8 Apple Watch Productivity Apps for Attorneys

Primarily designed for quick looks and interactions such as getting and responding to messages and phone calls, the Apple Watch comes with several built-in apps. Beyond the pre-loaded ones, there are more than  3,000 apps currently available for it via the iTunes App Store. Start with these 8, and your productivity could soar.

  1. iBillable Hours a bargain at $9.99 is great for tracking your billable hours by client, case or overall right from your wrist. Filtering your hours to a specific time-frame,  add notes, share reports and import / export data using Dropbox are just a few of the features it offers..
  2. Todoist is a list-making app with voice control and a slew of other features. As an extension of the free Todoist iPhone app, it syncs with the cloud and allows collaborative to-do lists and productivity management.
  3. Twitter  lets you dictate, view Tweets, and re-tweet from your wrist.
  4. Uber lets you to track your booked ride and see how far away it is without having to take out your phone, and notifies you when your ride has arrived.
  5. Evernote the well-known and highly used mobile app lets you dictate notes, view and create new notes, or update existing notes, and set reminders and get notifications on your Apple Watch.
  6. Citymapper lets you zero in on public transport, provides precise, clear instructions on getting from place to place, and keeps you informed on bus, train or tram schedules for select supported cities.
  7. NYTimes app lets you quickly view one-sentence stories specially designed for the small Apple Watch screen. You can also receive alerts when big news breaks and via the Handoff feature continue reading on your iPhone, or touch Save for Later to build a personal reading list for another time.
  8. Calculator Watch Pro is just one among many calculator apps for the Apple Watch, which surprisingly does not come with one already built-in. This app lets you sync back and forth on your phone, thus allowing you to continue calculations on your phone without having to re-type.

Of course this is just a small sampling of Apple Watch apps, but hopefully will help you in putting this new mobile device to great use. With native apps coming to the Apple Watch this fall, this will be an interesting space to watch.

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Will Your Website Survive “Mobilegeddon”?

Ready pictureUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you are no doubt aware of the warnings covered across the blogosphere and in my recent post Google Changes Signal the Imperative for Responsive Web Design which provided information about the upcoming changes to Google search results rankings that will favor mobile-friendly Websites.

Perhaps you’ve checked your statistics and mobile traffic to your site is very low,  therefore, you assume the Google ranking changes won’t matter. However, consider that Mobile is the new primetime. Time spent on mobile eclipses TV already so you can bet those numbers will rise over time. So why not prepare now rather than rushing to catch-up at the last-minute and risk losing potential visitors to your site in the interim to someone else?

Check out the following sites for measuring and improving your Website’s mobile-friendliness level.

  1. Mobile Friendly Test page lets you plug-in your site’s URL and get a quick mobile friendly or not mobile friendly rating, followed by suggestions on how to improve your rating if it is deemed non mobile friendly.
  2. W3C mobileOK Checker provides an overall “failures per severity” report on your URL followed by a detailed description report with links to suggested best practices for improvement.
  3. HubSpots’s Marketing Grader site gives your site an instant numerical rating out of 100 on several key areas including mobile.

Finally, a few best practices tips for site design include:

  • Avoid software not common on mobile, such as Flash
  • Use text that is readable without having to zoom
  • Space links far apart for ease of tapping
  • Size page content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally

Now, you are either armed with some effective mobile optimization tools and tips or you are among the fortunate and your website is already perfectly optimized for mobile!

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Google Changes Signal the Imperative for Responsive Web Design

According to Wikipedia, Responsive Web Design (aka RWD) “is an approach to site design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices.” In simple terms – your Website or blog adapts to the device of the end-user.

With the consistent and rapid rise of mobile browsing the importance of having a responsive web design has long been clear. However, if Google to start penalizing non-mobile blogs on April 21  is true, it is now imperative that your site be device neutral. With this upcoming change, Google is signalling its intention to provide searchers with the best results possible and serving up results to sites that are not device neutral means a poor end-user experience that Google wants to avoid.

Mobile usage continues to climb and not getting a high-ranking in Google search results due to Google favoring responsive design sites in its rankings is just one, albeit crucial, imperative to use RWD for your blog and Website. Beyond the Google mandate, there are a myriad of other reasons for using it.

Better user experience is key to getting return visitors to your site.  With responsive design, your visitors will have a similar and consistent experience no matter what device they use when they land on your blog or Website, which translates to happy and likely repeat visitors! Also, using responsive design lifts the burden of having different website designs for various devices.

If you’re still not convinced, consider that according to a study from ComScore, 55% of social media consumption happens on mobile devices, and a 2010 Google User Behavior Study found that 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble with and 40% said they’d visit a competitor’s mobile site instead.

Don’t risk losing visitors to your blog or Website – use Responsive Web Design!

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5 Tools to Boost Social Media Productivity

Managing your social media presence does not have to be time-consuming. There are several excellent tools designed to help boost your social media productivity.

Reignite is intended primarily as a paid enterprise social media management tool but it does offer a limited free service for bloggers. Via a single platform you can schedule posts in advance, promote posts on social media with campaigns, and track the activity of posts.

IFTTT an acronym for If This Then That, lets you automate a plethora of things by simply creating IFTTT “recipes”. Consider the following examples.

