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By Russell Knight and Jeff Richardson
I love to hear how other attorneys are using an iPhone or iPad in their law practice, so I always appreciate it when one of you is willing to share what you are using with the rest of the readers of iPhone J.D. Today I am sharing a submission from Russell Knight, a family law and divorce lawyer with offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Naples, Florida. Russell considers his iPhone an essential part of his law practice. Here is what Russell told me about some of the ways that he uses his iPhone:
“Living and working in two cities would have been impossible years ago before the almost instantaneous communication that the internet allows. The portability of digitally communicating through a handheld phone has been the true ultimate key in essentially freeing me professionally from the restraints of any particular location.
“My law offices use all Apple products. All of the staff have Macs. This is probably because I use a Mac at home and I am just more comfortable with the interface, but if I had to state an official reason, it’s because there are no computer viruses associated with Apple products. Also, my staff is usually a decade or more younger than me and it seems that all millennials are Apple devotees.
“I use my iPhone on an almost constant basis whether I am working or not (and I’m almost always working). My iPhone is most useful for email and I access my email in two different ways. First, I use the Gmail app for my personal email account. Second, I have two family law firms, one in Chicago and one in Naples, Florida. Both law firms have their own email account. To access these accounts, I just log onto Google Chrome and access Gmail through the internet browser. Gmail via the internet browser lets me toggle between the two accounts.
“I use the Google calendar app constantly as well because it governs my schedule. As a family law litigator with daily status calls judges are constantly requesting dates for the next court. With just a quick glance down at my iPhone, I can confirm or deny my availability. Meanwhile, my staff is able to see any changes I put in my schedule and they can make changes to my schedule themselves.
“I use practice management software called MyCase largely as a way to input billable hours and send out invoices. When I’m out of the office, I will access the MyCase app to input my billable time as it is occurring. There is even a timer on the app if a longer term project comes up away from my desk.
“In family law, there are frequently hearings where we take testimony from people (usually family members). If someone is not available on the hearing date, a motion to appear electronically is filed. This effectively means, “a motion to appear via FaceTime.” FaceTime in court is becoming more and more common, and it’s getting harder and harder to object to these FaceTime witnesses by saying “My client has a 5th amendment right to confront their accusers.” I’m not sure how you can’t confront someone effectively via FaceTime but invoking the Constitution usually works.
“Speaking of FaceTime, FaceTime Audio is amazing. For whatever reason, cellular reception will go in an out in my Chicago office, but we always have WiFi. FaceTime Audio calls are crystal clear.
The Dropbox app lets me access any file I need at any moment on my phone. Of course, a phone can’t hold all those files so I’m just accessing them online. I do always carry my MacBook Air in case I need a file and the internet is not working well.
“Finally, I use Notes for all of my offline work. When I’m back online, I just forward the note to my email account. I’m writing this article using Notes on my iPhone while I am on a plane with no WiFi. (Spirit Airlines promises WiFi by the end of 2019 … but alas, it hasn’t happened.)
“I wish I was one of those lawyers that synced Evernote with Clio and had a million Zapier functionalities on their iPhones, but I’m not. The half dozen apps I listed above are all I need and have needed for years. I believe in keeping it simple … which is part of the appeal of the iPhone’s design and functionality.”
Jeff Richardson is an attorney in New Orleans who concentrates his practice on representing defendants in complex and appellate litigation. He is an Appellate Practice Specialist, certified by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization. Jeff publishes iPhoneJD.com, the oldest and largest website for attorneys who use an iPhone or an iPad in their law practice.
This article was originally posted on iphonejd.com and is posted here with full permission from the authors. If you would like to know more information on Russell Knight, you can visit his website here: rdklegal.com.