As part of the need to remain frugal, lawyers and other professionals often cut corners in areas where others don’t. Technology is a good example. Sure, you’d love to upgrade some of your equipment, but what you have isn’t really that old, it works just fine, and you don’t want to invest the capital.
It’s true that the ‘cost’ of being frugal means that you don’t always have the latest, greatest in computer equipment and services. But, you already know the truth is that if you were to upgrade every time something new came out, you’d waste an awful lot of money on big ticket items that aren’t necessary to your firm and its growth.
However, there are myriad ways you can keep up with technology by spending little or nothing. For example, the booming apps market is a great avenue to explore. They allow you to get more out of your existing computer equipment, giving you more mileage on your tablets, cell phones, laptops and desktops. Here are some of the best apps on the market today that can improve your output and organizational efforts at little or no cost to you.
Dropbox is an Apple and Android-compatible app that’s been around since 2007. Its continued popularity is a testament to the fact that it is an incredibly user friendly app that makes it simple to synchronize your office desktop or laptop with your other portable devices. The app allows storage of files, photos, music, and video. The first 2GB are free, and there are charges for additional storage. Be cautious what you put in your Dropbox account, though, because there is no file encryption allowed.
For mobile iPhone and iPad users, Apple’s SignNow app cannot be beat when a valid signature is needed on the go. Compatible with standard email, DropBox, photos, and PDF and Word documents, you can even use SignNow to turn photos into PDFs. This app is used by 40% of the Fortune 1,000, and NBA player Deron Williams even used the SIgnNow app to sign a $98M contract. Best of all, the app is free. Additional in-app purchases are available, ranging from $14.99 – $179.99.
If you’re an Android user, try DocuSign, available at the Google Play store. Docusign is a free app that much of the same diversity of use as SignNow, including the ability to pull files from Dropbox, Evernote, Salesforce, and other programs. Also, just like SignNow, DocuSign allows users to avoid having to hassle with the time and supplies associated with scanning and faxing.
Available for both Android and iPhone, Fastcase is the premiere searchable legal research app on the market. The app literally puts a law library at your fingertips. It includes comprehensive federal all state laws (all 50) laws, court rules, cases, regulations, statutes, and constitutions. As with the other apps, the pricing structure you choose will dictate your options.
Word of Caution
The apps market is wide open and ever changing. While countless apps do provide invaluable assistance for little to no financial investment, make sure you read the fine print on each before shelling out your money for them. Some, like DropBox, may offer the convenience you need, but not the security you need for sensitive files. If you invest money into an app, make sure you first know what you can and cannot do with it under the umbrella of confidentiality. Otherwise, you could end up wasting money and jeopardizing important case information.