  • If your LinkedIn profile picture changes then update your Twitter profile picture too
  • If someone mentions you online then send a notification email to your account
  • If sharing a post on LinkedIn then share it on Facebook also
  • If you get to the office automatically mute your phone
  • If you miss a phone call from a specific number then generate an email to yourself
  • If you gain a new follower on Twitter automatically send a thank-you
  • If you write a new blog post automatically post it to LinkedIn or Twitter

Hootsuite offers basic plans for free and fee-based pro and enterprise plans. Features include the ability to create a schedule for your social media messages and then automatically post, tweet, and share the messages to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and more all from a single platform. Additionally, real-time data reports on everything you share can be viewed.

Sproutsocial offers fee based services only. Features include a single stream inbox that ensures you never miss a message, and tools for posting, collaborating, and scheduling messages to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Also monitoring tools with excellent analytics help you track important metrics.

SocialOomph is a web-based tool that provides a variety of free and paid productivity features to assist with your social media management needs. Features include scheduling of Tweets, status updates, sharing LinkedIn posts and much more.  Limitless accounts are offered for those with multiple LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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2 Apps Put Legal Writing in Your Pocket

Several weeks ago the series on mobile apps for legal research covered Part 1 – Legal Research in Your Pocket: Fee-based Services and Part 2 – Legal Research in Your Pocket: Free Non-Subscription Services. Once the research is done it’s time for the legal writing process to begin. The two apps profiled below are designed to help you improve your legal writing skills while on the go.

  1. iWrite Legal (Free) iOS app helps legal writers improve their writing skills and provides tips and  checklists for overcoming writer’s block and to aid the writer in thorough revisions, editing, and proofreading of legal documents.
  2. My Legal Writing Coach: Memos ($4.99) iOS and Android app is a unique tool designed to help newer lawyers, law students, and others improve their legal memo writing efficiency and quality.  The app offers the steps to drafting a predictive or objective legal memo and steps you through the memo writing process via practical tips and real-world strategies in writing certain types of legal documents.

Legal writing

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Fresh Apps and New Features

freshThe variety of new apps and unique updated features added to them are seemingly endless. The four profiled below are definitely unique and worthy of further consideration.

Being prepared in today’s often harried world is not easy. We may not always be able to take the time to research a prospective new client before meeting with them. Refresh lifts that burden, and ensures you are not caught unprepared when rushing to a meeting with a new client or acquaintance. By allowing this app to access your various social media accounts (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook etc.) you can quickly launch the app to and search by name, but even better if their name is in your calendar appointment the app automatically sends you an insights notification with a link to a concise graphical profile of them.

The features of the Office Lens app are numerous. You can capture images of whiteboard notes or other paper documents (i.e. handouts, business cards, etc.) and save them in OneNote. A cool new feature allows you to convert images to Word or PowerPoint and edit them, and the recently added business card mode allows you to extract contact information from business cards and save the data as a VCF file (virtual card file) for ease of adding the information to your phone contacts.

While Insight Notes ($9.99) app for the iPad with its HIPAA compliant security is primarily designed for healthcare professionals, it is also ideal for attorneys and other professionals who need strict security features for client notes and documents they may create on their mobile devices. The app automatically organizes your notes on a per-client or per-project basis, and provides secure encrypted backup exporting of your notes to remote servers for a low monthly fee.

Do you correspond with clients via text? Are you tired of typing all of your text messages on your phone? WhatsApp the messenger app for select smart phones recently became available in a desktop version, thereby allowing you to respond to text messages via your computer. It works best on Google Chrome and is currently only available to users of Android, Windows, and BlackBerry phones.


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It Takes a Village: Best Practices for Distributing Social Media Content

In 2006, Hillary Clinton published “It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.” Fast forward almost 20 years, and a few word changes to that well-known title applies to what it takes today for law firms to get their social media message heard.

Law firm blogging, albeit very fun and oftentimes rewarding for the law firm, is hard work and requires constant vigilance and promotion. This is especially true if individual lawyers are trying to do it all by themselves. Imagine the impact your law firm’s blogging and social media efforts could have if you had the entire force of the law firm behind  those undertakings. What follows are a few tips to accomplish just that.

Enlist your colleagues help in promoting content

Kevin O’Keefe, a successful and prolific blogger, recently penned It takes an entire law firm using social media to distribute content which no doubt resonated with many seasoned bloggers, myself included. He posits that “If a law firm wants to succeed in generating readership of their thought leadership pieces …. the firm best have everyone at the law firm using social media.” The very important distinction being that all attorneys and firm leaders don’t need to blog, but all should be using social media and whenever possible should participate in the promotion and sharing of the their colleague’s blog posts.

Use technology to help streamline publishing and promotion of blog posts

Blogging is time-consuming, and for our on-the-go society, technology tools in the form of mobile apps and specialty Web tools can help with automating and streamlining the process of scheduling the publishing and promotion of your blog posts. A few new ones on the market are socialoomph and dlvr.it. Also, checkout Top 10 Tools for Managing Your Social Media Accounts for additional tools to help you gain better control of your blogging and social media activities.

Make judicious use of multiple social media platforms to share your content

Not all social media platforms are created equal and not all of your clients use all of the ones available. Thus while you should likely use as many of them as possible, be mindful in choosing the best ones for your conversations and promotion purposes. Twitter and LinkedIn are definitely ones to always use for blog promotions, whereas Facebook and Instagram certainly have their strengths, but may not always be the best choice for all your law firm’s social media and blog promotion activities.

While it does not take a village, it certainly takes more than each lawyer working in isolation, to manage and grow your firm’s social media presence. After all, the old adage is true: “many hands make light work.”

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