Ah, January. That time of year when we return to work from the holidays to find that, generally, being away for the holidays didn’t make work any better! So sad. Another sad fact about January – the selection of brand spankin’ new apps is a bit slim. The holidays have passed, and with LegalTech 2014 coming up in February, it’s a little bit more difficult to identify those new apps for lawyers. But I’m no quitter!
Here are the Best New Apps for Lawyers from January 2014:
Interviewy by Carl Gresswell, free.
We’re starting off this month’s list with a slightly unusual app. Ever had to go back and listen to the audio of a recorded conversation, wishing you had the ability to skip right to the important part? That’s exactly what Interviewy seeks to accomplish.
Although the app was designed with journalists in mind, it’s certainly easy to think of how many ways this kind of app would be useful for attorneys. Whether you’re in the middle of dictating and need to remember an important thought, or want to be able to quickly access important parts of a deposition or witness interview, you’ll find plenty of uses for Interviewy in your practice.
Yahoo News Digest by Yahoo!, free.
It’s taken a few months, but now we know what Yahoo! wanted to create when they purchased the news app Summly last spring: the Yahoo News Digest app. Taking on the mission of keeping readers apprised of the most important news of the day, Yahoo News Digest provides users with 10 news items twice per day – once in the morning and once in the evening.
Perfect for the busy professional, the Yahoo News Digest wants to make sure that users are able to keep up with the most important stories of the day, and presents them during the times busy attorneys are likely to have a few minutes to peruse the day’s top stories. Condensed to make each item readable and understandable, designer Nick D’Aloisio wants to make sure that you don’t end up feeling exhausted by an endless stream of news. Instead, you’ll be able to keep up with top stories, while having more time for the rest of your life.
INKredible by Viet Tran, free (various ugprades for $0.99).
One of the biggest problems that I’ve encountered when talking to attorneys about utilizing digital products in their law practice is the universal love of the legal pad. Attorneys have been very reluctant to adopt use of tablets and smartphones in their practice. Even when they do, it’s rare to see even the most tech-savvy attorney using a tablet without a legal pad close at hand.
While not a replacement, INKredible is an amazingly adaptable handwriting app for the iPad. Providing nearly distraction-free writing (the tools are minimized to a small sidebar), and with a variety of backgrounds – including notebook paper, INKredible allows for a simple, yet comprehensive way to replace your pen and paper. Importantly, INKredible can even differentiate between your hand resting on the screen and your finger or stylus taking notes. Those tools have helped INKredible to be the #1 Productivity app in the iTunes store.
Directr for Business by Directr, Inc., free (upgrades for $24.99 and $49.99).
Another relatively unusual type of app for me to include in my monthly list, Directr for Business is an app for creating high quality video. But Directr for Business is designed to help businesses create videos for use in marketing and promotion.
The app comes with a variety of pre-made templates, or storyboards, including product demos, How-tos, and testimonials. As video becomes increasingly important for online marketing, particularly for law firms, the ability to create professional-quality video without a massive marketing budget could be what makes your firm stand out among the rest.
Recollect by Recollect, free.
Ever been in the middle of running errands, only to get to the bottom of your to-do list and find a note to pick up something at a store you already visited? Or maybe you have a criminal record check to run on one of your cases, but you just don’t think about that case while at the courthouse on another matter? That’s where the app Recollect comes in.
A simple, straight-forward app, Recollect allows you to set various specific or general location types (e.g. “home” or “any pharmacy”), and then assign tasks to those locations. Your phone then reminds you to about those tasks when you’re in the vicinity of those spots! A truly beautifully designed app, it’s still in its most basic form, and the developer promises considerable additions and improvements are in the works.
Vizilife by BrilliSoft, LLC, free.
Our smartphones and tablets have become little traveling boxes of information. Containing our calendars, contacts, photos, songs, to-do lists, and much more, it’s nice when we have a way to join important information across those platforms. Vizilife is designed to do just that. Combine your calendar, your contacts, your to-do list, and your photos, but in a meaningful and useful way.
Say you need to coordinate a deposition or mediation in multi-party litigation. Using Vizilife, you can link each of the contacts to the event, so you’ll know who will be attending. Then, through the event itself, you can add any necessary tasks and reminders of things you have to complete related to the event. You can even link contacts with photos, just to make sure you’re able to remember which opposing attorney is Bob and which is Rob.
Magus 3D Gesture Launcher by Studio eXtreme, free (update).
Our smartphones come equipped with some really impressive tools, like GPS and gyroscopes. It’s probably a little depressing to some people that the gyroscope, which can tell the angle and relative position of your phone, is primarily used for playing games. Or maybe they love it, who knows? However, with Magus 3D Gesture Launcher, you can actually program your phone to perform certain actions in response to certain movements.
Want your phone’s LED light to turn on without having to manually activate it yourself? Link it to a series of actions, like “front side up, right side up, front side up,” and let there be light! The most recent update to Magus 3D, released this month, expands the available actions you can link to include email and text functionality, and incorporation of Tasker functions, allowing even more potential custom options.
12 Hours by Tajchert, free.
I’m a huge fan of simplicity, particularly when it enhances functionality without sacrificing anything. That’s really what you have in the app 12 Hours. The app is a widget displaying an analog clock. Why, then, does this simple analog clock make my list of Best New Apps for Lawyers? Because of those little colored bars you see around the rim.
12 Hours displays, using color-shaded indicators, your calendar over the next half day. No lists, no messy text or details clogging up your screen. With one look, you get an aesthetically pleasing display of your upcoming schedule. Just add the widget to your home screen and select which calendars to link it to, and you’ll be able to see exactly how beautiful simplicity can be.