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Back to law school: Mobile apps for law students

Students using mobile apps

The end of summer is near, and school is back in session. With that in mind, most students and teachers have already taken the first steps towards getting ready for the new school year in which they will have the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and experiences.

The same goes for law school students, even if their studies are a bit longer and perhaps more difficult than many other college students’ programs. Not counting the fact that law school lasts for an additional 3 years after finishing undergraduate program, there are other things that make the legal studies degree hard to obtain. All this results in the need for law students to prepare for the upcoming year in a more serious fashion. So, aside from books and strong will to learn, they should consider passing a huge part of work to their mobile devices. The integration of technology into the American school system has been extremely fast and it has kept its pace on the mobile front as well.

Let’s see an example of how the use of technology is inevitable in schools today. One of the first things every student faces at the end of August is the “Syllabus Day” during which they get the opportunity to meet all of their teachers, get familiar with the plan for the upcoming semester and go through the syllabus. Once the “Syllabus Day” is over, in most schools the students will be sent the syllabus along with the first day class notes to their email address. These are usually sent in PDF, and that’s when the tech part starts playing a role in their education. There simply isn’t much conversation without having the right tools to manage data and communicate with professors.

So, how can mobile technology ease the burden of studying law? Here are a few interesting apps and examples how they are used that will answer this question:

It is well known that lawyers and litigators are some of the best-worded people on the planet, however, we all have those moments when we just can’t seem to find the expression we are looking for, and for the lack of better choice, we go with the first word that comes to our mind. The difference between a well-worded defense and a perfectly-worded defense can sometimes mean life (literally) for someone behind bars. That is why you should always have Dictionary & Thesaurus on one of your mobile devices. This app not only defines certain terms and words, but also enables you to find synonyms and antonyms for the word you type in the search bar.

At times, you will find yourself browsing the internet for a certain file, but it might not be the format you need. In order to bypass this problem, you can always run the file you found through Save as PDF, a mobile app that saves any file you need to PDF, so that you can safely store it and have it in your pocket, awaiting further actions. PDF is a universal file format, as long as you don’t plan anything else with it except reading it. So what makes it so universal? Well, it is extremely easy to share it with others while keeping its layout intact. However, exporting content from a PDF in order to make changes to it is another story – not so easy to do.

If you want to make changes to a PDF, there is a cluster of mobile apps that offer “perfect conversion” and “optimal OCR”, and most of them will do the job for you. However, if you are intent on reaching top-notch results, PDF to Word is ahead of its competitors by a landslide. This mobile app has just recently received an extensive update to its features, and with PDF to Word on your iPhone or iPad, you can easily convert any PDF into a MS Word (.docx) file, with impeccable conversion result. You can choose whether you want to import your files from Gmail, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc. and subsequently convert it to an editable format in just under a minute. PDF to Word also prides itself on a state of the art Optical Character Recognition engine, which is powerful enough to convert both standard and scanned PDFs.

This app will significantly reduce the amount of paperwork, as well as boost your productivity while working on the go. By allowing this app the access to your cloud services, you will easily be able to choose from a list of all PDFs within that service, and easily import it into PDF to Word.

Another such app that will make signing files on the go and communicating with clients/professors easier is SignNow (previously known as CudaSign). SignNow allows you to open any PDF, Word, and several other formats, and sign it with your finger. This app also has several other prominent features, but signing documents is what it’s best at. It’s what made this app famous in law and similar professions that have a significant amount of paperwork included in their everyday activities.

So, with these several apps in mind, let’s make a quick summary of mobile apps every law school student should have in their pocket at the start of this school year:

  • Communication apps such as Gmail, or a similar app of your choice, so that you may stay in contact with professors when away from your computer
  • Data management apps such as Save as PDF and PDF to Word in order to manage your files and always be ready for instant file conversion
  • Dictionary/language assistance app so that you have help when having trouble finding the right expression, or not understanding a given word
  • Productivity apps that will help you stay engaged, as well as reduce paperwork and unnecessary waste of time papers bring with them

Hopefully, these will help you on your way towards becoming one of the best lawyers the U.S. court system has ever seen, and even if not so, they will surely help you find your way around some tricky situations many college students finds themselves in!

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Sandra Rodgers Sandra Rodgers runs the Cometdocs blog and posts on it weekly. She loves yoga, travel, photography, cooking foreign cuisine traditional meals, and she's a major tech enthusiast.