Lawyers often find themselves in unfamiliar and uncomfortable places, meeting strange and difficult people, and facing the daunting prospect of meetings, hearings, conferences, and other highly demanding obligations. In such an environment, a mobile phone or tablet app that can speed, simplify, or clarify key aspects of life on the road can be a real lifesaver, saving time, money, and sanity.
While there are now thousands of road warrior apps designed to run on Apple Inc.’s iOS and Google Inc.’s Android mobile devices, only a handful are actually worth downloading. We’ve collected the top 15 here, omitting titles such as Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, and Yelp, which are already widely known by most mobile device users.
Trip Organization, Documentation
Time Master + Billing. Publisher: On-Core Software. Time Master + Billing helps users turn their iPhones and iPads into highly functional, billable-hour record-keeping devices. The app supports incremental billing and lets users manually start and stop the clock on clients. Users can customize the app to record billable hours based on clients or projects, associate billing codes, and set the amount of time allotted to each client or project.
Evernote. Publisher: Evernote Corp. Evernote is a free app that helps users remember all sorts of trip and business details across multiple devices. Users can take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, and record voice reminders. All files are searchable.
Expensify. Publisher: Expensify Inc. Lawyers can use this namesake app to track purchases and other transactions while traveling, by syncing the app with their credit cards and bank accounts. It also functions as a receipt scanner, using the mobile device’s camera. A PDF, emailed directly to the user or a designated recipient, documents all spending activities for reimbursement, tax reporting, and other purposes.
Google Maps. Publisher: Google. If your rental car doesn’t include a GPS navigation system, your mobile device can provide the service. While Google Maps is a well-known app, its turn-by-turn GPS capabilities aren’t as widely recognized. The app also offers public transit, biking, and walking directions.
AroundMe. Publisher: Attorno a Me. For anyone who has ever asked, “What’s in the neighborhood?” AroundMe has the answer. The app helps users find the nearest bank, hospital, hotel, restaurant, or taxi. Users can view the places on a map, or try an augmented reality feature that overlays direction markers on the mobile device’s viewfinder.
Skyscanner. Publisher: Skyscanner Ltd. An indispensable app for lawyers who need to quickly make or alter travel schedules, Skyscanner lets users check flight availability and prices on the go. The free application covers more than 67,000 flights on more than 600 airlines. Users can filter results by price, airline, and departure/arrival times.
GateGuru. Publisher: Trip Advisor. GateGuru supplies travelers with detailed real-time flight status information, including push notifications, plus a wealth of airport content specifically customized to its user’s itinerary. The app includes a detailed list of places at 120 airports worldwide, including different terminals, cafés, restaurants, and gift shops. Users can also make last-minute airport rental car reservations through GateGuru.
FlightTrack Pro. Publisher: Mobiata. A must-have app for attorneys who travel by air, FlightTrack’s slick, clean interface helps users track a flight in seconds, view flight details on zoomable maps, and get real-time departure info, delay updates, and gate numbers at a glance. The app also automatically notifies users about cancellations and suggests alternate flights.
My TSA. Publisher: United States Transportation Security Administration. Whether you believe that the TSA actually provides effective and efficient protection to travelers or is simply a jobs program for toll collectors displaced by automation, it pays to know what the agency is up to at any given moment. My TSA provides 24/7 access to information that passengers frequently request from the agency. The app also provides flight delay information for airports nationwide, as well as tips for how to prepare for security checkpoints. Now lift your arms up. Thank you.
Wi-Fi Finder. Publisher: JiWire Inc. When using a mobile device that doesn’t include 3G or 4G connectivity, being able to find a reliable Wi-Fi hotspot is essential. Wi-Fi Finder, and its database of more than 500,000 locations, can help. Using the GPS technology built into phones and tablets, Wi-Fi Finder determines its user’s precise location, shows exactly where the closest Wi-Fi hotspot is, and describes how to get there. Users can also search by provider, service type (free or paid), or location type (restaurant, cafe, hotel, etc.). A continuously available offline database allows searches to be made even when there’s no currently available connectivity.
Alarm Clock Pro. Publisher: iHandySoft Inc. There are dozens of alarm clock apps, but Alarm Clock Pro is the easiest to use. The app supplies a beautiful digital clock that features attractive themes and wakes users up with their favorite tunes. There’s even a built-in flashlight designed for use during a power failure.
Due. Publisher: Phocus. Every lawyer wants to make her or his trip as efficient and productive as possible. Due helps its users by providing reminders of important tasks that need to be accomplished during the trip. Users can see at a glance how many tasks they have remaining for the day, or only those that have been ignored or missed. Due’s beauty lies in its simplicity. There’s no account to create, no start or end times or dates to set, and no need to prioritize, tag, or categorize items. Due’s developer claims that the app works up to three times faster than a standard calendar program.
Mobile Transcript. Publisher: Mobile Transcript. An anytime, anywhere transcription viewing tool, Mobile Transcript lets users see any transcript for any case simply by logging into the app. Users can highlight key testimony with the tap of a finger and email selected points (in Microsoft Inc.’s Excel format or via PDF with yellow highlights) to associates or expert witnesses. The app also logs billable time. Users must register for free online at www.mobiletranscript.com.
The Deponent App. Publisher: Majority Opinion. The Deponent App is a deposition question and exhibit outline app. Users can select more than 300 deposition questions by categories, including admonitions or expert qualifications, organize the order of questions, and customize questions for their witnesses. Each question can be linked to a specific exhibit. Attorneys can also create their own questions and categories.
iWrite Legal. Publisher: Pacite. The iWrite Legal app aims to help lawyers improve their writing skills, particularly in places where standard reference tools may not be available. Developed by a professor at Suffolk University Law School, the app provides writing tips and legal writing checklists that are designed to help users overcome writer’s block and to thoroughly revise, edit, and proofread legal documents.
Wherever you go, whatever you do, there’s an app for that.