately notified as a case is filed, trial begins, or a decision is being reached.

Waze  – FREE

Although not specifically a legal app, Waze can be quite valuable to lawyers.

Waze lets drivers manually input traffic and accident data while they’re on the road. For time-sensitive lawyers who are constantly dashing to and from the office, client meetings, or court, Waze is an indispensible, portable tool.

Waze isn’t a new app—with about 12 million users—but it has been recently updated. The app now includes a feature allowing drivers to speak into the iPhone to report traffic and accidents.

Atypical of the tech world, Waze values safety overs speed.

American Arbitration Association – FREE

If you are involved in arbitrations or mediations via the American Arbitration Association, the brand new AAA smartphone app (for iPhone and Android) will allow you easy access to all AAA rules, codes, and protocols.

The app also provides immediate access to contact information for AAA offices throughout the U.S. and regional locations around the world.

Legal professionals can enjoy reading arbitration and mediation rules from labor and employment, commercial, construction, real estate and environmental, government and consumer, to international cases.

Need international dispute resolution rules in a foreign language? Not a problem.

Read more about the app here on Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites.

Finally, there are a variety of other interesting apps for legal professionals that, while not free, won’t break the bank. Don’t forget to check out these ten iPhone apps for lawyers, each fewer than five dollars, including this one:

iPunchclock – $4.99

The iPunchclock by EpIPhone Coders’ Guild is one of many timesheet apps for lawyers available for the iPhone. The unique feature of this app is that it tracks not only the time you spent on the task, but also the location where you completed the task using the iPhone’s GPS function.

Unlike other timesheet recording apps, the iPunchclock records time in seconds—as opposed to 0.1 fixed intervals. Nevertheless, this format makes conversion to .CSV for use in Excel much easier.

Professionals can name the task, create multiple timesheets and tasks, add personalized comments, and map their conference calls on Google Maps. Not too shabby for the on-the-go lawyer.

Check out a complete guide of tracking time apps here.

-WB

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Now Access Legal Ethics Opinions On Your Smartphone

Last week, New York-based lawyers were banned from joining a new type of law firm that would allow external investors—a blow to contending international firms that were considering third-party capital (via FT).

The New York State Bar ruled that New York lawyers cannot practice law in the state if they are part of U.K. law firm with non-lawyer owners after considering the following scenario:

“Lawyers licensed to practice in New York enter a business relationship with a U.K. firm that has non-lawyer owners and managers. The New York lawyers establish a New York office for the firm and represent New York clients. They don’t share confidential information with the non-lawyers and they abide by U.K. rules,” summarizes the WSJ Law Blog.

The New York State Bar ruled that the above scenario violates ethics rule that forbids a lawyer from practicing law for profit with an entity that includes a non-lawyer owner.

Now, blogs (like this one) have already discussed the idea of deregulating the legal industry.

With countless lawsuits accusing law schools of misrepresenting employment statistics and a rise in online legal services, law school graduates are seeking jobs and clients are seeking affordable counsel.

To achieve this, both the Cato Institute and OpenMarket.org believe deregulation is necessary.

“People can represent themselves in small-claims courts, which have simplified procedures, but in many states, such courts can hear only the tiniest legal claims, like those seeking less than $5,000,” states OpenMarket.org (via ATL).

“Every other U.S. industry that has been deregulated, from trucking to telephones, has lowered prices for consumers without sacrificing quality,” continue Winston and Crandall.

The American Bar Association is considering a tweak to its ethics rules, but there is no realistic solution in sight. Despite the dire economic climate for lawyers, the U.S. is hesitant to propose any innovation that would deregulate the law industry.

Although innovation via deregulation has been tabled, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) has, in the least, brought legal ethics research into the 21st Century.

In January, the NYSBA announced the release of its Mobile Ethics App—an app for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry—that allows judges, lawyers, and law students to access instant ethics advice from their smartphones.

The NYSBA Mobile Ethics App incorporates the state bar’s catalog of more than 900 legal ethics opinions, dating back to 1964, into a searchable database.

Type keyword searches, enter opinion numbers, or browse a list of categories that include “attorney advertising,” “concurrent representation,” and “non-refundable retainer.”

So, download the app here to get notified each time a new opinion is added.

That way, even if you can’t change the decisions, at least you can read about them in real-time.

-WB

Access the full press release regarding the ethics app here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

10 Android Phone Apps For Lawyers Under $5

In the past, lawyers wouldn’t be caught dead without their Blackberrys. Today, lawyers continue to use smartphones, but more and more are using iPhones and Android phones.

