Apps and the Cloud in the Courtroom

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Jun. 4, 2012 12:00 am  

Who's using the iPad? Lawyers are.

It's not just a toy anymore: For example, Dragon, a transcription app, was named the top iPad app for the legal industry in 2011 by Global Deposition Experts, a legal blog.

"Dragon's come a long way," said Ted Clouser, executive vice president of Little Rock's PC Assistance Inc. Dragon, he said, has moved forward "with apps for the iPhone and iPad, making it really easy to do dictation. That's a huge deal for attorneys."

Clouser said a number of his clients are attorneys, and tech use in that field is increasing.

"I use my iPad in the courtroom," said Anthony Johnson, a managing partner at Butler Horn Nye & Johnson in Little Rock. "If I'm in my car going to court, if I'm looking at emails in my house, if I'm accessing documents on the road, it's very convenient. We're in an iPhone world right now."

It goes beyond Apple's tablets and phones too. Johnson is a huge proponent of using new technology to its fullest extent. He said the main way he attracted early clients was through Google Places, a program that taps into Google's location-based search results, which typically display local results at higher spots than others. Johnson said he actually used the program too effectively.

"I did things like, in my firm name, I put 'Little Rock Arkansas Business Lawyer,' to test how far I could go," he said. "It helped greatly - until they caught me. They told me that was against the rules."

Despite his run-in with the Google police, Johnson's still a fan of the big G.

"You have to be," he said. "They have 90 percent of the search space."

Johnson's also a big fan of cloud storage. Clouser said the legal industry as a whole is gaining mobility and accessibility through free storage apps like Dropbox. When Johnson was starting out, that mobility was invaluable.

"I was a solo guy with no money," he said. "I had to find ways to stay mobile. I used a lot of third-party applications that were open source and free. I went to an all cloud-based file system, cloud-based scheduling and computing. Now we're using cloud phone systems."

Johnson doesn't need to be as mobile as he was before he joined the Little Rock firm, but he said cloud storage still helps greatly with his business. He doesn't need to own a server, for example.



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