Adobe yesterday introduced a scanner app for mobile devices that includes optical character recognition, so you can edit documents after you scan them. It also introduced notable updates to Adobe, including cross-device signature capture.

The scanner app, Adobe Scan, is free and available for iOS and Android devices. Regular readers of this blog may remember that, last November, Adobe added a scanning tool to its Adobe Reader app for iOS and Android devices. This new app improves on that by adding OCR and better integrating with Adobe Document Cloud.

The app is quick and easy to use for scanning documents, receipts, business cards, notes and forms. Simply hold your phone or tablet over a document and the app automatically detects borders and captures the image. For multi-page documents, just flip to the next page and the app will continue the capture. You can then crop, rotate and edit the image, if need be, from within the app.

When you are satisfied with the scan, hit save. The app performs OCR on the text and then uploads the scan to Document Cloud. From there, it is available to work on from any device. You can also share the scan from within the app by sending an email or link.

The OCR function converts the image to text that you can select, copy, edit and annotate using Adobe Reader DC or Acrobat DC. Users of the app can create a free Document Cloud account to store scans. Paid subscribers to Acrobat DC get added functionality to edit and organize documents, collect signatures and more.

Enhancements to Adobe Sign

Last June, this blog reported on plans by Adobe and other industry groups, working through a group called the Cloud Signature Consortium, to build an open standard for cloud-based digital signatures across mobile and the web, enabling anyone to digitally sign documents from anywhere.

Then, in February, Adobe announced the first cloud-based digital signatures built on an open standard and said that both Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Sign would enable digital signatures — the most secure form of e-signatures, using certificate-based digital IDs issued by a trust service provider (TSP) — in any browser and on any mobile device.

Send a text message from your desktop to collect a handwritten signature.

Yesterday, Adobe formally rolled out the promised cloud-based digital signatures — the first cloud-based digital signatures based on an open standard — and is making them available in any browser or on any mobile device.

In addition, Adobe unveiled a feature it calls cross-device signature capture. This enables you to obtain handwritten electronic signatures, even when your computer is not touch-enabled. Instead, from within Adobe Sign, you send a text message to your mobile device and sign with your finger or a stylus, then finish the job back on your desktop. With one tap, you can add the signature to your document.

Another addition yesterday to Adobe Sign is customizable email templates. These let you create branded and personalized email templates for requesting and confirming signatures through Adobe Sign.

 

The CLE provider Lawline recently rolled out enhancements to its iOS app, adding the ability to view synchronized presentation slides as you listen to a program, to download the program’s written materials, and to add s0-called SmartNotes, which are notes that adhere to the point in the presentation where you added them.

Lawline first released the app last November, after releasing a major redesign of its website earlier last year. The original version of the app provided only audio, without the ability to view slides or course materials.

Now, as you view a program, the slides appear and progress automatically in sync with the program. You can also swipe through the slides to move forward or backward through the deck, and then tap “Sync Slides” to return to the correct point in the presentation. To enlarge the image of the slides, tap the screen.

Written course materials can be downloaded from two places within the app. On the course description page is an option to “View Course Materials.” While viewing a course, a “Materials” button takes you to the materials.

The new SmartNotes feature lets you add notes to a program as you view it. The note is synchronized to the point in the presentation where you add it, so you can later view the note and return to the same point in the audio.

More generally, the app enables Lawline members to download any of their audio courses to an iPhone so they can listen to courses with or without an internet connection. The app’s dashboard displays the courses you’ve selected and can be filtered to show just those you’ve downloaded or those you’ve completed.

The app also gives users access to a mobile-optimized catalog that allows them to find courses and add them to their queue. Users can search the catalog or browse it by categories.

Although the app is optimized for iPhones, it also runs on iPads. It is free to download, but you will need a Lawline subscription to download courses. You can download the app from the iTunes store.

Out today is a significant enhancement to an app that may forever change how you read and annotate complex documents — at least if you use an iPad and especially if you use an iPad Pro.

The app is called LiquidText and it has been available since 2015. Since coming on the market, it has won praise from many corners, including having been named by Apple as the most innovative iPad app of 2015 and by Time magazine as one of the 10 best apps for iPad Pro.

Legal industry reviewers have also praised it. David Sparks at MacSparky called it a better way to review long PDF documents and Neil Squillante wrote favorably about it at TechnoLawyer Blog.

Exactly what LiquidText does is better seen than explained, which is why I’ve include the video above showing the new ink feature. The basic app is free, so if you have an iPad, I urge you to install it and try it for yourself. But the essence of it is, as the name suggests, that it turns documents into a more fluid experience that lets you more effectively highlight, select, annotate and connect portions of a document (or of multiple documents with the paid version) in order to enhance your comprehension.

