Westlaw has had an iPad app since 2010. Surprisingly, however, it has not had its own iPhone app. iPhone users could access Westlaw through a mobile-optimized site. But there was no app.

Well, now there is. Last Wednesday, Thomson Reuters introduced a Westlaw app built specifically for use on the iPhone.

This is not an app for heavy-duty research on the road. The primary thrust of the app is current awareness. It is designed for users to keep up with Westlaw alerts and docket updates, to track company news, and to follow practice area developments.

That said, the app can be used to search Westlaw content and to access and save documents. Just as with Westlaw, you can select the jurisdictions to search and then enter your query. (Tip: Pick the jurisdictions before entering the query, because if you do it the other way around, the query disappears.)

Search results are displayed as a global overview across all content types — cases, statutes, regulations, Practical Law, etc. — and can be filtered by content type, so you can view just cases or just statutes. When you view a document, your search terms are highlighted in yellow.

Documents that you find using the app can be saved to your research folders, where they will be synchronized with and accessible from the desktop and iPad versions. You can also print and email documents from the app. (You will need an AirPrint-enabled printer.)

The app does not show full KeyCite treatment for cases. However, it does flag cases for which there is negative treatment and allows you to view the negative treatment.

For current awareness, the app lets you track companies and practice areas and receive Westlaw alerts. News stories and other updates can also be saved to your folders, emailed or printed.

Of course, you will need a Westlaw account to use the app. Once you install the app, you can sign in using your OnePass login.

2016-03-12 21.08.51Debuting at ABA Techshow this week is a new iOS app that will allow consumers to locate an available attorney and connect with him or her instantly by video, in much the same way that someone can hail a ride on demand using the app Uber.

As of this writing, the app, which is tentatively named 1Law, was awaiting final approval from Apple to be included in the app store. The app’s developer, A. Jason Velez, hoped that the app would be available in the app store by the start of Techshow.

I was able to see a beta version using TestFlight, Apple’s beta testing platform for apps in development, and to talk about its development with Velez, a personal injury lawyer in California whose firm also operates under the name 1Law.

“My app is in the on-demand service space, like Uber for lawyers,” says Velez. “Touch the app and communicate with the attorney in real time, live.”

How it Works

When a consumer first installs the app, he or she is prompted to create a login and simple profile, either by connecting to a social network such as Facebook or using an email address.

Once the user logs in, the app shows a map of the user’s location. If a lawyer who is part of the system is in the vicinity, the lawyer will show up as an icon depicting the number one. Blue icons indicate lawyers who are available at that moment. Grey icons indicate lawyers who are part of the system but not currently available.

Users can choose a particular area of law to narrow the displayed icons to only lawyers who handle that area.

By clicking on the icon, the user sees the lawyer’s profile, describing the lawyer’s practice. If the user wants to go forward and contact the lawyer, he or she taps the call button under the profile.

2016-03-12 21.09.06The lawyer sees the call coming in, displaying the caller’s name and profile. The lawyer can either deny or accept the call. If the attorney accepts, the two are connected into a video call. If the lawyer denies the call, the user can try a different lawyer. (The app uses Twilio as its video platform.)

How Will it Be Used

“We believe this service has broad-based application to the legal aid societies as well as a relationship development device for attorneys,” Velez says.

His plan is to develop a network of lawyers to participate in the service. Although he was still working out the details when we spoke, he anticipated that he would offer lawyers some period of a free trial and then charge on a subscription basis for their participation.

He foresees the app being used to answer quick and simple legal questions at no charge. The incentive for attorneys to participate is to establish relationships with users that could then lead to fee-generating services and referrals.

He also sees the app as being useful to legal services organizations in providing quick legal help and legal triage to low-income clients, especially those who may be unable to get into an office for geographic or physical reasons.

So could this app become the Uber of law? No doubt, access to on-demand legal advice, especially at no cost, will be attractive to many consumers. The bigger question will be whether attorneys will participate and to what extent. My guess is they will and that the app will also find a place in the pro bono community.

Meanwhile, watch for it to appear in the app store. And if you are attending Techshow, be sure to look for 1Law there.

At ABA Techshow this week, the cloud practice management application Clio launched a dedicated iPad app. Above is a slideshow of screencaps from the new app.

