Low-Cost Practice Management App Gets the Job Done

September 15, 2014

[Sponsor] CaseManager -- manage your legal practice on your iPhone or iPad

CaseManager2014Thank you to GoodCase Apps for sponsoring iPhone J.D. to let iPhone J.D. readers know about its CaseManager apps for the iPad and iPhone.  CaseManager was created by New York civil rights attorney John Upton as a fast and inexpensive solution for sole practitioners and attorneys with small firms who want to use mobile devices to manage their law practice.  The app debuted in 2011, and I discussed the app in August of 2012 and January of 2014.  However, the app recently received a major update to version 6.0, when the interface was revised to match the aesthetic of iOS 7 and the upcoming iOS 8.  CaseManager is a beautifully designed and useful app for keeping track of all of the key information in your cases:  events, tasks, contacts, time and expenses, plus the facts, notes and documents unique to each case.

The basic organization of the app is the same as before, but now in version 6, when you launch the app the first thing you see is the calendar entries for today, so you know immediately what is ahead of you.  This Calendar screen shows a traditional monthly calendar with today's date selected.  Each date on the calendar with associated events or tasks has a gray box with the number of those items indicated at the top right.  Tap any day to see a list of the events for that day.  The current date on the monthly calendar remains highlighted in yellow, making it stand out as a point of reference when you are looking at tasks and events associated with another day.

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Note that the calendar entries in CaseManager are separate from the iPhone's built-in Calendar app and have additional features not found in the built-in app, such as the ability to associate a calendar entry with a case name.

If you want to see all of events for the month in a list, tap the Month List button at the bottom.  This removes the month calendar at the top of the screen and instead shows a full screen list of items that you can scroll to browse.  Or you can tap the Week View to see each day of the week in a list with events and tasks displayed under each day of the week.

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You can quickly add an event or a task from any of the calendar screens by tapping the + at the top right corner.  You then title the item in the "Name" field and you can add a location, description, provide date and time that the item starts, associate the event with one of your cases, and even add a handwritten note. 

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You can tap the CaseManager icon at the top left of most screens to cause the Global Menu to slide the main screen to the right so that you can see seven options.  (If you are syncing with Dropbox, an eighth item "Sync Dropbox" appears as an option.) 

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Tap Cases from the Global Menu to view your cases or add a new one.

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Tap any case to see the case dashboard from that case, a central location for information relating to that case. 

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The Calendar option is similar to the main Calendar view except that this one only shows the events and tasks for this specific case. 

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You can also view a list of all contacts, notes, events, documents, tasks, time and expenses or facts associated with a case by tapping the appropriate item on the case dashboard.

As indicated above, CaseManager can keep track of your time and expenses associated with each of your cases.  There are several ways to do this.  If you are recording time that is already finished, then select a case, on the dashboard select Time & Expenses, then tap the plus at the top right of the screen to add time (or an expense).  Or better yet, if you already have an event or task on your calendar, simply tap on the item and select "Send to Time & Expenses," enter the billing rate and the amount of work done, and then you are done. 

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If you are starting the work right now and you want to use a timer to track how long you work on it, create either an event or a task and save it.  Then select that task and you will see a Timer option that you can start.  You can then hide the timer and continue to use other parts of the CaseManager app if you want.  When you are done, return to that event or task and stop the timer, and there is an option to send the time slip to Time & Expenses.

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There are versions of CaseManager for the iPhone, iPad, a Windows computer and Android.  You can use Dropbox to share data among the different versions of CaseManager.  Once you authorize the app to access a CaseManager folder in your Dropbox, when you launch the app, the app will ask if you want to sync with Dropbox. Also, it is quick and easy to sync manually whenever you want simply by tapping Sync Dropbox at the bottom of the Global Menu.  For example, you can add a bunch of items on your iPad (perhaps using an external keyboard if you will be doing a lot of typing) or your computer, then sync with Dropbox, then go to your iPhone and tap Sync Dropbox and all of your latest information will be on your iPhone.

Dropbox sync is also a useful way to share your case info with your secretary.  Your secretary can use CaseManager on a computer (running Windows) or even on an iPhone or iPad, sync with your CaseManager file on Dropbox, and from there can add items to your calendar, review your Time  and Expenses, etc.

Speaking of the iPad, the above screenshots were also taken with an iPhone 5s, but the app works just as well on the iPad, and perhaps even looks better because the app takes advantage of the additional space on the iPad screen.  The following screens show you the app on an iPad:

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If you are looking for way to store and keep track of all of the information associated with a case on your iPhone or iPad, and if you don't need complicated and expensive software that comes with other features such as sharing events and tasks with a group of people, you should check out the CaseManager app.  Only $20 for an app that can help you manage all of your case-related materials is a great bargain.

Click here to get CaseManager for iPhone ($19.99):  Disney Mobile Magic - Disney

Click here to get CaseManager for iPad ($19.99):  Disney Mobile Magic - Disney

By Jeff Richardson, iPhone J.D.

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