Today’s release takes it to the next level by adding freehand inking — the ability to write anywhere within LiquidText, to connect anything just by drawing a line, and to excerpt anything just by drawing a circle around it. While this new feature is optimized for the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil, it works on earlier iPad versions as well using any stylus. I tested a pre-release version on an iPad Air 2 and it worked well.

Craig Tashman, founder and CEO of LiquidText, says this new version reimagines ink as LiquidText first reimagined touch in 2015. “Legal apps to date tend to use touch and pen the way we use a mouse and keyboard,” Tashman said. “Here’s one of the first that really tries to rethink how the tablet, touch and pen can improve research, discovery, trial prep, etc.”

Every document you read in LiquidText is accompanied by a workspace. This appears to the right of the document in horizontal view and below it in vertical mode. As you read, you can excerpt text by highlighting it and dragging it to this workspace. With the new ink feature, you can simply lasso the text and drag it to the workspace.

Excerpts always remain linked to the spot in the document where you found them. But the workspace is fluid. You can move excerpts around or group them together simply by dragging one over another. You can add notes anywhere in the workspace, either typed or freehand. With the new ink feature, you can connect anything by drawing a line — connect a note to a spot in the text or connect notes and highlights to each other. Tap any note or excerpt to return to the source point in the document.

Pinch a document to collapse it and display different sections side-by-side.

A big part of the “liquidity” of LiquidText is the ability to pinch a document to compare different parts side by side. Say you’re on page 20 of a contract but there is language on page 2 you want to compare. Simply pinch the document to collapse the pages in between and show both page 20 and page 2 in the same view. Pinching can also be used to collapse a document to show all of your highlights or search results in a single view.

LiquidText provides multiple options for annotating a document. Draw or highlight anywhere on the document, in your notes, or on the workspace. Add notes and comments to other notes or excerpts. LiquidText even lets you comment on two or more sections of a document at once or, with the paid version, link comments to multiple documents at once.

LiquidText can be used to read any PDF, Word and PowerPoint document, and can open documents from Dropbox, iCloud Drive, Box and other sources. You can also import webpages from the built-in browser or from Safari.

Projects can be exported from LiquidText as PDFs that include both the document and the workspace or as Word files that convert your notes into a linear document. Full LiquidText projects can be shared with other LiquidText users in their native format.

As noted, LiquidText is free from the App store. A version that lets you view and annotate multiple documents at once costs $4.99 and can be purchased from within the app.

“Our software gives a new angle on what’s possible on a tablet, and who could benefit most from it,” LiquidText founder Tashman told me. “It shows how legal work can become not only possible, but can be supported better than on a PC and perhaps even better than on paper.”

In my opinion, LiquidText is a more intuitive way to read and mark-up documents — especially long and complex legal documents. The new ink feature makes it ideal for iPad Pro owners, but any iPad owner can use it productively with either a keyboard, a stylus or both.

route1 press-shot1

An iOS app launched earlier this year in the UK aims to be the Tinder of legal hiring, and it has been quickly building momentum, with more than 4,000 job-seeking lawyers and 100 legal employers signed up including a number of leading UK and international law firms.

Called Route1, the app’s developers believe it will disrupt legal hiring by providing a quick and easy alternative to using legal recruiters. Founder and CEO Henry Allan compares its functionality not only to Tinder, but also to Airbnb and Twitter.

Like swiping through photos on Tinder, job seekers swipe the job listings they’re interested in to see specifics about the job and the firm. Users can apply directly through the app and manage all their applications.

The app is not yet available in the United States. But its developers hope it soon will be. “The U.S. is the holy grail for us,” founder and CEO Henry Allan told me. “We think this service could make a huge difference for the job market there.”

If you are interested in reading more about Route1, I have full details in my column this week at Above the Law: This Week In Legal Tech: Is This App The Tinder of Legal Hiring?

LegalApps2016

The most popular legal-specific smartphone app among lawyers is Westlaw (maybe) and the most popular smartphone among lawyers is the iPhone, according to the 2016 Legal Technology Survey Report just out from the American Bar Association.

Only 40 percent of lawyers say they have ever downloaded a legal-specific smartphone app, but of those who have, the app they most frequently downloaded is Westlaw (37 percent), according to the survey.

But here is why I added “maybe” to that. The survey was conducted between January and May 2016. But Westlaw did not release a smartphone app until March 2016. (See: Westlaw Gets An App for News and Research on an iPhone.) Prior to that, the only app it had was for the iPad. iPhone users could access Westlaw through a mobile-optimized site, but not through an app.

So I’m not sure what to make of this result. It is possible, I suppose, that the Westlaw app leaped to top-place during the final two months of the survey. But it seems unlikely. The more likely explanation is that the survey respondents confused using Westlaw’s mobile-optimized site with having downloaded an app.

(As you’ll see below, there are a couple of other problems with the survey listing non-existent apps.)

