Across the country, technologically savvy attorneys are infiltrating courtrooms and getting more done with less—less hassle, less stress, and less dependence on a physical office.
One of the biggest aspects of this revolution is owed to the proliferation of the Apple iPad and its newfound acceptance among not only early adopters, but formerly tech-shy attorneys as well.
But the issue goes beyond mere courtroom acceptance; if your legal practice requires you to be outside of the office or on the road even a moderate amount, then taking your office with you is a must.
But what makes tablet practice so practical? Bottom line: it’s the applications available on the platform that make the tool useful.
Some of those apps are specifically created for lawyers, and others are more generally useful, but all of the following apps will help you transform your legal practice on-the-move into the well-oiled machine you need to grow and manage your business.
Quickoffice Pro HD
As a litigator, I personally enjoy the applications that allow me to keep my business moving in high gear while I am waiting around on a docket call.
Consequently, one of my favorite apps is Quickoffice Pro HD.
Quickoffice allows me to work on or create a Microsoft Office document, even when I’m using an Apple product. Quickoffice allows users to create documents in Microsoft Word format, but more importantly, it also allows them to open documents previously created in Microsoft Word and continue working on them without running into any odd formatting issues.
Another application that often comes in handy in the courtroom is Scanner Pro, which gives you the ability to create PDF documents on the fly.
With its ingenious system, all you have to do is open up the application, position the crosshairs that appear on your iPad screen, and then capture the image, just like you would if you were using your camera function for any other activity.
The defining feature here, though, is that the image you capture is automatically converted to a PDF file that you can use just like you would any other file in that format.
Anytime you need to save work or transfer a document on the fly, Scanner Pro offers a much more professional alternative to simply taking a photograph of the document and sending it as a jpeg or other image file.
Moreover, you can easily couple the Scanner Pro with the Adobe Reader application to modify and work with any PDF that you create.
The Adobe Reader application allows you to work with almost any document you are may need to reference. The iPad app is pretty close to the desktop version, so if you’re already familiar with it, there isn’t much of a learning curve.
My favorite aspect of the Adobe Reader application is that it provides some extra kick with a yearly subscription that breaks down to about $7.50 a month.
With the optional subscription, you will have the ability to create unlimited PDF conversions from Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.
Perhaps even more impressive, you also gain the ability to do exactly the reverse; with the optional subscription, you have the ability to export PDF files to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats.
RingCentral Online Fax Service
As if the document access capabilities were not enough, you can also subscribe to online facsimile services, such as RingCentral, which allow you to turn your iPad into a fax machine in a pinch.
All you have to do is register with the service, and you’re instantly provided your own personal fax number. When folks send a fax to the specified number, it appears in you email inbox as a PDF document.
Even more impressive is the fact that you can fax word documents by loading them unto the RingCentral portal. You can also use the Scanner Pro to create a PDF of a document and then fax it to anywhere you please.
I find that this service comes in handy when I am dealing with opposing counsel who refuses to use email. There are plenty of attorneys left who will not correspond via email, and the ability to send information to them via fax is extremely important if you find yourself stranded outside the office.
Those of some of the more practical applications I use to make sure I’m not wasting any valuable time while I’m out of the office. These apps allow me to create and transmit any work that I may need to, no matter where I am.
Next time, I’ll share some of the tools I use that are tailored specifically for lawyers and more “law practice” specific.
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