Hot apps for general counsel

Jun 28, 2012
<p>Having a variety of apps can make life much easier.</p>

It’s official – almost every general counsel owns an iPad, or at least has access to one. Now that most companies have migrated their important information to this wireless device, the general counsel can edit and sign off on documents, visit the board portal and respond to emails anywhere, anytime.

To top it all off, having a variety of apps can make life much easier for these lawyers. In fact, apps offer a good way to stay organized and work efficiently. Given that there’s an app for almost everything, governance professionals are often stuck trying to choose the one that best suits their needs.

‘The iPad can (and should) replace the ubiquitous legal pad for note taking,’ says Stephen Kaplan, senior vice president and general counsel of Connextions, a technology solutions firm. ‘It also weighs significantly less and has greater portability.’

SKThere are, however, some disadvantages. Like many a general counsel, Kaplan (pictured left) relies on his iPad to complete most of his daily tasks but occasionally turns to his trusty laptop to complete major assignments.  

‘The key drawback of the iPad is its inability to use the sort of powerful editing tools found in Microsoft Word, but those barriers are being slowly broken down,’ Kaplan points out.

As new updates are constantly being rolled out to help smooth the minor editing glitches in the iPad, Kaplan recommends the following apps for the legal community:

1. MyScriptMemo: Takes your handwriting (even if it is pretty sloppy) and converts it into text with around 95 percent reliability. Certainly the best there is in this genre.

2. Notability: Note taking with great and simple layout. It also takes voice notes for you to review later.

3. TurboScan: If you’re traveling and cannot locate a scanner, you can use the camera on your iPad to do quick scans of short documents.

4. PDF Expert: Execution and annotation of PDFs on the go. It has the greatest feature set of any app in its class.

5. Dragon dictation: All voice-to-text apps need improvement, but Dragon has been at it as long as anyone, and it is constantly attempting to improve its product.

6. Office2 HD: This software appears to be the first to have true ‘track changes’ technology for document creation and editing, a feature lawyers value tremendously.

7. MagicalPad: Most lawyers need this type of productivity app for mind mapping and whiteboarding. Create easy lists, projects and flowcharts on the fly. It contains great export features.

8. Box.net: Cloud-based document storage. Not quite as common as Dropbox, but it has a few more enterprise clients. Data security is an important issue for general counsel and this app makes you feel better when storing confidential information.

9. WestlawNext: Reference is always important and this, in a nutshell, is research on the go, optimized.

10. Feeddler RSS: Excellent layout and easy management of RSS feeds.

Between flights or meetings there’s usually time to spare. ‘Yes, lawyers need to clear their heads,’ says Kaplan. ‘And Angry Birds Space is fun, phenomenal and just as addictive as the original.’

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