The Hytech Lawyer Recommends Thirty-One Great Apps for Lawyers – Early Summer 2012

Some are old, some are new, but they have all made the Hytech Lawyer’s current recommended list of best iPad apps for Lawyers.

1.    Goodreader  ($4.99 App Store)

One of the best selling non-Apple apps for iPad in 2011.  This App allows you read and in most cases mark-up PDF and many other varieties of documents.  Also has a well designed document management system which permits multi-level document files (i.e., organizing documents by case/matter).  Aggressive development team constantly refines and updates programs.  A must have for the serious iPad lawyer.

2.    Documents To Go Premium  ($ 16.99  App Store)

Another must have application for the serious iPad lawyer.  Allows you to open, edit, save, email and create documents in the most popular word processing and spreadsheet applications to include MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and WordPerfect.  Allows you to see redlines in documents with tracked changes although there is not capability to redline documents on the iPad (we are not aware of any Application that provides this functionality).

3.    Pages ($9.99 App Store)

Apple’s proprietary word processing program.  Most robust word processing program I am aware of on the iPad.  Converts Word documents for editing.  Documents created in Pages can be converted to Word and shared by various means. If you are going to draft documents on the iPad, you will want this App.

4.    SpiderOak  (Free upto 2 GB App Store)

SpiderOak does everything that Dropbox does and more  (allows cloud storage and the sharing of files between computers, smart phones, iPads, etc.), but is much more secure.  Your files are encrypted and SpiderOak does not have a key. SO DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSWORD.  To start out, you install the desktop app and select folders you want to backup. Once backed up, you can choose to sync them to other computers/devices or create “Share Rooms” to share files with other users.   I use SpiderOak in my practice for cloud storage (after 2 GB charges based on storage size), file transfers and collaboration with other. In my opinion a “must have” App.5

5.   Dropbox (Free up to 2 GB  APP Store)—NON-CONFIDENTIAL FILE USE ONLY

In some respects, Dropbox is a wonderful App.   It allows cloud storage and the sharing of files between computers, smart phones, iPads, you name it.  With this App you can make a file available to all your devices by moving to the Dropbox on any of your other computers/devices.  Incredibly easy to use.   The problem—there are serious questions about the security of files stored in Dropbox and access to them   (see my prior posts).  Further, the terms of service are such that Dropbox can pretty much do what it wants to with your files.  Thus, in my opinion Dropbox is not suitable for storing or transferring confidential and/or privileged materials.  However, it is probably true that using Dropbox to simply transfer files, and then deleting the files from Dropbox post transfer presents minimal risk.  I use it frequently for transferring nonconfidential files because many applications are designed with Dropbox capability.

6,   UPAD (4.99 App Store) (most natural handwriting and note taking)

UPAD allows you to use you iPad as a notepad for handwritten notes.  I use it everyday (with stylus) in place of my yellow legal pad (although UPAD does have yellow page templates).  I have tested almost every popular handwriting Application  (Penultimate (old #1 choice), Note Taker HD, Noteability, PaperDesk, PhatPad 7Notes HD Premium) and have found UPAD to be the easiest to use with the best file storage functionality and most natural writing feel.

7.    AudioNote ($ 4.99  The App Store) (syncs audio with your handwritten or typed notes)

 This is a particularly useful app that allows you to take handwritten or typed notes and audio record at the same time.  The recording is synced with your notes.  On playback, simply select a word from your notes and the audio that was occurring at the time the note was taken is played back. Great for witness interviews, depositions, meetings and classes.  Caution—keep in mind the ethical issues related to recording others without their knowledge.

8.    Smart Writing Tool- 7Notes HD Premium  (App Store 8.99) (Best handwriting to text conversion)

Finally an App with the ability to accurately and practically convert handwriting to text.  This  App has been updated multiple times and has evolved into a practical note-taking tool.  My handwriting is horrific, yet 7Notes converts almost every word correctly.  It does this by using a predictive language engine, which while generally accurate, struggles with proper names.

You have the option of having your text converted as you write, making corrections along the way, or converting to text later. In our testing, the text conversion was much more accurate in the “convert as you go” mode as compared to using the “convert later” feature.

7Notes allows for the exporting of documents by Email, DropBox (under the print function) or direct upload to Twitter or Facebook.  Right now the export is in text, image, or PDF  file formats,  but the developer is reportedly working on an export to Word feature that could be quite useful.  The App also integrates with Evernote after a $ 6.99 in App purchase.  This integration was not tested.

