Well, today we’re pleased to announce the lucky winners: Michelle Powers, Erin Lloyd, Musa Ghanayem, Gerardo Hannel, and Nate Cade.
Thanks to everyone for entering and don’t forget to enter to win this month’s contest where you can win a free copy of “Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet,” written by Carole Levitt and Mark E. Rosch.
Enter to win today and good luck!
There’s no doubt about it: lawyers are rapidly embracing cloud-based law practice software and mobile computing. As we recently reported, according to the American Bar Association’s 2012 Legal Tech Survey, a whopping 89% of lawyers now use smartphones and the percentage of lawyers who use tablets for law-related tasks nearly doubled over the period of one year, increasing from15% in 2011 to 33% in 2012.*
According to William Peacock at the Technologist blog, running your law practice on the go using cloud computing, legal practice software, and mobile devices may very well be the law practice of the future:
We’re becoming an always-connected workforce. It’s no longer sufficient to run your office from your office. You’ve got to have access to your data at all times. That means cloud-based practice management software is going to become a near must-have in the near future.
It’s the ability to access your law firm’s data, right in the palm of your hand no matter where you are, that is so appealing to many lawyers. And, as Joe Dysart explains in “The Mobile Lawyer,” an article from the most recent edition of the ABA Journal magazine, it’s law practice software in the cloud that makes this a reality:
App fanatics cite all sorts of reasons why they believe mobile is the future of law computing, but the ability of apps to technologically arm an attorney on the go continues to be one of the format’s greatest draws…
Many apps…offer attorneys fingertip access to all the firm’s data that’s stored in the cloud, no matter where they happen to be.
Immediate access to information is key for many many lawyers–especially when in court. We discovered this after conducting a mobile survey of MyCase users, from which we learned that the majority of mobile users accessed MyCase using their mobile devices at least once every day, most frequently in court.
That’s why we recently released the first law practice software mobile app of its kind–for both clients and lawyers. The new client-facing MyCase app allows legal clients to access their case information and securely communicate with their attorneys on the go. And, the lawyer-facing app allows MyCase customers to securely manage all aspects of their law practice on go.
In fact, MyCase customers often tell us how useful it is to be able to quickly and easily access case documents using their mobile devices and MyCase’s legal practice software platform. Erin Levine describes the benefits of 24/7 mobile access: “(W)hen I’m in court and someone claims I never filed an order, I can pull out my iPad and access a copy of the filed order right in court.” Another MyCase customer, Samantha Thomas, reports similar experiences: “No matter where I am, I can log onto MyCase and access my files. So if I’m at court and a judge tells me an Order isn’t in their file, I pull out my iPad, log into MyCase, and show the judge the time-stamped order. The judges love this.”
Speaking of judges and mobile devices–even judges have gone mobile, sometimes to their detriment, as recently happened in a Michigan courtroom. A Michigan judge inadvertently triggered his smartphone’s voice commands, in violation of his own policy forbidding the disruption of courtroom proceedings by electronic devices. The good news is that he treated his violation the same as he would have treated anyone else’s. The AP reports that he subsequently “held himself in contempt and paid $25 for the infraction.”
So, the moral of the story is make sure you’re complying with court rules when using your mobile device–even if you’re the judge!
*For more interesting statistics about how lawyers use cloud-based law practice software and their mobile devices, make sure to check out our infographic on the Rise of Mobile for Lawyers.
On Wednesday, April 3rd, the evening before ABA TechShow 2013 officially launched, Lexthink.1 was held. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an outside-the-box mini-conference and this year, each speaker gave 6 minute talks about “disruption” in the legal marketplace.
Sam Glover, over at Lawyerist, wasn’t sold on the theme. The way Sam sees it, disruption refers to “disruptive innovation” and while it may have affected other industries, he contends that thus far, the legal field has pretty much been immune:
So far, the only disruption to the practice of law has happened around the edges. Sure, Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom may have siphoned off a few clients. And predictive coding will put some contract lawyers out of their jobs (although doc review is only “legal work” due to a technicality), but can anyone point to an imminent threat of disruption to the legal market? I don’t think so…
If the legal market is hit by disruptive innovation, it will not come from people taking old business models and putting them online, which is all that has happened to legal research, forms, and pre-paid legal services. Instead, it will be more like Netflix driving Blockbuster to bankruptcy in a few short years.
