Law Firm Technology Must-Haves: Apple Watch Apps

Unless you’ve been hiding out in Antarctica, you’ve heard about the Apple Watch. Along with the FitBit, Nike Runner, and Google Glass, wearable technology is starting to become a serious conversation for the average consumer. We are at the tail end of the early adopter stage for wearables. They are becoming much more popular among the general public for two reasons: Awareness of what they can do has increased dramatically, and the cost of devices has decreased.

But just because something starts getting used by more people doesn’t always mean you should run out and create a strategy for that thing.

There is still a chance to be one of a few firms getting talked about online if you develop an Apple Watch App immediately. Already, Apolinsky and Associates LLC has created an app.

Apple Watch Law Firms Blog Post

From just an SEO perspective, having an Apple Watch App would be a great thing right now. Think of all the backlinks you would get—Apolinsky just got one from this article. There is real value to those links beyond the use of the application.

So does someone really need—or better yet want—an Apple Watch Application taking up space on his or her tiny watch screen?

In most cases, the answer to this question is going to be no.

So if you aren’t creating the app for the links or the press, when would this type of app be a good idea?

Let’s take a look at the three different types of firm sizes and map out their strategies for this type of law firm technology. Included is our recommendation of whether or not you should think about actually implementing the strategy.

Solo practitioners

The best use that a solo firm has for a device like the Apple Watch is to improve the communication between the firm and your client. If the app was super basic and designed to only accomplish a few tasks, you would be in good shape. Examples would be a push notification to the client of court dates, notifications of paper work due dates, and your contact information.

How strongly do we recommend this?

Grade: C-

For solo lawyers, creating anApple Watch App is super risky, and may not provide a good return on investment.

Small law firms

Taking this a step further than the Solo Practitioner, you may want to add the ability for your clients to take notes, see the status of their case, and directions to important places. With this particular technology, cost is the biggest barrier to adding a ton of features to an Apple Watch App. That’s not always the case.

How strongly do we recommend this?

Grade: B

Making an Apple Watch App is not too risky for small firms, but not likely to have a huge impact on the firm

Mid-sized firms

With sufficient budget, you could build an Apple Watch App from a law firm that people would actually want. When you step back and look at what the Apple Watch is designed to do, several application types line up well with certain firms’ practice areas. Ultimately, the Apple Watch is designed to cut through distractions by providing the user pertinent information in the most accessible way. This means you have to think about what you can create that someone would want to use.

For firms with business clients, access to financial news or financial tickers would be helpful. You might push notifications of corporate compliance dates with a one-click button that clients could use to schedule a call with their lawyer.

Real estate practice areas could provide data to pricing changes, zoning updates, maps with locations that are important to your clients, and access to images.

If you work with clients that have products inside brick and mortar locations, you could set up geo-fencing to alert them when they walk near a location that is using their products.

What about calendar syncing? This would allow your client to book the next available appointment that you have. Just imagine this: Your client is in the middle of a meeting, realizes she needs to run something by you for 30 minutes, and all she has to do is press a button and the system automatically finds the next 30-minute spot available on both parties’ calendars. Of course, this only works for organized people who keep a great calendar.

How strongly do we recommend this?

Grade: A+

There is no question: Wearables are not a fad and mid-sized firms should get to work now on application development

Keep up with more Clio updates on wearable tech for lawyers, take your entire legal practice virtual and see how Clio’s integrations work for you. Tick tock.

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This is part one of a three part series from GNGF on getting out of your own way. The next article will cover document management tools that can save you a ton of time. GNGF is a business solutions provider for law firms. This includes providing online self-study MCLE courses, marketing services, and data security audits.

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