Ever since launching a solo practice, I’ve found myself busier than ever before. I seem to be always on the go, which makes it to take advantage of tools that allow me to be productive when I’m out of the office. Of all the tools out there, my smart phone is probably the most important — I can’t imagine life without it. If you’re like me, then you’re probably interested in any app that will help you with your practice.
Here are five of my favorite apps that make work a little easier:
CardMunch is my favorite app for networking, as it helps you to keep track of new contacts. All you have to do is take a picture of a business card you just received with your iPhone. The card is uploaded to CardMunch where it is manually transcribed into a digital contact for your phone. What’s extra cool is that CardMunch, which is owned by LinkedIn, also provides additional information about the contact by linking with the individual’s LinkedIn account. You also can see their profile picture, connections, summary, specialties and experience. Best of all, it’s free.
One of the most frustrating days for me as a lawyer involved driving hours out of my way, late at night, in a snow storm the evening before a deposition. There was poor visibility and the route my GPS calculated was closed due to construction. Whenever I asked the GPS to reroute me, it inevitably brought me back to the closed highway. If I’d had Waze back then, I would have known of the closed highway and been directed to the most efficient detour available. If you’re not familiar with it, Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app that shares real-time traffic and road information. It’ll warn you of road closures, heavy traffic, accidents and other issues while simultaneously calculating the best alternate route.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Evernote is absolutely essential for lawyers on the go. I use Evernote every day. In part, it’s useful because Evernote allows you to take notes wherever you are in the world. The other night while laying in bed I had an idea for a new post for this site. I saved it to my Evernote. Then today while walking to a cafe, I had another idea for a post. I saved the idea to my Evernote. Not only that, Evernote allows you to store your case files in the cloud and easily search those files from any location. Evernote also allows you to create and format documents (this post was drafted in Evernote). Evernote allows you record dictated messages. Let there be no doubt, much digital ink has been spilled raving about all the ways you can use Evernote – and I’m not afraid to pile on. Best of all, the app and the basic account are free.
As any solo practitioner knows, and as I learned when I launched my entertainment law practice, it’s important to keep your operating costs low so you can pass along the savings via lower rates to your clients. Enter Fastcase. Fastcase is a great, free legal research tool that provides access to a large law library incorporating case law for all 50 states and access to statutes for most states and the federal government. There are some spots in the offerings including only access to select codes and regulations (and no access at all to statutes for Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Ohio, and Pennsylvania). And, yes, it’s free.
Like many tech-savvy attorneys, I use Twitter to connect with clients, potential clients, and others in my industry. The Twitter app provides an easy-to-use interface for staying up-to-date on Twitter whenever you’re on the go. Best of all, the latest app makes it easy to switch between multiple accounts if, like me, you keep multiple accounts for personal and business use.
There are literally hundreds of great apps out there, so this is just a selection of a few of my personal favorites. What apps can you recommend?