I was recently put on the spot at a seminar and asked if those attending could see what Apps I have on my iPhone and iPad for managing my legal and knowledge work, and how I use them. Fortunately, there is nothing on my devices that’s NSFW!
About an hour later I was still surrounded by people downloading Apps, setting up accounts and wondering how they managed thus far without them.
Consequently, this time I will discuss my favourite, ‘can’t live without’ iOS Apps.
Are you still using a notepad (or multiple notepads) and a pen? Quaint and it may work well for you.
However, do yourself a favour and give Noteshelf a try on your iPad. It will change your life! Over the years I trialled close to a dozen note taking Apps and have firmly settled on Noteshelf.
It has an excellent user interface, it is capable of accommodating virtually any number of notepads and, using a stylus, you can continue to handwrite your notes, so it’s really business as usual.
However, you will have all your notepads on hand at all times! For example, my iPad currently holds all my notepads and notes for the past 5 years. It enables you to print, copy and electronically share any pages or entire notebooks with ease. The App also offers pens and highlighters in all colours, shapes and shades.
You can back up your notepads using iTunes or upload to Dropbox, Evernote or Google Drive, making your notes available for review on all your linked devices.
What takes this App to the next level is that you can also create ‘conference folders’ or meeting specific folders where you can keep a notepad for your notes and also collate electronic handouts, whether in PDF, Word, PowerPoint or other formats. What’s even more amazing is that you can open and annotate those third-party documents right there in Noteshelf!
While you can type in the App, it is best utilised with a stylus and using handwriting. I tried about half a dozen styluses over the years and in my experience the best stylus, which I am currently using, is Pencil by 53. It is perhaps a little pricey, admittedly it is the most expensive stylus I ever bought, but it’s certainly worth the expense. It is precise and works on the iPad screen like a real ink pen.
The worst stylus I found to date was the ‘Jot Script Evernote Edition Stylus’. The 2014 model I used had a hard tip making a constant clicking noise during note taking, making it too noisy and thus impossible to use in meeting and seminars without it becoming a distraction.
Pages is Apple’s own word processing App. It works both on the iPhone and iPad.
Recently Microsoft finally made Office available for iOS devices, but I have been using Pages happily for some years now and I’m unlikely to switch back to Office and Word.
Pages syncs to the Apple iCloud and documents sync across all connected Apple and iOS devices and can be accessed via a browser from any other device. Documents can also be easily shared with third parties.
I may have said goodbye to Microsoft Office, but Office Lens is an excellent tool for capturing whiteboards and scanning a range of documents. The App uses optical character recognition to turn them into editable documents.
Recently made available for both the iPhone and iPad, this is a great App which effectively turns your device into a portable scanner, allowing you, among other things, to digitise ideas captured in meetings and at training sessions whether they are on a board or paper.
I have been using WordPress for a few years now and overall it has been a solid user experience. The App helps me to maximise my time by enabling me to add, edit, update blog entries and to monitor statistics and interactions on the go or on the couch, while watching TV.
LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+
The iPhone and iPad can also make managing all your other social media as easy as 1-2-3, even on the go. The LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook Page and Google+ Apps are all you need to manage your presence on these major social media platforms.
Make sure you set the appropriate notifications and you will always be up-to-date on what’s happening on your networks. If you have the Apps on both your iPhone and iPad it is wise to set notifications on only one of them, say your iPhone. Otherwise the duplicate notifications will soon become annoying.
Tweetbot and Twitter
Twitter is not just for Hollywood-types, pop stars and trolls. Use it to have up-to-date news and relevant professional information pushed to your devices!
I am a regular tweeter at @stephensander, where I muse about legal, knowledge management, cultural, social media and technology developments and news. I also subscribe to the Twitter feeds of news outlets and various legal industry players and publishers.
It syncs between devices and offers a convenient method of receiving real-time news updates and interacting with like-minded professionals. The right combination of news and professional Twitter accounts can keep you on the leading edge of news and information.
Feedbin and Reeder
Following the sad demise of Google Reader, which was a fantastic, free RSS feed aggregator from Google, I moved on to Feedbin. Feedbin charges a small annual fee, but effectively provides the same service that Google Reader did. It is extremely reliable and has a very easy to use desktop interface.
It also syncs with Reeder, a great App available for both iPhone and iPad, which makes managing your RSS feeds on the go a breeze.
For your PDFs you can’t go pass the Adobe Reader App.
With Adobe Reader you can keep and organise PDFs on your iPhone or iPad and sync them with other devices using the Adobe cloud. You can also mark up and annotate PDF documents, complete PDF forms and add signatures to documents.
For managing your online clippings you must try Evernote!
Evernote allows you to archive, categorise and easily search notes and online clippings. Once you start using this tool it will soon become an indispensable part of your professional life, with no information lost or misplaced ever again.
Beyond the ability to catalogue online materials, it also enable you to digitise post-it notes and business cards with ease, syncing and making it all available across your iOS and Apple devices.
Search NSW Court Lists
The Search NSW Court Lists App from the NSW Department of Attorney General & Justice is a must for any litigator’s iPhone. The App will let you search court listings in all NSW courts. The information in the App is updated continuously, so if any details of your matter change you will have the latest information on hand at all times.
Red® from LexisNexis is arguably one of the most innovative legal research and resource iPad Apps in Australia.
LexisNexis Red® delivers a growing number of LexisNexis looseleaf services, digitally to your iPad, from evidence to litigation, practice and procedure and from corporations to insurance. You will need to be a subscriber to access the service, but you can also sign up for a free trial. LexisNexis lists the services accessible via Red® on its website.
While talking LexisNexis, it’s also worth a mention that they offer an extensive catalogue of legal textbooks as eBooks, including such indispensable titles as Carter’s Contract Law in Australia or Cheshire & Fifoot’s Law of Contract. Imagine the convenience of having all these texts at your fingertips on your iPad!
CCH Mobile Asia-Pacific
The free CCH Mobile Asia-Pacific App is complimentary to a CCH subscription and will work on both iPhone and iPad. If your firm subscribes to CCH, this is an essential application that will give you convenient, mobile access on the go.
CCH also delivers a large range of their legal textbooks as eBooks.
The AustLII App is a handy free resource and provides a far more convenient access to their database than Safari. It works on both iPhone and iPad and I use this App almost daily to monitor recent case law in the appellate jurisdictions.
Safari is of course the native browser in iOS. You may prefer to use Chrome. Either way, you want at least a couple of sites bookmarked:
- SAI Global Lawlex – if your firm is a subscriber to SAI Global’s Lawlex service, you can also access their database online. I wouldn’t try this on the iPhone, not even on the 6 Plus, but it’s a handy resource on the iPad.
- Westlaw AU – this is of course Westlaw online. Again, if your firm subscribes to the service you can also log into the database on your iPad. This is another one I wouldn’t try on the iPhone though.
- NSW Caselaw – if you are practising in NSW, or need access to NSW case law, this is an excellent database giving you access to judgments of most NSW courts and tribunals. The website was recently completely redesigned and it is now mobile and tablet friendly across all types of devices.
Do you have any favourite Apps or other resources I didn’t mention? Share your experience, leave a comment and let us know about them!