Tag Archives: Apps

The Dirty Little Secret Only BigLaw Knows: How To Create Mobile Apps To Attract Clients

Millennials or just the “recession generation” use apps for everything, Uber for taxis, Tinder for dating, Washio for laundry, and WhatsApp for texting. It’s a wonder that tools and utilities not connected to an app ever get used anymore.

That’s why BigLaw has caught on to this trend.

It’s even a good way for small firms to get big notice. How? Hop on the digital app train.

Let’s take a few examples. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has a global sourcing app that helps users calculate costs in outsourcing contracts.

Baker & McKenzie has an app summarizing legal and tax issues for public companies granting employee stock options overseas.

O’Melveny & Myers provides an introduction to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in its app. The app also reports on related enforcement actions and settlements.

Above the Law, who reported on the app trend, also has an app—for both iPhone and Android.

Latham and Watkins is the most dedicated Biglaw app developer, with an entire library of “The Book of Jargon” to explain legalese to clients who are—well, justifiably—confused. Now they have an app that helps clients learn more about overseas anti-bribery laws.

In fact, of the 2013 AmLaw 200, approximately 36 firms (18%) produced a total of 53 mobile apps. This amounts to an increase of 63 percent in firms having apps than last year [22 firms], according to The Law Firm Mobile (LFM) blog’s third annual research report.

Of the 2013 Global 100, 28 firms (28%) produced a total of 50 mobile apps. This amounts to an increase of 22 percent in firms having apps than last year [23 firms], according to the same research.

So basically, BigLaw is producing a lot of apps. But who is using them? It turns out, the days of the BlackBerry are officially over. Of the lawyers or clients making use of this new technology, the vast majority are iPhone users.

Of the total apps produced by Biglaw firms, 96 percent are offered on the iPhone, 6 percent are offered on the BlackBerry, and 29 percent on Android (35%). Last year, only 17 percent of apps were on the Android platform.

Finally, you may be thinking that these BigLaw firms are just creating apps for employee recruitment or human resources. That’s not true at all.

On the contrary, only three apps of the 68 (4%) were focused on recruitment, eight (12%) were produced for events (internal or external), 15 (22%) presented general firm information (similar to a website), and a whopping 42 (62%) provided legal resources of various types. Law firms have figured out that providing useful information gets your app trending among techy legal services types. And, once your app is popular, so becomes your firm.

A full list of BigLaw mobile apps can be found here.

So the last question you should be asking is, does my firm have an app?

In size or caseload, a small firm may not be able to compete with a large one. But in cyber space, everybody is equal. There are only app developers and audiences. So once you’ve identified yours, your firm—boutique or BigLaw—stands on equally footing.

Your app could be the “next big thing” to beat out BigLaw in wooing and winning over clients.

In addition, developing an app does not have to break the bank. Brainstorm with younger associates and your IT Department about what services your new app could provide clients or other lawyers. Think about what needs are not yet met online in the legal services industry. Carve your niche by making an app for that skill or service your firm (or its lawyers) truly excel at.

Because in a world where everything is an app—transportation, talking, dating, and more—there’s only room for an avatar lawyer to match.

Not yet convinced that apps are the way of the future? Learn more with The Center for Competitive Management (C4CM)’s training course: Mobile Discovery: Emerging Challenges of Texts, Tweets, Apps and Emails, in the Realm of BYOD.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Effective Time Management In The Digital Age: Guides, Strategies, Phone Apps & More!

Do you ever look at the clock and think, “where did the time go?”

You know you’ve been working, but on what? For how long? Some days you can’t help but get caught up in the minutiae, whether it’s paperwork, responding to emails, or writing to-do lists for tasks you still—at 5pm—have yet to do.

This is why you’re still billing hours at the end of the day. This is why you’re unable to go home until midnight. This is why you hate coming to work on Monday mornings.

But, those wasted work days—the ones where you lose track of time—can come to an end. At least, Julie Morgenstern, author of Never Check Email In The Morning, would have you believe.

“There are several reasons why our days have swelled,” says Morgenstern to Forbes.

“Companies continuously are trying to hire as few people as possible. Our roles are continuously changing, the world is changing, we’re in a time of rapid change—nothing is ‘business as usual’…”

And, when it comes to law firm professionals, Morgenstern is absolutely right. There’s no such thing as the “normal” associate. There’s no more “standard” for partnership track positions. In fact, law firms are changing the way they do “business as usual” through outsourcing the document review in the discovery stages, utilizing more electronic legal assistants than in-person ones, and even adding online services.

