Best New Apps for Lawyers – July 2015

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July has come and gone, and with it the two-year anniversary of The Cyber Advocate! (And there was great rejoicing!)July was also quite a month for new apps out of the Microsoft Garage Project, their den of frenzied app-creation activities. As you’ll see below, they did quite well. I hope you had a relaxing month, because it’s time to dive in!

Here are my best new apps for lawyers released in July 2015:

Multi-Platform:

Multi-platform apps begin at the (0:20) mark of the podcast.

best new appsOneNote by Microsoft Corp., (iOSAndroid)free. (Update)

As part of its continuing strategy to make their flagship systems evenly accessible across all platforms, which you’ll see more of below, Microsoft has released new versions of it’s OneNote app for both iOS and Android.

For iOS users, the iPad app has effectively been replaced with it’s more advanced iPhone sibling, meaning there won’t be any differences between the apps anymore. Additionally, you’re now fully able to view the “recent notes” view, and has fixed the preview mode, allowing pages to be previewed in landscape mode.

For Android, Microsoft has added a highly requested feature: the ability to move or copy a note from one section or notebook to another. You can even copy and save a note to your home screen instead of OneNote. For users of Android Wear, Microsoft reports that a significant update is on your way too.

best new appsConvo by Scrybe, Inc., (iOS, Android)free. (Update)

While technically an update, this really should qualify as a new app. Convo, one of the top business collaboration tools available, has completely revamped its desktop system, and released new iOS and Android apps to match.

Designed for teams that need to collaborate on various types of documents and share information securely, Convo’s systems are perfect for legal teams. Create a conversation around documents, presentations, images, from wherever you are using the new messaging features. Urgent messages and rescheduled meetings or hearings are updated wherever you are… even when you’re stuck in traffic.

Additionally, your document is secured using 2048 bit encryption. Your bank probably uses less-secure encryption!

best new appsAngry Birds 2 by Rovio Entertainment, Ltd., (iOS, Android)free.

Face it, if I didn’t include this app in any kind of “best of” for apps released in July, I would be ignoring reality. You’re going to get this app, you’re going to waste plenty of valuable time playing it, and you’ll enjoy yourself.

Unless you have a Windows Phone. Sorry!

best new appsStar Wars by Disney, (iOS, Android)free.

Well, because I said so, that’s why!

Get breaking news, social media updates, videos, and 3D rendered characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. You can even take and share a Star Wars “Selfie” in various iconic locations and costumes. And my wife says nobody needs a green screen!

best new apps

I know. Sexy, right?

 

Honorable Mention:

Kaboom by Anchor Free, Inc., (iOS, Android)free.

SayWhat by Intelo Co., (iOS, Android)free.

Tossup by Microsoft Corp., (iOS, Android)free.

For more info, check out the podcast.

iOS:

iOS apps begin at the (11:04) mark of the podcast.

best new appsSend by Microsoft Corp.free.

Have you ever wished that email was a little more like text messaging? Well, whether you have or not (and if you’ve ever dealt with trying to collect corporate emails from people, you probably are among the latter), Microsoft has decided this app is necessary.

Essentially, this app is designed to make sending that quick email to someone in your address book much easier than opening up your email app, and… you get it. Basically, like text messaging for people whose phone number you don’t know.

This app may have fantastic uses, but attorneys need to be aware of it nonetheless. I discuss in greater detail in the podcast.

best new appsPio Smart Recorder by Propellandfree.

Do you record interviews, depositions, meetings, or other events to make sure that you have the information straight? Probably not, unless you have a particular need. I can tell you without hesitation that one of the reasons I don’t is because I have little interest in listening to the entire recording all over again to find what I need.

What if you didn’t have to? Using Pio, you’re able to record interviews, meetings, presentations, or anything else. The best part is that you have the ability to indicate, through a simple interface, important points in the recording. Share important recordings – or just the important parts – via Dropbox or Google Drive.

best new appsMicrosoft Word/Excel/PowerPoint/Outlook by Microsoft Corp.free. (Update)

Microsoft continues to boost the benefits of using their flagship Office programs on your mobile device. In July, Microsoft added significant integration between the apps and Outlook. You can now attach documents, spreadsheets or presentations to an email directly from the respective app, and directly edit documents attached to an email you receive.

Microsoft also boosted the collaboration features, as well. You can now invite others to view or edit a document, nearly equivalent to the tools available in the desktop version. Another important addition allows users who have encrypted their documents with Microsoft Azure Rights Management to view and edit files directly from their iOS device.

