Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Legal Tech Talk

The application of technology is important in practicing law, from researching cases to organizing your meetings, and managing your files. MB prides itself on embracing technology which, in part, drew me to working here.

I have been particularly interested in how new technology can complement established practices for managing files.

It’s true that I have an old-school soul. My favourite band is Depeche Mode, I collect vintage apparel, and I long for 80s-style frosted flakes. Yet, I am also a self-proclaimed techie. I have been particularly interested in how new technology can complement established practices for managing files.

So, the following is how I have put to use some older features of my tablet in my legal world.

Snap

Like many, I love using a whiteboard for brainstorming. However, on any given day, I usually have multiple projects that I’d like to use the whiteboard for. Erasing my drawings for one project to make room for another would mean I would lose notes and visuals along the way. This is where my tablet comes in handy. I simply take a photo of my whiteboard notes (yes, the tablet camera can be used for more than just selfies), and save the picture in a designated folder. I can also print and file the visuals to my matter’s physical research folder, when necessary.

More recently, I came across a Whiteboard App for my tablet that is fantastic! See Splashtop Whiteboard.

Check, Check

I use my tablet’s voice recorder to brainstorm, and synthesize ideas, particularly when I am preparing research memos. Using a voice recorder, rather than typing or writing, allows me to capture ideas more quickly. I find that my ideas tend to flow more naturally when I use a voice recorder. Rather than using a traditional voice recorder, I’ve been using my tablet. The tablet's microphone, paired with the right apps, becomes extremely valuable in creating and managing voice memos.

You can easily find apps that allow you to record, name recordings, organize them into folders, and even attach photos to your recording (which can be very useful when you are brainstorming with your whiteboard). There are even apps that will automatically transcribe your voice recordings into text form! See Coffee Bean Ventures or Dragon Mobile Assistant.

Click

As you will see when you start articling, writing down instructions from assigning lawyers and clients is a regular part of your day. My problem is that, often, when I get back to my desk, I have trouble reading my notes; my penmanship is utterly atrocious. I’ve remedied this by typing on a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard which attaches by magnet to my tablet. Being smaller than a laptop, the tablet-keyboard combo is a discreet and less distractive way to bring a fully functioning computer into meetings with your assigning lawyer or client. In addition, I find the smaller keyboard allows me to reach keys more quickly, enabling quicker note taking.

Explore

The legal industry is quickly evolving. Now is the time for us, as regular consumers of new technology, to implement these tools into our practice. Apps and new tech gear, such as tablets, can increase your efficiency, organization, and, let’s not forget, enjoyment. Take a leap and explore these tools early in your career, before your practice gets busier. Hey, if they don’t work out, you can always go old-school with sticky notes, pen and paper.
Shivaan dS.

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