MyCase gave me an opportunity to discuss Android for lawyers in an hour long webinar — link soon if you missed it. You can check out my slides from the event, to grab my recommendations.

Android Professor - Android 101

Update: The recording is available from MyCase.

Viewers had a lot of great questions; some got answered, others didn’t. I thought I’d take a chance to discuss those more in-depth.

How can I stop getting 40-50 junk emails every day on my smartphone?  I can’t find a way to block them like on desktop Outlook.

The answer to this question really depends on the user’s mail client. A lot of Android users stick with the default Android mail client. And while it’s a good system, usually mail get pulled directly from the email (website) host using SMTP. This means that mail on the email server and Android device are never in sync — each need deleting separately.

Unsynced email is one reason I recommend using Google Apps for Work, and changing your email host’s MX records to allow Google to retrieve your messages. Gmail has an awesome spam filter, so you really have no issues. Plus, you can easily report spam directly from your desktop or Android app.

Where do I find out which Android operating system is on my smartphone?

You can check your Android version by going to Settings > About phone > Android version.

Android version

What is the minimum amount of RAM need for lawyer applications?  I keep running out of room.

This issue usually arises with older devices, which also emphasizes the importance of upgrading your device every few years. Not only will you have a phone or tablet with more features and capabilities, but you’ll have fewer issues with memory and storage.

Now, it’s important understand that RAM and storage are not the same thing. A lot of people — and some websites — conflate the two, but they are very much unique and distinct. For convenience and simplicity, RAM is like your body’s muscles — it helps provide strength to your device — while storage is like your brain — it helps remember stuff. The more RAM in a device, the faster the device will perform some functions.

In terms of mobile devices RAM and storage are usually synonymous (conflated for convenience). Many reviews or “specs lists” show these two categories together.


Most new devices come with at least 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage (internal or microSD card). Some high-end devices, come with as much as 32 GB of storage. You can check out how much “umph” is in your device here. Select your device from the list on the left.

Personally, I use devices with no more than 16 GB of storage, and I’ve mostly ditched microSD cards for Google Drive. Android 4.4 introduced a “fewer specs” feature that allows devices with less RAM to run Android OS smoothly. So now, even older, less feature rich devices can have a good Android experience.

For “lawyer apps” — which I take to mean email, document editing/review, and phone calls — you should find a device with at least 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. This will give you a smooth experience, and help you run multiple applications at the same time.

How well will Speech recognition work in a meeting with multiple voices?

I actually get this question a lot, especially after demonstrating “the poor lawyer’s Dragon.” Many users want to take this and record meetings and other events, especially if they’re on boards or committees. The truth is, it’s just better to use an audio record feature. Speech recognition, at least on Android, won’t work too well. If it does, you’ll probably end up with a mash of transcribed text that has no distinct segments.

Talk about Google for Work versus just using Gmail, Google Drive, etc. with a general Gmail account. Thanks!

The biggest separation between Google Apps for Work and just using a “personal” Google account is the terms of service — check out this post for a comparison.

Google Apps for Work contains terms of service specifically created to address business, privacy, and other legal issues. Although personal and Google Apps for Work accounts use the same platform, the big separation is definitely the terms of service.

My advice is that lawyers should never use regular (free) Google accounts for business.

What’s the very, very best way to synchronize my desktop Outlook contacts, email, calendar, tasks with my Android? I like using Google for that very reason – skips Outlook.

You’ll want to check out Google’s own Outlook sync program. Unfortunately, Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook is only available for Google Apps for Work accounts, and won’t sync up tasks — they’re incompatible.

You can also use one of these other programs to sync your information.

Obviously, if you can ditch Outlook, I’d recommend that, especially since Google Calendar and Gmail can handle all of those Outlook tasks. I also understand that some companies and firms are staunch supporters of the Microsoft environment.

Does Nexus have a multitasking feature?

Nexus devices don’t have “multiscreen” features, like Samsung’s side-by-side feature. That said, Android OS does have multitasking, which allows you to run multiple apps at the same time.

The email feature on my Android device is way slow and says that max number of emails 5000 is displayed. What’s going on?

Looks like it’s time to clean up your inbox. Your mailbox is filled with too many emails. This is usually because you’re syncing too many messages (and maybe duplicates). Time to delete messages and empty the trash. Depending on your program, you’ll may need to sync fewer emails.

