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Smartphone apps/tips for lawyers

Did you know that your iPhone and iPad can be used for more than just email and surfing the web? While not all of them are free, here are some top apps to consider to help streamline your practice:

  • TrialPad: A trial presentation and file management that can be used to annotate evidence; connect your iPad to a projector and focus on the information you want to the viewers to see;
  • G-Park: A parking application just in time for your holiday shopping! Park your car and press the “Park Me” button. Press “Where Did I Park” if you need to locate your car;
  • GoodReader: A PDF reader that not only allows you to view anything, everywhere but you can mark up the documents with sticky notes, arrows and freehand drawings;
  • Notability: Documenting is the name of the game and this app integrates handwriting, typing, PDF annotation, recording and organizing. Pick the method you like and take notes your way!
  • SignNow: This app allows you or your clients to sign electronic PDF or Word documents with your finger. You can then email the signed document to your work email account for filing;
  • iJuror: This app helps you organize and manage information to assist with selection, and to add notes as the trial progresses;
  • Dragon Dictation: Fast becoming an essential app on every iPhone and iPad, this app allows to you speak and instantly see your text or email messages. Simply open the blank screen, tap the big red record button, and start talking. Perfect for quick email messages, notes to file and to-do lists or reminders.

Download your favourite apps so your iPhone or iPad helps you work smarter, not harder.

iOS in action

Document review
When reviewing a Microsoft Word document, use an app like Documents to Go. Its built-in viewer will not show the red lines made in a document nor will you see the footnotes. Bonus tip: if you use an app, you can also adjust the font size for easier viewing.

The Pages app allows for easy footnote editing because it captures redlines and preserves any comments made to the document. However, Pages is not great when formatting. 

If you are still one of the very few who prefer WordPerfect, you are limited to using the WordPerfect viewing app. Adobe Reader is good but not always reliable. Reader HD from Google is the best app for viewing Microsoft docx documents, and is inexpensive. 

Formatting and Storing PDFs
The StandardPro app allows you to take a picture and save it as a PDF; it will also square up the image if not perfectly aligned. Using Dropbox is great way to get docs off of your iPad but it is in the cloud.

Reading and annotating PDFs
Goodreader is the recommended program because it does a great job viewing and organizing PDF files and syncs with Dropbox. PDFpen is a great app and with version 6, your library (ie: signature) is shared across all of your mobile devices, including your iPhone.

Case management
The main difference between the mobile app and the mobile web interface is that with the web interface, you’ll need internet access. With the app, simply enter the information – no need to wait for internet access. The experts recommended either RocketMatter or Daylite.

Remote access
Sometimes you need access to your computer when you’re away from the office and you forgot to put the document in Dropbox. When this happens, consider LogMeIn. Using this free software, you can make your PC at work show up on your Mac screen at home. It works great on an iPad too, but keep in mind that your computer at work will have to be on.

Legal research
Doing US legal research on your iPad or pulling cases up in court? Consider using the free Fastcase app. Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to have a dedicated app for your jurisdiction and be careful: always check when the apps are being updated.

Blacks Law app for the iPad is not cheap but you'll find yourself using it. One interesting feature: if you are unsure how to pronounce a term, tap a button and it will say it for you.

How do you cite a webpage if you’re including it in a brief? Consider downloading the Bluebook app. 

If you want to listen to a transcript, consider downloading TranscriptPad. It is expensive but it has a feature that allows you to show questions in bold. If you want to highlight an important point, simply tap the line or section and highlight using issue codes. Once you are finished reviewing, you can create a PDF report that shows the issues and where in the document the information can be found – this is a great cross-examination tool!

When reviewing the transcript document, press the play button and it slowly scrolls for you. When you see something interesting, pause and highlight the section, then keep going.

If you have an iPad, you have mobility in the courtroom. Unlike a laptop, a tablet creates no barrier between you and witness or judge and you can carry the iPad with you. Trialpad is a great app for presentations – it’s easy to use and inexpensive.

Apps to keep you organized

  • If you attend online meetings, consider using GoToMeetings – you can set up your iPad to use as a second monitor.
  • To build your contact list, the Evernote app allows you to scan business cards and geo tag them so you know where you met that person. If they have social media, it will find their information and store it in your Evernote database.
  • Use the free app AnyList to create lists, even for groceries! 
  • If you're not in front of your computer and need to send something to client, use Siri on your iPhone to remind yourself and the Reminder app will automatically add it to your reminder list. 

Accessories to consider for your mobile device:

  • You can’t always count on having access to outlets; the iSound device is a  battery that can perform four full charges on an iPad.
  • The freeonehand is a physical attachment that allows you to hold your iPad in one hand.
  • The Frameshift mini 5 is an iPad stand that adjusts at any degree;
  • Artcloth is a fairly substantial cleaning cloth.
  • Marquee is a great case for a mini and has a stylus loop on the back.

Getting the most from your iPhone

Smartphone technology has made practice much easier and far more mobile, but are you getting the most from your iPhone? Here are a few tips that will help ensure your iPhone is working for you:

  • Text expansion: If you find yourself typing a familiar phrase over and over again, you can create a shortcut: go to settings>general>keyboard and look for “shortcuts”. Enter the phrase and create the shortcut so “on my way!” can now be typed out using “omw”.
  • Extra characters: Want to use the accent so “Montréal” is typed correctly? Just hold down the letter you need to accent and the extra characters appear.
  • Nothing says you mean business like typing in capital letters, so turn on caps lock by double tapping the shift key.
  • Not sure what the meaning of a complex word is in a brief you have received? Just hold down on the word and then touch “define”.
  • Private internet browsing: To ensure your information isn’t getting out to the Internet while browsing, go to settings>Safari>and the click the tab for private browsing.