Here are nine of the best apps for lawyers that will help you run your law firm.
Whether you want to invest in an app for lawyers that helps you conduct better legal research, or go all-in on a cloud accounting solution, the right apps can help your law firm in many different ways.
They can improve workflow, boost productivity, help you become more organized and assist with remote communication. Some apps even provide a powerful all-in-one solution for invoicing, income and expenses tracking, project management and time tracking.
Read on to learn about nine of the best apps for lawyers to take advantage of all these benefits.
Apps for Communicating Remotely
In line with the growth in the remote working trend and the current upsurge of people having to work from home, lawyers are having to change the way they work.
This adjustment includes online meetings with colleagues and clients. Here are two of the best apps that will facilitate this online collaboration.
Slack is an online collaboration tool that lets you communicate with colleagues from anywhere and on any device. With Slack, you can:
- Communicate via text or video/audio call
- Chat with your entire team at once or privately
- Share essential documents with each other in relevant channels
- Use different channels that are organized with different hashtags (e.g., a #legalresearch channel where you and your team only share information about research, or a #finance channel for any specific finance-related content)
Having different channels encourages people to only share relevant information, documents and images. This means all files and documents are where they should be, and you don’t have to spend time finding them.
Slack is available on desktop and mobile (iOS and Android) with pricing plans starting at $6.67/month.
Zoom’s primary focus is video conferencing, though the app also offers chat and collaboration functionality.
Use Zoom to host a quick one-on-one chat with a colleague or a client, or have a company-wide call with several people at once.
Zoom is available on desktop and mobile (iOS and Android), with plans starting at $14.99/month.
Managing Your Accounting and Invoicing
As a law firm owner, you need to take control of your billable hours to make sure you’re not leaving money on the table.
You also need to use intuitive cloud accounting software that doesn’t have unnecessary features you won’t use.
FreshBooks is cloud accounting software designed for small service-based businesses such as freelancers, creatives and, yes—you guessed it, lawyers.
The software gives you a basket of powerful tools you can use to run your business. These include invoicing, income and expense tracking, project management capabilities and time tracking.
More specifically, FreshBooks lets you:
- Create professional invoices that are error-free
- Accept online payments directly from an invoice to get paid faster
- Set payment reminders that run on a schedule to avoid money talk
- Send recurring invoices for those retainer clients
- Connect your bank account to record expenses without lifting a finger
- Snap a photo of a receipt and store it in the cloud for safekeeping
- Track time spent on specific projects to keep tabs on billable hours
- Pull your tracked time into an invoice
- Create estimates and proposals to help you close deals
- Collaborate with your team and clients on projects
- Access financial reports such as profit and loss statements so you can keep tabs on your finances
Apps for Storing and Transferring Files
A move to remote working also necessitates that lawyers use apps to store and transfer files from any device, anywhere.
Some apps that fit the bill include OneDrive, Dropbox and Box. But one of the most popular ones is Google Drive.
4. Google Drive and G-Suite
Besides backups, syncing, cloud-based storage and online document collaboration, Google Drive offers a host of other apps. These include Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Hangouts.
You can create a document and collaborate directly on it with your colleagues. Even more, you can track any changes and rest easy knowing your content is secure in the cloud.
Most notably, it’s free for the first 15GB of storage and offers very affordable upgrade plans, too. Although Google apps cater to Android users, Google Drive even allows iOS users to incorporate non-iCloud storage services into the Apple ecosystem.
Plus, for an additional fee of $6/month and an investment in G-Suite, you get a personal email, more storage, round-the-clock support and more.
Organizing Notes and Making Annotations
Taking and organizing notes, as well as annotating documents, is very much a part of a lawyer’s profession.
So, why not use two of the best apps for lawyers that simplify note-taking and annotating: Evernote and iAnnotate?
Evernote is an industry leader when it comes to note-taking. The platform offers a simple, yet powerful product for recording and organizing notes.
But don’t be fooled. Although note-taking is at its core, it also offers many other notable features:
- Integrates with smartphone cameras: You can easily take and edit photos—from cropping to adjusting image size and rotating the image
- Doubles as a collaboration tool for managing projects: You can create to-do lists to help you organize projects, create as many notebooks (a collection of notes around a topic) as you want, and collaborate remotely thanks to easy notebook sharing
- Transforms handwritten notes: You can convert any handwritten notes into a digital format and assign it to the relevant notebook
Evernote is available on iOS and Android, with three plans: Basic, Premium and Business.
As the name suggests, iAnnotate helps you annotate documents. Use the robust PDF reader to read, share and interact with documents.
Interact with text by highlighting, marking up, making notes and commenting on documents in the margins.
You can also integrate iAnnotate with cloud storage platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive for easy syncing and improved document management.
Staying Updated on Legal Trends
It’s no secret that practicing law requires you to stay updated on the latest legal trends, news and ordinances.
But filtering out the wheat from the chaff can be tricky, especially with so much content and information online.
That’s why you need an app like Feedly.
Feedly helps you capture and organize the important content from your feeds.
Using AI and a research assistant named Leo, you prioritize your content based on keywords, trends, topics and more.
Leo will then grab content from your feeds based on these priorities. This content will be clearly marked with a green priority label.
This label tells you why the articles have been prioritized. Because Leo uses machine learning (ML) and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and can learn from your feedback, you can train Leo to better declutter your feeds.
Simply agree or disagree with Leo’s recommendations in a few simple clicks to give the research assistant the necessary feedback. Then let Feedly do the rest.
Doing Legal Research
Researching is very much part of your profession. And there’s no better app than Fastcase to help you with this.
Fastcase is an app for lawyers that provides online legal research on a mobile platform.
No subscription is required, however its database is American law. So it’s meant either for lawyers practicing law in the U.S., or those interested in American case law and statutes, at both the federal and state level.
Signing Documents Online
Having the ability to sign documents online is even more important with an increasing number of people working from home. Demands from clients to go digital, and the cumbersome nature of printing, signing, scanning and sending documents also call for electronic signatures.
The final app on our list of the best apps for lawyers typifies today’s age of digitization. Remember the old days where you had to sign a document via pen and paper?
Sure, sometimes exceptions were made and you could fax the document. But for the most part, it was a complicated process. Scanning managed to advance signature technology, but having to print, scan and resend also ended up being rather tedious.
Now, with SignMyPad, the technology has come full circle. Simply load the document and sign it on the mobile device’s screen. Job done.
Start Using the Right App for Lawyers Today
There are plenty of apps you can use to run a more profitable law firm. Don’t get caught up in wanting to try them all at once.
Instead, start with a few that you believe will help you. You can always add to your list of apps over time.
What apps do you use for your law firm?
This post was updated in May, 2020.