Bar News - April 13, 2012
President's Perspective: Favorite Lawyer Apps – From the Professional to the Fun
By: Jennifer L. Parent
In my January President’s Message, I encouraged you to resolve to learn something new this year. I offered to you my resolution to incorporate one new piece of technology into my law practice. Getting an advanced start on this resolution, last June, I bought myself an iPad 2. I did so because I knew that my role as Bar president would take me out of the office more often, and I wanted to be "connected" at all times. I still recall opening the package with my new device and saying to myself, "Now what?" How was I going to use this in my law practice?
As a generation Xer, I grew up with Atari and MTV. The personal computer was just making its way into homes and classrooms by high school. Back then, if I wanted to take a picture, I had to buy film for my camera – I know some of you still remember film and how difficult it was to properly load. I did not own a cell phone until some time after law school and my first mobile phone took up most of the room in my purse. Email was still new when I joined the McLane law firm. The big question then for attorneys was whether to include our email address on our business cards. It is incredible the tremendous advancements made in technology since I started practicing law.
I still enjoy reading a case or a statute from a leather bound book and displaying blow-ups to a jury at trial. I recognize, however, that to be successful we must keep up with the times. Electronic filing, electronic exhibits, and paperless offices are the wave of the future. Most research is now done on-line rather than in a library. Data is stored in a cloud. Our vocabulary now includes words like gigabyte and terabyte. Our offices can travel with us – no matter where we are located. This is a considerable change that takes getting used to. But this revolution also brings with it new and exciting tools lawyers can use to improve and enhance our practices and personal lives.
My iPad 2 purchase forced me to learn something new in this unavoidable technological age of tablets and hand-held devices. I have discovered a world previously unknown to me. While the personal computer was groundbreaking, the introduction of the smartphone and the tablet substantially increased our use of technology in everyday activities. One amazing tool I have quickly come to enjoy and appreciate is the app. An "app" is short for application and is a self-contained program or piece of software designed to fulfill a particular purpose. Just in the limited time I have used this technology, I can see how this tool will become an indispensable part of a lawyer’s repertoire.
Since last year, I have attended seminars on apps for lawyers. I have also had others share with me their favorite apps whether for work or for entertainment. It is amazing how many different apps are out there for us to use and try today. I thought it would be fun to share some of the apps I have found helpful in the past few months and those apps that others have shared with me along my travels. I also polled several lawyers on what they use when they are not practicing law. I think you will be surprised by some of the apps lawyers use.
We should embrace technology and the new opportunities they create for us. Enjoy this new world. And the next time you see me, share with me your favorite app.
Apps for Your iPad
There are a host of apps for lawyers out there that you may want to try. Here are some to consider:
Dragon Dictation. This voice-to-text dictation program allows you to dictate a message and in return you get a fully transcribed text with incredible accuracy. The dictation is processed in the cloud. Free.
Skype for the iPad. Call, video call, or instant message on Skype internationally or nationally. This works with 3G and on computers. Free.
iAnnotate PDF. This PDF reader and annotation tool allows you to open documents from email and mark those documents with highlighting and underlining. Cost.
DropBox. This is a mobile storage management system. It allows lawyers to share files from one device to another. Store and organize files with this device with nonconfidential files stored in the cloud. Free.
TrialPad. Lawyers report that this tool is helpful in organizing a case presentation. It was designed by lawyers and allows you to display documents via a projector or monitor system. Cost.
Google Translate. This allows you to speak or type something in English (or another language) and have it translated into another language. Free.
Lawyers also have down-time. Some apps that lawyers use when they are not practicing law include:
AppStart. Teaches you how to become more familiar with apps. Free.
TripAdvisor. Browse reviews and opinions of hotels, restaurants, and attractions no matter where you are located. Free.
Angry Birds. This features challenging physics-based play and hours of fun. Try to reach the next level. (This was given to me by several lawyers.) Cost.
iBooks. Over 700,000 books and counting to choose from and read. Free.
ESPN ScoreCenter. Personalized scoreboards and live game details. It allows you to follow hundreds of teams. Free.
News. There are a host of apps for news from various outlets – ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, NPR, BBC, etc. News is available both nationally and internationally.
Pandora. Personalized radio to stream music. Choose a favorite artists, song, or classical composer and listen to that music and music like it. Free.
Bloomberg. Check stocks’ ups and downs. Free.
|Jennifer L. Parent
Jennifer L. Parent is NH Bar Association President for the 2011-2012 year and is a member of the management committee of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton.