Affinity Consulting Blog


I recently served as a co-presenter at an appellate bench bar conference on technology for appellate lawyers and judges. During the Q&A session at the end of the presentation, My co-presenter and I were asked what we would recommend purchasing, hardware of software, if the lawyer was going to make only one tech purchase this year.

Many lawyers need to monitor web pages for changes in content. For example, my state court system maintains a web page listing all of the appellate matters in which I appear as counsel of record. It is based on my Bar number. Instead of checking that page every day and looking for changes in the docket listings for each case, I used a service called ChangeDetection.com to automatically notify me each day if there are changes to the docket listings on any of my cases.

Microsoft's Surface line of devices has been an unexpected success, particularly among lawyers. Many Surface users don't know that Microsoft's OneNote application on the Surface features handwriting recognition. Even if you know about the feature, did you know that it can be trained to recognize your handwriting and improve accuracy?

Most of us have a half dozen or more gadgets that charge via USB. Wouldn't be great if we could stop fussing with "wall wart" power adapters and just plug our devices into a wall outlet? Now we can, and usually without the help of an eletrician.

Chromebooks are cheap and highly secure. That makes them great travel companions for lawyers or anyone else concerned about confidentiality. Doing things using Chrome's browser-based operating system is usually straightforward, but there is no reason you can't make it less ""browser-like" by turning web sites into apps. A recent TechRepublic blog post describes how to do this.

Almost everyone who subscribes to Amazon's premium Prime service does so to get free two-day delivery of items purchased online. For that alone, it is probably worth it if you make a lot of tech purchases, or simply prefer the convenience of shopping for tech and non-tech items online. Many law firms and other small businesses order their supplies and tech items from Amazon, and Prime makes the experience that much better. But Prime is much more than free two-day delivery.

Lawyers love their iPads. If you have a new iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 4, you can take advantage of the multi-tasking split view in iOS. And if you are using Chrome as your web browser on your iPad just like you do on your desktop or laptop computer, this is big news. According to Google's official Chrome blog, Chrome for iOS now supports split view, making legal or other research using the Chrome browser much easier.

From the always useful How-To Geek web site, this report disproves the common view that all of those portable gadget chargers (cell phone, digital camera, etc.) you have plugged in around your house (I counted and we have more than 20 ""wall warts" or similar chargers hanging from various outlets around the house) use a lot of electricity.

Microsoft Office 2016 is available now. It has some nice new features and enhancements. And it is a free upgrade if you have an Office 365 subscription (which you should have because it is a great deal). Still, in the law office setting, much depends on smooth integration between your MS Office apps and other mission-critical software such as practice management and time/billing/accounting programs. In some case, the upgrade to Office 2016 will (at least temporarily until a patch is released) break the link between MS Office apps and your other law office software.

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