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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Happy 2015 from the Bose Law and Technology Blog

To all our friends and readers, we wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015!

2015 New Year celebration

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Top 10 2014 Blog Posts

Top 10Year-end top ten posts are common and popular this time of the year!  For your reading enjoyment here are the 2014 top ten posts from The Bose Law and Technology Blog.

  1. 8 Great Legal Research and Writing Resources and Blogs
  2. 4 Unique Websites for Research
  3. Part 1 – Legal Research in Your Pocket: Fee-based Services
  4. 5 Quality Business Development Blogs
  5. Part 2 – Legal Research in Your Pocket: Free Non-Subscription Services
  6. Potholes, Technology, and Preparing for the Future
  7. Cool Apps Roundup
  8. Are You Cut Out for Social Media?
  9. Impact of PACER Changes: It is not Good News
  10. Quick Update re/PACER Issue: Good News

Click here to sign-up to receive notifications of new posts for this blog by email or add this blog to your RSS Feed-reader? Very much looking forward to what trends and hot topics 2015 brings!

 

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Part 2 – Legal Research in Your Pocket: Free Non-Subscription Services

Apps for accessing fee-based services which were covered in Part 1 – Legal Research in Your Pocket: Fee-based Services differ greatly from the ones covered here, in that subscription services usually offer a greater breadth of content. Nonetheless, for mobile research on a shoe-string budget, free is good, and the seven apps below are good starting points.

  1. dLaw (formerly DroidLaw) is a free Android app that comes preloaded with the text of the U.S. Constitution and many federal court rules and in-app purchase options including State Code, United States Code, United States Supreme Court opinions, Code of Federal Regulations, Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) and the Uniform Commercial Code. Keyword searching and the ability to limit searching to specific chapters and titles plus offline saving make this the go-to legal research app for Android devices.
  2. LawStack is a free iOS app that comes preloaded with the text of the U.S. Constitution and multiple federal rules effective as of December 1, 2013. Additional in-app purchases for a small fee allow downloads of the Code of Federal Regulations, the U.S. Code, and statutes from a number of states. Offline access, full-text search capabilities, and more make this a must-have app for your legal research needs.
  3. LawSauce a very inexpensive app ($1.99) billing itself as a “GPS for lawyers” is an e-resource locator designed to quickly find the right web resource for your legal tasks. It will locate both free and fee-based services (i.e. Westlaw, Lexis) that meet your legal research needs. The content is organized by broad geographical areas (United States, Canada, UK, Europe) and it provides access to over 8,000 records including case-law, legislative materials, legal journals and more. Regularly updated content and prompts to sync your device when updates are released makes this a great app for finding the sources of information on the Web for national and international legal research.
  4. FedCourts app provides access to the federal rules, local rules for all U.S. federal courts, and PACER. In addition, the app provides turn-by-turn directions to any federal courthouse in the U.S. The app is $2.99 and may be downloaded from the iTunes App Store for iOS devices and from Google Play for Droid devices.
  5. ISCOTUSnow is a free app available for iOS and Droid devices that provides details on all U.S. Supreme Court cases accepted for review or decided by the court in both the current and immediately preceding terms.
  6. LawBox  is a legal reference and search utility app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. It is billed as the fastest full text legal search engine on any mobile device. The built-in library allows users to download state and federal codes as needed. It offers  both free and low-cost content. Individual code items are $4.99. For those who need wide-ranging reference for a given jurisdiction, they offer a bulk purchase option that includes the entire law for any given state, or the entire U.S. Code, for just $24.99. Free downloads are offered for federal rules and the United States Constitution.
  7. LawGuide is an Android app developed by the creators of the TheLaw.com legal website. It is free and provides access to a legal dictionary, legal forms, case reviews, job post board, the New York Code and more. The app may be downloaded from Google Play.
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Microsoft (Finally) Makes Office for iOS Functional and Free

You may want to sit down for this one, because I’m about to praise Microsoft, a company whose products typically draw my ire multiple times per day…

Last week, Microsoft updated its Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for iOS, allowing basic editing of documents without having to have an Office 365 subscription. MS also added in Dropbox support for their iOS apps and made stand-alone Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for the iPhone, which replaces the lousy and unusable “Office Mobile” app for iPhone they previously put out. The iPad apps are worth the price: free. The iPhone apps are a little more cumbersome to use due to smaller screen sizes, but they’ll do in a pinch.

