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.”
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.