The calendar year 2012 is winding down, and there are 12 days of Christmas, so it's a good time to suggest a dozen gifts for tech-minded legal professionals. There are several options costing less than $100, and a few pricier options. The gifts below include the manufacturer's suggested retail price or prices from e-commerce sites such as Amazon.com.
As you'd expect, many items relate to Apple i-series of personal electronics. So have a look at our choices for a happy Chanukah, festive Festivus, merry Christmas, or wintery Solstice.
$64 Cadence binary four-bit wristwatch for your department's e-discovery wrangler. Other wristwatches also tell time in binary format, but typically they only show lights and make you do the math. This one is actually a nice watch you'll not be embarassed to wear in public. As expected, it counts from 1 to 1100, but the numbers are in the same places as 1 through 12 on a standard watch, so you don't have to pull out a calculator.
$72 Keyboard Buddy iPhone 5 Case. Attachable iPhone keyboards have been around for a while, but this one is nice because it has its own battery, rather than draining your smartphone's juice. It's backlighted and it has a notch for your iPhone's camera and flash. Unfortunately the company's site only shows availability in black right now, so owners of the white iPhone may be out of luck.
$79 Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence. This paperback book from Federal Judicial Center and the National Reseach Council was updated in 2011 with new chapters about forensic science, mental health, and neuroscience but not computer science. Still, it's useful for anyone dealing in complex scientific litigation. Tip: The PDF download is free.
$79+ CardScan personal business card scanner. Beaming your business card on a Palm-brand device seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird, because we all still swap paper business cards. Digitize those! The entry-level scanner only works in black-and-white, and has fairly low resolution, but it's a good start.
$95 Photojojo makes the iPhone Rangefinder. You get three lenses (fisheye, telephoto, and wide-angle), aperture markings, shutter button, tripod mount, and viewfinder. Put another way, it's "a phoneography system that gives your iPhone all the style of a classic camera," the company says on its website.
$200+ High-end digital voice recorders. LTN's Sean Doherty this summer reviewed three premium devices from Philips, Olympus American, and Sony. They are ideal for recording depositions, telephone calls, seminars, and client meetings.
$129+ Maxell resells the Wearable AirStash products, which are flash memory cards with built-in wireless network antennas. You can use these to stream files to just about any iOS or Google Android device. They come with eight gigabytes or 16 gigabytes of SD memory, but you can replace those with any other SD card. They are future-proof up to two terabytes.
$89+ Kingston makes a wireless flash memory gadget, but it's larger than a USB stick and has more capacity: the WiDrive series comes with 64 or 128 gigabytes.
$99 Seagate makes a wireless drive called the Satellite that's huge you get 500 gigabytes, which is half a terabyte! But this one requires a larger pocket than the Maxell or Kingston options cited above.
$99+ Duracell Powermat wireless device chargers. There are iPhone 4/4S and Samsung Galaxy S3 editions; a Duracell representative said the iPhone 5 version is due early in 2013. This is a nifty technology: put your device into a special case, and then whenever your device needs charging, put that onto a special tray.
$159+ Small tablets. There are many good, small tablets available, such as the entry-level version of Amazon Kindle Fire, the midrange Google Nexus 7, and the high-end Apple iPad Mini. These are sure to make anyone happy. Lawyers tend to prefer the iPad and the budget-priced iPad Mini starting at $329 is a good value.
$495+ Passes to LegalTech, Jan. 29-31 at the Hilton New York hotel. Suggestion: include comfortable shoes with this gift! LegalTech is a big show in a big city, but attendance brings you plenty of big knowledge, from the classes to the exhibit hall to the keynotes. The Exhibit "Plus" Pass is free up to January 29, 2012.