Court Days Pro rules-based calendaring app and date calculator now available from the iTunes Store

Court Days Pro is the first rules-based legal calendaring app for the iPhone and iPad. Court Days Pro provides attorneys and legal professionals with the ability to calculate dates and deadlines based on a customizable database of court rules and statutes. Once the rules are set up in the application, calculations are performed using a customizable list of court holidays.

Once you chose a triggering event (e.g., a motion hearing date) the application will display a list of all events and corresponding dates and deadlines based of trigging event (e.g., last day to file moving papers, opposition, reply briefs). Icons on the screen show the number of calendar days and court days from the current date for all resulting events. 

By default, Court Days Pro is preprogrammed with a list of all federal holidays, but is fully customizable to allow the addition or removal of any court holiday to the list (e.g., Lincoln’s Birthday in California State Court). 

Adding, deleting, and modifying rules-based events in Court Days Pro is quick and easy, and was specifically programmed to allow multi-step calculations. For example, if you are calculating the deadline for filing a regular motion in California Superior Court, you can set the application to calculate back 16 court days, plus 5 calendar days, with the last day falling backward to the next available court day, should it land on a weekend or holiday. You can set an unlimited number of calculations to be triggered by a single event. 

Date results not only appear on the screen, but can be added to the device’s native calendar app, and later revised or deleted from within Court Days Pro. Also, all results can be emailed straight from the application. 

Future versions of Court Days Pro will allow the purchase of preprogrammed rules sets for certain jurisdictions by using in-app purchasing.

You can read Jeff Richardson’s Review of Court Days Pro at iPhoneJD.com.


iTunes Store Link

Here are just a few screenshots from the app.






Coming Soon: Court Days Pro for the iPhone and iPad

LawOnMyPhone has submitted its latest iPhone and iPad app for lawyers to Apple for approval. It is the first rules-based legal calendaring app and date calculator for mobile devices.

Check out this page for a sneak peak at the app, scheduled for release in a couple of weeks.


Beta Testers Needed

Want to beta test for LawOnMyPhone? 

LawOnMyPhone is looking for litigation attorneys to beta test a new iPhone/iPad app for lawyers. Previous beta testing experience or familiarity with the iOS SDK is a plus, but is not necessary; familiarity with litigation practice is preferred.

If you are interested, please register here.


A Universal Note-Taking Workflow for Lawyers: Keep your iPhone, iPad, and desktop notes in sync and backed-up

Lawyers have an abundance of tools available to them for taking notes. On the desktop, the options range from simple (TextEdit on the Mac) to robust (MS Word or Pages). On the iPad and iPhone, there are a number of useful note-taking applications (e.g. Elements, iWriter, PlainText.) There are also several web apps that will work from any browser, such as SimpleNote and Google Docs.

Each of these note-taking tools—and I’ve tried them all—has its strengths and weaknesses and, conceivably, I could make a good case for using any one of them. The problem is that no single method for taking notes will work in every location. For example, if I am at my desk, I shouldn’t have to take out my iPad to jot down some notes. Likewise, I shouldn’t have to carry around my MacBook everywhere I go. The challenge for me, therefore, was finding a universal note-taking workflow that allows me to take notes wherever I may be, and to have the most current version of those notes immediately available wherever I may go. I also needed to be assured that, should any one of my gadgets (Mac, iPhone, iPad, cloud storage) fail, all of my notes are backed up and recoverable.

Thus, my requirements for a universal note-taking workflow were as follows:

  • Notes must be in a file format readable in all applications without the need for conversion;
  • Current versions of my notes must be immediately accessible from any location;
  • Notes must be backed-up in the cloud;
  • I must be able to take notes efficiently on any of my devices without much hassle.

After much experimentation, I developed a universal note-taking workflow that satisfies my requirements. The solution involves using a basic no-frills text editor on the desktop, Elements on the iPhone and iPad, and DropBox for syncing, backup, and cloud storage. Here is how to do it.

First, set up a DropBox account

You will need to set up a free DropBox account at DropBox.com. DropBox is a wonderful and secure utility that stores and backs-up your files. Once installed, DropBox will create a folder on your desktop computer. Any files placed in the DropBox folder (or any subfolders created within it) will be automatically synced and backed-up on their cloud servers. DropBox stores the current copy of your files both locally on your desktop and in the cloud. So, by default, your files will now located in at least two separate locations and you will always be able to access your files from the DropBox website. Even better, if you set up a DropBox folder on multiple computers and link them all to one DropBox account, the files on each computer and the cloud are updated the moment you make a change to any of those files from any location. Once your DropBox account is set up, create a subfolder in your DropBox folder called “Elements”—I’ll explain why you need this below.