Sam’s last analogy refers to a point made by MyCase’s very own Matt Spiegel during his Lexthink.1 talk. Matt asserted that just as Netflix destroyed BlockBuster’s business model in a few short years, so too will the online delivery of legal services drastically affect the concept of the brick and mortar law office as we now know it. In other words, the playing field is leveling.
Matt did not contend that the brick and mortar office would completely disappear, but rather, that astute lawyers would begin to position themselves to take advantage of the many benefits–including cost-savings, flexibility and agility–offered by the delivery of some or all aspects of legal services via online portals and platforms. And, according to Matt, the online delivery of legal services would act both as a a supplement to and in some cases, a replacement for, traditional methods of delivering legal services.
In his talk, Matt astutely observed the similarities between movie-goers and legal consumers–specifically that the Internet has provided new ways of delivering both types of services thus resulting in a fundamental shift in the purchasing habits and expectations of consumers.
In other words, like movie-goers, legal consumers are beginning to expect more choices and greater flexibility. Movie-goers want to choose when and how they view movies just as legal consumers want more control over how and when they interact with their lawyers and obtain information about their cases.
And lawyers, by using affordable online legal software to manage their practices and communicate with their clients–and in some cases, choosing to abandon a brick and mortar office altogether–are able to provide more cost-effective and responsive legal representation.
Likewise, lawyers can take advantage of mobile apps to enhance their ability to represent their clients. For example, attorneys can interface with their law practice management software and communicate securely with their clients using an app and their mobile device. Similarly, emerging technology allows solo and small firm attorneys to compete with BigLaw by using just their iPad and a trial presentation app that costs less $100 to present a client’s case to a jury. Before the recent advent of these types of apps, trial presentation software was premise-based and thus used primarily by large law firms since it cost thousands of dollars. Now solo and small firm attorneys have this affordable and powerful tool available in their arsenal. These tools are leveling the playing field.
But, is this type of technology truly disruptive? According to Clayton M. Christensen, the person who coined the term “disruptive innovation” in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma, it is.
As he explains in his 2007 Forbes article A Decade of Disruption:
A disruptor redefines the notion of performance by pulling an overlooked innovation lever. Simplicity. Convenience. Accessibility. Affordability. All of these are hallmarks of disruptive innovation…
Generally, the true disruptive power of an innovation lies not in the technology itself but in the business model that surrounds that technology. Successful disruptors have the ability to make money at low price points. Or they have low overheads that allow them to start small and adapt. Or they play in a very different value chain, with new partners, suppliers and channels to market. It is these business model differences, and not technological prowess, that so often throw incumbents off-balance.
Simplicity. Convenience. Accessibility. Affordability. These characteristics are the very essence of disruption. And the delivery of online legal services– including communicating and collaborating with clients, co-counsel, experts, and more via online law practice management platforms and mobile apps–is at the heart of the disruption. Just as the MinuteClinic’s low cost health care kiosks disrupted the delivery of health care services in 2000, the business model of the practice of law is likewise undergoing a dramatic transformation. The method of delivery is changing. The playing field is leveling. Disruption is occurring.
Which means that you have a choice to make. As Matt Spiegel asked at the close of his talk: Do you want your law firm to be Netflix or Blockbuster?
As I explained last week, mobile apps are the law practice management interface of choice for busy lawyers on the go. It’s no wonder, since smartphone and tablet use by lawyers has risen dramatically over the past few years.
This increase makes sense. After all, most lawyers bill by the hour and as a result, making the most of their time, no matter where they are, is a priority. Mobile tools–in particular law practice management apps–are one of the most convenient and efficient ways to manage a busy law practice from any location, whether it’s court, home, or even the beach.
And, it turns out that according to results of the mobile survey we recently conducted of MyCase users, lawyers do indeed manage their law practices from these locations–and many more. As the infographic below shows, 44% of lawyers use their MyCase mobile app in court, 24% while traveling, 24% at home, 1% in the office, 1% while on vacation and 16% use their app in a variety of other unspecified locations.