The other top legal-specific apps lawyers list are:

The same number of lawyers — 40 percent — say they have downloaded a general business app for their smartphone. The most popular business apps they downloaded are Dropbox and LinkedIn, which were both mentioned by 70 percent of those who had downloaded a business app. Other popular apps are:

Lawyers were also asked how often they use voice-enabled apps or features — such as Siri or dictation — on a smartphone or tablet. Fifteen percent said they do regularly, 26 percent said occasionally, 28 percent said seldom, and 29 percent said. Overall, 69 percent of lawyers use voice enabled-apps on their smartphone or tablet.

Smartphone Operating System

The survey asked lawyers whether they use a smartphone for law-related work while away from their primary workplace and, if so, which operating system powers the smartphone. (The survey did not ask how many lawyers own a smartphone overall, not just for law-related tasks.)

Smartphone operating systems.
Smartphone operating systems.

Overall, 93 percent of lawyers use a smartphone for law-related tasks outside the office. The percentage varies slightly by firm size, from 90 percent for solos to 96 percents for lawyers in firms of 100 or more.

For operating system, the iPhone is the most popular by a wide margin, with 73 percent of lawyers who have a smartphone saying they have an iPhone. Android is next most popular, used by 23 percent of lawyers, then come BlackBerry (3 percent) and Windows Mobile (2 percent).

The survey indicates that iPhone use among lawyers continues to grow each year while use of other systems is declining. The sharpest decline is in BlackBerry use — from 16 percent in 2013 to 3 percent in 2016.

Use of Tablets

Fifty-one percent of lawyers say they use a tablet for doing law-related work while away from their primary workplace. The use of tablets is statistically even across all firm sizes.

Among the lawyers who use a tablet, the most popular type is the iPad, which is used by 84 percent. Only 10 percent use an Android and 5 percent use a Windows Mobile device.

About the Survey

The annual six-volume survey covers:

  • Vol. I: Technology Basics & Security.
  • Vol. II: Law Office Technology.
  • Vol. III: Litigation Technology & E-Discovery.
  • Vol. IV: Web and Communication Technology.
  • Vol. V: Online Research.
  • Vol. VI: Mobile Lawyers.

The survey can be purchased from the ABA. The full survey costs $1,995 and separate volumes cost $350 each.

2016-11-04 09.02.11Last May, this blog covered the major redesign of its website by the CLE provider Lawline. Now, Lawline has released a new mobile app, allowing lawyers to complete their CLE anywhere via an iPhone.

The app enables Lawline members to download any of their audio courses to an iPhone so they can listen to courses with or without an internet connection. The app’s dashboard displays the courses you’ve selected and can be filtered to show just those you’ve downloaded or those you’ve completed.

The app also gives users access to a mobile-optimized catalog that allows them to find courses and add them to their queue. Users can search the catalog or browse it by categories.

The app’s audio player will save your course progress so you can easily pick up later where you left off. It also includes a simple evaluation process that allows attorneys to claim CLE credit via the app.

The app is audio only. While many of the courses on the website have video components, the app shows only an image of the title slide and does not play the video. Some states do not provide CLE credit for audio-only courses.

The app is free but you will need a Lawline subscription to download courses. You can download the app from the iTunes store.

 

In his keynote speech kicking off the Clio Cloud Conference in Chicago this morning, Clio co-founder and CEO Jack Newton unveiled the practice management platform’s new mobile app for iOS and Android devices — a completely redesigned and re-engineered replacement for Clio’s prior app.

“What we’re releasing today is a completely re-imagined vision of what the Clio mobile app experience should be,” Newton said.

[Click images above for larger views.]

The goal in redesigning the app, product manager Mark Hazlett told me during a pre-release demonstration last week, was to make it feel more like a personal assistant than simply a way to retrieve information. “How can we push the information you care about rather than make you pull it out?”

Clio gave me an opportunity to test the app in advance of today’s release. I found that one way the app achieves the goal Hazlett described is through a new home screen that presents the user with essential information at a glance:

  • Your next five upcoming events.
  • Your next five upcoming tasks.
  • The five matters you’ve worked on most recently.

global_createAnother feature of the app is tab bar navigation. In Clio’s former app, you clicked on the “hamburger” icon in the upper left of the screen to open a navigation menu. Now, navigation has been moved to a bar along the bottom of the screen, where you can just tap to get to the home page, your calendar and your matters, or tap “more” to get to all other functions. This makes it much easier to get to where you want to be.

Included on this tab bar is a new Global Create button (see image to right). From anywhere in the app, tap this button to quickly create matters, contacts, documents, secure messages, time entries, tasks, calendar events, expenses and notes.

A nice feature of Global Create is that when you finish creating the new item, you are returned to where you were last working within the app, so you don’t ever have to retrace your steps.

