Office-in-a-Briefcase — Tech for Military Lawyers

[Note: sorta in construction]

Many are familiar with my office-in-a-briefcase: the color printer, color scanner, computer, and some peripherals that do — yes — do fit in a briefcase for traveling.  Listed on this page are some items that I use or have come across that are useful in a mobile practice.  Many of the items are free (it’s about overhead remember).  Unfortunately lawyers using a military internet connection or computer may not be able to use all of these items because of restrictions.

Free items:

Are you like me, do you read a lot of blogs or websites everyday for information.  Here is a neat plug-in for Firefox that allows you to open all of the sites with a single click.  You can let the sites load while you go and get your coffee or tea.  A time saver which you should consider installing — the Morning Coffee plug-in.

PureText to copy parts of text for cut-and-pasting of small parts of a .pdf document.  PureText is free
You highlight what text you want to copy and paste, click PT, and it
removes all of the formatting and meta-clutter so it is easier to paste
and edit into a document.

Here is a free way to convert
the whole .pdf document to a Word or .rtf file which can then be
manipulated.  (I stopped using Adobe a long time ago, it’s very
expensive even for updates, Nitro is a cost-effective alternate to
Adobe so you may also want to look into Nitro.)

PDF to Word – it’s free (currently)

Every so often do you get a file and you can’t open it? 
Check its file extension.  The file extension comes at the end of the
name of the file and is [dot].bz, and is a key to the name of the
software program that created the file.


If you go to
you will find a host of free programs that may point you to a “reader”
program that allows you to open the particular file you are having
trouble with.

Pay by the month or to purchase:

I currently use eFax Plus,
they use SSL technology which means there is more safety in the
transmission of documents via an email based fax.  But I am thinking of
changing.  When I first started with eFax they were among the newest
and the best.  Now that
may not be the caseFaxCompare has an interesting review of internet fax solutions (look at this and you’ll see why I really am thinking of changing).

(90 day trial, and then a small fee compared to value in time).  This
is a plug-in to Firefox, with Explorer on the way.  This would be an
opportune moment to shift to Firefox as your web-browser
I’m one of those who believe that any browser than Explorer is better. 
(Note:  for those of us in Virginia who get FastCase free through the
bar, CiteGenie is not yet compatible).  The developer has this to say:

Cutting and pasting when doing legal research using your browser is simple. But having to construct the citation
for what you pasted is not so simple. This is especially true with
legal citations from sources like Westlaw. You have to stop and copy
the case name separately, determine the pinpoint page numbers, and
adjust the date and court name format.

So I decided to
write a browser plugin that would automatically add a pinpoint citation
to the text I copy and paste. Thus CiteGenie was born.


is an Add-in for Microsoft Outlook and the BlackBerry that finds, gwabs
and adds contacts from your emails to your Outlook address book with a
single mouse click!

This week my technology item is PhoneTag.

PhoneTag is a fee based system to receive voicemails as a written email.

While on a business trip to Los Angeles in 2003, James Siminoff was out
to dinner with friends. Before they could sit down, William had to sort
through a 20 minute backlog of voicemails gathered during a day filled
with meetings. Jesse commented to James, “Wouldn’t it be easier if you
could just read your voicemail?” At the time, James was working with
voice recognition technologies and had a creative idea on how to build
a system that would enable people to stop listening to voicemail and
READ IT. …and with that, PhoneTag was born.

A person calls and leaves a voicemail.  That voicemail is transcribed and then sent, along with a .wav file, to your email.

fee ranges from about $0.35 for each voicemail up to $30.00 for a flat
rate with unlimited voicemails per month.  The lower rates have a flat
fee and then a cost for each individual voicemail over the flat rate