Awesome Apps That Help You Ditch Your Briefcase
BY Kerrie Spencer
Shed heavy trial and transaction briefcases in favor of an iPad or other tablet of your preference and load these promising apps for your law firm.
If you do not have a sore neck or shoulder by now from carrying paperwork to and from court, briefings, research trips and depositions, you are one of the lucky few. Your briefcase can only handle just so much paper before it is maxed out, and frankly, who files their paper neatly so they can find precisely what they want, the minute they look for it. Anyone who has been caught out in court fishing for paperwork that seems to magically disappear, knows they can find a better way to be organized.
Your needs have been answered thanks to technology, and can help your firm run better. The latest apps will give you an edge in getting your work done efficiently, with little to no paperwork, and no need to haul 20 pounds of paperwork to the courthouse.
GoodReader is a great app for this key reason: you save tons of administrative/secretarial time by serving discovery, pleadings and other necessary legal paperwork on numerous named parties with one or two clicks of a button. It gets even better when you consider the existence of multiple statutes that authorize e-signatures, which means lawyers do not have to print out anything to have items signed.
This app has a great reputation for being able to handle large text and pdf files, not to mention magazines, big books, manuals and even renderings. You even get to use some of the typical office staples like sticky notes (yes, they are even yellow), typewriter text boxes, arrows, lines and freehand drawings (sort of like doodling while thinking). It also handles the popular file extensions like .doc, .ppt, .xls, iWork 08 and 09, high resolution images and video and audio.
The second app that catches our attention is Rulebook. You no longer need to haul the rules of court along with you any more because they can be accessed on this app. You have the ability to instantly search by phrases or keywords and get the right immediately. This is the first app on the market to offer attorneys an alternative to the huge books they commit to buying every year from LexisNexis or Westlaw.
But that is not its main attractive feature. What makes Rulebook stand out is the fact that an attorney does not even need to be connected to the Internet to check court rules. They are all in one place and automatically update when amended, with the added luxury of keeping any highlighting, annotations or bookmarks an attorney made. There is no other app on the market that does that currently.
Attorneys should also check out SignMyPad, which is designed for contract sign-offs. It is iPad and Android compatible, and the PDF reader has a annotation function, which means you get to sign and date all your documents instantly using your iPad, and click to email them to their destination. For something a little fancier, you can set up a document to collect numerous signatures, import documents and save them to a Dropbox folder.
For times when you want to turn your iPad into a notebook, then Penultimate is the app to try. It lets you scribble notes in color and get creative and draw various sketches on three different built-in papers, which can then be filed by project or topic. You can also email anything you create, either in parts or as a complete file in PDF format. Technology is making running a law firm a whole lot easier, just take the time to use these apps and save your back, a few trees, and a lot of time.
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