A Handheld App Grab Bag of Reviews – Review Transcripts, Record Great Audio & Remember Important Dates
BY Kerrie Spencer
A busy attorney is like an octopus. They have to be all arms to try and accomplish everything they need to get done in a day. Sometimes, being up to the task is enormously overwhelming, and more than just one or two attorneys have been heard to mutter, “There must be a way to simplify this task.”
Good news. There is a way to simplify some of the most time consuming tasks you need to tackle such as remembering important dates to file material on time, reviewing transcripts and recording great audio for court, ads, podcasts and more. Your clients are counting on you to come through for them, and since you cannot clone yourself, technology can come to your rescue. We have found some apps for the mobile 21st century lawyer to use to reach the next level of connectivity.
TranscriptPad is a flexible app that is brand new for the iPad. It is specifically designed for busy attorneys who are always reviewing transcripts and trying to make notations in the margins or using sticky notes. Banish the marked up margins and neon pink reminders, and go mobile with this application that lets you import transcripts and exhibits in .pdf and .txt. Bonus: they can be imported from e-mail, Dropbox or iTunes.
If you are working toward a paperless office, this is the answer to lugging around those heavy transcripts. And, you can highlight sections of the transcript and flag them or tag them with issue codes as many times as you want. For example, transaction attorneys can use the term “renewal” to bring up all relevant instances on a search. Everything can be exported as easily as it is imported, and that includes complete reviewed transcripts with notations. This is a serious app for serious attorneys, so expect a fair price, yet still a reasonable business expense of $49.99 for the app. There are a couple of downsides for this program – the first is that you need to read the manual to learn how to highlight and flag content, and there is no copy and paste function; however these are minor drawbacks for an effective application.
For attorneys that shoot videos, the Fostex AR-4i iPhone audio adapter converts your iPhone/iPhone 4S to a video camera. Be aware that the two battery powered, built-in miniature microphones are omni-directional and offer stereo sound. However, omni-directional mics also pick up every other sound in the background. Do not use them when recording and go wireless instead. Also, you need to be close to the camera to get the best recording quality, but not so close so that the lens distorts the picture.
This rig comes with an adapter with three mic inputs, but you may only use two during a shoot. Thanks to the adapter, holding the phone comfortably is not only possible, but stabilizes the phone while working horizontally or vertically. Add in a tripod and you are good to go to conduct sit down interviews, with the added bonus that you can pack everything up very easily.
The Fostex AR-4i iPhone has a couple of minor glitches. The first is not being able to play back the video and listen to the audio while the phone is in the adapter. Additionally, some have had issues with audio playback on the iPhone 4S, largely because this device was supposed to be for the iPhone 4.
Staying in touch with clients is an absolute must for attorneys. When there is no communication or updates, the client may hire someone else. There is just not enough hours in the day to notify all your clients about important matters and dates, unless you use NotifyWorks. This tool lets you stay in touch when you need to. It is a handy system with a notification library that anyone may use. It is effective, fast, safe and secure, and if you can send an e-mail, you can become proficient with this system. To find out for yourself whether this would fit into your office, you can also try their free 90-day trial.
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