Which alternative is best?

The ABA Journal asked two tech-savvy lawyers, Finis R. Price III and Ryan C. McKeen, to state the case for two of the hottest brands.

“Price extols the virtues of Apple’s iPhone and McKeen talks up the Droid, one of the phones using Google’s Android OS. Neither is forgetting about the legal practice leader, RIM’s ubiquitous BlackBerry. But their goal is to convince a jury of their peers that their choice of smartphone is the best of the bunch.”

Read the full ABA debate here. In the meantime, for attorneys already sold on the iPhone, check out the best apps for lawyers under $5 here.

Finally, for those law firm professionals convinced that the Droid is the way to go, below you’ll find a list of ten hot Droid apps for lawyers, also under $5.

DroidLaw

DroidLaw is a free app with full texts from the Federal Rules of: Civil Procedure; Evidence; Appellate Procedure; Criminal Procedure; Bankruptcy Procedure; and the U.S. Constitution (free as separate addon). There are also federal codes and law for purchase. Each set of rules allows keyword searching, searching by specific chapters/titles, bookmarking, note-taking, the option to save content offline, and text sharing.

Harvest Time Tracker

With this free app, track time and log legal expenses on-the-go. The best part? You can log hours on and off-line. Plus, a large, digital flip-clock ensures lawyers are fully aware of the number of billable hours and minutes that have been devoted to casework. An expense tracker will also allow the mobile lawyer to upload photos of his or her receipts so that records are kept both organized and in one place.

Law Guide

This free app is Law.com in your hand, including access to its legal dictionary and legal forms as found on the website. The app is now available for Droid tablets.

Lawyer’s Calendar Buddy Pro

Exactly what the name implies, this app is a lawyer’s essential calendar. Calculate deadlines and track calendar events by client or file. The calendar allows you to list all events occurring between two dates, store case events, set event tags by priority, calculate a target date from a start date, and export any and all pertinent calendar information to CVS format.

CallTrack

Indispensible for the 21st Century lawyer, CallTrack logs your phone activity to your Google Calendar. You never have to remember who called, what day, and for how long. With CallTrack, you can select the type of calls to log (incoming, outgoing, and missed) and how to label them in your calendar. Wish you could go back in time to log calls? Well, welcome CallTrack Delorean, because you can also dump your entire current call log history into your calendar.

RepliGo Reader

This app—slipping just under $5 budget—is a great way to edit PDF documents. Next time you want to review, comment, or highlight briefs and motions, depositions, case documents, or any other PDF document, it’s now possible from the courthouse, coffee shop, or car.

Barnacle Wifi Tether

Turn your droid phone into a wifi hotspot with barnacle Wifi Tether (and just $1.99). Now your tablet or laptop can get internet wherever your phone receives signal. The only problem? Deciding whether Verizon or AT&T provides better coverage.

Voice Recorder (by Mamoru Tokashiki)

With a positive rating by over 25,000 users, this voice recorder app can send a data as attached file via Gmail, set a timer while recording, search previous recordings by title and date, set recordings as ringtones, and playback recordings with pause and stop button features. Easy to use, but surprisingly comprehensive for all a lawyer’s recording needs—from client meetings to undercover investigation.

gReader

This app compiles your favorite RSS feeds in one place. It allows you to view your feeds by site or all at once. The app is simple, easy-to-use, and syncs with your Google Reader account.

Pocket Attorney

The popular iPhone app is also available for droid phones! Lawyers can advise their most overactive droid clients to download the Pocket Attorney app for a mini-me version of legal counsel. This app provides information about the most common crimes, including details regarding the types of sentences available for each crime and sites where the information (i.e., which document) is coming from. For overly-concerned and overly-communicative clients, this app will put the answers to all legal questions in the palm of their hands. Best part? Your client won’t be calling you any more for every fender bender.

In the end, whatever smartphone you prefer, there’s no lack for legal applications.

-WB

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

10 iPhone Apps For Lawyers Under $5

Portable convenience for the mobile lawyer. The following apps will bolster your legal knowledge without breaking the bank:

Fastcase

Fastcase –created for both the iPhone and iPad—is a free legal research app. Fastcase contains cases and statutes from all 50 states and from the federal government. You can search by citation, keyword (in Boolean or natural language), or browse statute collections, like a portable American Law Library. The best part for an on-the-go lawyer? Customizable, sortable search results.

