My blogging friend, Rick Georges of the Future Lawyer had a recent article at Law.com.
He wrote about Ten apps for the solo practitioner. I know Rick does
this just to cause me to write up an answer to his post. As he mentions
in his post, he stuck to Windoze based stuff. And like Rick, I am going
to stick to what I know and that would be applications I use in my own
1. First and foremost on my list is Mac OSX
itself. Now, I know what you are thinking, that is an operating system
and not an application. However consider for a moment building an
office and where you should start. The foundation and it should be as
stable, strong and reliable as possible. Mac OSX gives you that. But it
also gives you more. Not only is it a wonderful OS, it provides four of
the applications I use everyday in my solo practice.
I use each one every single day and would not want to operate my
practice without them. Best of all, all four will integrate into other
programs which I will discuss in future posts.
2. Second is my word processor of choice, NeoOffice.
NeoOffice is a fully-featured set of office
applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and
drawing programs) for Mac OS X. Based on the OpenOffice.org office
suite, NeoOffice has integrated dozens of native Mac features and can
import, edit, and exchange files with other popular office programs
such as Microsoft Office.
Released as free, open source software under the GNU General
Public License (GPL), NeoOffice is fully functional and stable enough
for everyday use. The software is actively developed, so improvements
and small updates are made available on a regular basis.
3. Next, and one that I have discussed before is Circus Ponies Notebook.
It’s a combination outliner and free-form database that lets you clip,
annotate, and share unstructured information. Organize your information
using a familiar notebook interface complete with pages and tabs. Best
of all you can organize a case in a way that makes sense to you. Not
the way the software company believes it should be done. You can import
photos, images, film clips, and sounds directly into Notebook from ay
source. Display embedded media in your Notebook in Media Frames that
give you control over the media item. Import any kind of content from
the web or from other Mac apps using NoteBook’s built-in Clipping
Services. Copy text and other content directly into your Notebooks
without leaving whatever app you are working in. You can even pre-edit
clippings before sending them to your Notebook.
Notebook includes tabs on the right side just like a trial notebook. I set mine up like a Bindertek
trial notebook. Labeled and color coded just like a hardcopy notebook.
However, with Notebook, I can assure you one thing, I can find my
information faster than an attorney using a hard copy, like a trial
notebook. And I can use my Notebook version to present information and
exhibits in court.
Notebook also works with iCal where you can set and manage alarms and to do’s for your case.
4. Like Rick, I too use Skype. It truly is a great tool for the law office. I bought the SkypeOut
service for just over $29.00 per year. I can call unlimited nationwide
numbers all I want. I have it set up so that my BT ear piece connects
to the calls I make and receive on Skype. And actually, Rick and I have
visited often using Skype. Get it, you won’t be sorry you did.
5. Pagesender is my
built in fax service. It is a great software that sits on my file/fax
server, Mac Mini. I use the same phone line that I use for my DSL
service so I only have to tie up one line for both those useful tools.
All faxes come into my office as PDF’s which I than store directly to
my clients virtual file folder. If I am out of the office, my faxes are
emailed to me no matter where I am at. And when I need to sign
something that comes in as a fax, I don’t even print it. I sign it with
the next application listed below.
6. With PDFpenPro
I can Fill out PDF forms and edit PDFs easily. Split, combine, reorder,
sign and augment PDFs with text, image overlays & watermarks.
Signing is as easy as inserting my signature which is saved to my
desktop onto any document I want. In my humble opinion, I just don’t
see how you could have a paperLESS office without this application.
Cinema-quality presentations for everyone — with
ease. Keynote puts you in the director’s chair and gives you complete
control over how you build and deliver your presentation.
8. For postage I no longer go to the post office to get my stamps. I use endicia for Mac.
You can print mailing labels, envelopes and InstaPostage labels with
ease. Print real postage from your Mac. No more standing in long lines
at the post office. It works with Apple’s Address Book and the next program I discuss below.
9. EasyTime billing program is my billing program of choice now. It is written by a Mac using developer for the Mac using attorney.
- easily manage clients and cases
- address book integration
- retainer billing
- multiple rates per timekeeper
- unlimited task & case notes
- task timer
- user shortcuts
- fully customizable invoices and reports
- batch invoice printing with automatic email option
- postage printing via Endicia (US customers only)
- link external documents to client & case
- assign persons (attorneys, witnesses, adjusters, etc.)
- contact overview and phone call reminder
EasyTime will develop into a full time billing, case and document managing system.
10. Finally, Basecamp is a
must have practice tool. In my own practice, Basecamp is used to manage
cases and clients. Each client has access to their own case. By using
Basecamp, each has access too all the documents in their case and also
know when important court dates are. They can leave comments or
questions about their case and they can keep up on the progress of
their case. It keeps clients more involved in the process.
There you have it, ten of the must have apps for the Mac using solo
practitioner. I would love to have as many of you post comments here
telling me what applications you feel are a must have. Lets keep the
Oh and by the way Ben Cowgill
do you have a list for the windoze using attorney? And you thought us
Mac using attorneys did not have any software. I actually had to stop
at ten. There is a ton more and if enough interest is expressed, I will
do a follow up to this post in the near future.