Here’s another reason I like using Gmail to handle the email. Gmail has great spam filtering, automatically empties my trash after 30 days, and the Gmail app lets me determine how many months worth of email to sync. Google Apps for Work users will also want to check out Inbox for Gmail app, which will help keep messages organized — not currently available, but soon.

How do I get the text to speech on my phone? I know you said open up Google Doc on device, but not sure exactly how- could you go over this again please?

Text-to-speech and speech to text are two different functions. Most apps don’t use Android’s text to speech output — i.e. read a document’s or email’s contents — in a general function. You can make sure you have the latest version of the Google Text-to-Speech app installed by visiting Settings > Language & input > Text-to-speech options. Most devices include the Google Text-to-Speech engine.

Some devices will also allow you to read notification aloud — Samsung Galaxy S5 and Moto X, off the top of my head.

As for speech-to-text transcription, I suggest this post, or this one, or this one, and this one, which will give you good examples of the principles I demonstrated in my webinar.

How do you scan and save?

I use Google Drive for scanning and saving, but CamScanner HD is another non-Google app that’ll do the same thing. You should check out this post for a full explanation on using the Google Drive scanning feature.

How do you delete surplus apps?

The issue here is called “bloatware.” These are unwanted, or unneeded applications, that manufacturers and carriers feel compelled to deliver. Some carriers, such as T-Mobile, are better than others.

Fortunately, you can disable most bloatware apps in the app menu. Simply open Settings > Apps > Click on the app > select Uninstall or Disable.

My firm uses outlook that I have access to on my Android phone.  I also use Google as my personal calendar.  On my Samsung when I open my calendar, both my Outlook and Google Calendar show. I do not want both together.  How do I unsync this?

Personally, I prefer this. I sync Google Calendar (personal) and my work email (Exchange). I love that both calendars show up together in Google Calendar — I actually have 5 different calendars appearing in Google Calendar.

You can unsync any calendar in Google Calendar by clicking on the calendar on the sidebar. Check out the bottom of this post for more details on what I’m talking about.

I use different colors to differentiate my appointments and calendars.

A second method is to unsync the individual account information using the Accounts setting. Click Settings > Accounts, to select each account individually. Note that depending on the account type, you might not be able to remove some sync features without removing the entire account.

What’s the difference between Chromecast and screen mirroring?

Here’s another question I’m asked quite often. Chromecast is an actual device that uses the Miracast platform (actually HDMI/WiFi/Cast API) to allow an Android device and Chromecast device to “speak.” Screen mirroring is one small element of the Miracast/Cast API capability. Check out this post for some details.

Chromecast is more for media consumption, but lawyers might find it useful for presentations, sharing movies and videos, and other needs. Here’s a link to everything I’ve ever written (to date) on Chromecast.

Do you still recommend the deposition app for android? If so,on what device?

Yes, although I’m disappointed development fell off the wagon. By the way, the app is called, Depose. The app works best on tablets, but is available for any device. Personally, I prefer to use Depose on a 7+ inch tablet.

I missed the segment discussing risks of Anti-virus software.  Can you quickly summarize?

Here’s the best summary: I don’t use antivirus because Android has a number of protections. If you install apps from Google Play or Amazon App Store, then you’re okay. That said, there’s a risk, but you need to be aware of it and accept it and move on.

WordPerfect for Android?

Bingo. Time to adopt Google Docs.

Best research app?

(I’m assuming legal research.) I like Fastcase, but Westlaw has an app, too. Don’t forget about Casemaker (for those states that use that) and Google Scholar (directly from

Does MyCase have a mobile app for Android?

Yes, most definitely (the post’s a little date, but still relevant). I like the newest updates and features. I also performed a comparative review of all of the cloud case management systems.

Updated to add Slideshare recording of the webinar broadcast.

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+.


Andrea Cannavina · February 26, 2015 at 6:31 am

There is a happy medium between speech recognition and spending hours upon hours typing yourself – use the record feature and send the file to a transcription service. For a fraction of what it would cost you or an in-house person (if you have one) to type up the notes, you could pay a transcription service to do it and save yourself the time or the most important thing you have!

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