RedactIt Software

Last month I received an email from, Jessica, a representative of Burk & Company LLC, asking me if I would do a review of a software application called RedactIt.  At the time I was getting ready to go on vacation so I asked that she contact me after vacation and I would look into it.  As promised, Jessica emailed me when I got back and we scheduled a meeting with a representative of RedactIt.  The meeting took place over another application called GoToMeeting, and because I work a full-time job and cannot be available during the day while I’m at work (I don’t think the boss would appreciate it) we scheduled it for Good Friday.  I know, I know, not very christian of me.  But one’s gotta do what one’s gotta do.

I want to thank all that were present at the meeting for taking the time on a holiday weekend to walk me through the application, which I have to say; looks amazing.

For about one hour I was able to see and experience a small sample of what the software is capable of and came away not regretting my decision to agree to do the review.  So why have I not done a review yet?  I still have not had the time to download the application onto my computer.  I am hoping to do that this weekend and then test it for 15 days.  Jessica did mention that if I needed more time I could just call and they would allow me more time on my trial period.  I intend on taking full advantage of the application and provide you with a thorough review of it. Just give me a few weeks.

My initial thoughts?  Well, during the meeting I was advised that the software is not Mac compatible and although I can download Parallels on my Mac, I do not want to go that route.  In this house we are Mac people and the only PC I currently own is a notepad that I absolutely hate.  I stressed that this is a very important upgrade for me and if it is important to me, some of my readers may feel the same way.  Despite this Mac compatibility problem my first impression of the application is good and I am looking forward to testing it on my own.

Me and my iPad

As many of you know, for a while now, I have been trying to go green here in my home office.

As much as I tried to read materials on my computer screen and copy and past them into a word document so that I could insert my own notes, it still did not feel natural to me.

My iPhone was too small to be able to comfortably read the large documents I usually have to read and my laptop got too heavy and cumbersome to carry around every day.  I always wound up going back to printing the darn documents in order to read them on the train and making my notes on the margins.  Most of the time this accomplished two things:  1) my bag was too heavy to carry with me every morning into the office and every night on the way home; and 2) I would inevitably forget the documents I had printed, either at home or at the office and would have to print them again all the time cursing myself out for not being able to figure out a solution to this very annoying habit of mine.  Why couldn’t I break myself of the habit of carrying so much stuff around?  There has to be a better way.  I kept thinking to myself.

Enter the Apple iPad.  For the past month…. Ok, maybe almost 2 months, I’ve been learning all I can about this new obsession of mine.

I have to admit that when Apple first came out with the iPad, although I thought it was really cool, I never thought that I would be one of the people who would have purchased one.  I was one of those people who thought of the iPad as just a really big iPod Touch.  Why in the world would I need a big iPod Touch if I had an iPhone.  I had just spent the money on a brand new iPhone 4.  However, the more I saw the commercials the more I became fascinated with the iPad.

To make matters even more interesting, my local mall, has a large Apple store where I sometimes go just to check out the new cool Apple products.  I began finding that it was getting more and more difficult to pry myself away from the iPads on display and kept coming up with reasons as to why an iPad would be great to have.  However, I still wasn’t totally convinced.

So what convinced me?  Well, back in the Summer, Lynne DeVenny, from Practical Paralegalism tweeted that she had finally gotten an iPad for herself and was totally in love with it Paralegal iPad. Call it jealousy if you must, but I had to have one.  I read about how she downloaded some free materials to study for the NALA examination, and how she had her research applications on it.  To top it all off, I found out that some of the magazines I read were a part of an app on the app store and it would be cheaper to purchase them there than purchase the paper subscriptions.  Then I began to see more and more people on the train (ok, maybe only one or two people) reading the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times on the iPad and not having to fight to keep from elbowing the passenger next to them every time they needed to turn the page.  I have to admit, I am not one of those people that ever learned how to fold the paper just so in order to not disturb the person next to me.


I broke down.  On September 18, 2010, I drove (well, my husband drove us) to the mall and we walked into the Apple Store to “look” at the iPad one more time and maybe ask a few questions. That day I walked out with my brand new iPad 3G.

We are now inseparable.  What do I use it for, you ask?  Well, just about everything.  I have loaded it with tons of apps that make my life a little bit easier.  The only think I don’t do on the iPad is type long documents.  I think this Christmas I’m going to ask for a bluetooth keyboard so that I can blog on the iPad.  However, since buying the iPad I don’t use my Macbook anymore.  I even told my husband that I feel like I’m cheating on it.  However, the iPad is so much faster.  It immediately turns on just with a push of a button.  The web pages open much faster, I think even faster than on my iMac, and because it only weighs 1.6 Lbs making it really easy to carry in my bag every day.