If you want advanced editing features like Track Changes in Word or PivotTables in Excel, however, you’ll need to have an Office 365 subscription, which MS has recently made more appealing by offering unlimited online OneDrive storage with an Office 365 subscription. Dropbox is still the superior service, but OneDrive going unlimited makes it a bit more attractive.

But the good news is that MS has apparently realized that making people pay for functionality that other mobile apps—such as Apple’s excellent Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps—have, for years, offered for free didn’t make a lot of sense. I’m all for a MS that is more focused on users instead of just protecting its two big cash cows: Office and Windows.

In any event, keep copying Apple, Microsoft, and you may eventually get it right…

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Part 1 – Legal Research in Your Pocket: Fee-based Services

research photo

The reasons for using apps or mobile optimized sites for your legal research needs are plentiful and getting comprehensive and quality research done while on-the-go is easy with the following eight subscription services apps or mobile optimized sites.

  • Bloomberg BNA On the Go is a free app available only to subscribers and requires an existing username and password. The app gets you access to your Bloomberg BNA Resource Centers from your mobile device.
  • Bloomberg Law (BLaw) offers a free app to select content, but a better option is to access the beautifully rendered mobile optimized site for Droid and Apple devices. A subscription is required and the interface is exactly like the desktop platform. Content includes legal and news searches, tracking of dockets, ability to view and share legal documents, news and company information, legal treatises, and more. Uniquely BLaw offers access to the entire breadth of content for subscribers and any new content added is available automatically.
  • Bloomberg BNA Law Reports app delivers original, authoritative and timely reporting and analysis that includes key legal, legislative, regulatory or business developments for all the BNA newsletters to which you subscribe. As such it requires a username and password for access.
  • CCH Intelliconnect offers subscribers the free IC Mobile app which provides direct access to your IntelliConnect content when you are on the go. You can search, read customized news and alerts, email and save documents to research folders for easy access between the desktop and mobile platforms. For lovers of the Smart Charts and rate tables those too can be accessed for quick answers to your state law questions, and citation templates make it a snap to get the full text of primary source documents.
  • Fastcase offers a free app for Apple and Droid devices; access to the content via the app is also free. The free access on the app lets the researcher quickly pull cases, statutes etc. while in court, on the road, or at home. Access on the desktop site is not free, but is an attractive alternative legal research service that lets you search case-law and statutes at a fraction of the cost of Westlaw or Lexis, and thus especially useful for firms that pass through the costs of Westlaw and Lexis to clients.
  • HeinOnline app is free but you need a subscription to access the content. It is largely a resource for accessing archival digitized legal documents including bar journals, superseded state and federal statutes and regulations, and more. Features include the ability to view the image-based PDFs, access content by citation, browse by volume, navigate a volume with the electronic table of contents, and use full advanced searching techniques.
  • Lexis Advance offers a free app, but you must have a current Lexis Advance subscription and valid ID/password to access the content. Lexis Classic users can access the  mobile optimized site here, which is compatible on all mobile devices. Both offer features similar to the desktop version for searching cases, statutes, secondary resources, etc. available from Lexis.
  • WestlawNext offers a free app available for Apple and Droid devices; you must have a current subscription and valid ID/password for access. Additionally, there is a mobile optimized site for it here. Both of these platforms offer access to cases, statutes, secondary materials, and more, plus most of the features available in the desktop version.

Happy researching! And be on the lookout for Part 2 covering free (non-subscription) legal research apps.

 

 

 

 

 

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