NetNewsWire

This free app allows for immediate access to RSS feeds. Now you can o keep up with your favorite websites and news.

BizExpense

You never have to forget to properly record your legal expenses. Keep track of your legal bills with images, e-mail, currency conversion, and password protection with this cheap app.

Cliff Maier Reference Apps

Cliff Maier Reference Apps are a must-have for every mobile lawyer. Plus, the information contained in these apps are available offline, which means you no longer have to delay at Starbucks with its free wifi while you brush up on Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, NY CPL, The Constitution, Patent Rules, and so on.

Pocket Attorney App

Lawyers should advise their most overactive clients to download the Pocket Attorney app for a mini-me version of legal counsel. This app provides information about the most common crimes, including details regarding the types of sentences available for each crime and sites where the information (i.e., which document) is coming from. For overly-concerned and overly-communicative clients, this app will put the answers to all legal questions in the palm of their hands. And, it frees you up to dig around for that “get-out-of-jail-free” card.

Court Days- Date Calculator for Lawyers

It’s so hard to keep track of dates and deadlines. Especially when different jurisdictions observe different holidays. With this app, a lawyer can schedule multiple court dates in a single location. Never be late to file again.

Wikipanion

It may not be the best source of information on the web, but it’s free and quick. Plus, let’s face it, everybody uses Wikipedia these days. Now you can have a wikipanion in your pocket for friendly reminders of case-pertinent historical facts, popular culture, and scientific discoveries.

iPleading

The iPleading app is the first mobile litigation template generator. The iPleading app was created by a lawyer for lawyers to design quick PDF documents, ready for filing. The formats follow customs of the legal profession and the rules of pleading in State and Federal Courts. The app iPleading is easy to use, with four steps: (1) Fill out your info such as name, bar number, address, and footer; (2) Employ optional fields such as firm name, 2nd attorney, and court name; (3) Click ‘Create and Send’; and (4) The iPleading app is generated and sent to any email address, ready to be finalized. For attorneys of high-stakes litigation, in a hurry.

QuickVoice Recorder w/ Free Voicemail

This app turns your iPhone into a free voice recorder. You can be on the record, all the time.

DocScanner

This app is a portable scanner. Lawyers can take a photo of any document with their iPhone camera, and watch it automatically convert the image to a PDF document.

Unfortunately, now lawyers have no excuse for being unprepared, whether in court or at the office.

-WB

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Meet Siri, Your Virtual Personal Assistant: The Case For Smartphones In Law

It wouldn’t be too surprising to hear the following conversations between a young female associate—overworked and overwhelmed—and her assistant:

“What is the meaning of life?”

“All evidence to date suggests it’s chocolate.”

Or, on especially late nights:

“Why am I here?”

“I don’t know. Frankly, I’ve wondered that myself.”

Except, these conversations occurred between a person and her virtual personal assistant—the iPhone 4S’s new intelligent voice recognition system, Siri.

In reality, Siri is designed to answer questions, such as “how much to make a photocopy at Kinkos?” “What time is my trial today?” or “where’s the nearest law library?” Siri’s groundbreaking technology in voice recognition makes Apple’s iPhone the receptacle of perhaps the most advanced artificial intelligence on the planet.

If there ever was a question about the utility of a smartphone, Siri puts it to rest.

Advances in mobile technology, like Siri, could be the reason why an increased number of law firm professionals are carrying smartphones.

A recent American Bar Association (ABA) survey conducted between January and May of this year discovered that nearly 88 percent of lawyers use a smartphone for law-related tasks while away from their primary workplace. In large firms, those with 100 or more lawyers, 98 percent of lawyers use a smartphone.  

Of the lawyers who reported using a smartphone, 46 percent were BlackBerry users, 35 percent were iPhone users, 17 percent were Android users, and 3 percent ere Windows Mobile users.

Technology is evolving everyday. So, even if you’re already satisfied with your in-house personal assistant, there are still a myriad of other reasons to own a smartphone for use within the practice of law.

Email at your fingertips.

Lawyers are always on call. That means, answering emails on the walk to work, during lunch breaks, and often right before bed.

That’s why it’s unsurprising ABA Legal Technology Resource Center survey participants reported email as the primary use for their smartphone. However, quite surprisingly, 92 percent of lawyers surveyed not only agreed that email was the primary function of their smartphone, but they also placed email in front of standard telephone functions, like making a call, in terms of importance.

It appears that these days, a phone is used less for dialing numbers and more for dealing with client inquiries.  

Legal apps.

