5 Productivity Apps For Lawyers

  • Trello is a visual workflow management tool reminiscent of popular consumer apps.

You’re a lawyer, you’re busy and you’re always looking for an edge to boost your productivity. Guzzling espresso and grinding away at your desk is one way to do it, but a growing number of mobile and desktop apps offer convenient solutions to help you conquer those big projects.

At the 2018 Law + Technology Summit, hosted by the San Diego Bar Association, a panel of practicing lawyers listed some of their favorite productivity apps. Some apps they mentioned were designed specifically for lawyers, while others are frequently used by lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

There are a lot of competing apps on the market that promise to boost efficiency. The panel agreed, determining which apps to incorporate into your firm’s daily operations depends on your goals. (For example, are you looking to streamline time tracking and billing? Foster collaboration? Track client communications?) 

Here are five productivity apps that the panel suggested for other practicing lawyers:


1 | Slack

Slack provides a central location for your entire firm’s communications, making collaboration and communication easier. You can attach files, archive calls and messages and reach all of your team members in one place.

Described by one panelist as a “chat room on steroids,” Slack discussions are organized into channels that can help you distinguish between cases or projects. You can also voice or video call straight from the app. In addition, Slack allows your firm to access the collective knowledge of a case, making it easier for colleagues to find information and communications they need.

Lawyers are also using Slack to communicate with certain clients. Startup companies, for example, may use Slack to message outside counsel instead of using email. The flow of communication cuts down on turnaround time and allows more company employees to access the communication.


2 | Trello

How much more productive would you be if you could visualize your workflow like a Pinterest board or Instagram feed? Users of Trello are discovering the benefits of using a highly visual work management tool with features commonly found in those popular consumer apps. Trello uses boards, lists and cards to organize big projects and syncs across all users and devices, allowing your firm to collaborate from anywhere. 

The best part about Trello? The app’s boards, checklists and cards integrate seamlessly into the apps your firm is already using. Have a checklist for an upcoming deposition? You can create it in Trello and drop it into Slack. Do you have a multi-user board to organize a big case? Again, you can slip it right into Evernote.


3 | Evernote

With apps like Evernote, building a case and organizing big projects has never been easier. Evernote makes tracking of ideas, storing legal research and sharing information with other members of your firm a breeze.

Using Evernote, you can track cases, projects, tasks and deadlines while keeping all members of your firm on the same page. Start with meeting notes, brainstorms and clippings from around the web. Share case files with other firm members, post research and assign tasks. You can also set reminders, track deadlines and get status updates to keep big cases moving.

Like Slack, your firm’s collective knowledge is stored in one place on Evernote, making it easy to access previous research and notes. Critical documents are never more than a few clicks away, making sure you have important information on-hand at all times.


4 | PracticePanther

The apps mentioned above can all be accessed for free, however, they were not designed with lawyers in mind. You cannot bill clients from Evernote, for example, and you cannot track your time with Trello.

PracticePanther, on the other hand, was designed with attorneys in mind. Users can see their daily calendar, bill clients, search contacts and view files right from their mobile phones. All information is securely stored online, eliminating the potential loss of sensitive client information. Users can also automate workflow, delegate tasks and get real time alerts once tasks are completed. 

Another unique feature that PracticePanther offers its attorney users is a secure client portal. The portal allows clients to view their invoices, payments and operating account balances. You can also send your client meeting reminders by email, popup and text.


5 | Smokeball

Smokeball is a cloud-based legal practice management software that automatically records your time and activity, helping you work more efficiently. Plus, every email, every document and every contact can be stored in one place and accessible by you and your colleagues at anytime, even when you are offline. Smokeball also has over 12,000 automated legal forms to help you complete repetitive tasks within minutes.

But the mobile app for lawyers may be one of Smokeball’s coolest features. Business contacts can be kept separate from your personal contacts, and photos can be uploaded and separated from your personal photos. The app will also send popup reminders for meetings and deadlines. And, you can access documents and research on the go. 


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Tyler Roberts is an editor for The National Jurist. You can follow him on Twitter at @wtylerroberts