Legal Loop: 8 handy gadgets for the mobile lawyer officeBy Nicole L. Black, Published on May 18, 2014
For the 21st century lawyer, mobility is key, since a mobile law practice makes it easier than ever for lawyers to practice law no matter where they happen to be. That's why, according to the American Bar Association's 2013 Legal Technology Survey, more lawyers are going mobile than ever before, with nearly 91 percent of lawyers surveyed reporting that they have used smartphones in their practices and 48 percent of lawyers surveyed reported using a tablet at work.
But in order to have a truly mobile law office, you need to have the right accessories. Otherwise, you'll find yourself on the road trying to make do under less than ideal circumstances.
But never fear! What follows is a list of my favorite gadgets for the mobile lawyer.
First, there's the the Aidata LHA-3 LAPstand Aluminum Portable Laptop Stand which retails for $38.99. I use this stand all the time. It raises my laptop up to a more ergonomic viewing level and is incredibly versatile, allowing you to set up shop no matter where you happen to be. Using it, you can view your laptop at multiple angles and it's very lightweight at only 1.8 pounds.
Next, continue increasing the ergonomics of your mobile law office even more by dumping the clunky mouse. Instead, avoid wrist pain by switching to the Wacom Bamboo pen and tablet. It retails for only $49.99 and is well worth the money. This handy, pen-like tool can be used to navigate the Web with ease. It's quite thin and light and takes up very little room in your laptop bag. And as an added bonus, it can be used to sign or annotate documents or create sketches, if you're so inclined.
Next up, consider investing in a portable keyboard to go along with your ergonomic mobile office. I prefer Apple's Wireless Keyboard ($69.99) because it's full-sized, lightweight and very thin. It takes up very little space in your laptop bag and can be used with both your laptop and tablet.
Another stand to consider is the StabilePro iPad stand. Although pricey, ringing in at $107.99, this attractive stand raises your tablet to eye level and, when used with your portable keyboard, creates a functional work station. Another benefit, the stand rotates side to side and front and back, making it easier to view your tablet's screen from any angle.
Avoid battery drain on the go and invest in Monster Outlets to Go. This compact tool makes it easy to keep your devices charged while on the road. It includes both electrical outlets and a USB port and costs only $19.95.
Another option is to use an iPhone case with a built-in battery pack. The Mophie Space Pack iPhone 5/5S case with battery charger is a great choice since not only is it a battery charger, it also includes up to 16 GB of backup storage. It costs a hefty $149.95 but depending on your needs, may be well worth the price.
Next up, avoid the risk of a water-logged tablet and purchase a DryCase cover for your tablet. For $59.99, this flexible, clear tablet case will protect your tablet from water, whether you're at the beach or hiking in the rain.
Finally, splurge and buy yourself the Pencil iPad stylus by FiftyThree. This stylus is incredibly sharp-looking and functional. And, it works just like a pencil. You write with the pencil tip and erase with the eraser end of the stylus. The graphite version costs $59.95 and the walnut version, which includes a magnetic strip to attach it to your tablet, costs $79.95.
So now that you have a few ideas about tools to enhance your mobile office, the next step is to add a few of them to your arsenal. Which ones will you buy?
Nicole Black is a director at MyCase.com, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She is also of counsel to Fiandach & Fiandach in Rochester and is a GigaOM Pro analyst. She is the author of the ABA book "Cloud Computing for Lawyers," coauthors the ABA book "Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier," and co-authors "Criminal Law in New York," a West-Thomson treatise. She speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes three legal blogs and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.