Top Legal Apps in 2012

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With the right apps, your smartphone can revolutionize the way you do business—making you better-informed, more responsive to clients, and more valuable to your firm. Here are some simple tools to turn your phone into a mobile office so you can be productive wherever you go.

1. PocketJustice (Android, iPhone)

Pocket Justice

PocketJustice is great for any legal professional looking for a better understanding of the ins and outs of Supreme Court proceedings. With a categorized, searchable index of the Supreme Court’s public records and a smart search system, you can find exactly what you need from decades of legal precedent, including audio and synchronized text for many cases. Probably the most interesting feature of this app is the profiles and voting records of individual justices—where they come down on issues of constitutional interpretation, along with relevant biographical information.

2. Black’s Law Dictionary (iPhone)

black

It’s expensive, but having the most widely-cited law book on earth in a searchable, indexed format for your smartphone is pretty slick. Many law students and professionals are ambivalent about making the switch to e-books—the convenience and features of this app make it much easier to use than a hard copy, with internal hyperlinks to ensure you completely understand any given definition. This version also comes with audio pronunciation for the tougher Latin terminology—an invaluable feature to keep you from sounding silly in front of somebody important.

3. The Law Guide (Android)

dictionary

Paralegals and law students will especially benefit from a better knowledge of the basics provided in this app. This app can help you follow any jargon-laden conversation or lecture. Even qualified attorneys could use a resource like this at times, to verify a case review or definition in a pinch. Beyond the basic dictionary functions, The Law Guide also features interesting social options—whether you’re looking for a lawyer, a law job, or fast legal advice from their online forums. This app is free, and even better, it’s ad-free; and is content-rich enough to benefit any attorney or other legal professional.

4. WinScribe Digital Dictation (Android)

Digital Dictation

We may never see a smartphone that allows for efficient, meaningful word-processing, unless it involves voice-recognition. Eliminating the need for clunky dictation equipment, this app allows you to securely transcribe, dictate, and review documents—turning your smartphone into a quick, accurate stenographer whenever you need things recorded in a hurry. This app is valuable for any businessman who wants to increase his mobility, but is particularly helpful for lawyers and law students who have to work with and generate reams of text on a daily basis. This is one of the few revolutionary smartphone apps, because it eliminates one of the largest disadvantages of smartphones compared with home computers.

5. Dropbox (Android)

dropbox

Along with your dictation technology, this app will turn your smartphone into a mobile office. The Dropbox app connects to your office’s shared folders, which can be hugely helpful when you’re up against a deadline. You can start a document from your home computer, save it to Dropbox, then continue editing it on the subway and finish it at the office, since it’s stored in the cloud and available from any machine to which you give permission.

6. Fastcase (iPhone)

Fastcase

This research app helps you find what you need in American case law, right when you need it, from your smartphone. It’s an impressive compilation of cases and statutes from all 50 states that is easy to search for the exact precedent you need. In addition, it features visually-mapped search results, dual-column printing, as well as complete citation analysis and sorting. It’s almost universally praised by reviewers, and most importantly, it’s free.

Colleen Harding is a staff writer for a personal injury attorney and a guest blogger who specializes on writing about law. Today, Colleen hopes that sharing her knowledge will make us all happy, law-abiding citizens. She is also a member of Amnesty International as well as an active volunteer in her community.

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