So how do law firm professionals adapt their time management styles to accommodate today’s digital world?

Try writing a time management diary.

Morgenstern suggests employees write down how much time they’re spending on a project, including when and why their workflow was interrupted, everyday. Soon, you’ll find out exactly what’s squandering your and what’s saving you time.

Management consultants are hired to help your firm operate more efficiently. But, you can start auditing your own your own activities is through a smartphone or tablet app.

Consider one of the following apps:

1. Eternity Time Log Lite – Personal Timesheet (Free)

This time management app lets you focus on the work that matters and avoid distractions through project lists and timers. The app creates reports about your time. Just review, and adjust your work habits, accordingly.

2. Klock ($19.99)

Do you know how much time you spend in meetings? On the phone? Promoting yourself? Making sales calls? Keep track of anything with Klock’s work timer and visual display of how your days “fill up”. Klock can be synched across multiple employees. That way you can track time management across team members.

3. Frecke ($19+/month)

Says one satisfied user:

“The Pulse is my favorite feature and what sold me on Freckle. With the Pulse, I can easily see and keep track of how many hours I’ve done and for which client. This makes it really easy for me to see what I need to do for the rest of the week, and also plan for the time I can use for other projects. I can quickly see that I have already put in a certain amount of hours for one client and not yet another, so I know to dedicate some time to the other client. The Pulse really helps me manage my time better and keep track of how I’m actually using my time. It even lets me see when I’m not using my time efficiently.”

And eight more apps here!

You can also sign-up for C4CM’s information-packed guide “Effective Time Management: Take Control, Tackle Work Flow Chaos and Overcome Productivity Challenges.”

This 73-page, comprehensive guide provides many strategies for tackling time management issues at your firm, from handling crises to multitasking to burnout.

You work at a law firm. Chances are you cannot leave at 5pm with everything done like Morgenstern would have you believe. However, you can make sure that each hour you bill is an efficient one, and that each hour you don’t remains productive.

The first step in managing your time? Finding out where you’re wasting it!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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

iPad Apps That Every Lawyer Needs (Especially On A Friday)

Friday—it’s full of upsides and downsides. The upside is, the weekend is approaching. The downside is, you may not leave the office in time to enjoy it.

What is it about Friday afternoons that attract last minute requests from clients, colleagues, and, especially, bosses?

Luckily, if you’re an iPad-wielding lawyer, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your weekend and work from home. Here are some new and improved legal services iPad apps, which–like the last day of the week—yield their own fair share of upsides and downsides.

Lexis Advance HD. FREE

Upside. Add to your defense of Flex scheduling or work from home policies.

Lexis Advance is mobile app available on your iPad that gives law firm professionals the ability to conduct legal research on the go.

Whether it’s in the courtroom, boardroom, or your bedroom, you can search, view, and annotate documents while online or offline. And, you can save files in folders remotely to access alter.

Downside. Now you can’t blame travel, family events, or other out of the office excuses for tardy work product. Research remotely has never been easier (and your boss knows it!).

iTranslate Voice HD. $1.99

Upside. No more miscommunication.

“Can you imagine talking into your phone in one language and immediately hearing yourself in another language?” asks iTranslate Voice HD.

“That’s exactly what iTranslate Voice does. Just speak into your phone and it immediately replies in one of our 36 languages.”

Occasionally technology makes our dreams possible. For Star Trek fans, this is a real-life universal translator. Let’s hope that warp drive, transporters, and commercial space travel is next.

Downside. Without reasons why not, your boss may send you on more trips abroad for client meetings, which means less time at home. And, unlike Enterprise captains, you can’t transport there instantly.

TrialPad for iPad. $49.99-$89.99

Upside. Trial prep in the palm of your hand.

The top iPad app for lawyers in 2012, TrialPad and TranscriptPad are specialized iPad apps that bring productivity to its peak.

Litigants can use these apps to organize trial materials. You can highlight, annotate, redact, and zoom documents and depositions. You can add exhibit stickers to documents, create reports of all your evidence with these exhibit numbers, and process them via Dropbox and other Cloud apps. Edit video clips or take snapshots of surveillance video, then bring them to court.

Meanwhile, organize all these documents with folders with separate case and witness files.

Basically, this is a lawyer’s entire trial prep in one, small, digital box.

Downside. Only for tech-savvy legal professionals.

Fastcase. $65-95/mo

Upside. Easy to use, quick to understand.

Fastcase is another legal research app. It’s competitive advantage is the easy and quick access to the comprehensive national law library via more powerful searching, sorting, and visualization tools.

