It used to be that computers were optional in law offices. But these days, practicing law without a computer simply isn’t an option. So instead of the question being, “Do you use a computer in your law firm,” it has now become, “What kind of computer do you use?”
When it comes to computers, lawyers typically fall into one of two camps: Windows or Macs. Mac-loving lawyers are in the minority, but they tend to to be incredibly steadfast in their devotion to all things Apple, and for good reason: Macs offer many benefits, if you know how to take advantage of them. The challenge often becomes how to stay on top of the latest tips, tricks, and apps for Macs that will help to streamline the operations of your law firm.
One of the best ways to stay updated on all things Mac is to learn from the experts–people like Katie Floyd, Jeff Schoenberger, and David Sparks, who spoke on this very topic at ABA Techshow earlier this year. During their presentation, “The Mac Power Users,” they provided lots of great information for Mac-using lawyers, while Stephanie Crowley took visual notes of this session on behalf of MyCase.
Below you’ll find the visual notes from that session along with some of our favorite tips and links to sites that provide further information (click to view larger image):
1. Tame your email
The presenters offered lots of tips to help tame email. First, use mail tags to organize your mail and make it easier to search your archived mail. They also suggested using SaneBox, an application that starts at $7/month and that helps organize and simplify email. For even more Mac email tips check out this post on the top 50 Mac email tips for 2016.
2. Organize your calendar
One calendar tip offered by the presenters included using a built-in feature to the native calendar: travel time, so that your expected travel times will be reflected whenever you create a calendar appointment. And, although the built-in Mac calendar and iPhone app work great, there are others out there designed to make the calendar experience even better. The presenters recommended Fantastical, if you’re looking for an experience different than the built-in calendar.
3. Use two monitors
Another tip recommended by the presenters to improve productivity with Mac computers was to use two monitors. One cost-effective way to accomplish this includes using the iOS app Duet, which allows you to turn your iPad into a second monitor. If you’re still not sold on the benefits of using two monitors, check out the results of this study.
4. Use the app “IFTTT”
If you’re seeking to connect apps and increase productivity across the board using all of your Apple devices, the presenters pointed to IFFTT (if this, then that) as a solution. It connects Internet services and makes it easier for your to automate your law firm. For suggestions on how to use IFFTT in your law practice, check out this lawyer’s article that includes a list of ways that lawyers can use IFTTT.
5. Work better with PDFs
As more law firms go paperless, learning how to work effectively with PDFs becomes increasingly important. To help accomplish this task, the presenters suggested using PDF Pen or PDF Pro. Both of these apps are intuitive and powerful tools designed to allow you to review, edit, annotate, and share PDFs. For a list of other top PDF editing apps, check out this blog post.