Hands-down, the most creative and productive use of a hand-held mobile phone? Legal apps.

For the majority of smartphone users, this means BlackBerry apps, which include:

  1. The Law Pod: The Complete Federal Rules of Procedure (Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, Criminal, and Evidence), on your Blackberry.
  2. Family Law Reports: Allows professionals within the legal industry to access the Family Law series of Reports.
  3. Patent Reference: An On-The-Go “Patent” learning and reference App with interactive tutorial and search topics, including:  Intellectual Property, Copyright, Trademark, Patents, Patent Documentation, and the Patent Process.

Even those smartphones without Siri should be able to access the following iPhone apps:

  1. BizExpense: Legal expense reports made easy. Document your expenses via images, e-mail, currency conversion, and password protection. 
  2. DocScanner: Scan documents on the go. Take a photo of any document with your iPhone camera and this app automatically converts it to a PDF document. 
  3. Black’s Law Dictionary: One of the most comprehensive legal dictionaries at your fingertips.     

Calendars.

Punctuality is a necessity in the field of law. And, with so many court cases and client meetings to attend, lawyers will find the calendar feature of smartphones an indispensable addition to their pocket.

This year, 80 percent of ABA survey respondents listed Calendars as one of the primary uses for their smartphone, a significant increase from 73 percent in 2010. With the plethora of reminder alarms and calendar-contact coordinated options, there are no more excuses for missing an associate’s birthday or that big partner announcement (not that you would…).

Games.

Finally, while attending case-matter meetings, use your smartphone to check email, record conversations on a microphone app, and look up important trial dates to contribute productively.

But, while stuck on a interminably boring conference call in your office, take back that unrecoverable hour by playing a level or two of Angry Birds, Chess, or Sudoku. Games create the final, unspoken value-add to the even the most accomplished lawyer’s smartphone.

-WB

 

For more smartphone application ideas, read “New Whistleblowing Rules And The iPad Apps To Manage Them,” and “Lawyer App Of The Day: Smartphones, Cowboys, And Fee Payment Options.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lawyer App Of The Day: Smartphones, Cowboys, And Fee Payment Options

Collecting, managing, and dispensing of attorneys’ fees is a constant topic of discussion and source of contention. So what if a mobile app could make this process easier?

Typically the argument extolling the benefits of mobile apps surrounds social media, reference materials, firm exposure, or marketing. However, now there’s at least one direct financial benefit to downloading smartphone apps to your iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.

 Consider the following situation. A client walks into your office. After a few minutes of conversation, you seal the deal, so to speak, and a new account begins with a handshake.

 Unfortunately, we don’t all do business in Texas, and sometimes a gentleman’s word makes for an insufficient retainer.

 Luckily, Google—frequently at the forefront of technological innovation—has a mobile app that can transfer monetary promises straight to your pocketbook. Leave it to 3 Geeks And A Law Blog to highlight the legal applications for near-field communications (NFC) technology. Such as, for example, this Google Wallet app.

 Google Wallet uses any devise with an NFC chip to make financial transactions, whether that be swiping your phone to purchase a vending machine soda or swiping your phone to hire a costly private investigator in your contentious divorce case. Either way, good news for lawyers.

 Despite its diversity, Google Wallet not our mobile app of the day. Instead, let’s refocus attention onto another tool vital for the litigious, fast-paced attorney: caffeine. This time, Starbucks has a solution for you.

 Welcome, Starbucks Mobile Payment app.

 With this free app, you can check your balance, reload your Starbucks card, and  view and track your transactions via your iPhone, iTouch, iPad, BlackBerry, or Android phone.

 And, sneaking out of the office for a cup of Joe was never easier. All you need is your phone (and this app) to pay at the counter. Lisa Salazar of 3 Geeks And A Law Blog summarizes its application perfectly:

“At first, I was all, ‘why in the world would I want to download an app for coffee?’

Well, I will tell you why:

  1. When I leave my office to grab my afternoon fix, I don’t have to carry my purse with my wallet that holds my credit card and Starbucks card.
  2. I can budget my coffee addiction allotment.
  3. The app collects and monitors my rewards—no more carrying around the infamously losable Starbucks Card.
  4. In the event I am traveling, it loads up the closest Starbucks for my drinking pleasure.
  5. I get to look cool when I whip out my phone to pay.”

In the legal world of power suits, power ties, and power plays… how can you say no to that?

