You don't have to lose touch just because you're telecommuting, traveling to meet a client, or on your way to court. If you're one of those lawyers whose work takes them out of the office frequently, there are plenty of mobile-based options that allow you to keep on top of projects while on the go.
And you don't have to shell out hundreds of dollars for them either. Mobile-friendly project management apps can help you organize, monitor and track your law firm's projects, step by step, without costing you a cent -- at least not at the start. Here's an overview of three of our favorites, all of which can be used online, on iPhones and iPads or on Android devices.
Asana is great for managing a matter's progress, especially if you're a Google fan. You can sign up to Asana through your Google account and integrate Google apps, existing documents, and email alerts. You can set project permissions, monitor colleagues' tasks and priorities, set up multiple workplaces, and attach documents to tasks. Asana claims its goal is to reduce or eliminate work emails, allowing you to communicate through the app itself. However, for some reason it does not allow you set project deadlines -- a fairly large oversight.
Asana is also very similar to Evernote, the program used by almost 20 percent of lawyers. That should make conversion to Asana easy for many. Plus, Asana is basically free for small firms. The tool can support 15 users for no charge.
Project managers in the business world are very familiar with Mavenlink, though it hasn't made the same inroads into the legal market. That's a shame, since it has plenty of useful features. Mavenlink allows for file sharing, time and expense tracking, individualized billing rates, and project reports and summaries. Plus, it integrates with Google Apps, Salesforce Sales Cloud, and QuickBooks, helping you to stay on top of your accounting.
Unfortunately, like Asana, it lacks a deadline feature, so you'll have to stay on top of deadlines yourself. The app starts as a free trial and stays pretty cheap if you decide to stick with it, costing just $4 a month per user.
AceProject has a user friendly dashboard for those lawyers who don't want to be overwhelmed by data when managing tasks. That also means, of course, that it's not as sophisticated as some other project management tools, which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your perspective. Like other tools, AceProject allows you to monitor tasks, time, and expenses. It also allows you to upload shared documents.
AceProject is great for small firms with a limited number of simultaneous projects. It's free for five users over two projects. Upgrading beyond that will cost between $19 and $99 a year -- still hardly a fortune.
Bonus: Last Message App
Alright, this doesn't have much to do with managing legal projects, but it's a life saver for the lawyer on the go. When your phone or tablet is running out of battery -- and who hasn't been on their way to a meeting and realized their battery is at 2 percent at least once or twice? -- Last Message sends out one last message letting a set group of people know that your phone is about to die and that, no, you're not just ignoring their calls.