The app allows users to:

  • Get full access to their case files.
  • View a case file’s timeline of events.
  • Track and add time and expenses.
  • Access their matters and associated information.
  • Keep on top of your tasks.
  • View contacts and then reach them through email or Facetime.
  • Access and modify their calendars.
  • View and upload documents associated with matters.

This new version has been designed specifically for the iPad and integrates with a number of its native functions, according to Clio. Use of the app requires a Clio subscription.

 

If you’re planning a trip, whether for business or travel, run — or maybe I should say hop — to the iTunes store and get Hopper.

Consider Hopper a Big Data tool for finding small airfares. It constantly monitors and analyzes flight prices to predict how prices will change. It uses those predictions to tell you when to buy or not to buy your tickets. Push notifications alert you instantly when fares are most favorable.

I’ve used it over the last two months to plan several trips. For example, I am going to Las Vegas in May for the Avvo Lawyernomics conference. As I am writing this, Hopper is telling me not to buy tickets yet because prices will likely drop over the next three weeks. But it also says to book before before May 1, when prices will likely go back up.

If your travel dates are not rigid, Hopper will help you plan the optimal time to take your trip. I’ve been thinking of going to San Diego on a personal trip. Hopper shows me a calendar view color-coded to reveal lower and higher priced travel times. Right now, it says, my best deal would be to travel the first week of May.

In planning another trip recently, I ignored Hopper’s warnings that airfares were about to go up. Sure enough, they went up just when it told me they would.

The iPad is fast replacing the legal pad as the essential accoutrement of trial lawyers. But what are the most-helpful apps for iPad- and iPhone-bearing litigators to load onto their devices before heading off to the courtroom?

I wrote a two-part wrap-up of essential apps for trial lawyers for the Bullseye legal blog of IMS ExpertServices. You can find the two parts here:

Evernote recently introduced Scannable, a free scanner app for iPhone and iPad. Although it is not the perfect scanner app, it has some great features that could make it your scanner app of choice. And if you’re an inveterate Evernote user, as I am, you’ll have all the more reason to want this app.

2015-01-20 09.45.20Scannable’s killer feature is that it is fully automatic. Simply start it up and point it at the document you want to scan. It can be a document, a receipt, a business card, a photo, or whatever. It automatically finds and focuses on the document and captures the scan, and then automatically enhances the brightness, contrast and clarity of the image. You never have to touch a button. If you’re scanning multiple pages, just move to the next one and it continues to scan automatically.

There is also a manual mode, but I found no reason to use it. The scans I captured using Scannable’s automatic feature were consistently clear, bright and perfectly cropped.

Once you have captured a scan, you can save or share it in a number of ways. Evernote users can save scans directly to Evernote. In addition, you can email scans, save them to your camera roll, send them as a text message, export them to iCloud, print them using AirPrint, or share them on social media.

A “meeting” option lets you integrate the app with your calendar, and then share a scan with a list of meeting attendees.

Other notable features of Scannable include:

  • ScanSnap connection. Scannable connects via WiFi to the ScanSnap Evernote Edition scanner, letting users control the ScanSnap from their phones and scan from ScanSnap directly to their phones.
  • LinkedIn connection. Connect Scannable to your LinkedIn account, then when you scan a business card, it finds the matching LinkedIn profile and imports additional contact information from the profile, including the picture.
  • Save contacts. Information from scanned businesses cards can be saved directly to your contacts. You can configure the app to do this automatically or manually.
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A scan captured using Scannable

As I said at the outset, Scannable is not perfect. Here are some of its weak points:

  • OCR only with Evernote. Scannable has no integrated OCR. However, if you save a scan to Evernote, the text becomes searchable, but only in Evernote.
  • No control over file format. Multi-page scans are saved as PDF files. Single-page scans are saved as either images or PDFs, depending on the type of document. Scannable decides the file format; you have no control over this.
  • No local saving. There is no way to save scans within Scannable. The app forces you to export it in some way, either by saving it to Evernote, emailing it, or in any of the other ways it allows you to share. This isn’t necessarily a negative, because it forces you to deal with the scan right away. Plus, you can always opt to save it to your device’s camera roll. But there may be times when you just want to scan it and deal with it later.
  • Occasional color distortion. A few times, its automatic adjustments changed the background color of a scanned document, with no way to change it back.