Other interesting results from our survey center around the features MyCase users access most frequently while mobile: the calendar (59%), time and expense (39%), documents (33%), messaging and commenting (30%), contact information (28%), case information (24%), tasks (11%), other (7%), invoices and bills (2%), reporting (2%), client intake (1%), and trust accounting (1%).
For more useful statistics about lawyers use of mobile law practice management tools, take a look at the entire infographic below. It offers lots of insight into how attorneys are communicating with their clients and managing their busy law practices while mobile and on the move.
Why you want it: JuryPad is an iPad app designed to streamline the jury selection process by assisting lawyers during voir dire. Using this app you can create voir dire templates and then keep track of potential jurors’ demographics and voir dire responses using a customizable seating chart.
The nitty gritty:
There are 5 free copies of this app up for grabs, compliments of the kind folks at Bench&Bar, LLC, the developers of the JuryPad iPad app. To enter to win, all you have to do between now and April 17th is:
That’s it! The lucky winners will be announced on April 18th and notified via email. Good luck!
1. To enter: RT via Twitter or share via Facebook a link to this blog post AND enter your information into the MyCase/Bench&Bar, LLC sign up list above.
2. Promotion starts 8:00:00AM PDT 03/20/13 and ends 11:59:59PM PDT on 04/17/13.
3. A drawing will be held for each case, and the five (5) winners will be announced 04/18/13. Each winner will receive one free copy of the JuryPad app, as determined by each drawing.
4. All entrants must be at least 18 years of age.
5. No purchase is necessary and a purchase will not improve your chances of winning.
6. MyCase may amend or terminate this program at its sole discretion.
7. This promotion is sponsored by MyCase, 9710 Scranton Rd., San Diego, CA, 92121.
8. This promotion is void where prohibited.
Each month I highlight web or mobile apps that are useful to lawyers. Sometimes the apps are developed specifically for lawyers and other times I feature non-legal apps that are nevertheless interesting to lawyers.
Today’s app is AroundMe. This iOS app makes it easy for you to locate just about any type of business located close to wherever you happen to be. That’s why it’s such a useful app if you’re travelling, although it’s just as helpful when used in your hometown as well.
With AroundMe, it’s a simple matter to find nearby businesses–the app organizes them into categories for you.
So whether you’re looking for a bank or ATM, a restaurant, a gas station, a hospital, a grocery store or more, AroundMe will let you know what’s near you. But it does more than just locate businesses. You can also access information about movie times, the local weather, or even call a taxi.
And what’s more-this app is free. You can download the iPhone and iPad apps here.
Lawyers love their mobile devices. Don’t believe me? Then review the statistics from my post last July (iPad Statistics, Resources, and Apps for Lawyers) which indicate that lawyers’ use of tablets is doubling every year and that nearly 90% of lawyers now use smartphones in their law practices.
Because so many lawyers are using smart phones and tablets, the number of apps developed for lawyers is likewise increasing, with new ones being released all the time. So I figured it was high time that I covered some of the new apps for lawyers, since my list from last July is already outdated.
TouchTax is an multi-platform app which provides up-to-date access to to all sections of the latest edition of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code), the Treasury Regulations set forth in Title 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations (the Regulations) and the Internal Revenue Bulletin (starting with July 2003). For the iPad or iPhone the app costs $5.99, for Android devices it’s $1.99, and for HP devices and for the Blackberry Playbook, it’s $0.99.
MobiLit is an iPad presentation app designed to allow lawyers to store, organize, annotate and display documents and images, whether in the courtroom or elsewhere. It’s available in the App Store for $9.99.
Another document management app is ClientFile. Using ClientFile you can upload, organize, annotate, store, and present PDF documents and images to your iPad. It also includes audio and video players. It’s available in the App Store for $49.99.
TapNotes is an iPad app that many lawyers will find useful. It makes it easy to record meetings or interviews and to highlight sections of the audio for later review as it’s being recorded. It’s available for $2.99 at the App Store.
