Friday, December 18, 2009

Law Tech: 2009's Most Useful Tech Items

Here are tech apps/hardware that I think are "best" when it comes to helping my office in the practice and business of law:

1.iPhone- I'm old enough to remember when computers for lawyers were a rarity. In 1991 I remember an older partner literally yelling at me that "computers are for secretaries!" when he saw a PC on my desk. Could anyone today imagine practicing law without one?

I'd put the iPhone on the list of essential tools. If you don't have one, in my opinion you are at a disadvantage. Apps for it are key - Dragon dictate, access to key documents, email with PDF capability, the ability to fill out, sign and annotate any PDF document while away from the office (Zosh), and more. The blog is a must read. If you're one of those dinosaurs who proudly proclaims that you only use your phone to make calls, well, the meteor is headed your way, and it has an Apple logo on it. If you have a smart phone like a BBerry, at least you're getting closer.

2.Speak Write: This is a transcription service. A transcript is processed by trained professionals located in the U.S. and Canada, without the use of voice recognition software. You can dictate from anywhere and receive your completed work via email, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in about 3 hours. Since you can dictate using a variety of methods, no special equipment or software is required; you can be signed up and dictating within minutes.


Especially for smaller firms like ours, the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner takes the complication out of document imaging with one-touch ease of use. It's the size of a football, is sturdy (I've dropped it twice), lightning fast, and relatively inexpensive. I've taking it to document reviews and have been able to have 1000's of pages scanned while reviewing papers.

4.Google Desktop: Google Desktop is desktop search software made by Google for Mac OS X, Linux, and Microsoft Windows. The program allows text searches of a user's e-mails, computer files, music, photos, chats, and Web pages viewed.

We have indexed the documents on our servers, and now can search our "google-style" for items. Cost? Free.

5.Dual Monitors: More and more you are seeing dual monitors. I have two, and it helps a great deal. Using dual monitors allows you to eliminate scrolling and window switching. You may not even be aware of how often you are moving things around now. It’s very easy to get used to two monitors and to determine the best way for you to work with them.

On my desk, our client database and contacts are on one monitor, and my work items are on another.

I also have two 23" monitors, and that's been a great help as well.

6.RingCentral: RingCentral Office delivers a virtual PBX, VoIP phone service and IP phone as one complete system. It's cheap, and here is how I use it: I sign up for an account, and then use that number to track any google ad words buy we use. At any one time, I may have 2-4 web sites active with either google ad buys or simply as informational sites. It helps me measure the success of the site separate and apart from any emails or forms filled out. It's cheap, easy to use and yes, there's a free app for that for the iPhone. On the iPhone it looks like this:

7.Phonetag: From their site: PhoneTag automatically converts your voicemail into text and delivers it directly to your mobile phone, Blackberry, Goodlink enabled phone and/or your email account; so you can read your voicemail.

I love it.

There you have it. Email me if any of those help.