Management Assistance Program

The Copier in Your Pocket

By Jim Calloway, Director, OBA Management Assistance Program

It is now a cliché to note that we have more computing power in our mobile phones than NASA had at its disposal during the moon missions. Today we’ll discuss harnessing one bit of that power.

Suppose you are visiting with a client outside of your office and the client shows you an important document. You need the document for the client file, but you hate to take the only document with you when you don’t have the physical client file to keep it in. Hopefully this example points out how every lawyer should be able to use their phone as a photocopier to quickly save a copy of any document when needed.

Document scanning means using the high quality camera in your smart phone to take a picture of a document and then using software tools on the phone to a more usable format. For lawyers, this will almost always be PDF format. This used to more challenging some years ago. Now there are many ways to do this.

Adobe Scan app If you have an Adobe Acrobat DC license, then one easy way to accomplish this is to download and install the Adobe App and the Adobe Scan app to your device. This is available in iOS or Android. And, as long as you are adding apps, I’d also suggest the Adobe Fill and Sign app so you can fill out forms and sign them on your device. If you are a frequent user of Acrobat editing tools and other advanced features, you will really appreciate the linkage between the app and Adobe Acrobat DC.

Microsoft Office Lens/PDF Scan— If you are a Microsoft 365 user, then you may lean to  Microsoft Office Lens/PDF Scan because of that integration. It also included a nifty special feature- good text recognition for handwritten notes. Some reviewers say a downside with this app is that the scanned image isn’t as clear as Adobe’s. This is also available in either iOS or Android

My most important advice on this subject Make your decision, install the app and practice a few times. You don’t want to do this for the first time in front of a client or when you are rushed. And you certainly don’t want to try to sign an actual contract using Adobe Fill and Sign for the first time. These tools will be useful only after you have become comfortable with them. A few practice runs will also help your technique. You will learn to smooth out all the wrinkles in the paper and place the document in a very well-lit area before taking the picture.

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