These steps fit in nicely with Microsoft’s strategy to make all of its main services accessible from any device, regardless who owns the OS.

best new appsSignBox by Applixyafree.

One of the most irritating barriers, in my opinion, to the paperless office is the human signature. The concept of allowing copy-and-paste signatures worries a lot of people, for good reason. It’s the same reason you didn’t leave your signature stamp sitting next to your law firm trust account checkbook.

SignBox really wants to change your mind. Using the TouchID on your iPhone or iPad, you can store and retrieve your signature. Using the app’s extension, you can then use your TouchID to put your signature on any PDF, in nearly any app you prefer, on your mobile device. Your signature is stored locally, to enhance security.

Honorable Mention:

Washington Post Mobile by The Washington Postfree.

Meerkat by Life On Air, Inc.free.

For more info, check out the podcast.

Android:

Android apps begin at the (21:42) mark of the podcast.

best new appsDynamics CRM by Microsoft Corp.free (requires Enterprise version).

Microsoft had a phenomenal month when it came to apps. Another on their massive list is the Android phone app for Dynamics CRM. One of the most important things that a small business can do, particularly a law firm, is keep meticulous track of its clients. That’s what a great CRM platform will do.

Dynamics CRM allows you to make sure you arrive prepared for every appointment, and allows you to update your contacts, notes, tasks, calendar, and cases as soon as the meeting’s done. With full support for customization of the Contextual Business Process, you’re always able to track important data about your tasks, your clients, and your cases.

best new appsDoodle by Doodle.comfree.

Sometimes, you get a little bit of synchronicity in life. Just last week, a friend from law school contacted me asking what multi-law firm scheduling tools I could recommend. I informed him that there were plenty of solid options available, but that I personally prefer Doodle.

And now it has an Android app.

It’s a fantastic scheduling tool. You send a link to whomever you need to schedule with, connecting to a grid of potential dates and times. Everyone responds with the dates they’re available, and you have an instant look at when it’s feasible to schedule your meeting/deposition/hearing/whatever. It’s free, it’s anonymous, and it’ll even connect to your contacts list, to reduce the work you need to do.

best new appsKono.ai by Konolabs, Inc.free.

According to my interview with Joshua Lenon about the future of automation and the law, most of the traditional tasks of the legal assistant have already been automated. Time to add “scheduling” to that list.

Kono.ai is an artificial intelligence scheduling system. It’s a virtual assistant that schedules your meeting for you based your personal preferences about time and location. You tell Kono hat you want to do and who you want to invite, and Kono provides a list of recommended times and locations. Pick one, and Kono handles the rest (via the app itself or via text message).

It’ll even remind you about your day, find the best route to your meeting factoring in traffic conditions, and suggest places to go when your meeting’s over.

best new appsDropbox by Dropbox, Inc.free. (Update)

Not long ago, I wrote about how Dropbox had dramatically improved its iOS app with a new design and collaboration tools. Last month, those upgrades came to Android.

Easily share your files in Dropbox, and even comment on shared files, using the @ mention system. This feature allows you to make sure everyone has the most up-to-date information, and even allows private conversations to be created regarding certain files. Particularly helpful for deposition exhibits!

Honorable Mention:

Wifi Mapper by OpenSignal.comfree.

HBO Now by Home Box Office, Inc.free (requires subscription).

For more info, check out the podcast.

Windows Phone:

Windows Phone apps begin at the (31:00) mark of the podcast.

best new appsFeedlab by ClevLab, free.

If you use an RSS service to get your news (something I highly recommend), then you’re probably familiar with Feedly, the undisputed leader of RSS since Google Reader shut down. However, the mobile version of Feedly has always lacked compared with the standard browser version.

The solution has been third-party Feedly client designed to improve on those weaknesses. Group your feeds into categories, use gesture-recognition to simplify daily use, and even pin your favorite categories to your home screen. If you find Windows Phone’s voice to be sexy enough, you can even have it read you your articles.

best new apps 5ToDoist by Microsoft Corp.free. (Alpha version)

Ok, I admit it, this is a bit of a tease. It’s not available yet. But considering how awesome I find ToDoist to be, I thought I’d go ahead and give some hope to the Windows Phone users out there! Click on the link and sign up to be an Alpha tester, if you’re brave!

Honorable Mention:

Receipt Tracker by Microsoft Corp., free.

For more info, check out the podcast.

  • Ryan Maltzen

    This is a great list. I’m glad you use the force to bring knowledge to the world instead of benefitting the dark side. I do think you’d look better as a Sith than a Jedi…just saying.