Essential apps and web tools for lawyers

You want to save time and make your life easier, right?

Okay, so there probably isn’t a legal professional anywhere in America who wouldn’t answer “yes” to that. The key, however, to making it a reality is to have the right tools and apps at your service, helping you maximize your productivity.

Whether you’re looking to better manage your time, make tedious and slow tasks go faster, better manage your notes, transcripts, and interviews, or get fast and accurate case updates, these are the apps and web tools you need.

iTimeKeep (free, with various paid add-ons)

“No one task is more essential for law firms, and yet more universally loathed among lawyers, than recording time,” says the Cyber Advocate blog. Sure, almost everyone agrees that the billable hour is a terrible thing, but since it’s not going away you may as well keep time as efficiently as possible.

iTimeKeep is available as a mobile app or on your desktop via your browser — in other words it can always be with you; that’s especially vital if you’re quickly moving between tasks. The tool itself is a simple time tracker with the added ability to type or dictate short notes related to the task.

The beauty of it, though, is its ability to automatically connect with the most common billing software packages, reducing the time gap between work getting done and it getting properly recorded to nearly nothing. Neat, eh?

iTimeKeep image

Audiotorium Notes ($4.99)

If you’ve ever frustratedly searched through a lengthy audio recording to find the right section and longed for audio bookmarks, this app is for you. Audiotorium is a robust iPad app for recording, storing, and organizing audio recordings and for adding additional text notes.

Features include a handy way to organize recordings by subject and category, the ability to add bookmarks and waymarkers within recordings, to divide up recordings into sections, and to add on written notes. As a bonus, if you use Dropbox, all of your recordings can be automatically uploaded to the cloud.

iJuror ($14.99 iOS, $9.99 Android + add-ons)

Love it or loath it, jury selection is a crucial task for civil litigators. But all those messy notes and post-it stickers? Surely there’s a better way!

The iJuror app is a handy way for assistants or paralegals to record and store information as it is being established in court. The app utilizes a spinning wheel approach to entering a juror’s answers to questions, and (for an additional fee) allows you to score jurors based on their answers.

There are also additional features for recording juror behavior during the trial and for adding virtual sticky-notes to juror profiles.

iJuror image

HelloFax (from $9.99, higher depending on fax pages / month)

In a statement that surely many a lawyer would agree with, Slate magazine has called HelloFax “the tool that finally liberates us from the worst gadget on earth.” HelloFax allows you to send faxes through their website and receive incoming faxes directly to your email, removing the need for a fax machine altogether.

You have the option of creating a fax number via HelloFax (removing the need for a second line) or porting over your existing fax number. While there isn’t a mobile app version yet, that’s pretty much unnecessary since you can fax by email by by sending your message to [faxnumber]@hellofax.com.

Fastcase (free on mobile, subscription options for full version)

Fastcase is a cool little app that puts the entire American law library in the palm of your hand. Users can search through cases and statutes from all 50 states and the federal government by citation or keyword, or choose to browse entire statute collections. The best results are promoted to the top and include a citation analysis so that users can see which cases are most cited.

Available on both Android and iOS devices, Fastcase is great for quick legal research while on the go.

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What are the essential apps in your law office? Share your favorites in the comments.

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2 Comments

  1. Scott Lee Reply

    Hi Richard,

    One of my best friends here in San Diego is also named Richard Heinrich, and he’s also an attorney (retired). Did a double-take when I saw your name on the email.

    1. Richard Heinrich Reply

      Hi Scott,

      There’s a few of us Heinrichs about! I’m glad the content caught your eye!

      -Richard

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