If you are a solo mediator or a partner in a larger ADR focused firm, the time has never been better to leverage new and exciting tools that are now revolutionizing both productivity and client relationships.
The rapid adoption of new technologies has fostered not only changes in how business is done but also a shift in participant expectations with how legal/ADR services should be acquired and more importantly executed in today’s marketplace.
Over the last decade, futurists have been whispering in our ear the promises of convergence. When the boundaries between traditional technologies begin to blur, giving birth to new and disruptive applications that radically change both the marketplace and user expectations. One example nearly everyone can recognize is the smartphone.
Today, the smartphone is a fusion of the point-and-shoot camera, iPod, video camera, and phone, into a single portable device, and yet it holds the promise for so much more. While it can’t make you Eggs Benedict for breakfast (yet), the rise of “Apps” or software based applications that operate on smartphones are now blurring these tech-boundaries even further.
Moreover, Forbes is reporting under its “Key strategic technology trends for 2013”, that for the first time mobile devices (smartphone and tablets), will surpass PCs as the most common tool used to access the Web. Still unconvinced? Then go take look at what Giuseppe Leone is doing over at www.virtualmediationlab.com.
“App” enabled smartphones are now replacing a majority of the uses previously reserved for desktop PCs while increasing the appreciable functionality of these Apps far beyond what could imaged only a few years ago.
When you think of file sharing, document storage, editing, creation, access to client lists, contact information, video conferencing, billing, project management, process design, scheduling, ODR, and other collaborative tools. Remember, the future is literally, in your hand.
With that in mind, here are 8 Top Apps for Mediators and other ADR professionals that you can download and begin using today!
1.) ELECTRONIC DOCUMENT SIGNING
That’s right! Receive, sign, send, and edit PDF, Excel, Word, and e-mails documents securely and in just a few easy steps with these apps, there’s no more waiting for FedEx!
2.) DOCUMENT SHARING
Most people have heard of DropBox while Box.net (or just “Box”) gives you more space, (5GB vs 2GB) free and users report faster access times as well. Try it!
3.) NOTE TAKING/CREATION/ORGANIZATION
Stop asking your participants if you can borrow a pen. EVERNOTE let’s you take notes, create to-do lists, voice memos, reminders, sych with other devices and share projects with colleagues all from your iOS/Android device. Also, makes a great trip planner!
4.) PERSONAL ASSISTANT
Speaktoit is Siri or Google Now on steroids. A Multilingual, multitask, multipurpose, personal assistant that you needed yesterday. Speaktoit remembers, understands, and even better, it cares.
5.) TO-DO LISTS
Wunderlist 2: iOS
A no brainer to-do list app that’s scalable to foster collaboration from other team members too. Emailing outlook invites to plan your meetings is so 2005. Why not use a data-secure collaboration tool on the fly that keeps you on task, integrates with your other social media, and fits in your pocket.
6.) BUSINESS PLANNING
Unbelievably, ADR practitioners are not immune from the necessity of having a formal business plan (PSSSST, a J.D. is not a business plan). StratPad will get you there. Perhaps more than a solo-practitioner will need, if nothing else, it will have you asking the right questions to make your practice sustainable.
7.) TRAVEL ITINERARIES
TripIT: iOS, Android
Keeping yourself on-track is one thing, but keeping everyone else in the loop too is another. Now you can. Create custom detailed itineraries, with maps, directions, photos and share with co-workers, family, and other important people to reduce those “Where’s Waldo?” moments.
8.) VIDEO / AUDIO CONFERENCING
Skype: iOS, Android
Do you remember Captain Kirk’s communicator from Star-Trek? Now you can have one too (on your phone). Unlimited calls, group video, group screen sharing. Stop trying to convince your clients they need to fight traffic and pay for parking to get to a meeting. Just Skype it, they are.
Have a favorite iOS/Android App that you would like to share? Be sure to let me know! -You can find Alexander Stuehr on Twitter at: @astuehr