Other features of the new app include:

  • New iPad layout. I did not test this, but Clio says it provides a better user experience.
  • Global search. Search globally within Clio from anywhere in the app.
  • New task overview. This lets you prioritize your tasks with pre-filtered task categories, such as priority, status and matter.

Through interviews with its users and monitoring usage of its prior app, Clio determined that most lawyers use the app in one-to-three-minute blocks of time.

“We wanted to give you quick ways to work in the app,” Hazlett said last week. “Want to schedule a meeting? Just tap ‘event,’ add it and then it goes back to what you were working on last.”

The Bottom Line

Clio’s intelligently engineered new app works with you to manage your practice rather than against you (as some apps do). It presents must-know information at a glance, provides all key functions within a tap or two, and remembers where you left off, so you’re never retracing your steps. Thanks to its intuitive design, there is no learning curve – install it and get to work.

Duet Monitor2

I am so dependent on a second monitor that I no longer feel productive without one. That can be a problem when I am away from my office. It is especially a problem when I travel and am hunkered down in a hotel room with important work to get done.

Then I discovered Duet Display, the app that turns your iPad into a monitor.

This post was a BlawgWorld Pick of the Week.

I must give credit for my discovery to the TL Serendipity newsletter, in with TechnoLawyer readers offer their personal technology and productivity tips. A lawyer named Paul Harte wrote in to relate how he uses Duet with an iPad Pro to serve as a second monitor when he is on the road.

I had never heard of it but it did not take me long to remedy that. Within a few moments, I’d purchased the app and tried it out. I was happy to find that it delivers as promised.

The app costs $18.99 — a bit expensive by app standards but worth every penny and more for the productivity boost it offers. It works with all models of iPad and also with all iPhones (although that would be a tiny second screen).

To use it, you also have to download and install a free app on your computer. Versions are available for both Mac and PC.

Once you have installed the apps on your iPad and your computer, you are ready to go. Start the app on your iPad, connect your iPad’s USB cable to your computer, and the connection is automatic and nearly instantaneous. You get a 60 frames per second display on your iPad with no lag.

Plus, Duet offers several “bonus” benefits. You can:

  • Use the touch-screen capabilities of your iPad, even if your computer does not have a touch screen. It even has its own touch gestures — tap the iPad screen to left click and tap it with two fingers to right click.
  • Turn the orientation from landscape to portrait, which makes it an ideal second screen for reading documents.
  • Use it to add an additional screen to an existing multi-monitor setup. As long as your computer supports more than two monitors, you can use Duet as a third or fourth display.
  • Still use the Split View feature on your iPad — at least partially. I could open the one-third screen split, but not the half-screen split.
  • Still run other apps on your iPad in the background. Use your iPad to listen to Spotify while you work? No problem.

If you do experience any performance issues, you can adjust Duet’s settings to reduce the frame rate or power usage.

For road warriors, the best thing about Duet is that it doesn’t require any hardware beyond what you’re already carrying — your laptop and your iPad. Wherever you are, you always have a second monitor.

ipad

For many trial lawyers, the iPad has become an essential accoutrement. It is used in discovery, depositions, research, jury selection, trial presentations and even settlement negotiations. For a couple of years now, I’ve surveyed some of the best iPad apps for trial lawyers for the Bullseye expert witness blog of IMS ExpertServices. They’ve recently published my latest survey, so if you’re interested, you can find it here: 42 Essential Apps for Trial Lawyers in 2016.

While catching up yesterday with Casemaker CEO David Harriman about his company’s litigation with Fastcase, I also had the chance to ask him about Casemaker’s acquisition of the Rulebook app.

RulebookRulebook is an app for iPhone and iPad. The app is free and, once installed, it can be loaded with various sets of court rules and other books. Some of these can be added free while others are available as in-app purchases.

Rulebook is the official app for the mobile version of The Bluebook. It also the app that publishes the mobile version of The Rules of Golf in Plain English, by lawyers Jeffrey S. Kuhn and Bryan A. Garner.

Among the rule sets it offers are most federal court rules and the rules of 22 state courts and the District of Columbia. A few sets are free — such as the Federal Rules of Evidence — but most cost $1.99 or $2.99 each.

Casemaker quietly acquired Rulebook sometime last year and now plans to expand its coverage of court rules to all 50 states.

“We liked what they’d done with the rules apps for a number of jurisdictions,” Harriman said. “Our plan is to expand their offering of court rules to all jurisdictions.”

Harriman said that the pricing will change so that the rules sets will be sold on a subscription basis. The subscriptions will include all rules updates as they come out.

New titles will begin to come out sometime in the next couple of months, he said. In addition to rules, they will include materials from Casemaker Libra, Casemaker’s library of treatises, practice guides, deskbooks and other materials.

“We’ve been busy working on making improvements,” he said. “We’re getting ready to launch.”