Second, use a simple text editor on your desktop

Powerful word processors, such as MS Word or Pages, certainly have their place in the law office. For taking notes, however, using a word processor is unnecessary and burdensome and, in fact, results in a number of problems when trying to access and edit notes on other devices. The solution is to use a no-frills text editor to write notes and to save those notes as plaint text (.txt) files. On my Mac, I use the basic TextEdit application that comes free with every Mac. To make the notes universally compatible across all of your devices, set the default file format to plain text (rather than rich text) in the application preferences. Plain text files do not have any formatting, such as bold and italics—but those things just tend to be distractions when taking notes anyway. Any plain text notes you create in TextEdit should be saved to the Elements folder you created above, or in a project-specific subfolder within the Elements folder.

If you are a bit more tech-savvy, you can create an Automator action on your Mac that simplifies and drastically speeds-up the note-taking workflow. Automator is another incredibly useful (and underutilized) application that comes free with every Mac. Using a drag-and-drop interface, it allows you to easily create automated workflows for multi-step common tasks, without requiring any programming knowledge on your part. For example, I set up an Automator action, which I activate simply by pressing a hot-key, that presents me with a dialog box where I enter the text of my note. It then asks me to enter a file name for the note and automatically saves the note to my Elements folder. It is immediately synced to the cloud through DropBox.

Creating a text note with an Automator action

Third, install Elements on your iPad and iPhone

To complete the universal note-taking set-up, install the Elements note-taking application on your iPad and/or iPhone. It costs just a few dollars, but is well worth it. (I also sugget that you install the free DropBox application on your mobile devices, which is not necessary for taking and accessing your notes, but will give you access to all of your DropBox files.) Once Elements is installed, you can link the application to your DropBox account. Then, any notes you create on the mobile device will be automatically saved in the Elements folder in your DropBox account. The application saves your progress every few seconds as you type, so you don’t have to worry if your note-taking session gets interrupted—for example, if you receive a phone call while taking notes on the iPhone. Of course, your notes are immediately synced with the DropBox folders on all of your desktop computers.

In additional, any notes you previously created on your desktop and saved in the Elements folder are available for reading and editing on your mobile device. The Elements application allows you to create project-specific subfolders within the Elements folder and provides lots of options for customizing the note-taking experience (e.g. typeface and font size.) Beyond its technical merits, taking notes in Elements on the iPad is fast and easy. 

Putting it all together

This workflow has been serving me well. No matter where I am (in the office, at home, in court, or at a hotel), I feel comfortable that my notes are always accessible, up to date, and backed-up. I have many options for taking notes, yet the notes are all stored in the same place and in the same file format. The other great thing about maintaining your notes in a plain text format is that the notes are universally compatible with every word processing application on every operating system. Similarly, you can copy and paste plain text into an e-mail application or word processor without encountering any formatting problems. It’s a simple and efficient way to work. Save the more complicated stuff for your legal briefs.


Typography for Lawyers: A must read for every lawyer

I am a big fan of Matthew Butterick’s website Typography for Lawyers. Matthew, a practicing attorney and former typographer, instructs lawyers how to use typographic tools and techniques to better communicate and persuade others through writing. He eloquently points out how lawyers—steeped in tradition and incredibly reluctant to change the way they write—use poor typography in their legal briefs, memoranda, and correspondence.

Most people think typography is about selecting fonts. But it is about much more than font selection. Typography is concerned with all aspects of presenting written material on the page, including type composition, page layout, text formatting, etc. Matthew explores each of these categories, explaining rules and providing examples of both good and bad technique. He explains how good typography can make an enormous difference in the presentation of one’s writing and, consequently, how it can make one’s writing more persuasive.

Matthew also discusses how lawyers commonly misinterpret court rules concerning page and text formatting, believing that the rules inhibit the use of good typography. Whereas, in reality, most court rules provide enough flexibility for lawyers to implement good typographic technique.  Matthew not only explains how to correctly interpret the court rules, but supplies before and after samples of pleadings and memoranda.

As if the website was not enough, Matthew has put this incredible resource (and much more) into a book entitled Typography for Lawyers, which is available for purchase through Jones McClure Publishing.

One of my favorite sections of the website and the book discusses how many spaces (one or two) should follow a period between sentences. I have advocated for one space for as long as I can remember. After all, every modern style manual calls for one space rather than two. Yet, most lawyers I know insist on using two spaces—a throw back to the typewriter era. I have had more than a few office run-ins on the subject and I assume that Matthew has too, considering that he dedicates several pages in his book to the issue, wherein he cites both the experts and the hold-outs.

I have read the book twice in the two weeks I’ve owned it and it has forever changed the way I look at the written page. I only wish he had published the book ten years ago when I started practicing law. The book should be mandatory reading for all attorneys, new and old.