Legal practice: There’s an app for that

Marty Dolan, principal at Dolan Law and his associate Karen Munoz represent victims of wrongful death and personal injury. His column “Law and Wellness,” appears in the Chicago Lawyer and her column appears regularly in the Law Bulletin. This week’s blog is written by Karen Munoz.

Technology has changed the way we practice law in many respects. It has changed the ways we communicate with clients, the ways we market and advertise our firms, the ways we conduct research, and even where we do our work. While there is still no substitute for quality legal advice, we do have a duty to stay on top of technological developments which can make small but significant improvements to, and increase efficiency in, our practices. Indeed many firms of all sizes are now creating customized apps to help with their practice. With that in mind, this post will look at some of the best apps for lawyers that are currently out there.

1. Dropbox

Dropbox is a file storage and synchronization system that many of us are probably familiar with to some extent. It allows users to store and share data online which we can access anywhere. This is obviously a great resource for anyone who wants to access client files remotely. It is also quick, extremely easy to use and has other benefits such as the ability to recover lost data after a hard-drive crash. There is 2GB version that is free to use and paid versions offer over 100GB of storage. For trial lawyers, this app also makes it possible to go to court without any paper.

2. Zosh

Another useful app for lawyers who need to work remotely. Zosh allows you to complete, sign, and send PDF documents by using only your iPhone or iPad touchscreen. Whether you’re striving to create a paperless office or you just want to sign and send a document and aren’t near a printer, scanner or fax machine, this is a very convenient way of getting it done. Additionally, there is a very expensive version of Adobe Acrobat that provides the same service but this is free.

3. Tab Cloud

This app allows you to save tabs in groups and restore them at a later time on any computer. Many of us have probably got bogged down in a piece of research and then had to move on to another task with 10+ open tabs staring at us on our browser. This app provides a straightforward way of organizing various research projects in a manner that allows us to pull what we need when we need it. There are also versions for the iPod and iPad so we can look at the research everywhere.

4. Freshbooks/Minibooks

This is a time tracking and billing app that has become quite popular. It tracks time to the minute, and can make and send invoices based on tracked time. There is a ‘Minibooks’ version available for your iPhone which takes care of all of your time-tracking and billing needs when you’re on the move.

5. Analytics App

This app is useful for assessing the relative success or impact of our online exploits, and is, in fact, widely used by businesses in all fields. The Google Analytics app generates detailed data and statistics about the number of visitors to a website so it allows users to determine whether or not our blog posts, Tweets or other contributions are having the desired effect. This App is also available on the iPhone.

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