Despite these weak points, Scannable has already become my scanner app of choice. I am a religious user of Evernote, so the integration makes sense for me. That said, you need not be an Evernote user to use this app. It is free to install and use, it produces consistently good quality scans, and it could well be the easiest scanner app you’ll find.

LawyerProfessionalAsstForiPad-1

If ever there was a Swiss Army knife of an app for lawyers, it is the Wolfram Lawyer’s Professional Assistant. This multi-function app for iPad and iPhone can perform calendar computations, fee calculations, settlement calculations, interest-rate calculations and more. Use it to research historical weather information or population demographics. Look up legal terms and statutes of limitation. The list of what it can do goes on.

2015-01-14 21.39.20You may already know about Wolfram|Alpha, which calls itself the “computational knowledge engine.” While it resembles a search engine, it is actually a website that computes answers to natural-language queries based on a large collection of algorithms and curated data. The site is used by everyone from scientists to kids doing homework. Many lawyers use it for date calculations, financial calculations, statistics and other information.

The app came out in December 2011 (as I noted in a blog post at the time). I never actually used it until recently, when I was looking for an app that performed one of the functions it includes. For a single app, it is surprisingly multifaceted. It includes:

  • Reference tools. The app includes a dictionary of legal terms; statutes of limitations for each U.S. state; and information about visa types, including requirements, common issues and extensions and limits.
  • Calendar computations. Compute business days, days between and days from now.
  • Financial computations. Perform fee calculations, settlement calculations, current interest rates, historical value of money, and U.S. federal tax rates.
  • Investigative information. Look up historical weather, find company information, look up Internet protocol addresses and web traffic, and calculate blood alcohol levels.
  • Crime data. Obtain crime rates and histories for specific crimes, as well as state and national average comparisons.
  • Demographics. Get population and economic demographics for specific cities and international information about currency, country economies, and languages spoken, as well as time zone conversions.
  • Damages determination. Obtains salaries for any occupation, look up company information, compare city-to-city costs of living, and determine life expectancy.
  • Estate planning. Calculate present and future values, interest rates, periodic payments and genealogical relations.
  • Real estate.  The app includes mortgage calculations, closing cost estimation, a square footage calculator, home sales prices, and utility prices.
  • International. Convert times and currencies, determine the languages spoken and the economic properties for any country, and obtain general country information.

LawyerProfessionalAsstForiPad-5

The app is not perfect. In a 2012 post at Lawyerist, Gyi Tsakalakis offered his impressions of the app and rounded up some of the other reviews that had been done. Of particular concern was a review by Peter Summerill at MacLitigator in which he pointed out an error in the statutes of limitations listed for Utah. The app listed a one-year SOL for “medical malpractice actions based on insertion of a foreign object,” which Summerill said was, “Not. Quite. Right.”

Oddly, the app now lists a two-year SOL for “medical malpractice (foreign object insertion)” in Utah, which is still not right, according to my reading of Utah law. The statute sets a two-year SOL for medical malpractice, and then says:

[I]n an action where the allegation against the health care provider is that a foreign object has been wrongfully left within a patient’s body, the claim shall be barred unless commenced within one year after the plaintiff or patient discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the existence of the foreign object wrongfully left in the patient’s body, whichever first occurs.

So it is a one-year discovery rule, not two years as the app now says.

In addition to the reviews by Tsakalakis and Summerill, see also Jeff Richardson’s review at iPhone J.D.

The SOL issue is a legitimate concern, of course, but I would hope no lawyer would rely exclusively on an app of this sort for SOL research. The reason to buy an app such as this is for its handiness, just as a Swiss Army Knife is no replacement for an actual saw, screwdriver, can opener or hunting knife. It is an all-in-one tool for those times when you need quick reference or quick calculations.

The cost of the app is $4.99. Regrettably, there is no Android version.

FamilyLawApp480x480

A Boston-based developer of legal apps, Lawyer-Apps, has partnered with the Uniform Law Commission, the organization that drafts uniform laws and promotes their adoption by states, to release an iPad app, Family Law, that provides mobile access to the full text of the ULC’s family law acts, including the official comments and annual updates.

