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.

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Diversions for Lawyers: How About Some Angry Birds?

Angry Birds is just about one of my favorite diversions. As you can see from many videos of this app in action, this game is incredibly simple in concept, and yet a source of entertainment for days. The basic idea is that you have to sling an angry bird at a house of pigs who are trying to steal your eggs. Sounds silly enough, right? Angry Birds requires some skill in much the same way playing pool does. You have to figure out angles, velocity, and other factors in order to prevail over the pigs. There are many levels and the game is cheap for an app of this quality ($.99). Highly recommended for those of us looking for a quick diversion.  You might also want to check out CNet.com’s 25 Best Ipad Games review, which has pics and helpful descriptions of the games.  There are also a number of other interesting games available from Angry Birds Developer Rovio.

Time Master: Great For Billing Anywhere at Any Time !!!

Time Master Main Screen

The Time Master app is another of my most used apps, especially when I am out of town. This app costs about $10.00 and is incredibly useful for keeping track of your time and billing. On-Core, the developer, says, “The best, most powerful, comprehensive, easy to use time keeping app on the Apple Store is now even better. Time Master has the highest average rating of all the time management apps. And the other apps don’t come close to our new optional billing module. Our invoices are totally professional.”

“Our biggest fans are consultants, attorneys and contractors. Time Master is used by individuals working independently, to attorneys from some of the biggest law firms in the USA. If you need to keep track of time and expenses, you can’t find a better app than Time Master. We at On-Core are IT professionals, so we have firsthand experience with billing and keeping track of time. We know from personal experience what is needed and have made this app so flexible, it works for virtually anyone in any industry in which time needs to be kept.

Are you losing money due to poor record keeping? Did you forget to log the time you spent on a small task and not bill for it last month? On-Core Time Master simplifies the process by having an app handy on your iPhone or iPod Touch, ready at all times, for you to track your time. You can quickly start tracking time with a few taps on the screen. Those little minutes add up every month and this application will easily pay for itself in one month! We think that you will find Time Master the ultimate time tracking application, with its superior ease of use, for your iPhone or iPod Touch.”

Apple Store’s website, states that the app provides the following features:

  • Track time by start, stop and/or by duration
  • Sessions option can track “punch-in & out” for a single time entry
  • Single or multiple running timers
  • Timers keep running even if you are not running the app
  • Time Entries are by Client and can be sub-categorized by Project and Tasks
  • Powerful billing rates that can be defined in the following priority: Global, by Client, by Project, by Task or Custom per entry
  • Powerful Time Rounding: by hour, minutes and/or seconds
  • Multiple Filters to sort and view only what you need to see
  • Define the day of the week that your work week starts
  • Track Expenses – from Mileage to Meals to Burning CD’s and anything else you want to define
  • Display Reports right on your device that you can view and export via email in HTML and/or CSV format. By Client or Timesheet
  • Copy Client information from your Contacts list
  • Dual taxes for countries such as Canada
  • Import IIF files
  • Full Backup & Restore capabilities

I have personally used almost all of the features and have been pleased all the way around.  The app has been updated several times since I bought it and it does get better each time.   The app seems very well suited for use by any professional who is required to keep his or her time and is simple to use, especially once you have input most of your client information over time.  Probably the biggest task is setting up your database of clients, billable entries, and related project/matter information.

Noteworthy are the facts that the app is compatible with Quickbooks, it can be synchronized between two devices (Ipad and your Iphone), and it will allow you to import contacts information from Outlook, AOL, or other address books.  Lastly, Time Master provides you with the ability to invoice immediately via e-mail and to print invoices as a .pdf file.

I give this app the highest recommendation after having regularly used it for the last year plus.

Noteshelf: No More Yellow Legal Pads for Me !!!

Noteshelf is probably my most used app for taking notes at depositions, trial and client meetings. This app provides a variety of features, including writing, erasing, and the ability to create individual notebooks for each client or matter.

There are a number of formats available for your notes, including one that mimics a regular legal pad. Along with the different notebook formats, you have the choice of many colors of ink and there are symbols/images that you can use for marking up your notes.  In short, the app is incredibly simplistic and best used with a Pogo stylus for Ipad.

The only improvement that I can think of would be handwriting recognition.  However, my handwriting during trial and depositions is so bad that it probably wouldn’t work anyway.  Nevertheless, there are those who might appreciate an improvement such as this.

After writing your notes out, you can e-mail them, put them into a DropBox folder, send them to Evernote, or Itunes.  The app will convert your notes into .pdf files for easy access and viewing by others.   I have been using this app for several months now and give it a 10 out of 10 for what it does.  The simplicity of its function and the easy to understand interface make this app a standout.

Trial Technology on the IPad – Readdle Docs Handler

After being in trial for several weeks on end, I have had the opportunity to review a number of apps through a ‘trial by fire.’  This review is just one of several upcoming looks at apps used in trial by my office.  One of the outstanding apps to have survived the ordeal was Readdle.  Readdle is a documents editor, organizer and reviewer.  What was particularly good about the app is the ability to easily organize exhibits, put them in a folder, and quickly review them during trial.  In one particular matter, I had about 1500 pages of exhibits and was able to easily flip through them, label them, and coordinate them with the hard copy exhibits in the parties’ binders.  The app is compatible with Rich Text,  Word (.doc) and Acrobat (.pdf) formats.  Truth be known, however, that it does not do well with pleadings done in Word and the highlighting function in .pdf is not the easiest or best out there.  If Readdle could easily convert .pdf files to an image file, like Noterize (which makes highlighting easy on such files), this would be a nearly perfect trial lawyers’ app.  The app works with Dropbox, e-mailing, MobileMe, GoogleDocs, and Safari.  Overall, this is a very good app with lots of potential.  I would recommend this to any lawyer who needs to review txt, doc, pdf files during trials, depos, or just in an everyday context.

RCBA Magazine Tech Issue

Here’s a link to the October 2010 edition of Riverside County Lawyer Magazine wherein my colleagues provide a wealth of information on electronic privacy issues, professional standards on technology, public records, and other stories concerning technology and the practice of law.  Consideration is given to what happens if you lose your IPad or other device with respect to client information, how medical privacy works, and how public records can be acquired (including e-mails, etc.).  A big thank you to the authors of this edition of our local bar magazine.

Apple – Mac Solutions for Legal Professionals

Apple’s Page for Lawyers

Link to Apple’s site for software and information for legal professionals.  Generic, but helpful.  This site contains some information on software and office integration.  Worth checking out for a basic overview of how a Mac, Ipod, or Ipad might fit into your practice.