Mark I. Unger 2013-10-23 21:41:19
Law Is Mobile Make your life easier with document tools and practice management technologies. Until about a month before the release of the iPad, I didn’t know just how my life was going to change. But change it has in the past four years since I first shifted to an all-Mac house. Aside from getting an assistant (I know, sounds like a no-brainer, right?), those two moves resulted in what I can only guess has been a 30 percent to 50 percent change in my efficiency. Everything seems easier now that I don’t have to haul that clunky Dell (no offense to Dell, which I love) from the office to the coffee table and back each morning. We are no longer tethered to our desks. In case you haven’t noticed, life is mobile. Law is mobile. And it starts with the cloud, which is merely another’s server where our data or others’ data reside. Sometimes it’s shared. Sometimes it’s ours. And sometimes it’s the client’s. More and more, it’s a combination of these. While the trend will be toward “private clouds,” the following is a list of some ways to make your life and practice easier. From tools that manage your documents to technologies that manage your practice, this is what lofty legal ambition will be for those of us trying to keep up with change. DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT IN THE CLOUD Document management includes not only storing documents, but also having the ability to pull them down from wherever you are. Dropbox (dropbox.com) Installs on desktop and mobile devices and accesses any data from any device or computer. Dropbox is the single greatest syncing database with iPad apps and can be accessed via Clio or Rocket Matter (see next section) for seamless sharing of chosen files with clients. Cost: Ranges from free to $49.99 per month, depending on the package. Box (box.com) Syncs to almost as many apps as Dropbox and syncs to the desktop. All plans provide for secure transfer, secure storage, box sync, and cloud editing of documents (with “Box Edit”). Cost: Ranges from free to $15 per month, depending on the package. SugarSync (sugarsync.com) Syncs to all devices without having to drag information to a box. Cost: Ranges from $7.49 to $55 per year, depending on the package. SpiderOak (spideroak.com) Claims not to be able to access and/or see your data (as opposed to all others stated, which allegedly can). Cost: Ranges from free (2GB) to $10 per month (100GB) to $600 per month (1TB and up to 100 users), depending on the package. PRACTICE MANAGEMENT IN THE CLOUD Practice management in the cloud is important because it provides lawyers with an allowable and easy way to maintain a client-lawyer relationship and client confidentiality. Basecamp (basecamp.com) (non-legal solution) You can customize this project management system to fit your needs, invite clients to join their legal case (they have to agree to the terms of service you set up), and share files and messages. Cost: Ranges from $20 to $150 per month, depending on the package. Clio (goclio.com) (legal solution for law firms) Clio features document management (and syncs with Dropbox, Box, and Google Apps), 256-bit encryption, task management and calendaring, mobile access, time tracking and billing (with customized online bill payment and trust accounting), and email sync with Outlook, as well as email integration. Cost: Ranges from $25 to $49 per month, depending on the package. Rocket Matter (rocketmatter.com) (legal solution for law firms) Rocket Matter includes features such as calendaring, task tracking, phone messaging, Skype integration, mobile access, documents and notes capability (including Dropbox and Evernote syncing), tagging and global search, expense/time tracking, and billing. Third-party integration (extremely important these days) includes Dropbox, Evernote, Google Calendar, Chrometa (automatically tracks time on your computer on a particular task for billing purposes), and Skype. Cost: Ranges from $47.99 to $59.99 per month, depending on the package. MyCase (mycase.com) (legal solution for law firms) A cloud practice management system that boasts contact management, tasks/to-do’s, time/expense tracking and billing, calendaring, document management, an online payment portal, trust accounting, and a mobile app for billing. Cost: Ranges from $29 to $39 per month, depending on the package. HoudiniEsq (houdiniesq.com) HoudiniEsq features shared calendars, email and document management, document assembly, contact and client management, task management, billing and invoicing, and conflict checking. Cost: Ranges from free to $192 per user per year, depending on the package MARK UNGER is a family lawyer, mediator, and consultant in San Antonio. He is the chair of the San Antonio Bar Association Technology Committee and sits on the Judicial Committee on Information Technology and outside board for the American Bar Association TechShow Litigation track. He is the immediate past president of the San Antonio Bar Association Family Law Section, former chair of the State Bar of Texas Computer and Technology Council, and former chair of the State Bar of Texas Web Services Committee. TECHGEAR Nike’s new FuelBand SE (from $149) tracks your movement throughout the day, awarding “NikeFuel points” and graphing activity levels over time with a companion app. The device notifies you each hour if you aren’t moving enough. WEBLINKS FRANK O. CARROLL III is an associate at Roberts Markel Weinberg, P.C., in Houston, where he represents clients in civil appellate matters before all Texas courts of appeal. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of texappblog.com, an appellate law website for non-appellate attorneys. abovethelaw.com I go to this site whenever I need a reminder that the legal world is far crazier than whatever matter or counsel I am working with at the time. artofmanliness.com Thanks to this website, I can splint a lower-leg fracture, shave with a straight razor, and make a small game snare from a pair of headphones. All skills necessary to the effective practice of law. amazon.com Where else could I buy a tub of Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving cream from London and the 007 Sean Connery Collection in the same order? Nowhere. And it is mostly tax-free (for now). facebook.com As an associate, I like to use Facebook to live vicariously through my friends who are vacationing and taking afternoon trips to the golf course. I also use Facebook to trick myself into thinking I still have some semblance of a social life.
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