Released this week, the app is the second to be jointly developed by Lawyer-Apps and the ULC. They previously released the Trust & Estates app, which provides the full text of the ULC’s trust and estate acts.

The app is fully searchable or can be browsed on a section-by-section basis. It includes:

  • Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA)
  • Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA)
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)
  • Uniform Collaborative Law Rules/Act (UCLR/A)
  • Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA)
  • Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act (UGPPA)
  • Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic-Violence Protection Orders Act (UIEDVPOA)
  • Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (2008 Amendments) (UIFSA)
  • Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act (UPMAA)

The app also includes citations and links to state statutes based on the uniform acts for easy comparison.

The app costs $9.99, which includes annual updates to uniform text and continuously updated enactment data. It is available for iPad only.

Lawyer-Apps has also developed a series of apps in conjunction with the American Law Institute (ALI) based on the Uniform Commercial Code: Secured Transactions, Instruments-Deposits-Funds, and Sales & Leases.

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The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law has been available as an iOS and Android app for more than two years now, but the iOS version just came out in an upgrade that adds new functionality by taking advantage of the new extensions feature of iOS 8, which allows apps to talk to each other.

screen568x568I reviewed both the iOS and Android versions of the app two years ago. I refer you back to that review for a full discussion of the app’s features.

One of the enhancements in this new version is the ability to look up words while reading in other apps, such as the Safari browser. To do this, simply highlight the word you want to look up and tap the “share” icon. The law dictionary appears as a sharing option. Tap the dictionary icon and it opens to the word’s definition. (If the icon does not appear, tap the “more” icon and toggle the dictionary’s on/off switch.)

This latest version of the app also adds full-text search. That means that you can search not only for defined words, but for any word appearing in any definition.

The app already had wildcard searching, fuzzy searching and anagram searching. Wildcard searching is helpful when you do not know how to spell a word or want to find words with the same structure. Fuzzy searching can also be used when you are unsure of the correct spelling of a word or to find words that are similar in their spelling. Anagram search finds words that have the same letters. For example, if you search “own,” you will also get “now” and “won.”

You can view your full search history or save any search as a favorite.

This new version also adds new customization options, including the ability to adjust font sizes, modify animated menus and choose background colors. It also supports viewing in landscape mode. It works on either an iPhone or an iPad.

The app was developed by Paragon Software Group for Merriam-Webster. It is available from the Apple store for a price of $24.99.

For the second successive year, the Fastcase legal research app is the most popular legal app among lawyers, according to the 2014 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report. The most popular business app among lawyers this year is LinkedIn, the survey said.

Among lawyers who reported having downloaded a legal-specific app, 36.5% listed Fastcase. Last year, Fastcase was also the most popular, with 26.5% saying they had downloaded it.

(For last year’s results, see this post.)

Other legal-specific apps mentioned by lawyers in the survey were:

  • WestlawNext, 33.7%.
  • Legal Dictionary App, 22.1%.
  • Lexis Advance, 14.1%.
  • TrialPad, 8.3%.
  • Courtlink, 6.7%.
  • LexisNexis Legal News, 6.4%.
  • LexisNexis Get Cases & Shepardize, 6.1%.
  • Westlaw News, 4.2%.
  • TranscriptPad, 3.8%.
  • HeinOnline, 2.9%.
  • Federal Courts, 2.9%.
  • Casemaker, 2.2%.
  • Other, 28.5%

When asked about general business apps, 68.3% of respondents named LinkedIn. Last year’s most popular business app, Dropbox, came in second this year, at 65.3%. That is still a big jump in usage, given that Dropbox was first last year with just 15.2% saying they had downloaded it.

Other popular business apps among lawyers this year were:

  • Evernote, 38.1%.
  • DocsToGo, 20.8%.
  • GoodReader, 19.9%.
  • QuickOffice, 17.8%.
  • LogMeIn, 15.1%.
  • Box, 8.5%.
  • Notability, 6.9%.
  • Other, 16.3%.

To reiterate, these percentages are of lawyers who reporting having downloaded a legal or business app, not of all lawyers who responded to the survey.

The Legal Technology Survey Report is edited by Joshua Poje, director of theLegal Technology Resource Center.  It is published in six volumes. Each volume can be purchased for $350 or, for ABA members, $300. The volumes are:

combined edition can be purchased for $1,800 or, for ABA members, $1,550.