Like at least 5 million other people, last week I decided to upgrade my phone to the new iPhone 5. At the time of writing, my phone is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. I’m pretty excited. Unlike last time I bought a new smart phone, I don’t plan to transfer all of my data from my old phone and my new phone. Instead, I want to start fresh. My new phone represents a clean slate and a chance to undo the clutter on my most widely used mobile device. So, if you’re like me you may be interested in a roundup of some of the top legal and productivity apps to help you get the most out of your new iPhone 5. Here are my picks for the essentials for lawyers to include on a new iPhone.
CardMunch helps you keep track of business cards as you receive them. All you have to do is take a picture of a new business card with you 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’ll also see their profile picture, connections, summary, specialties and experience.
I raved about CardMunch in a post several months back. At the time I said: “CardMunch absolutely sets the bar by which all business card readers should be judged. It’s easy to use, accurate, attractive and free of any major bugs. Plus, because CardMunch was acquired by LinkedIn, it integrates seamlessly with LinkedIn.” After a recent review of the landscape it appears that there are still few strong competitors. Oh, and it’s still free.
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 I learned when I launched my entertainment law practice, it’s important to keep your operating costs low when you begin a solo practice. Doing so allows you to offer better and cheaper service 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). But did I mention that it’s free?
If you’re not already regularly using Twitter to build relationships with other professionals, let your new iPhone be your excuse to get onboard. The Twitter app is for iPhone is attractive and easy to use. Once again, it’s free.
One of the most highly anticipated new apps provided by Apple in their latest operating system is their iOS maps program. Unfortunately, initial reviews have suggested that Apple’s Maps are currently buggy and unreliable. For me, that’s a big deal. It’s been my experience that nothing adds unnecessary stress onto your drive to a deposition or new courthouse faster than poor directions provided by GPS. For example, I was once misdirected an hour out of my way during a snow storm (seriously) in Spokane, Washington the night before a deposition. The only bright spot was that I was on my way to the hotel and not the actual deposition at the time I got lost. When I arrived at my hotel two hours later than expected late at night, I was not settled. Apple removed Google Maps from their store, but you can still add Google Maps to your phone. Starting by navigating to maps.google.com in Safari on your phone. A banner will appear directing you as to how to create an icon (really a shortcut) on your home screen to use Google Maps. In addition to more reliable GPS, you’ll also have access to Google’s directions for public transit, walking, and for bicycles.