If you’re working as an independent lawyer in the gig economy, no doubt you’re already tech savvy. You have the home office or collaborative workspace sorted, you’re signed into your emails and ready to pitch for work. But once the work starts rolling in, you quickly realise you need some additional technology to keep you thriving and your activity, billing, time management and productivity under control.
You also realise there's no I.T guy or gal walking around your office installing the full suite of technology you need to get things done. We've talked about collaborative tools including Slack, Trello and GoToMeeting, but here are some other options you can add to your toolbox and get on the pathway to gigging success.
File Storage & Sharing
Dropbox: Whether you’re a part of a virtual legal team or are consistently on the go taking work everywhere with you, Dropbox ensures that your files are easily accessible on all your devices and can be shared to the people you choose. Got a long commute ahead of you and want to review your files prior to your meeting? Use Dropbox to carry your documents everywhere and make sure your team members are on the same page.
Google Drive: If you’re an avid user of Google products, the cloud storage service Google Drive could be for you. Allowing you to store up to 15 GB of content that you can edit with Google Documents and Slides, it’s one way for teams to collaborate on different projects without needing third-party programs.
Feedly: Staying up-to-date with legal industry trends is integral to staying on top of your game. However, it can become increasingly difficult keeping up with the rapid pace of information being shared, particularly as content is constantly being circulated through social media platforms. With Feedly, you can streamline how you view your content and filter out all the noise of clickbait articles to stay in sync with the legal cases, competition analysis and research that you want to see.
iAnnotate: It’s a given that lawyers have a lot of reading to do. Now that paper is giving way to electronic PDF, a quality PDF reader is almost a must. iAnnotate lets you edit, highlight or comment on your documents, offering you the freedom of customising your PDFs according to your needs. It also gives you the option of sharing it with the people around you, and synchronises with Dropbox and Google Drive, allowing you to work productively on all your devices at any time.
Penultimate: Ever had to take notes for something but realise that you only have your mobile device on you? [similar to the accidental bump-into-client-café-no-wallet situation: hello Apple Pay] Penultimate is an app that transforms your iPad into a physical yellow legal pad where you can take down notes with your stylus or even just your finger tip. It lets you plan and visualise by hand, and then sync your notes back to your cloud data service. Old school meets new school.
TeuxDeux: If you’re juggling multiple clients and your calendar is stacked, no doubt you have a to-do list that is starting to look like an epic novel. TeuxDeux is a great solution for managing your day to day business at work or home or use it on the road via the app. A similar tool for keeping you on track is Todoist. You can manage tasks on the run and share lists with clients and co-workers so you can manage multiple priorities effectively.
Toggl: Freelancing = time. Although the billable hour is second nature to lawyers you’re going to need some more serious technology to manage time spent on each client, project or case. Toggl’s time tracker is built for speed and ease of use with simple time-logging, an easy way to switch between clients and a simple pie-chart reporting tools allows you to invoice with precision.
Tech is all about how you use it and control it. You might still want the tactile in your life; many a business or idea has been founded using pen and paper (or in the case of a successful Australian airline start-up, ideas sketched out on a beer mat and presented to Sir Richard Branson).
If you’re looking for more ways to make life easier, whether it be automated contract review or new ways to build your lawyer profile, Crowd & Co offers technology to find new opportunities, grow your practice and make the most of being an independent.