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The Best Mobile Apps and E-Tools for Lawyers

Mobile technology has developed to the point that everyone is connected at all times. You can send and receive emails and browse the net from almost anywhere, at the touch of a button.

Most legal professionals are using smartphones but only a few are using them to their full potential.

Smartphones allow you to download Legal specific applications that if used correctly, can have huge impact on how information is shared, time management and overall workflow of your firm. Some of these apps are free and others will require payment. In other cases there may be a free trial or “lite” versions and paid premium versions available. Check out this article on our website for a list of interesting apps.

All these options give you plenty of choice but also make it hard to know which apps are going to be beneficial.

We’re here to help. Let’s narrow it down for you.

The debate over iPhone versus Blackberry goes on, and as much as we like a good argument, we’re going to dodge a bullet by giving you our thoughts on the best apps for both. It does seem however that more lawyers have Blackberry’s than

iPhones, not that we’re taking sides or anything.

Please note that these are just our thoughts. We’re not endorsing any of these apps and they won’t necessarily be suitable for your law firm so it’s still important that you do your own research. Also beware that the apps are all sold in US dollars – for local relevance we’ve converted into South African Rand at a rate of ZAR8:USD1.

Remote access apps

These can be helpful if you need quick access to a case file that you don’t have with you.

Remote Desktop for Mobiles (RDM) – 7 day free trial or +/- R320 – Blackberry + iPhone

RDM allows you to access your desktop computer remotely, allowing your blackberry to become an extension of your office or home computer. One of the biggest advantages here is that you can access files remotely. RDM is windows and Mac OS compatible. The software is licensed per phone and needs to be installed on your desktop PC and on your Blackberry in order to work. The software may be installed on several PC’s, allowing you access your home and office PC.

Log Me In. – Free & Pro versions – +/- R560 per computer & bundle options with various prices – iPhone only

Log me in allows you to access all the programs and information on your computer from your iPhone. Log me in is compatible with windows and Mac OS and the software needs to be installed on your mobile phone and desktop to work. The free version allows you remote access to your computer but downloading and copying files between devices is reserved for pro members. The pro version is licensed per computer.

Cloud based storage.

This eliminates the need for duplicate copies, as all files are stored in a cloud location that can be accessed from anywhere. Dropbox can also be used as a backup facility.

Dropbox – Free (first 2GB of space) – Blackberry + iPhone

Dropbox is a cloud based storage facility for files. The first 2GB of dropbox is free and it allows you to upload files to a central location online. You can then access them at the office on a desktop computer or on the go using a mobile phone. Dropbox is available for Blackberry and Apple devices and the software needs to be installed on all desktops and phones/tablets that you wish to share information between to work correctly.

Time management & Organization apps

Makes it easier to track and record time spent on each client.

Biz trackit – +/- R80 or free trial – Blackberry only

Biz Trackit is project based time tracking tool. And track time it does.

Creating a project from scratch is easy and navigation is straightforward with a number of options available to customize projects according to each client. Project data can be exported and emailed as CSV files if needed, which makes the task of compiling reports or importing data into time billing software a breeze.

Timewerks – Free lite version or +/- R80 full – iPhone only

This iPhone app makes it easier to keep track of time and billing details for each client. The free version comes with iAds enabled, while the paid version disables them and adds a few features that include PDF format invoices, data backup and access to the companion website timwerks.com. Billing records can be viewed and updated without an active connection because all data is stored on the iPhone. An updated version of the app was released recently with a new visual design and several bug fixes. In the event that the app is closed accidentally the stopwatch continues to run even after the application is closed.

Evernote – Free or paid. Paid – +/- R40 p/m; +/- R360 p/a – Blackberry + iPhone

Evernote is a great app that allows you to create notes, save web pages and store images. You can use it to organize information specific to each client, create to do lists and store snippets of info that you discover but might not have the time to read at that very moment. The paid version offers upgraded storage space of up to 1GB and allows you to upload word docs and excel files. One of the best things about Evernote is that data is synchronized across all platforms so you can access it from anywhere.