Highlights from ABA TECHSHOW 2014

The American Bar Association's annual tech show reportedly had an all-time record number of registered attendees, who year-in and year-out include some of the sharpest people I have the pleasure to meet. (Of course, as a former chairman who hasn't missed a show since 1999, I'm biased.)

Some of the new toys on display at the springtime show were not yet available to the public, but they are now. Here's a brief look at some of the latest gadgets, apps and tools for lawyers to work and play with this summer:

The Sony Digital Paper tablet was designed for attorneys who want to take digital notes and annotate PDFs but don't like the feel of iPads or other tablets. It's light (12.6 ounces) - though not on the wallet (over $1,000) - and has a high-resolution, 16-level grayscale display with touch controls, stylus input and no backlight, making for easy daytime reading without the need to scroll around documents like on smaller tablets. Sony also claims a three-week battery life, and documents can be stored on 4GB of internal memory or an SD card.

The new jury app entry from Second Chair Mobile is well-positioned in the market, with robust features and a low price tag ($24.95). Its website claims that it's the only jury-selection app that allows the user to handwrite or type juror notes, and the only app that uses drag-and-drop technology to move jurors in the jury box, excuse jurors or seat alternates - all while keeping track of each party's peremptory challenges.

The Form Tool's Doxsera (which my colleague and former show chair Reid Trautz called a "game-changer") was designed to allow lawyers to handle document assembly and automation on their own, in lieu of professional installers or consultants. Software text of any length and graphics can be stored as "Passages" and organized into "Folios" of related snippets. Passages and Folios are then searchable by title, subject, keyword, tag and text, and can automatically be included in a document.

Lexis-Nexis also earned kudos from Trautz for totally rebuilding its practice management application FirmManager. The cloud-based management and billing product automatically searches tasks, meetings and documents, flagging those that haven't been associated with a client bill for review. It also allows employees to quickly create professional-looking invoices and update payments in real time on any mobile device with just a few clicks.

Wordrake2 isan on-the-fly editing program that "rakes" documents in search of unnecessary and obtuse words, then suggests edits to improve clarity and concision.

Newcomer Bellefield's ITimeKeep Mobile 3 app aims to modernize conventional timekeeping by allowing employees to track their time via their smartphones, tablets or desktops. It accepts voice-to-text, time counter or manual time entry, and can integrate all of the major time and billing systems.

@:Finally, Fujitsu exhibited the latest version of ScanSnap, a "contactless" scanner that scans A3-sized documents in under three seconds. But the real draw for attorneys is its one-button, overhead technology that can scan both pages of an open book or magazine, then automatically flatten the curved image - because you have better things to do than hold down the book.

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Jim Calloway is the director of the Oklahoma Bar Association Management Assistance Program. He publishes the weblog Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips at http://jimcalloway.typepad.com.

Published: Wed, Aug 06, 2014

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