The apps lawyers need most

By Sylvia Hsieh

The Daily Record Newswire

There are an estimated half a million apps available at the App Store, with more every day. Here are some of the apps that lawyers have vetted and call their favorites:

For trial lawyers using the iPad in the courtroom, TrialPad is at the top of the list. It lets you present various types of documents as exhibits for trial, as well as annotate, highlight or redact relevant portions.

TrialPad ($89.99) has "all of the major things lawyers want in a trial exhibit" for a lot less, plus "any lawyer can jump in and start using it the first day," said Ben Stevens, who blogs at The Mac Lawyer and practices in Spartanburg, S.C. "I've seen it in action and it's unbelievable."

Another image presentation app, Evidence ($9.99), is intended for cases with 200 or fewer documents. It requires the most recent software for the iPad.

Ted Brooks, a trial presentation consultant and president of Litigation-Tech LLC in Los Angeles and San Francisco, said that TrialPad and Evidence work best in a "small case with not a ton of evidence."

A hugely popular iPad app for managing all types of files, from pictures to Word documents to PDF files, is GoodReader ($4.99).

"GoodReader is the most useful app that I have purchased for my iPad," said Jeff Richardson, a partner at Adams and Reese in New Orleans who blogs at iPhone J.D. "I use GoodReader to read and annotate documents and store them into folders that correspond to my cases."

Most lawyers can't resist the red pen, and iAnnotate makes it easy to highlight and mark up PDF documents.

"It's like a PDF reader on steroids," said Stevens. "There are a million programs out there, but this one is good and easy to use."

Noteshelf ($4.99) is a new note-taking app for turning your iPad into a legal pad. The app has a zoom mode, a book shelf and folders for organizing, and you can export handwritten notes as single or multiple page PDFs to Dropbox.

Another time-saving app for texting lawyers is TextExpander ($4.99), which lets you save boilerplate paragraphs or frequently typed snippets.

"I hate retyping long bits of text and even short bits, too. Plus, with a little elbow grease, you can make it compile a set of ... dates and insert them into a scheduling order," said Peter Summerill, a partner at Hasenyager & Summerill in Ogden, Utah, who blogs at MacLitigator.

Two apps help mobile lawyers track billable phone minutes and miles.

RogueTime, an iPhone and iPad app that costs $6.99, tracks time for billable hours, integrates with the iPhone address book to create a client list, and allows lawyers to enter standard billing rates for phone calls or to enter a different rate for specific clients.

To keep track of mileage, Tap2Track Mileage ($3.99) calculates mileage using a GPS system, allows you to copy prior trips so that repeat drives to the local courthouse can be entered efficiently and provides a mileage log in IRS-approved format that is also compatible with TurboTax.

Published: Mon, Dec 5, 2011

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