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8 apps to help improve work-life balance

Lawyers recommend their favorite apps for Apple and Android devices

SignMyPad-app

SignMyPad, by Autriv Inc.

Price: Free to $19.99 depending on features

Available for Apple, Android and Nook

This app allows users to digitally sign documents with their actual signature. By opening a PDF file on your mobile device, SignMyPad enables users to sign, save and send the document without ever having to print it out. The app supports one signature free of charge, but stores up to 20 for an added fee. The Pro version of the app costs $19.99.

“My secretary will send me the letter in a PDF form, I approve the text, slap my signature on it, and send it directly from my iPad using my work email wherever it needs to go,” says Scott Waxman, a partner at Potter Anderson Corroon. “I also can execute legal opinions. You don’t need anyone to fax anything to you. It’s a huge benefit.”

Quickoffice-app

Quickoffice, by Quickoffice Inc.

Price: Free to $19.99 depending on device

Available for Apple, Android and Symbian

With Quickoffice, users can create and edit the full range of Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets and PDFs. you the full suite of Microsoft-type apps.

“You have a Word-type app, a PowerPoint-type app and Excel-type app,” Waxman says. “You can open all of those documents, make changes, save them and send them back out. Now you can really work with documents.”

Documents-to-Go-app

Documents to Go, by DataViz Inc.

Price: From $9.99 to $16.99

Available for Apple

Similar to Quickoffice, Documents to Go enables users to create and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, as well as PDFs, Apple iWork and other types of files. The application also includes desktop apps (for both Windows and Mac) to aid with synchronization, and provides support for cloud storage repositories such as Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net and SugarSync.

Mobile-Receipt-app

Mobile Receipt, by Mitek Systems Inc.

Price: Free to $14.99

Available for Apple

This app is intended to eliminate the hassle of creating expense reports and handling tons of receipts. Mobile Receipt allows to take pictures of receipts with their smartphone, enter the receipt’s details and then quickly create an expense report.

“I used to have an envelope in my briefcase for every receipt, and then had to separate them all out,” Waxman says. “I would end up eating a lot of expenses because I couldn’t find a receipt. And when you generate the business report, it generates a picture of the receipt at the end.”

iAnnotate-app

iAnnotate, by Aji LLC

Price: $9.99

Available for Apple, Android, Enterprise

iAnnotate is designed to essentially turn users iPads or other tablets into reading, annotating and organization tool. It allows users to convert Microsoft Word documents, among others, into PDFs and write comments by hand onto documents using a stylus. Exporting those documents also is simple.

“I use it all the time,” Waxman says. “The advantage is if I’m going on a trip and I have lots of documents I need to review, I don’t need to lug them along with me now—they’re all sitting on my iPad. I can be sitting on the plane and adding my comments. And if I have Wi-Fi or cellular coverage, I can send those comments out. From a work-life perspective, I used to have to carry a whole case filled with documents—now it’s all just sitting on my iPad.”

TripIt-app

TripIt, by Concur Technologies Inc.

Price: Free to $48.99

Available for Apple, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7

TripIt is a tool that automatically takes all of the user’s travel details and creates a single itinerary for their smartdevice that syncs with their calendar and online at TripIt.com. It also allows easy sharing of itineraries with family or friends, and allows users to post their travel information on Facebook or LinkedIn.

“It’s great,” Waxman says. “I don’t have to manually enter anything now or have anyone do it for me. I use both for personal and for work purposes. You can see all of your upcoming travel at a glance. In the pro version, it will monitor all of your flights, tell you if there are delays, and send you text messages when you can check in online.”

Things-app

Things, by Cultured Code

Price: From $9.99 to $49.99

Available for Apple

Things is a task management program that allows users to create task lists by subject matter. Users create agendas or to-do lists, which they can tag by priority or time, which syncs with calendars on their various devices.

“I use this program between my iPad, iPhone and my Mac,” says Loeb & Loeb Partner Christian Carbone. “It allows me to have task lists by subject matter—a work task list, a list of cases with more than one step, a list of X v. Y case and all the things I want to do on that, and home-life lists as well.”

Orchestra-app

Orchestra, by Orchestra Inc.

Price: Free

Available for Apple and web browsers

Similar to Things, Orchestra is a free to-do list app available on Apple devices and various web browsers that helps users to stay organized with reminders, recurring tasks, real-time sync and voice capture. The app also allows users to connect and share their lists with other people, and collaborate with others within a given task.

“The beauty of this app, aside from the breakdown by subject matter, is that I can share lists with other people,” Carbone says. “So if you’re working with another person, you can work on a list together. And it can be anything from my mother-in-law saying we need more eggs to you and I need to meet about a deposition next week.”

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