Mostly I use it for reading.  From the app store I downloaded the iBooks application and have purchased a few books.  It’s a pleasure to read on the iPad.  The pages look crisp and the back lighting on the iPad makes it really easy on the eyes.  The fact that you can make the font larger or smaller is also a really big plus.  I also have the Amazon Kindle application on the the iPad but I much prefer books on the iBook application.  Additionally, while I was able to read the newspapers on my iPhone, the iPad makes it such a much better experience.  I’m sure the person sitting next to me on the train feels the same way.

For magazines, I downloaded Zinio.  A free application that you can download from the App store to your iPhone or iPad and subscribe to magazines.  Currently I’m subscribed to Bloomberg, Town & Country, Cosmopolitan (because besides being a paralegal and a financial nerd I’m also a woman) and have purchased a few issues of the Economist.

So for the first month I’ve become greener than I have ever been.  Granted, it’s only been a small step for some but for me this step was huge.  So now I’m not buying books, newspapers and magazines.

In order to keep up with all the reading I do for work I downloaded also from the App store GoodReader.  GoodReader is a $1.99 but it is very much worth it.  It takes a PDF and saves it allowing the user to highlight and underline in the document.   Additionally, when you open the document in Goodreader it gives you an option to open it in iBooks and it creates a bookshelf just for your PDF documents.  Although I’ve only had this app for 3 days I’ve been using it a lot.  It’s great not to have to carry a stack of papers with me back and forth from work and to have everything organized and at your fingertips when you need it.  More to come on this App.

Lastly, for the kid in me, I have downloaded some game applications which I play while the husband is watching his football games.

I would love to hear from all of you who have gotten an iPad on how you use it.  What applications have you found have made your life simpler?  Let me know.

Clio – Practice Management at your Fingertips

This past Summer I was asked to review Clio, a web-based practice management.  I have to admit that at first I was a bit skeptical about doing this.  Not only because I had never heard of Clio before but also because I do not want my blog to turn into an “endorsement” blog.  I’ve always been of the opinion that not all systems are the same to everyone and my opinion may skew people’s opinion of what it is that they actually need for their practice.  However, I’m glad I decided to review this particular product.

When the company contacted me to test some products, I was given the choice of three products.   I picked Clio because it is compatible with the MAC and it did not require me to download anything onto my computer, which can take up a lot of memory.

Being that Clio is a web-based application the only thing you need in order to access this practice management system is an Internet connection.   As a paralegal that is always on the “go” this is an important aspect of any practice management I choose.  I like to know that no matter where I am, as long as I have an internet connection I am able to access my calendar, my billing, my to do lists and any documents I need on the go.

Considering that I am not very technologically inclined, I had no trouble getting started with the site.

It even felt like “second nature” to set up a client and/or matters.  Once your clients are set up the entire case is at your disposal.  When you click on a client or a matter name Clio puts the entire case at your fingertips.

Clio allows you keep a task list, a calendar and an agenda.  I was informed that Clio works with whatever calendar system you use (outlook or iCal).  If you are working on a document all you need to do in order to record your time is click on icon and the time automatically transfers to that matter as time being billed.  For someone who is used to recording the time on paper and then transferring everything to the time management system, this was great.

On the task list issue, Clio is also a “lifesaver.”  By allowing you to stay organized.  Clio will send you task reminders as emails.  No more sitting around in front of the computer before the start of the day trying to figure out what it is that you need to do first.  Clio knows and it will let you know!

There is a communications tab that allows you to record phone call notes.  The way I used it was more like a “diary.”  If a client called wanting to know what was going on in his/her particular case, all I had to do was open up communication under a particular client I had a “history” of the case in front of me and was better able to discuss it with the client without having to dig up the actual folder on my computer or even have to look up the actual paper file (which I still keep.  Trying to get out of that habit).

Clio has two pricing structures:  $49/month for attorneys and $25/month for non-attorneys.  It seems reasonable to me when you take into consideration that as soon as you get it you can begin using it.  There is no need spend hours downloading additional programs into your computer or learning a new system.  Clio is very use friendly.

In my opinion Clio would replace a billing system, a calendar system and all the spreadsheets (not to mention some of the post it notes) that I now call my case management system.

I really enjoyed “test driving” this system and would recommend it to my fellow.

But don’t take my word for it.  Clio makes it really easy to fall in love with it.  They offer a 30-day free trial and if you don’t like it you can cancel your subscription, no questions asked.  I encourage you to go to their website at Clio website and signing up for the free 30-day trial.

I want to point out that I am not being paid of this review and did not receive any incentives from the creators of Clio, monetary or otherwise.  The 30-day free trial is offered to everyone who wants to try out the site.