After every speaking session there seems like an infinite number of topics I never get a chance to fully invest time in discussing. Such is the case with my time at the Missouri Bar Association’s, Lex|PORT 2014 Tech event. “Too little time, too much information,” as they say.

Android Professor - Android 101

Thankfully, I can follow-up with blog posts to discuss the topics in slightly more detail.

Topic 1: Upgrade your device

I met a number of attorneys this weekend who were running severely outdated versions of Android, or switched from Android to iOS because of their poor experience.

The fact is, upgrading your Android device is important because the upgrade will provide the best user experience, as well as keep your information more secure. That’s a obligation you owe to your clients and yourself. This duty is stated explicitly in Rule 1.1, comment 8:

To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.

Of course, there are some lawyers — I know because a few told me — who believe that because their state hasn’t adopted this particular comment, they’re not obligated to the standard. Thus, they’re also not obligated to worry about upgrades, security, or similar matters.

But I dutifully remind them that the comment is not the standard. Rather, the rule reads this way:

A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

Some lawyers believe that when they only use their device for calls, email, and calendaring, an upgrade isn’t necessary. That’s simply not the case. In fact, Rule 1.1 implicitly requires a lawyer to understand any of the technology they adopt, including the importance of keeping systems up-to-date.

Having the latest (or close to new) version of Android also limits the number of security and performance flaws associated with the operating system. This will provide security for client information and an overall better user experience.

Topic 2: Setting up and using Google Now

I love Google Now, and I know that a lot of dedicated users feel the same way about the program. Google Now is Google’s answer to Siri, but often provides a much more robust set of  contextual results. My favorite use is for voice commands when I need to set reminders, take notes, or get general information.

You can easily enable Google Now on your Android device through the Google app. Simply open the Google apps and click Settings. Flick the switch from off to on, and you’re all set.

Google Now Settings

You should then follow my suggestions for getting the “Ok Google” command across your device, fixing Google Now cards, and perhaps even question whether you need Google Now at all.

Topic 3: Adding new accounts

We all (should) have a a number of different email accounts, which we usually like to consolidate in one place on our device. Android makes adding (or subtracting) new accounts easy.

I find the best way to add a new account is through the Add account function in Android Settings.

Android add account

Select the type of account you’d like to add, then follow the prompts through setup.

Most new apps will automatically add your account once you enter that information. This process is easiest if you have corporate email account (such as Exchange) or a foreign email (such as Yahoo or Hotmail) you’d like to incorporate into your device.

Remember, you’ll use the default Email app to view any non-Gmail email messages.

Topic 4: Encryption

Encryption will be standard on every device beginning with Android 5. Unfortunately, Android 5 isn’t here and there are plenty of perfectly working devices that’ll never see the operating system. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have the ability to protect your information, because encryption is already available for most Android devices. The problem is that encryption will take a little time to activate.

I encrypt my device information simply to add an additional layer of protection if I lost my phone or tablet. (Admittedly, I haven’t encrypted my Nexus 5 because there are already plenty of issues with Android L.)

You can activate encryption by going to Settings > Security > Encrypt phone.

Android Encrypt phone

You’ll see a warning screen to advise you of the risks.

Android encrypt phone warning

Don’t forget your screen lock code. Encryption takes a while, so your phone or tablet will be out of commission the entire time.

Topic 5: Managing and using documents for court and elsewhere

One of the topics I think would benefit a lot of attorneys is being able to see how to use documents on Android devices. For instance, I’d like to show attendees how to dictate documents, or even work on punctuation for dictation.

Although I’ve discussed documents in court fairly frequently on the blog, I’d love to go one step further and show how actually work with documents. I’d like to discuss the basics of document management, such as using PDF readers to mark up materials, or even getting documents from the desktop to a device. (I prefer to use the cloud, though you can simply connect your phone or tablet via USB cable and transfer files similar to a USB thumb drive.)

And finally, given more time, I’d love to show how I connect my tablet (or phone via Chromecast) to a video system and display documents to judges or juries.

Each process is time consuming in the sense of a 50 or 60 minute presentation, so I rarely get opportunities to showcase these powerful features.

Keep following for more tips

Of course, I hope the real benefit you’re gaining is by following my regular posts. If you have something you want me to discuss, please let me know.

Jeff Taylor

I'm just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I'm also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.


Steven Sciple · October 6, 2014 at 11:35 am

I’d really like you to discuss your file naming and file organization system. That is a area I have difficulty with swithching from device to device.

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