Technology: iOS Apps

The guru for all things iOS is Jeff Richardson at iPhone JD. When I got my first iPad in 2018, I email him and asked for a list of what apps I should get. Here’s what Jeff said then in a return email (and I quote):

  • GoodNotes. This is my favorite app for taking handwritten notes. You can use it to annotate documents, and sometimes I do that, but mostly I use it to keep notebooks associated with various cases. Thus, I have a central place to store notes when I talk to a client, have strategy meetings, take notes in court, etc. Great app.
  • PDF Expert by Readdle. You want a good app for managing your documents. I used to use and recommend GoodReader, but the developer hasn’t updated the app in a long time so I am now using PDF Expert. It works great with the new iPad Pro and new Apple Pencil, and you can easily sync specific folders in Dropbox. So I’ll have a Dropbox folder with all of the pleadings in a case, and then I can access and annotate those documents using PDF Expert.
  • If you work with transcripts from depositions or trials, I love TranscriptPad.
  • Microsoft Word for iOS.

Technology: Software and SAS

I’m reluctant to write about software as a stand-alone topic. I address various software-dependant workflows and productivity solutions elsewhere in this knowledge base.

A basic, guiding principle here is to find the industry leader in the space and use it–unless there is a compelling reason to use an alternative. Why? Industry leading solutions are typically time-tested and reliable. Moreover, you can answer questions about them (and you will have questions) by going to YouTube or by Googling.

Here is a list of essential and recommended computer1 sotware and online software-as-service (SAS) products:

  1. Google Chrome web browser for browsing the Internet.
  2. Gmail or another dedicated, professional email service provider with web-based access. Don’t do this on your own with an in-house mail server. Of course you can use Outlook or another local client to access email if you’d like.
  3. MS Word. You can’t practice law without this word processor. Google Docs has a role to play in collaborating on rough drafts with others, but only MS Word is appropriate for finalizing lawyer work product.
  4. Dropbox, Google Drive, or MS OneDrive for document sharing, syncing, and backup.
  5. Adobe Acrobat (full version) for reviewing, creating, editing, annotating, and managing PDFs.
  6. Clio for time recording, billing, calendaring, tasks, and trust account management. There are other SAS providers in this space that are very good, but Clio is the industry leader with abundant support and online resources for assistant.
  7. CaseFleet for case-level organization.
  8. MS Windows File Explorer to hierarchically organize electronic files and documents. This is baked into Windows.
  9. MS Windows Security for firewall and virus protection. This also is baked into Windows. Use this and keep it updated. If you do, there is no need for McAfee or any other third-party solutions for virus protection.
  10. Mindmanger for mindmapping. I know, most of you don’t even know what this is. Don’t get me started on how critical it is for lawyers to mindmap to organize cases, witness examinations, deposition outlines, and the like.
  11. WordPress. If you are going to create and manage your own website, this is the platform to use. Something like 70% of the Internet uses it. I made that number up, but it is probably close to true.

  1. I address iPhone and iPad apps elsewhere.

Technology: Hardware

All paperless lawyers–which all lawyers should be–need or should consider using the following hardware. (I know much of this is obvious.) The best site for reviews of the latest and greatest hardware is Wirecutter.

Essential Hardware

  1. A laptop computer. I once insisted that this computer be a Windows machine. However, Apple Mac computers apparently work fine (or better) than Windows computers. Moreover, in the past I used CaseMap, which only ran on Windows; CaseFleet is a modern on-line alternative that runs on any platform.
  2. A large widescreen monitor at least 39″ wide. You need this to work on multiple documents at the same time.
  3. A mobile phone. Get an Apple iPhone. Everyone else has one and it works better with iMessage.
  4. A document scanner. The only one to buy is a Fujitsu ScanSnap.
  5. A printer. Yes, some people still use paper.

Hardware To Consider

  1. An iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil. Use this to read documents and check email on the go.
  2. A destop computer at your office. It’s just better to have all of your data on two machines that are constantly sync’d using Dropbox, Google Drive, or MS OneDrive.

Tasks

Track all tasks using Clio tasks.

In the name of the task, include any hard deadline. The “due date” for the task should also be the hard deadline.

Set email reminders for every task. For very important tasks, use several reminders.

The task must be assigned to a human being.

Time and Billing

General

For time and billing use Clio.

Please enter time no later than the end of the following day.

For CJA cases, use voucher “catgegories,” particularly “In-Court” and “Out-of-Court” time.

Timesheets

Lawyers working by the hour must keep time sheets with detailed time records. Here are a billing few do’s and don’ts:

  • Do record your time in narrative format with good detail.
  • Do bill in minimum increments of .10 of an hour (six minutes).
  • Don’t block bill. Break the time up into smaller billable chunks.
  • Don’t record time that sounds like paralegal work. For example, don’t record lawyer time like this: “Filed documents received from defense counsel.”
  • Don’t record time in sentence fragments. Use full sentences and capital letters to begin those sentences.

For a good, brief article on the topic see this: https://www.attorneyatwork.com/three-ways-better-billing/

Organizing Individual Matters with CaseFleet

Individual matters are comprised of facts, people, documents, and issues. These need to be managed using CaseFleet. For information on CaseFleet and best practices, see the CaseFleet Knowledge Base.

For videos on how to organize individual matters using CaseMap (an antiquated1 desktop product similar to the web-based CaseFleet product), see the videos below. Although these are not tailored to using CaseFleet, nearly all of the principles discussed in the videos still apply.

Introduction to CaseMap

CaseMap Document Management

CaseMap for Chronologies and Brief Writing

  1. I used this product for twenty years. It was great. Really great. But Lexis never moved the product to the Internet, so it has become irrelevant. Sad really.