9.   AudioMemos  ($ .99 The App Store) (Best pure audio recorder)

Audio Memos is a professionally made audio recorder that provides great sound quality.  It has an intuitive interface, which is easy to use and full of powerful exporting and editing features. Caution—keep in mind the ethical issues related to recording others without their knowledge.

10  . Air Display ($9.99 App Store)

I have a dual monitor set-up IN MY OFFICE that I find to be very useful.  When on the road, I carry my laptop PC and an iPad2.  Air Display  allows me to use my iPad as a dual monitor for my laptop over a common Wi-FI network or via an ad hoc network. You can have an extended screen (screen view) or a duplicate screen.  Interestingly, the iPad functions as a touch screen for your Windows PC.  This gives you the option of using your iPad as a remote control for your PC or vice versa.

The duplicate screen mode could be also be used to display documents to a witness in deposition prep. The Lawyer on the PC and the witness with the iPad.

11. Keynote  ($ 9.99  The App Store)

Apple’s answer to PowerPoint for the iPad.  You can create presentations on the iPad, but I have found it more practical to prepare presentations in PowerPoint and then email them to my iPad.  Keynote will convert PowerPoint presentations to Keynote.  As you might expect from Apple, Keynote has some wonderful effects for transitions, etc.

 

 

12. Trialpad  ($89.00 The App Store)

In my opinion, Trialpad is one of the two best trial presentation applications available for the iPad  (the others being ExhibitView). It is also the most expensive (although cheap compared to the cost of preparing even one foam board exhibit). Trialpad allows you to organize documents and display them via projector or monitor system. You can highlight, redact, mark, and enlarge documents on the fly.  It also has the capability to organize and share video and has a whiteboard feature.  Documents are transferred to the iPad via Dropbox, e-mail, or iTunes sync.  Trialpad is intuitively designed and easy to use.

13. ExhibitView ($29.00 App Store)

ExhibitView has been in the trial presentation business for several years offering a $499.00 PC based trial presentation program that is designed to be easier to use than some of the more complex programs such as Sanction and Trial Director.  Last year they released an iPad application that has carried over this ease of use philosophy to the iPad.  The application has all of the basic trial presentation tools highlighting, blow-ups, marking and redactions that are needed by the typical trial attorney.  You can also create slides using the mark up tools and save them as separate documents.  Not quite as robust as TrialPad, but a bargain at its current price.  The app has recently been updated and new features added.

14. Dragon  (Free. The App Store)

Wonderful free Application (I use the paid version on my PC at work).  Dragon is the leader in voice type dictation, i.e., it types what you say to it with amazing accuracy.  You can then cut and paste or email the text.  Caveat—your dictation is processed in the cloud—I would be hesitant to use it for confidential information.

15.  2Screens Presentation Expert  ($4.99.  The App Store)

2Screens allows you to show presentations from local documents on the iPad, or even show on the big screen websites in real time. It also features a menu only viewable on the iPad, and allows you to show pictures from your iPad and even play music in the background during your presentation. 2Screens Presentation Expert has presentation web browsing and whiteboard capabilities. It provides the ability to make notations, save the file to your iPad and email the presentation to others.  What makes 2Screens different is the available in app purchase Airshow.  With AirShow, the  iPad screen display can be replicated to web browsers on 6 audience devices which are on the same Wi-Fi network to which the iPad is connected.   This includes PCs, Macs, iPads, etc.  Great for meetings.  Besides showing slides, images and web contents, your annotations and laser pointer movement can also be shown up in real-time on these browsers.

16.  My Eyes Only (Free.  The App Store)

My Eyes Only allows personal information to be stored on iPads and iPhones without the threat of unauthorized access if lost or stolen. It secures your critical information using advance encryption and password protection.

 

 17.  Explain Everything  ($ 2.99 The App Store)

Originally designed for educators, “Explain Everything” is an easy-to-use design tool that lets you annotate, animate, and narrate explanations and presentations. You can also use Explain Everything as an interactive whiteboard using the iPad2 video display.

Explain Everything records on-screen drawing, annotation, object movement and captures audio via the iPad microphone. Import Photos, PDF, PPT, and Keynote from Dropbox, Evernote, Email, iPad photo roll and iPad2 camera. Export MP4 movie files, PNG image files, and share the .XPL project file with others for collaboration.

The potential uses for this app are only limited by your imagination. For example, you can create an animation showing the direction of travel of automobile involved in an accident. You can import and crop photographs, add graphics such as arrows, shapes, etc. You can also introduce typewritten text or handwriting. In a nutshell, with the app, you can put most anything on the screen and manipulate it in real-time, while the same time recording it for later presentation in movie format. The animations can be displayed from the app, or uploaded into Keynote or PowerPoint

18. Fastcase HD  (Free.  The App Store)

Fastcase HD is a free legal research application, putting the American law library in the palm of your hand. Fastcase contains cases and statutes from all 50 states and from the federal government. You can search by citation, keyword (in Boolean or natural language), or browse statute collections.  You cannot print or copy in this free version, but great for on the fly research.

19. LawStack  (Free. The App Store)

LawStack is a portable rules library.  It comes preloaded with the following:

  • US Constitution
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
  • Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
  • Federal Rules of Evidence
  • Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure

You can buy additional references for a fee, e.g., USC Code.

20. FedCtRecords ($9.99 The App. Store)

Finally– an application that allows you to easily navigate the Federal Court Pacer system on your iPad.   The application allows you to select the court you are interested in from a menu.  All you need is your Pacer ID and either the case name or civil action number.  You can pull up all general Pacer information and filed documents.  Documents can be viewed and emailed from the Application.  Once entered a case can be stored for future menu shortcut access.  This App is easy to use and well designed.

21.   Nolo Plain English Law dictionary (Free. The App Store)

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary defines basic legal terms and Latin phrases.  Excellent resource.

22.      Feeddler RSS Reader Pro ($4.99 The App Store)

Feeddler is the most popular RSS reader for the iPad.  Feeddler is Google Reader client that stays perfect sync with Google and presents RSS stories in a clean and organized interface.  Great for following your favorite blogs and web sites.

23. DocScanner 5.0  ($3.99.  The App. Store)

With DocScanner, you can turn any document into a PDF by simply snapping a photo. The App can also accurately convert typed documents to text. I have found this “portable copier/scanner” to be very useful.

24. Skype for iPad (Free. The App Store)

The new iPad App for use with the popular video calling service Skype.  Call, video call, or instant message anyone on Skype for free. Plus, you can purchase Skype Credit enabling you to call landlines and mobiles at really low rates.

25. Teleprompt+ ($14.99.  The App Store)

Teleprompt+ is a simple yet powerful professional teleprompter for the iPad.  Perfect for use in speeches and presentations where you have a fixed script.  You control the speed of the scrolling.  I love this App but have only had occasion to use it three times in the year I have owned it.

26. Calvetica  ($  2.99.     The App Store)

An alternative calendar program that allows you to easily  flip through weeks and months of appointments much more quickly than the default calendar.  Syncs with the built in Calendar.

27.  WestlawNext  (Free, but need a WestlawNext account. The App Store)

Access WestlawNext features including, WestSearch™, KeyCite™, Folders, History, document notes and highlighting, browse database content and more — all redesigned for the iPad multi-touch screen.

28.  Infinote Pinboard for Todo and Notes  ($2.99. App Store

I use this virtual “post it” board for brainstorming and planning.  Much more intuitive than a traditional task list.  Unlimited virtual “Post-It” style notes that can be mover around, rearranged and transferred between folders.  I have used this app in team planning meetings displayed on a large HD or screen.  The notes are searchable, exportable and you can save them in separate folders/.

29. TripIt  (Free.  The App Store)

Allows you to manage and share your travel itineraries.  Upgrade available by subscription that will provide real time flight change, travel advisory and gate information.  However, the free version is very useful.

30.   Pimp Your Screen  (.99 App Store)

Pimp My Screen” was one of the most popular apps for 2011.  It contains a wide variety of lock shelf and home screen wallpaper choices for your iPad.  These are frequently updated and there are always a few seasonal picks.

31. AppShopper  (Free,  The App Store)

Allows you to track the hottest apps and receive alerts regarding price changes on Apps you want to purchase. Great way to keep up with the latest and greatest in Apps.

We would love to hear about any Apps that you think should be on our list.  Please comment or email me at Bill@hytechlawyer.com.

 


Comments

The Hytech Lawyer Recommends Thirty-One Great Apps for Lawyers – Early Summer 2012 — 4 Comments

  1. This was very helpful! Thanks!

    I am in fort lauderdale. Do you know if there are online classes or classes that can teach me how to use some of these apps such as trialpad, etc.?

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