It seems to me that more lawyers are using iPhones. Almost all the attorneys in my office use an iPhone, and I see iPhones at depositions, hearings and client meetings. I don’t have any hard facts to back up this claim, and I’m sure there are plenty of lawyers using other brands of smartphones. That said, in this article, I will teach you (or remind you of) three tips to get more from your iPhone.
Tip No. 1: Set Siri up for success
Did you know you can teach Siri who your assistant is? First, open the Contacts app and make sure you have a contact card for yourself and one for your assistant. Next, open your own contact card (e.g., Seth Wilson), tap “Edit” and then scroll until you see “Add related name.” Tap it and choose the appropriate title (tap the word manager that appears next to the red minus (-) sign). Then, click the blue circled “i” and scroll to your assistant’s contact card. Tap to select that contact record. Tap “Done” in the upper right hand corner.
Now, activate Siri (hold down the Home button on the iPhone) and say, “Email my assistant.” Follow the voice prompts to dictate the subject and the body of the email. Next time you need to email your assistant, activate Siri and dictate your email. Before you begin dictating, think through what you want to say. This will help avoid a pause, which will cause Siri to stop listening and start transcribing. If this happens and you weren’t done with your email, listen to the Siri prompts. The program will ask if you want to send, change or add to the email. Choose “Add” and continue dictating your email.
Siri can also remember your spouse, mom, dad, brother, sister, boss, and the like. Repeat the steps above to add the appropriate related card. Alternatively, ask Siri to email your spouse and it should ask you for the appropriate information. Remember to use these tools safely and appropriately.
Tip No. 2: Use Siri to capture notes and reminders
If you are like me, things you need to remember tend to pop into your head at inconvenient times. Next time that happens, activate Siri and say, “Take a note.” Siri will make a note of what you are saying. This is great for those times when you have a few thoughts you want to remember (like a great start for an opening statement or a good deposition question). The note is stored in your Notes app on your iPhone. If you sync with Exchange, the note will show up in Outlook under the Notes section.
You can also use Siri to remind you about something using the Reminders app. Activate Siri and say, “Remind me to call Jim tomorrow at 9.” Open your Reminders app and you will see the reminder. Further, tomorrow at 9, your iPhone will remind you to call Jim. Again, if your iPhone syncs with Exchange, you will see the reminder on your task list in Outlook.
Tip No. 3: Use Apple’s headphones
The headphones that came with your iPhone have some nice features. Before plugging into your iPhone and hanging them in your ears, take a look at the rectangular shaped part of the headphone. On the front, you will see a plus sign (+) and minus sign (-). This is the volume control. On the back, you will see a microphone icon. The rectangular portion houses the microphone, a control button and volume controls that you can use to answer phone calls and interact with your iPhone.
Now, connect the headphones to your iPhone and put the right earbud in. Press and hold the center portion of the rectangle. This will activate Siri. (It works like you pressed the Home button on the iPhone.) Speak as if you were holding the phone up to your ear. Siri will process the request and provide feedback through the earbud.
I use this method while driving to make phone calls (e.g., push the control button to activate Siri and say, “Call my wife”). Also, if you receive a call while you have the headphones plugged into your iPhone, you can press the center button to answer/end the call. I generally only leave the right earbud in my ear. The Apple headphones can do more with your iPhone like play/pause music, skip tracks and adjust the volume.
For those of you who do not have (or can’t stand) iPhones, there are comparable tools available on other platforms. Regardless of your device preference, it is amazing how far voice recognition has come in the last few years. Take a few minutes to learn how to put these tools to work for you.•
Have a tech-related question? Tweet @sethwil with the hashtag #askILstartpage with your question and Seth will try to answer it in a future article.•
Seth Wilson is a partner at Hume Smith Geddes Green & Simmons LLP in Indianapolis. In addition to practicing law, he writes at sethrwilson.com, helps manage technology operations of the firm and frequently speaks and advises on legal technology issues. The opinions expressed are those of the author.