Article byPosted Newsletter Editorial BoardSeptember 2019
Apps and software continue to refine and improve. Several of these you’ve seen before, but there are some important enhancements since the last mention. First, a very useful program:
Power PDF Advanced (developed by Nuance, now owned by Kofax) has many notable features, including an intuitive user experience, tech-enabled device support that allows you to change text easily in PDF files, redaction features, and collaborative real time functions. File conversion from Word (or like word processors) into PDF format and back again is seamless. The real-time collaboration tool is ideal for creating, editing, commenting, and marking up PDF documents, all while allowing those in your group to view and actively edit at the same time. Security measures allow password protected PDF files to be sent via email. The learning curve is minimal, and it is significantly cheaper than Adobe Acrobat.
Dropbox is free, but has available upgrades in storage capacity and certain functions offered that the free version does not have. Notable features for this app include: flexible storage plans which range in a variety of prices. The ease of operations includes file and version recovery for mistaken document deletions. The team folder management feature is a valuable resource, especially with the smart sync and Dropbox paper features. Dropbox also offers a wide array of administrative features, from viewing team activity to transfer of files (and administrative permissions). Through the use of link permissions only the people who you want to see and edit the document can. In addition to link permissions, this app offers remote wipe, to clear files from lost or stolen devices meaning confidential files can stay that way. Additional notable features include third-party app integrations as well as live support.
Slack is free with monthly plan options from $8-15 per month. Some notable features include the ability not only to private message individuals, but also to create “channels” where specific conversations within the office can occur. For example, if only three attorneys are working on a particular case, the whole office would not be placed in that channel. Rather only those who are deemed necessary for that project would be placed in that channel’s chat. These channels can be password protected as well. Files can be stored and displayed with ease within channels. If a file is of importance to a project, there is the pin feature that allows the document/ post to be easy to find even after many messages have been sent among the channel’s participants.
Smokeball is a free app with in app purchases ranging from $30 per month per user or $1,000 per month for a set number of users. This app allows for specific matter types to be automatically tailored to your practice area. Smokeball touts four distinctive features. First, it can become the central hub for your entire practice where the resources are built for your state and practice area, allowing a person to keep track of files, schedule appointments with that client, and even keep track of account billing for that client, all within an easy to use format. Second, the seamless integration with Microsoft Word and Outlook allows for ease of downloading and transferring of documents within a group. Plus, everything done through Smokeball saves automatically! Third, the integrated online billing feature allows for billing to occur automatically (or manually if you choose) based on the automatic time tracking feature. Not to mention that this app allows for easy integration with many different accounting programs (QuickBooks, LawPay, Xero Accounting, etc.). Finally, the “key insights “feature allows for administrators to pinpoint profitability by matter, etc.
Trial Pad is $129.99 (with no additional fees), or you can buy the Unlimited Litigation Bundle for $299.99 which includes Trial Pad, Transcript Pad, and DocReviewPad. Notable features of this IPad app include the ability to create custom exhibit stickers and organize key documents by issue or witness. Whether you are going to arbitration, mediation, or trial this app allows you to use the presentation tool to annotate all documents, photos, or videos right from youiPad and create a dynamic, engaging, and informative presentation.
Transcript Pad is priced at $89. What makes this app different from Trial Pad are the expanded features for reviewing, annotating, and summarizing transcripts. It allows you to search for keywords across multiple documents, create custom issue codes, and highlight/ underline important lines within the text. Additionally, you can create flagged sections with added notes and create powerful customized reports. One of the best features of this app is the quick editing of video depositions, allowing you to edit video, insert text, etc. all within the app, so you can create an ideal legal presentation in any situation.
DocuReviewPad (also $89) is available as a standalone app. With it, you can review documents, add Bates numbers, generate reports, and create production sets.
Notary Cam is $25 per notarization with international pricing options as well. One of the best features of this app is the ability to have a notary public at your disposal anytime day or night, 365 days a year. Also, if you travel out of the country and need a notary public during your meeting, they offer notarizing of documents ($79/notarization). You can also get bulk pricing; quotes are available through their website. Instead of having to send constant emails or call customers about getting documents notarized, Notary Cam allows you to track customer notarizations and follow notarizations in real time. Another great feature is the ability to have multiple signers from different locations.