When the iPhone 3GS was released earlier this year, I broke down and purchased one. It has turned out to be one of my favorite technology purchases and I've found it incredibly useful for business.
I act as outside general counsel for a number of e-commerce businesses (the companies I represent range from small start ups to some of the largest and most established companies in the industry) and my practice entails both counseling and litigation, so I'm often out of the office (or out of town) in court when my clients need to reach me. My iPhone lets me stay in contact with my clients wherever I am and acts as a secondary computer when I'm away from my laptop. With my iPhone, I can obviously call, email, text, and IM my clients and colleagues but I can also review and edit documents, research legal issues, track my billable time, and make travel arrangements. (There is, as they say, an app for that. Well, not one app to perform all of those tasks, but several.)
Now that I've used my iPhone for several months, I thought it might be helpful to post about a few of the iPhone apps that I regularly use in my law practice:
BeeJiveIM (Available on the iPhone App Store, $9.99) - BeeJiveIM is an instant messenger aggregator - it permits you to IM simultaneously on multiple services. I often use it to communicate with my assistant when I'm in the office but not at my desk. (BeeJive, Inc.'s website explains all of the application's features. The application has also been reviewed by PC Magazine and Business Week.)
Black's Law Dictionary (Available on the iPhone App Store, $49.99) - It's expensive, but the Black's Law Dictionary app puts the Eighth Edition of the most frequently used legal dictionary on your iPhone. It's fairly useful but I would have found it to be absolutely essential as a law student or new lawyer. (It has been reviewed by iPhone J.D.)
Cliff Meier Legal Apps (Available on the iPhone App Store, Various) - Lawyer Cliff Meier publishes a number of helpful legal reference apps. I've installed the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, and the Lanham Act to assist me in my federal litigation and trademark work. (You can learn more about available Cliff Meier apps from the WaffleTurtle Software website.)
DaysFrom (Available on the iPhone App Store, $0.99) - DaysFrom is a simple date calculator that permits you to determine the date which is a certain number of days in the future or the past. I use it to calculate due dates which are triggered by an event - for instance, the responsive pleadings which are due 20 days after service of a complaint, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12. (OD Ideas, LLC has a website explaining all of the application's features and it has been reviewed by iPhone J.D.)
Dictionary (Available on the iPhone App Store, FREE) - As you might have guessed, Dictionary is a dictionary app provided by Dictionary.com. (You can read more about its features on Dictionary.com. It has been reviewed by the Apple Blog)
Documents to Go with Exchange Attachments (Available on the iPhone App Store, $14.99) - The iPhone does not ship with the ability to create or edit Work or Excel documents or to save such documents to your device when you receive them as an email attachment. Most of the documents I receive by email are sent in Word format, so I use Documents to Go to save those documents to my iPhone and to edit the documents before forwarding them on. I haven't needed to create a Word or Excel document from scratch, but I could do that now if I wanted to. (DataViz has a website explaining all of the application's features and CNET reviewed the application in June).
FlightTrack Pro (Available on the iPhone App Store, $9.99) - My clients and their cases require me to travel all over the country for meetings and court appearances, so I've collected a number of iPhone apps which make travel a little easier. FlightTrack is one of those apps - it allows you to track the progress of your flights, determine your departure and arrival gates, and find out where your checked bags will (hopefully) be when you arrive. It features weather and TripIt integration (see below). (iPhone App Reviews has reviewed the application.)
SnapDat (Available on the iPhone App Store, $0.99) - SnapDat allows me to exchange my business card electronically - either by email or through the app, if the recipient also has SnapDat installed. It's very useful, particular since most of my clients and business contacts are in the e-commerce space. (The SnapDat website has additional details about the app, which has been reviewed by the New York Times and featured on CNN.com.)
TaxiMagic (Available on the iPhone App Store, FREE) - TaxiMagic is a nationwide free online taxi booking app which is integrated with taxi dispatch systems so you can track the arrival of your taxi. It's great for grabbing a cab in cities I'm traveling to for work. (You can read more about the app on the TaxiMagic website. The app has been reviewed by TechCrunch and the iPhone Blog).
Time Master (Available on the iPhone App Store, $9.99) - Over the past two years, I've attempted to help my clients control and predict legal costs through the use of alternative billing arrangements. However, the majority of my work is still performed on the basis of the traditional billable hour. Time Master allows me to track my time, attribute it to the appropriate client and matter, and email completed timesheets to my assistant for input into the firm's accounting system. The application also tracks my client-reimbursable expenses and could be used to create billing statements to send to clients, if I wished. (On-Core has a website explaining all of the application's features and the application has been reviewed by iPhone J.D. and the Apple Blog.)
TripIt (Available on the iPhone App Store, FREE) - TripIt is a great app for keeping travel itineraries. When you receive confirmation emails from your airline and hotel, you simply email them to email@example.com and the site organizes your itinerary for you, complete with relevant maps. (The TripIt website has additional details.)
Wikipanion (Available on the iPhone App Store, FREE) - Wikipanion is Wikipedia's official iPhone app. Though Wikipedia is treated dubiously by courts (and colleges), it is still useful to look up general information which can be easily confirmed by reference to other sources.
If you have an iPhone app that you've found useful in your law practice, please leave a comment letting us know.
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