Lawyers often write me to share stories of how they use their iPhone or iPad in their law practice. Those emails frequently result in an item in my Friday In the news posts, and occasionally those emails turn into guest posts that I call Lawyer iPhone Stories. Hearing about how other attorneys use their iPhones and iPads always gives me new ideas for making better use of thoe devices in my own practice.
I recently heard from Joe Suhre, a former police officer who is now a criminal defense attorney in Ohio and Kentucky. (His firm also has an office in Chicago.) Joe told me about the four apps that he uses the most on his iPhone, and he turned his recommendations into a guest post. Take it away, Joe!
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It used to be that a law office was a suite in an office building. It had big windows, offices in the back, a receptionist out front, and a conference room in the middle — end of story. iPhones and iPads are beginning to play an integral role in my law practice as cloud computing has become increasingly popular. Here's what's changing — your law office could also be your car, your client’s home, a hospital room, the courtroom, or the cafe where you stopped for lunch.
Having a mobile office allows better service and a more convenient experience for the attorney. There are several apps available to help you manage your information in this new environment. However, with thousands of legal apps available, which are the best for your practice? I can't answer that for you, but here are a few apps we use successfully in my firm. They are certainly worth checking out.
Clio by Themis Solutions Inc.: The Clio app is an entire practice management system all in one place. Need a fast, easy place to organize your calendar? Done. What about a list of all your contacts? No problem. How about storing boat loads of files all neatly organized in one place? That’s right here, too. It also has all of your task lists, and has convenient billing features, which is key for us. If you haven't started using Clio at your firm, it's time to get with the game.
[Note from Jeff: Clio is a current sponsor of iPhone J.D., and I appreciate their support!]
Dropbox by Dropbox, Inc.: It has never been easier to use and share documents. With Dropbox, we're able to upload a file and access it on computers, phones and tablets. Document sharing is faster and more eco-friendly now than it's ever been at Suhre Law. This software is also great for sharing those files that are too large or cumbersome to send as an email attachment.
Genius Scan by The Grizzly Labs: Genius Scan allows us to take a picture of the document using an iPhone, and quickly convert it to a PDF so that it can quickly be added to a client's file. You can group pages to make multi-page PDFs, give them tags to organize them, or quickly share them to your computer, or with colleagues through email.
Dictate + Connect by Jotomi: Obviously, talking is faster than typing. The Dictate + Connect app allows us to quickly hash out a rough draft for a client or the opposing counsel, or dictate a brief or a motion. The dictation is electronically shared with someone who can then type and edit the dictation. A good reason to use Dicatate + Connect is its portability. You can dictate a file memo or client correspondence in between court appearances. The app lets you record the information quickly while it's still fresh in your mind. For example, I may have five or six court appearances in one morning. If I were to go to room 174 and appear for a client, I can dictate a memo about that appearance or correspondence to send to the client while I'm walking to the next courtroom. Then, for example, if I have an appearance in room 280, I could dictate a note, memo, or client letter immediately. Those files can be emailed to our secretary while I'm still in court, and by the time I get back to the office the letters will be ready for my review and signature so they can be mailed out.
My office is no longer defined (confined rather) by four walls and a desk. With the use of these and other apps, I carry my firm's business in my pocket and I am able to work surprisingly efficiently from just about anywhere.
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Thanks, Joe, for sharing some of your favorite apps with iPhone J.D. readers!
If you are willing to share your experiences using an iPhone or iPad in your law practice with other iPhone J.D. readers, I'd love to hear from you too. And in case you missed them, here are reports that I previously shared from other attorneys: