Court Days Pro — An App with Lots of Appeal

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

According to the Developer:

“Court Days Pro is the first rules-based legal calendaring app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Court Days Pro provides attorneys and legal professionals with the ability to calculate dates and deadlines based on a customizable database of court rules and statutes. Once the rules are set up in the application, calculations are performed using a customizable list of court holidays.

Once you chose a triggering event (e.g., a motion hearing date) the application will display a list of all events and corresponding dates and deadlines based of trigging event (e.g., last day to file moving papers, opposition, reply briefs).  Icons on the screen show the number of calendar days and court days from the current date for all resulting events.

By default, Court Days Pro is preprogrammed with a list of all federal holidays, but is fully customizable to allow the addition or removal of any court holiday to the list (e.g., Lincoln’s Birthday in California State Court).

Adding, deleting, and modifying rules-based events  in Court Days Pro is quick and easy, and was designed to allow multi-step calculations. For example, if you are calculating the deadline for filing a regular motion in California Superior Court, you can set the application to calculate back 16 court days, plus 5 calendar days, with the last day shifting backward to the next available court day, should it land on a weekend or holiday. You can set an unlimited number of calculations to be triggered by a single event.

Date results not only appear on the screen, but can be added to the device’s native calendar app, and later revised or deleted from within Court Days Pro. Also, all results can be emailed straight from the application.

Future versions of Court Days Pro will allow the purchase of preprogrammed rules sets for certain jurisdictions by using in-app purchasing.”

EsquireTech’s Review:

Definite 4 out of 5, with room for a strong 5.

So far, so good.  I’ve gone ahead and calendared a couple of law and motion dates, trial compliance dates, and a timeline triggered by the service of a complaint.  All of the dates went to my Ipad Calendar, and, from there, to my Google Calendar.  The app crashed once in adding the dates to the calendar.  However, I did not get too upset about that since I know this is a new app.  Also, I have not yet tried it on my Iphone, but will give that a shot later today.

Compared to the costs of Compulaw, Amicus, or Abacus, this may prove itself to be a very worthwhile and easily marketable app.  Hopefully the developer has a good team of litigators who will be able to get the add-in rules for big states like New York, California, etc., into the system and available for purchase.

It would also be nice to see integration with some of the cloud-based lawyer applications such as RocketMatter, which has turned out to be an effective office management package that covers a lot of territory (calendaring, Google integration, DropBox integration, billing, invoicing, timeslips, etc.).  With Court Days Pro, FastCase, and Rocketmatter, the possibility of having a well managed office at minimal cost is becoming a positive reality for small firms.

I am excited about the prospects of this app and look forward to seeing how it develops over time.  Assuming it stays the course, I will be very happy to endorse this product within our bar association.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing this app developer do well and gain the support that they need to be able to compete with WestLaw and some of the other exhorbitantly priced calendar management software vendors.  Nobody should have to pay somewhere between $500.00 and $1100.00 for a single user limited license just to calendar dates, where cloud-computing and other developments make management of data cost-effective and user-friendly.  Hopefully this app and many others will make it easier for small firm practitioners to be the best at what we do.

Microsoft OneNote on iPhone

Microsoft Office OneNote Icon

Image via Wikipedia

I just recently installed the MS OneNote app on my iPhone. Can’t say that it’s all that exciting.  The user interface is slow and is not incredibly intuitive.  While I was able to pull up my OneNote files that had been created within the MS Office Suite, the output is not nearly as well organized from a visual perspective.  It seems that the folks at MS should think about making this a more iPad-ready app because this is one app that needs some space to get the same functionality as provided by the LiveSpaces site or the hard version which comes with the Office Suite.  On this one, I think that downloading it while it’s free makes sense and providing the developer with lots of comments along the way.

Google Chrome: One Step Closer to Paperless ?

Chrome OS Login

I just applied to be one of the test pilots for the Google Chrome OS. I am very interested in the prospect of having something that is connected to the Internet on a constant. Naturally, as a lawyer, I do have questions about security, confidentiality, practical use in the courtroom, and collaboration with staff. Hopefully, I will be one of the lucky one’s who gets to test this system in earnest.  I have tried, at various times, the Linux-Ubuntu OS, Windows (since its introduction), and Mac options since the 1980’s.  The prospect of a challenger to the old guard provides a clarion call for innovation.  I honestly hope that Chrome can drive innovation in this area — it’s been a while.

From what I can see, the upcoming Chrome OS is extremely user friendly and should be familiar to most of us vis a vis the use of “apps.” I certainly support anything that is quicker and which provides some level of long-term data integrity in terms of storage and accessibility. I am looking forward to becoming familiar with this particular OS and sharing the news as it comes in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
My guess is that the existing Google Apps will go a long way toward basic functionality. I already use Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Picasa for my photos. Each of these programs or services have improved over time and the fact that Google is way ahead with its research and development, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did not start to give Apple a real run for their money in the tablet OS arena and number of apps ultimately available. Much like in the 1980s, I think that Apple will have led the way, but may ultimately be overrun by its own innovation. Anyway, without further opining, you can check out the video showing Google Chrome in action on one of their demo units.
Just click on the video window below for a preview of the Chrome OS in action:

Xobni – An Absolute Favorite PC Application

Without a doubt, Xobni is probably one of my favorite software applications.  While incredibly simple in concept, it provides a wealth of information about e-mail communications, social networking, received documents, and other information relating to what’s happening with my e-mail accounts.

Xobni allows you to track e-mail conversations and easily gives you a timeline of how the conversations went down.  With a large database of communications in the thousands, it is very important to be able to look up old client communications.  In fact, I just recently was requested to provide some detail of communications from 2-3 years ago in my capacity as corporate counsel.  The search for the communications, relevant attachments, and shared information took all of about 30 seconds and all of the information I needed was immediately available so that I could determine the content, dates, and to/from information that I needed in order to determine what privileges applied and to be able to print the communications for the requesting party.

Among other things, as you can see from the left image, Xobni also ranks your e-mail according to volume, times of receipt, and other statistical information.  Sometimes, it is critically important to remember who was part of a conversation, the context of the conversation, and what documents were exchanged between counsel and the parties.  Or, it may be that you need to locate an old motion that you wrote and need an alternate way to find it since you know that you e-mailed it to someone in the last year.  Aside from being able to assess of of the data mentioned above, this program also provides immediate contact information, including social network contact information and up to date data on postings.  Xobni works with Hoover’s Business Info, Facebook, Skype, Huddle and LinkedIn.

The limited shortcomings are that there is not an iPad or iPhone version at this time.  Integration between Outlook, Xobni, and my smartphone (iPhone) would make this a nearly perfect program, even though I would already give it a 10 out of 10.  However, should you be so fortunate as to have a Blackberry smartphone, there is more integration.

All in all, I think that this program is a must have for any small law office.  I highly recommend that you check it out.  It is worth noting that there is a free version and you can always upgrade to the premium version, which is what my office uses.  Just excellent all the way around.

Microsoft Office 2011 Looks Promising for Mac Users

Computer Microsoft is releasing Office 2011 for Mac users on October 26, 2010.  If you already have purchased Office 2008 in the last couple of months, you get a free upgrade to 2011.  The office suite looks very promising.  Among other improvements to the suite, Office 2011 is including Outlook for Mac.  Up until now, they have offered Entourage, which is an ostensible version of Outlook with considerably less features and a less polished user interface.  With Outlook, calendar integration, task integration, and collaboration ought to be quite a bit easier.  As to the new version of Word, one can expect to see the “ribbon” user interface that is present in the PC version of the suite.  According to MS, Office for Mac 2011 gives you an enhanced user experience overall, as performance and launch times have been improved in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Your documents feel “lighter,” since they load fast, and respond quickly to your commands. And searching text within documents has never been faster.” Overall, this sounds like a worthy update to a program that needs to come up to speed for Mac users, especially those of us in the law. Try finding a usable pleading template for Mac Office 2008 some time !!!