Picture It Settled is a legal software program developed to aid lawyers during negotiations by suggesting negotiation strategies that is currently available in the App Store as a free iPhone and iPad. app. The plan is to eventually charge for use of the app, however, so if it sounds interesting, now’s the time to try it.
Finally, there’s RuleBook, an app available for iPhones and iPads that makes the federal and state rules, along with the Bluebook rules, readily available on your iDevice. The rules are automatically updated as they change. This app can be downloaded for free in the App Store.
So there you have it–a list of some of the newer legal apps available to assist lawyers in the day-to-day practice of law. And, as I mentioned before, check out my post from last July for a list of many of the other legal apps available.
Erin Levine, an Emeryville, California divorce and family law attorney, isn’t your typical lawyer–and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She doesn’t view things the way most other lawyers do–never has, never will–and that’s what makes her so unique.
Thinking outside the box
According to Erin, she’s always been like this: “One of my biggest accomplishments to date is that I came into law school really quirky and outside the box– like a black sheep. And, I left the same way. I’m very proud that I still remain true to who I am even after law school tried to break me down. I want to build practice and still stay true to my core beliefs.”
And what are her core beliefs? Erin explains: “I want to create an office environment that is comfortable for my clients and enjoyable for my employees, all the while making the practice of law cost-effective while finding creative ways to get good results for my clients.”
Technology drives a creative law practice
For Erin, it’s all about breaking the mold and finding efficient, affordable ways to achieve her client’s goals in a warm, welcoming setting: “We’re trying to mix traditional office with more modern technology driven environment, while keeping it as professional as possible. So we have toys for our clients who have kids, a tv, a couch, and lots of art and furniture designed to make people feel comfortable and safe as opposed to stuffy super modern law firm.”
Importantly, Erin understands that part of providing the best services to her client is to ensure that her employees are happy and content. She uses technology to do this: “We’ve tried to create an environment that will attract great employees without having to pay as much as big firms. So I offer a lot of flexibility through technology. Doing this allows my employees to work from home a couple of days each week.”
MyCase provides flexibility and efficiency
According to Erin, MyCase is key to providing her employees with the flexibility to work no matter where they are: ”MyCase has provided my staff with incredible flexibility. Now they can work from home and MyCase makes it so easy for us to communicate. Before MyCase we had different systems for email, calendars, and documents management. Now it’s all integrated in one place.”
Erin chose MyCase for her firm only after thoroughly researching her options. After jury-rigging a law practice management system together using many different platforms, she decided that things had gotten too complicated and disjointed and that the time had come to find an all-in-one platform.
“I knew I had to find an law practice management system and the interface needed to be simple. I tried a bunch of them, but they all had some really big holes–either calendaring system was terrible, there were lots of bugs in system, there was no way to access documents, or no method of communication,” she said. “But then I discovered MyCase. It had everything I needed. Now, my entire practice has moved to the cloud, which has made it far cheaper, far easier to manage my practice–and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love MyCase and find myself referring it to other lawyers all the time.”
MyCase is a money-saver
One of Erin’s goals in moving her practice to the cloud was to streamline her law practice, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. She explains that MyCase has helped her to achieve all of those goals: “I wanted web-based document management and simple billing software, so I could spend less on postage for bills and correspondence. Family law is very paper intensive and now, instead of having to pay postage to mail bills and documents, everything is easily accessible in one place.”
Another important benefit–MyCase has her back. As a result of using MyCase, she is more on top of her practice, which makes things less stressful for both her and her clients. “My malpractice insurance premium is lower since I’m far more organized because of MyCase and it includes a built-in conflict checker,” she said. “And when I’m in court and someone claims I never filed an order, I can pull out my iPad and access a copy of the filed order right in court. Finally, and most importantly, because of MyCase phone calls have been drastically reduced and my clients are much happier since they can now use MyCase to access all information about their case.”
Success without compromise
For Erin, it’s all about staying true to herself while doing her best to improve the lives of her clients and her employees: “I want to continue to practice law in the way that I know and love, while ensuring that each one of my clients gets personalized attention and the best result possible. So my goal is to learn from my mentors and incorporate their feedback into my practice, but to do so without compromising my style of lawyering and my way of walking through the world.”