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.

Microsoft Office 11 for Mac — Looks Good

Office Mac 2011 is definitely an upgrade from the 2008 version.  Among other things, the user interface has improved dramatically.  The various tools and tabs on the ribbon are useful and intuitive.  In fact, I would claim that the Mac version is better than the Windows version.  I still have to figure out the ribbon UI in Windows and gave up long ago.  One of my favorite additions to the Office Suite is the “Notebook” template, which is very much like the Notebook offering made by CircusPonies.com, without any significant cost differential.  Most of the templates are more on the consumer side and I am looking forward to seeing if my Windows-based pleadings templates will be compatible with the Mac version.  Another key issue will be looking at the ease of being able to insert tables for exhibit lists, witness lists, or for demonstrative courtroom exhibits.  The Powerpoint program seems equally intuitive and the interface is clean and understandable.  Again, the templates are are little simplistic, but easily tailored to meet the needs of a trial lawyer preparing a presentation with use of video clips from a deposition, pdf exhibits, images, and interactive elements. The spreadsheet element of Office is what one would expect and offers a number of good templates, including invoicing, timesheets, and other useful tools for the legal profession.  Finally, I really like the smooth interface between SkyDrive and the Suite.  I have been using SkyDrive or its predecessors for some time and have enjoyed the remote accessibility to my files, especially during trials and travelling.  SkyDrive also makes it easy to share files with clients, which is becoming more important as cloud-based technology develops.  All in all, the suite is just one more reason to justify the transition to Mac as an office tool.  While many of us in the legal world are stuck on Wordperfect, this offering may just be the reason to finally break the chains so that lawyers can more easily interact with clients (most of whom use Word).  I give this new version of Office a 9.5 out of 10.  If there were templates for pleading, I’d give it a 10.  For additional reviews see, TechRadar.com and ZDNet.com.  For an article on whether it’s worth your time, money and effort to upgrade your present office suite, you can see this MacWorld article which does a good job of speaking to this issue.


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 !!!

List of Essential Android Apps

Here’s Gizmodo.com’s list of essential Android apps for those of you who are using this platform. Samsung’s Galaxy is Android-based as well as many smartphones out on the market now.  Documents to Go, LogMeIn, and Evernote are featured.  These three apps are great for the legal profession for text editing, remote access to your office computer, and a great app for taking notes, uploading pdf files, and documents.  With wireless or 3G access at court, each of these apps have proven to be quite valuable in preparing for trial, managing data, and looking at exhibits.

Law Office Software for The Macintosh

Law Office Software for The Macintosh /Attorney using Macintosh Legal Software.

This site has a good listing of much of the software that an attorney might be interested in using. Topics include law office management, estate planning, billing, family law, patent law and other substantive areas.  A newsletter subscription is available to viewers along with an “Attorney’s Toolbox” page with information concerning online legal research sites and other valuable information.  Great site for a wide array of legal software, discovery hints, trial preparation and online research options.

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