Well, as May rolls into June, 2014 keeps marching along! It also means it’s time for me to release my list of best new apps for lawyers, for both Android and iOS (I would consider posting new apps for the Windows phone, but first need to actually hear of an attorney actually using that platform).
So, without further ado, here are my Best New Apps for Lawyers – May 2014:
U.S. Code Pro by AppCube, Ltd., free ($11.99 in-app purchase for annual subscription).
Ok, I’m a sucker for apps actually designed for use by legal professionals, and our first offering of the day, U.S. Code Pro, is certainly that. This app contains the entirety of the U.S. Federal Code, up to date, and with frequent updates to make sure it’s kept current – if you’re willing to pay the annual $11.99 subscription price.
In my opinion, the subscription is a bit on the high side for what’s being offered – regular updates to the statutes – but the app has several other features that many attorneys and law students will likely find useful. There is a full search function, which is indexed to titles and content. That way, you don’t NEED to know the name of the statute you’re looking for. The app also allows users to insert notes and annotations into the statutes, which attorneys who routinely find themselves in federal court may find handy.
Notifyr by Arnoldus Wilhelmus Jacobus van Dijk (now THAT’S a name!), $3.99
Let’s face it, we live in a connected world now, and making sure that we receive timely notifications of messages, events, deadlines, and other important information means a lot more than it did even a few years ago. Trouble is, it’s difficult to find a professional way to make sure you’re always kept up to date on those notifications without your phone constantly buzzing.
Notifyr looks to solve that problem. By syncing your phone with your Mac computer, you can make sure that all of your notifications appear on your phone AND your computer screen, ensuring that you’ll be able to keep up on your important Instagram… I mean business notifications. While bearing a lot of similarities to the messages function in OSX Mavericks (which sucks a LOT, in my opinion, but I digress), Notifyr allows considerable more control over the notifications, even allowing users to mute certain apps.
Marco Polo by Matt Wiechec, $0.99.
Ok, I admit it, this app has very little to do with the practice of law. Then again, I did include a global quiz game in a previous list, so you should know better by now!
Ever lost your phone? Of course you have. Know how I know? Because everyone has, at one time or another, asked their roommate/spouse/significant other/sibling to call their phone. Why? Because it cannot be found! The Marco Polo app approaches solving this puzzle in an entertaining way, reminiscent of kids playing (or hazing each other) in a pool!
It operates in the background, and responds to a specific word (so make sure it’s not one you use a lot, or the results could be a touch embarrassing). Whenever it hears that word, regardless if it’s in silent mode or not, it will call back a predetermined word or phrase. You know, like “Marco” “Polo.” Keep the phrases clean here people, you never know when someone else is going to accidentally trigger the call-and-response!
It may seem unusual for an app like this one to be included in a list for lawyers, but anyone who deals regularly with medical records, particularly personal injury or worker’s compensation, should see the utility of an app with complete, updated ICD 9 and 10 diagnosis codes. Relied upon by medical professionals for both medical records and, perhaps more importantly, medical billing, being able to quickly access and reference these codes could be the difference in being able to effectively cross-examine a medical expert concerning their records.
In addition to the familiar list and index options, you’re able to keep a smaller list of favorites for particular types of diagnoses you see more routinely, and even keep track of your recently-viewed items.
Major Updates/New Version
GoodReader 4 by Good.iWare Ltd., $2.99.
I don’t usually include many major updates or new versions of existing apps in my monthly lists, but the two I’ve included here require special mention. The first is the newest version of the GoodReader PDF viewing and annotation app, GoodReader 4. Many consider the GoodReader platform to be the best PDF viewer available, and it’s listed in the ABA’s recommended mobile apps for lawyers.
The newest version of GoodReader is a universal app for iOS – good for any iOS device. In addition to the features you’re probably already used to, you now have added capabilities for modifying existing PDF documents, including rearranging and deleting pages within a document. Additionally, you can take your existing GoodReader notes and immediately convert them to PDF format with the “Create PDF” feature.
iThoughts by toketaWare, $9.99
On the flip side of the coin is the newly released iThoughts, a totally built-from-scratch relaunch of the incredibly popular mind-mapping app iThoughtsHD. In his blog, the developer indicated that the new incarnation of iThoughts was created in part to resolve numerous issues he had with the original. While it appears that a number of important upgrades have been added – particularly the capability of syncing with more than just Dropbox and rendering PDF documents in more than one page (a big map becomes absolutely unintelligible when rendered on a single page), there are a number of negative changes as well.
Users have documented that the presentation features of the app no longer work as smoothly as before, and on-the-fly editing of maps while presenting is now impossible. Cross-platform functionality with iMindMap4 and MyThoughts, other mind-mapping platforms, no longer exists. Oh, and even if you own the most recently updated version of iThoughtsHD, you’ll need to go ahead and pay for the app all over again. (I have not seen any discussion on how effectively maps created in the old version work in the new version, which is critical to me as I LOVE iThoughtsHD)
Do you routinely create presentations based on a slideshow format like PowerPoint? Then you should get this app. Do you make presentations from slideshows created for you by someone else? Then you should get this app. Do you ever research, well, anything? Then you should get this app!
SlideShare is one of the biggest online tools for creating and sharing slideshow presentations. SlideShare has over 60 million users and a library of over 12 million presentations available. Look up other presentations by topic, tag, title or author. Upload and share your slideshow, or get some great new ideas on how to effectively present your information, all in this free app.
Autotext PhraseExpress by Bartels Media GmbH, free ($4.99 in-app upgrade available)
Ever get tired of typing out the exact same thing, over and over again? I certainly do, particularly when it’s something that I may use a lot, but not frequently enough for it to be a part of email or document templates. Autotext PhraseExpress has you covered.
Using a small pop-up menu, you’re able to save up to 25 different phrases (unlimited with the upgrade) that you’ve saved to your phone or tablet. Tap on the pop up icon, and the list is right there at your fingertips. Don’t feel like using the pop up menu? Fine! The app, true to its name, gives you autotext functionality, allowing you to type in a shorthand word or phrase when you want one of your saved phrases inserted into your document. Additionally, while not yet available, the developers indicate they are working on swipe-to-insert functionality for inclusion in future updates.
addappt by addappt, Inc., free.
One of the most difficult things to do, I’ve found, is to make sure that all of your contacts are updated to reflect where they can actually be contacted. Attorneys change firms, move to a new office, or relocate out of the region entirely on a fairly regular basis. And, as an attorney who made a similar move not too long ago, I can flat-out tell you that making sure you’ve updated everyone you should with your new contact information is easier than it sounds.
That’s the problem that the developers of addappt are seeking to solve. Their app, which serves as a replacement for the stock contacts app that comes with your Android device, allows you to basically link up with certain people. Once that link is established, anytime they change their contact information on their device, their information is automatically updated on your device. While somewhat limited in its early iteration, I think apps like this have huge potential.
Because the World Cup begins June 12.