 Even if Starbucks is not your morning addiction of choice, it still serves as a wake-up call for legal trends. Methods of payment are being revolutionized, mobile apps cannot be ignored, and, finally, law firms on the cutting edge of technology will also be the first ones securing clients (that is, unless you prefer to practice in the Wild West).

-WB

Of course, there are always liability issues when it comes to data-sharing and smartphones. Attend C4CM’s training course, “Smartphones and the Law: Avoiding Legal Liabilities in the Workplace” to ensure your policies and practices are air-tight.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

New Whistleblowing Rules And The iPad Apps To Manage Them

Yesterday, the SEC decision on the The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act sent corporate America back in time. Famous whistleblowers—Daniel Ellsberg with the “Pentagon Papers,” Jeffrey Wigand  with “impact boosting” nicotine in cigarettes, Roy Olofson with telecom fraud, Cynthia Cooper with WorldCom accounting fraud, and Bunnatine Greenhouse for her exposure of non-bid contracts at Halliburton[1]—came to mind as the SEC ruled in a 3-2 vote that employees with knowledge of wrongdoing or malpractice are not required to report it first through internal company channels to be eligible for a reward.[2]  

Corporate America is none too pleased at the idea that the new rules may motivate workers to bypass traditional fraud hotlines implemented after the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley law so as to collect a whistleblower bounty. The WSJ first reported this malcontent by quoting a statement from David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness:   

“Not informing the company of a potential fraud and waiting for the SEC to act is the equivalent of not calling the firefighters down the street to put out a raging fire.”

The good news for lawyers is that new rules usually make for more lawsuits. In light of these changes, employees may feel more inclined to report corporate fraud or other illicit activity to their attorneys or the SEC. In terms of empowering shareholders and individual staff, National Whistleblowers Center Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn said, “Today, investors and whistleblowers scored a major victory.”  

Whether advocate or foe of yesterday’s ruling, one thing is certain. These days, technology—specifically computers, social media, smart phones, and portable electronic devices—make smuggling whistleblowing information to your lawyer a lot easier.

So, here is a list of smart phone and tablet apps that lawyers (say, perhaps, those at Vinson & Elkins?) wish they had back in 2005.

  1. Legal Notes (The Lawyer’s Notepad) by Kavapoint LLC. This app turns your iPad into a yellow legal pad for those lengthy client meetings or late-night calls from whistleblowers. Not only can you scribble down important facts (Name: Sherron Watkins, Date: 2006, Company: Enron, Position: ex-VP), but lawyers can also time stamp their notes, password protect the information, and compile relevant court details (hearing, court, judge, location, etc).
  2. TrialPad by Saurian. Once trial is imminent, use this app to organize, manage, and annotate Adobe PDF files on the iPad. TrialPad was specifically designed for litigators to store key documents easily and quickly for electronic presentations. Created by legal professionals and trial consultants, this app allows lawyers to separate case folders to sort your most important pieces of evidence. $89.99
  3. RLTC: Evidence by Rosen LTC, inc. Another app designed for trial lawyers to organize and annotate documents and images on the iPad. Via the iPad VGA Adapter, lawyers can use Evidence to project their most valuable pieces of, well, evidence. $4.99
  4. Fastcase by Fastcase. For both the iPad and iPhone, Fastcase is a free legal research application, which means no more trips to the law library. With statues from fifty states and the federal government and the ability to keyword or customize your search, lawyers can visually map search results—with dual-column printing and compete citation analysis—in the palms of their hands. Fastcase has a desktop application as well, for the gadget-impaired.
  5. The Law Guide by TheLaw.com. Is your unofficial law mentor the Internet? Mine too. So consult TheLaw.com more clandestinely from your desk via its mobile app, The Law Guide. The app contains a comprehensive law dictionary, law guide containing legal discussion forums (for addressing questions like, why did Watkins do it? Will class action mean the demise of Enron?), a lawyer directory, and myriad other legal resources. If your standards for credibility require paid apps, then try Black’s Law Dictionary for $54.99, an app from West, Thomson Reuteurs business.   

In conclusion? The Government Will Pay You Big Bucks To Find The Next Madoff.  And now, in 2011, law firms can manage the fallout more efficiently.

 

-WB

See, Persuading Managing Partners To Employ Social Media.

Special thanks to http://digitaldownloadnow.info/5-ipad-apps-for-legal-professionals/

[1] http://www.nbpjobs.org/2009/03/a-list-of-famous-whistle-blowers/

[2] http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2011/05/25/corporate-america-not-totally-thrilled-with-new-whistleblower-rules/

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized