If you are like me, technology is a constant in my legal practice. From devices to apps, it has changed how I engage with my clients, other attorneys, the court systems, and more. This month I want to share with you some of the apps I have found most useful. In fact, two of them are indispensable to me and you may already know them and use them yourself. Share the apps you can’t live or work without in our comment section.
The first app I mention is Evernote (www.evernote.com). It promotes itself as a virtual workspace where you can organize notes, collect information, sync across devices, and share among team members. I use the basic free service (and have been for more than 3 years), but other levels offer more functionality, depending on the size of your firm and your needs. I like being able to organize things in “notebooks.” I have notebooks for clients, for research, for trips, and even for recipes. I can write in the notebook, make a sound recording note in the notebook, and cut and paste (they call it clipping) an article or case I want to refer back to in the notebook. For those of you with good drawing skills, you can create free-hand sketches as well. I’ve used it in meetings where I pull up the agenda (usually in a MS Word document file) and then can add my notes writes on it. The other thing I like about Evernote is that I can share the notebook with others who may be interested in the topic I’m researching or are part of the team working on a particular matter. Last, I like it because it is not so formal like my case management system. The notebook concept lets me experiment, review, and then discard or file appropriately in the “official” system.
I have various online identities and profiles because I am involved in different kinds of projects and legal practices. For example, my intellectual property practice (The Law Office of Deborah Gonzalez, Esq., LLC, www.dgonzalezesq.com) focuses on creative clients while my social media and technology law practice (Law2sm, LLC, www.law2sm.com) is more consulting based and has a majority of corporate and regulated clients. But I use social media for each of these – @dg_iplaw and @Law2sm on Twitter for example. When I wrote my book, I took another profile @DGOnlineSec, to focus on cyber-security. I like posting about these topics, but each audience I am trying to reach with each of these identities are different, so they each have their own accounts. I do not however have three or four times the time available to post to social media each one individually. Enter my savior, Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com). This app provides me with a dashboard where I can connect my diverse social media streams in one place. Then I can use its “hootlet” widget to post things I find of interest to multiple accounts at one time. I can also schedule these posts so they are staggered or when I will be on leave. I do pay for the pro version of this app ($8.99 a month) as the free version only permits you to connect 3 social media accounts and I have way more than that especially if you include the LinkedIn Groups I participate in.
The third app I will share with you is one I use periodically – about 2 times a year and it serves as part of my cleanup one year, prepare for next year routine. It is called Unroll.me and offers an easy way to unsubscribe to all of those newsletters and newsfeed we have subscribe to throughout the year(s) so we could download a white paper, or because we were interested or researching a certain topic for a client some time ago. It is free and there are other apps that also offer easy unsubscribe functions. I just happen to have found this one first as I was looking for a better way to deal with the deluge in my inbox instead of just deleting all these unwanted emails – that took time and patience. Last time I did an unsubscribe without Unroll.me it took several weeks to get them all because frankly, I would get lazy and just hit delete instead of going through the unsubscribe. So hopefully this one will help you too.
Just for Fun: New York Times Virtual Reality (NYT VR)
This app is purely for fun – at least for now, but it is threatening a new way of digital storytelling permitting brands to go beyond the distant video to a total immersion experience (and engagement) for their customers and clients. My husband and I received a cardboard virtual reality viewer (branded with the Google logo) with our Sunday edition of the New York Times in early November. Along with this strange box that had two plastic eyes was a set of instructions for putting the cardboard viewer together, downloading the app, and accessing the films. We spent the rest of the morning with the newspaper askew on the table, going back and forth viewing each of the films as we looked up and around and experienced 360 degrees right there in our kitchen. The visuals, the sound, the subject matter – all captivated us and left us wanting more. And the New York Times has delivered – providing more films for download. The other cool thing – there are other virtual reality apps that work with these viewers so the marketplace of these films is expanding and the cost to view them just pennies. The cost to make them however is another story.
As a bonus I want to mention that the NY Times has a weekly section that looks at different apps by category – creativity, productivity, etc. – called App Smart and if you want to know about any app that has appeared in the NY Times you can go to its mobile app topic page. You never know what app might help you fill a niche need you have. As they say, “There’s an app for that.”