Barrister App. For Mobile Phones & Not Just for U.K. Lawyers

I stumbled on a post today from the Dallas Association of Law Librarians about a new service that will create and maintain an iPhone app for your law firm. The company is called Digome, LLC out of Nashville and the app is called Barrister App. Unlike some of the do it yourself options I have talked about here in the Studio, this app is essentially a content management system with a slick, iPhone, Android or Blackberry friendly face. The components include: Who We Are – the list of firm attorneys, contact information and practice areas; Where We Are – firm office or offices on Google Maps; What We Do – list of firm practice areas; Notifications – the key to communicating with clients regarding anything from appointment reminders to firm news; My Notes – user-generated notes, presumably pertaining to their legal representations; and, My Profile – where the client enters information.

 

 

You can use your own logo, but there are limitations on color scheme. Additionally, the app requires a log-in, which seems a bit counterintuitive and makes it more useful for existing clients than new ones.

But the company will do the heavy lifting for you, maintaining the CMS system and making sure everything runs smoothly. Pricing for the app is displayed on the chart below, with additional maintenance charges of 20% of the initial cost per year on top:

 

 

If you are a smaller player, you might want to skip to cost and make your site mobile friendly or use a Web app. However, if you are interested in keeping tight contact with your clients and facilitating the flow of information in both directions, Barrister App might be an attractive option.

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RFP Attorney: An Online Attorney Marketplace

Another option for attorneys to display expertise and connect with potential clients? Another site for potential clients to search and vet attorneys based on knowledge and content? RFP Attorney seeks to meet both needs. The site offers a marketplace with optimal search capabilities and flexible content options, ideally offering attorneys and clients a better means of connecting with each other. RFP promises to maintain a state of the art site on which attorneys can collect and showcase vital information through the creation of a Presence, which includes vital contact information, an About Me with background, experience, unique qualifications and personal statement, Case Studies or your example cases including actual briefs or key links, Thought Leadership which collects articles, newsletters, presentations, links, etc., a place to link your blog posts, your Twitter feed, real world Events you are appearing at and where potential clients can meet you in person, and Services – provide information on the legal services you offer, including optional Flat-Fee Solutions. This latter concept is a means offered by RFP for attorneys to offer unbundled legal services through their platform. Presence is not structured around an area law, but rather industries and services the attorney serves and provides, presumably making it easier for potential clients to find what they are looking for. Attorneys can share their Presence on other social platforms as well – improving visibility through more established sites. RFP also promises to boost your visibility on the web through its back-end and search friendly features.

I like the “Verify Me” button – this allows clients a quick link to the applicable bar association for each attorney, allowing potential clients to perform a quick search to determine whether the attorney is in good standing.

For potential clients, RFP offers a variety of tools to search, track and manage relationships. Potential clients can use Quick Search which asks two questions – where do you need the attorney and what your needs are – and returns responses. There are filters on the result page that allows you to further refine the return. Clients can submit requests for proposals for legal services through the site and the tools make it easy for clients to complete the request. Submitting requests after the first will incur a charge, which is one of the means by which RFP monetizes. Attorneys can accept or decline the request. Prices break down as follows:

For Attorneys: Signing up is free and creation of the first Presence is free (you can have more than one). If you wish to showcase additional areas of knowledge, add a second Presence for only $19.99 per month, and each additional Presence after that is $9.99 per month.

Each client lead an attorney accepts costs $1.99. Discounts are available: 5 for $1.59 each and 10 for $0.99 each. Responding to an RFP received costs $9.99. Discounts are also available: 5 for $7.99 each and 10 for $4.99 each.

For Clients: Signing up is free. Searching for attorneys and reviewing their content is free. Sending a contact request is free. If you choose to run an RFP, the first one is free. If you are a legal department, business, or individual with several areas of legal needs, you can run additional RFPs for $29.99 each. Discounts of 5 for $19.99 each are available as well.

I am not sure how the charge arrangements comport with referral / fee sharing rules – we will have to see how hat all falls out.

If the site works as well as it promises and it’s fee structure compliant, this could be a cost effective means of tailoring attorney marketing and fine-tuning attorney search. I am interested in seeing reviews on the RFP Attorney process as people kick the tires.

Sobees: Your Custom Twitter Client

I know what your thinking: not another Twitter interface! If you are into Twitter, you probably have a favorite or a combination of favorites for desktop and mobile that include Tweetdeck, Seesmic, Tweetie or even web and now mobile Brizzly (a personal fav).  So why should you consider another option?

Because you never know when one will combine all of the features you really want to have in one package. Sobees (link here), a Windows-based client, is a relatively unfamiliar option, with strengths in the area of customization.

First of all, Sobees works in XP, Vista and 7, covering a wide span of Windows-based machines. It also incorporates Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace along with Twitter. Next – Sobees gives the user a great deal of latitude in setting up their little “window on the world” with 16 different layouts and a drag and drop your social network interface. You also can choose whether to view your groups in columns or tabs – a nice feature.  There is support for lists and the ability to update all social networks with one, unified status entry – timesaver! Filtering and tweak options are plentiful and easy to set.

Image Taken from MakeUseOf

Sobees seems a pretty complete package. Whether you choose the desktop client or web interface (link here), I can’t imagine you could go wrong with the broad feature set.

Hat tip to MakeUseOf.

UPDATE: I should add here that, if customize-ability is of high important to you, you may want to check out a future version of Seesmic built on a plug-in architecture powered by Microsoft Silverlight. This means that you will be able to choose from third party developer applications to “plug into” your Seesmic Twitter interface and gain all sorts of added functionality. Consider a bookmarking plug-in for links or a mapping app for geolocation built right into Seesmic. Very, very cool. No foreseeable release date yet, but keep checking the wires (and the Studio).  Hat tip to The Next Web.