World's first app for criminal lawyers-setting a trend?
World’s first app for criminal lawyers – setting a trend?
The world of the criminal lawyer is not one that is particularly suited to digitisation, for a simple reason: courts and prisons are, of course, not noted for being online. Security concerns being what they are, lawyers are simply unable to check their inboxes via their smartphone on the prison wi-fi as they wait to interview a client.
A new app aimed specifically at criminal lawyers is stepping into the digital breach. Describing the app and its time-saving qualities, developer Avtar Bhatoa said, “Prisons and police stations are deliberately offline. Without the app we would have to come back to the office and write up all the details.”
The app works by sending data to a central server which any colleagues logged into the app can access. The lawyer need only save their work on their smartphone or tablet. Various other functionalities are included, such as digital dictation to cut back time on taking notes laboriously transcribed later (with the inevitable problems with scrawling wearily in a notebook at 3am in a cold police station).
As ever, the driver behind this app – as is so often the case with the move towards increased used of digital innovations in legal practice – is efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. Hardly surprising, of course, given the financial strains experienced by criminal practitioners in particular.
It’s no coincidence that the app has been developed and launched at a time when, as Mr Bhatoa admits, a startling number of law firms are “flirting with insolvency”. And, as he points out, the Ministry of Justice is pressing on with the latest legal aid tenders, after the failure of solicitors to stop them through judicial review.
Interested? The app is free, although you’ll need the Bullseye app which runs to £15.75 a month on subscription. Take-up has been modestly enthusiastic (around 100 lawyers across a handful of firms to date) but may well increase – and as legal tech trend-watchers will know, the appetite for apps isn’t declining any time soon.
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