Its user-friendly design may be way many big name law firms already use it.

Downside. Must subscribe, and it can get pricey.

Readdle. FREE

Upside. Something lawyers love to keep for themselves but hate to give away to clients—this product is free.

One of the newer apps on the market, Readdle is an all-purpose app that lets you read, listen, view, download, annotate almost anything you want on your iPad. Readdle is an all-stop shop for viewing, reading and annotating documents, editing text files, viewing photos, watching movies, listening to music, managing files, sharing files remotely with others, and storing email attachments and other web documents.

Like an all-service firm, this app serves general audiences.

Downside. In a world of specialization, do we really need one more app for these things?

Have a wonderful weekend on your iPad. Whether it’s for work or play, technology certainly has a place in a lawyer’s everyday life.

-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

Why Integrating Legal Technology Will Save Your Firm Time And Money

Although your law firm manager may not be yelling over the internal comm-system, “Time is money, people!” certainly, he or she is thinking it.

So why, exactly, does time equal money?

In purely financial terms, there exists a time value of money. Money earns interest over time. So, the value of money actually changes—for example, if invested, $100, in one year, could turn into $105 future value at 5 percent interest.

In addition, if a finite amount of money is spent to accomplish a certain task, the money is spent in place of a second, possible, alternative task. Would you rather spend $15 per hour for a paralegal to locate a physical document in the law library over 10 hours? Or, would it be more efficient and cost-effective to purchase e-document software at $150 that locates important paperwork in under 5 minutes?

These are all questions with which financial consultants and law firm administrators struggle everyday.

And, in the 21st Century, questions about the time value of money generally surround a tradeoff: investments in technology or in manpower.

The Legal Loudspeaker suggests a few reasons why technology converts time into money in the article excerpted below:

When you’re efficient, you take on less risk – Simply put, the less time you spend on a contingency case, the less risk associated with taking it on. If you lose, you’re not sacrificing as much time or revenue. If you win, you’ll make the same amount of money, but since you spent less time on the case, your margins are higher. And, if you win or lose but don’t get paid, you’re out less money.

When you’re efficient, you can take on more cases – If you can generate a Will twice as fast as your competitor, you can do twice the amount of work, right? When your process for settling civil disputes speeds up, you can twice as many disputes. In essence, the more time savings you experience, the more availability you have to generate revenue, and the more revenue you can generate.

When you’re efficient, you can spend more time on client-facing activities – I get it, just because you have more time in your day doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily have clients running to your door asking for your services. But it does mean that you can do more indirect revenue-generating activities.  Spend your new-found time meeting people, creating stronger relationships with your clients, and building value in your firm. Try to  drive in new opportunities from your current client base (maybe they didn’t know you take on divorces). Did you know that once you have a client, each subsequent sale has a close ratio of over 70%? It’s easy money!”

To read the entire article, go here.

So, are you sold on technology, but unsure where to start? Think about integrating the following products into your business systems:

iPad.

Apps for smartphones and the iPad have contributed some of the most significant improvements in efficiency and productivity within law firms recently. Get with your IT Department to brainstorm how best to implement this tool into your everyday legal activity.

Read about some of the most valuable legal iPad apps here.

Near-Field Communications (NFC) Technology.

From Google Wallet to Starbucks Mobile Payment App, NFC technology has myriad uses in law and billing arrangements.

Make sure your firm is paid on-time by reading about applications for NFC technology here.

Social Media and Blogging.

Social media sites like LinkedIn or legal recruitment web-agenices, including lawcrossing.com, are cheap and easy ways to locate qualified candidates. It saves recruiters time and money by already compiling information about prospective employees.

Even if your firm is not looking to hire, it’s certainly still looking to recruit clients. At which point, social media—blog posts, tweets, or Facebook feeds—become crucial in advertising what services your firm offers, who its lawyers are, and why a client should hire you, as opposed to another firm.

In the time it took you to read this line, I sent a tweet, then 500 people read it. Talk about a brand new, instant value for time in money.

E-Discovery Software.

Today, most law firms already use some sort of electronic discovery software. However, when did your firm last update it?

The capabilities of software and technology change rapidly each day. Thus, if you can’t remember the last time your firm updated its online systems, chances are there exists a more efficient way to organize and file e-discovery documents. 

In sum, time, money, and technology are inextricably linked. So, consider putting together a “technology team” at your law firm—to keep apprised of developments in the field of legal gadgetry—one that will ensure your associates are not falling behind or sinking your bottom line.

-WB

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized