We continue with Part 2 our 2018 Career Game Plan series today by looking at legal productivity Apps and tools for Lawyers. If you haven’t read Part 1, please do and find out how to visualize a great career year and the right way to actively plan towards making it a reality.
Virtually everything you can think of has been taken to the clouds, well online, including legal practice. While there are ethical and cybersecurity issues that arise in taking legal practice online, our concern today are those legal apps and tools you can utilize to have a great legal career this year.
This list is by no means exhaustive. We encourage you to tell us in the comments section the apps you use which we have not mentioned.
Legal Productivity Apps and Tools for lawyers.
- The Google Family: Google has several productive apps that benefit lawyers. I’ll mention a few. Or better still, you can just subscribe to the all-in-one Google Suite.
- Google Calendar: no more missing dairy or forgotten dairy episodes. This app works both online and offline. You can access your court dates so long as you have internet access. Law firms will do well to take advantage of this, as according to Marx Ikongbeh, Managing Partner at Everlaw Associates, his associates can fix court dates without having to call him first since each lawyer has access to the firm’s centralized Google calendar.
- Gmail: if you don’t know what Gmail is for, then you might be beyond redemption! Gmail is Google’s email service provider. The basic version allows you a 15GB memory space for your emails. It is generally preferred compared with Yahoo or Hotmail. For blogging lawyers, you can keep your fingers on fresh news and fresh ideas with Google Alerts delivered right in your Gmail inbox.
- Google docs: a cool way to share files and collaborate with friends and coworkers. They can edit and comment in live time. That saves back and forth sending of files. Also sharing a file through Google doc ensures your email doesn’t end up in the spam folder if the receiver sets email with attachments should go to the spam folder. All you have to do is either invite the person you wish to share the file with or share the link to the file with the person. Working with Google docs means you can sync your files across all your devices. Started something on your laptop? You can continue from where you left off on your tablet during a commute, and then finish up on your laptop when you arrive your destination. Google docs is great for blogging. You can copy and paste your work from google doc to WordPress and all formatting will be retained, including hyperlinks. With MsWord, one has to export.
- Other Google Family apps you can consider are Google reader, Google drive, Google playstand, etc. These apps are free.
- Dropbox: is a cloud storage where you can store different kinds of files. It affords you a professional way of sharing files with a large audience, especially if you have no website. All you have to do is upload the file to Dropbox and create a link for the file which you can send to those you want to access the file. Anyone, even those not registered on Dropbox can access and download the file via the link. Virtual law firms and even solo practitioners can adopt this as their digital library.
- Adobe Acrobat: this is the king when it comes to PDF readers. With the free version, you can sign documents digitally. Also, if you send a PDF file to someone for review, the person can make notes in the PDF file and send back to you.
- WPS Office: this is the best mobile word office I’ve used so far. MsWord for Android is also available, but I used WPS most of the time. I do a lot of writing and it’s not all the time I can be with a laptop. I do most of my writing on my mobile devices with this app, the only time I use the laptop is for formatting, designing eBooks and watching movies☺
- Slack: Any lawyer or law firm looking for the best instant collaboration App, should look no further than Slack. It’s way more effective than WhatsApp or Telegram. You can create different channels for specific issues, and even invite clients to join in collaboration. Newly added persons can access all previous messages.
- Asana: My best project management App. Integrates with Google Calendar and emails. You can assign tasks to individual persons and monitor progress with the app.
- UB Reader: I have a very large digital library, containing 8,000+ books (.PDF, .epub .mobi). I’ve tried several digital libraries, but UB is my favourite. You can categorize your books in this app, so I have shelves for law books, spiritual, novels, self-development, history, etc. It has Text-To-Speech (tts) plugin on the premium version.
- CamScanner: with this app, you can send your commercial table scanner to the attic! I used it for the first time on my former Boss’ phone. It’s really a cool app. Scan your client’s correspondences (those that require signatures) and send to their mail box. It’s called branding☺
- Social Networking Apps: this is a long list, but like I’ll explain in stepping up your online frontier game, in the last part of this series, Part 3, the 5G Network are essential. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google + and YouTube. Using the Apps for these social media platforms makes it easy for you to manage. For instant messaging, you should get WhatsApp and Telegram.
- Skype: Usually, I tell people I’m a digital lawyer, not necessarily because I specialize in digital media, but because I deliver a large part of my legal services digitally. So, I’m one of those involved in virtual and remote work. The only form of physical meeting I might ever have with some of my clients is a video conference. There are other video calling apps like IMO, Zoom, but none beat Skype. In fact, if you’re in a virtual law practice, this is a must have.
- Evernote: we’re already almost wireless, so get set to go paperless! The evernote app will do for you what an idea penning hardcopy notebook will do. Better still you can also capture videos, pictures and audios if they will express your ideas better. Another amazing feature about evernote is that you can use it to capture and save business card details. Recently, the Evernote team launched Postach.io, a blogging platform that let’s you blog directly from Evernote.
- LFN App from Legal Panic: A young tech lawyer, Joseph “Joci” Okusare has made all laws of the federation of Nigeria freely available on Google PlayStore. Mr. Okusare who runs Legal Panic, co-owns the app with Mark Agidi, an electrical electronics engineer. You can read more about the App on his blog, Legal Panic. The LFN App contains over 570 federal laws and can be used offline. At the moment, only desktop and Android Apps are available.
- Legalpedia and LawPavilion: these two apps are at the moment the most popular statutory, case law directory and client management system that Nigerians have.
Legalpedia costs ₦5,500 naira for a monthly subscription. This will give you access to thousands of case summaries (area of law, issues, ratio and sum of facts) and you can search with the Subject Matter Index (SMI). It also contains statutes and other materials.
Law Pavilion offers several packages. Their most basic package, Law Pavilion Plus, costs ₦3000 for a monthly subscription and requires internet access. Your subscription grants you access to updated case summaries from the Supreme Court and other courts, electronic law reports and other features. There is also Law Pavilion Prime, their latest product, which works offline. You only connect online to update. It contains law reports, LFN and civil procedure rules for all superior courts. Law Pavilion Prime goes for ₦50,000.
12. Clio: This is a foreign client management tool that can handle case management, email management, finance, billing, calendar, document management and virtually everything you need to manage a law firm on the clouds. The main reason I chose to mention Clio here is because of the fact that they are localized. When I tried them, they recorded my billing in Naira. They also have attentive customer support who are on ground to answer your questions and put you through the workings of the tool.
Tip: I love apps, but I can only use as much as my phone’s RAM will allow. Sometimes, what I do is to use the web version of some apps like Dropbox, Slack, Medium, LinkedIn and so on. I simply bookmark it in my browser so I can easily access it. Also, I use Facebook Lite, I have no need for the main Facebook app. I don’t use Facebook messenger, the Facebook Lite receives and sends my messages same as Facebook messenger, why duplicate apps?
So learned friends, this is where we draw the curtain for today.
Join us next week for the final part of the series where we would discuss online courses, where to get them and final tips on building a dazzling career this year.