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November 2017

2017 holiday gift guide for the tech-savvy lawyer

Stacked3Here is this week's Daily Record column. My past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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2017 holiday gift guide for the tech-savvy lawyer

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, the relentless holiday gift-giving season is upon us. Like it or not, it’s time to buy gifts for your loved ones and friends. If you’ve got a lawyer on your list, you may be struggling with choosing an appropriate gift, since lawyers can be a notoriously difficult bunch to buy gifts for.

Fortunately, you’ve stumbled upon this article, so problem solved! Consider buying the tech-savvy (or not so tech-savvy) lawyer in your life one of these gifts. Then you can cross that name off your list and rest easy knowing you’ve chosen the perfect gift. So without further ado, here’s my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for tech-savvy lawyers.

First and foremost, there’s the Apple Watch. With over 30 million Watches sold, it’s not surprising that in recent months I’ve seen more of them on the wrists of lawyers “in the wild.” And, there’s a good reason for this: they’re the perfect device to help lawyers untether from their phones, all the while still staying in the loop about important messages, their schedules, and more. The most recent release of the Watch includes an LTE data connection option and greatly improved processing speed. So even if the lawyer on your list already has an older Watch, it might be high time for an upgrade.

Next up, a standing desk. Lawyers often lead a sedentary lifestyle, so why not consider buying a standing desk for the lawyer on your list? My standing desk of choice is the Active-Pro Sit-To-Stand work station. It measures 30” by 60” and provides more than enough space for a laptop, large second monitor, and keyboard with plenty of room to spare. It has a rather hefty price tag that ranges from $969 to $1,039, depending on the options that you choose. But it’s a gift that is sure to be appreciated!

Now that streaming movies and TV shows has become commonplace, the lawyer in your life might appreciate a device to facilitate that. Apple TV is my favorite, but with a starting price tag of $179, it’s one of the more pricey options. A much more reasonably-priced choice is the Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player. Ringing in at just $35, it’s a bargain for what you get. With Chromecast, your smartphone or tablet controls the device and the apps you use for streaming are likewise stored on your mobile device and then “cast” it onto the TV. So it functions a bit differently than other streaming apps, which have memory chips whereby data is stored on the device itself. But even so, it provides an affordable way for the lawyer on your list to stream content.

And last but not least - books. Lawyers love to read, so why not buy a few books for the lawyers on your gift list? Here are 3 books that are sure to interest any solo or small firm lawyer. “Effectively Staffing Your Law Firm,” edited by Jennifer J. Rose, covers everything solo and small firm lawyers with growing practices need to know about hiring – and firing – employees. In the second edition of “Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction To Your Future,” the leading legal futurist, Richard Susskind, shares his insights on what tomorrow’s lawyers can expect as rapid technological advancements shape the practice of law. For even more insight on the future of law practice, don’t miss Mitch Kowalski’s newest book, “The Great Legal Reformation”, which explores how technology is changing the way that law firm’s conduct business through interviews and case studies of progressive law firms that are leading the way.

So there you have it: my annual gift guide for lawyers. So what are you waiting for? Start shopping!

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney, author, journalist, and the Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase, intuitive web-based law practice management software for solo and small law firms. She is also the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She can be reached at niki@mycase.com.


Must-have Apple Watch and iPhone apps for lawyers

Stacked3Here is this week's Daily Record column. My past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

*****

Must-have Apple Watch and iPhone apps for lawyers

The iPhone celebrated its 10-year anniversary this year. In 2017, a decade after its release, it’s still the most popular smartphone with lawyers according to the recently released American Bar Association’s 2017 Legal Technology Survey Report. Of the lawyers surveyed, 96% used smartphones for law-related purposes while away from their office. And, the iPhone was the most popular smartphone by far, with 75% of lawyers surveyed using an iPhone rather an Android.

The Apple Watch, on the other hand, just celebrated its 2-year anniversary. Although I’ve not yet encountered any data on the percentage of lawyers using smartwatches, over time I’ve noticed more and more Watches appearing “in the wild,” including on the wrists of lawyers. So I wasn’t surprised to learn last month that since its launch, more than 30 million Apple Watches have been shipped.

Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of iPhone and Apple Watch apps to choose from, and I’m sure you’ve already got more than a few favorites. But you could always use more, so here are my choices for apps that are must-haves for lawyers.

First, if your practice areas require you to interact with people who speak a different language, a translation app is a must. For your iPhone, consider Speak and Translate, a free app that automatically translates what you say into the spoken word one of of 54 different languages. It also supports text-to-text translations between 117 languages. For your Apple Watch, there’s iTranslate Converse. This app ($4.99/month) allows you to translate conversations in over 100 languages.To use it, you simply speak into your Watch, which then automatically translates your spoken word into the appropriate language.

Another Apple Watch app to consider is Just Press Record ($4.99). This is a very useful app for recording and transcribing conversations and meetings. It allows you to record for an unlimited amount of time and then transfer the recording to your iPhone for transcription.

Another iPhone app that will appeal to lawyers is the free Time & Date Calculator app. Because we spend so much time calculating dates - such as due dates for a motion determining how long ago an incident occurred - a time and date calculator app is a must-have. This app provides a lot of flexibility and built-in tools to help you calculate dates across time zones and even down to the second.

My favorite iPhone scanning app is Scanner Pro. It costs $3.99, and lets you scan a document using your iPhone and then upload it as a PDF. The app also formats the uploaded document with OCR (text recognition) so that you can easily search the text of the document.

And last but not least is the Overcast podcast app for both the iPhone and Apple Watch. Ever since the Serial podcast took the world by storm, lawyers have become huge fans of podcasts. If you’ve jumped on the podcast bandwagon, then you need an intuitive, easy-to-use podcast app like Overcast. It’s a free app that is ad-supported, but you can have an ad-free experience, for $9.99/year. With the iPhone app you can play podcasts right on your phone and the Watch app allows you to choose and control the podcasts playing on your iPhone from across the room.

So there you have it: a few of my favorite iPhone and Apple Watch apps for lawyers. There are plenty more, of course, so don’t let me selections limit you. And if you don’t already own an Apple Watch, what are you waiting for? Add it to your wish list for the holidays. I assure you, you won’t regret it!

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney, author, journalist, and the Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase, intuitive web-based law practice management software for solo and small law firms. She is also the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She can be reached at niki@mycase.com.