During my law firm, consultancy, and working remotely journey, I’ve used a host of apps for meeting and communicating with teammates and others. Here are a few that stand out. They are all great options depending on your specific needs, and all come with mobile apps (or working on mobile editions) freeing you to chat with teammates and join meetings away from your desk.
1. ThreadKM – The only app on this list built for law firms, ThreadKM lets lawyers get more done with less email using matter-centric team chat and agile project management. I reached out to CEO Dan Hauck to learn more about the app:
“ThreadKM is a lean collaboration and knowledge management platform built for attorneys. If you are familiar with team chat applications like Slack and Hipchat, ThreadKM delivers a similar collaborative experience but using a matter-centric environment. Plus, ThreadKM lets attorneys track projects using a Kanban-style task board, letting everyone see how each matter is progressing. The end result is a more open, agile way of working with less email and more “getting it done.”
I haven’t used this app, but it was mentioned on our recent webinar: Using Kanban to Become a More Agile Attorney. Pricing starts at $24 per user per month.
2. GoToMeeting – This old-timer is still the gold standard for meetings. Many of the new, browser-based apps have sexier features, but experience sound degradation and other issues for longer meetings. Not so with GoToMeeting; the quality of audio, video, and screen-sharing remains consistent throughout the meeting. This is purely a meeting app. There is no always-on, messaging functionality. Pricing starts at $25/month and increases based on the number of participants.
3. Slack – This new kid on the block is brash and bold and innovative, and taking the corporate world by storm. This browser-based app shines as an internal messaging app. And, as advertised, it significantly reduces inter-office email. Integrations allow for sharing documents, collaboration with teammates, and video and screen-sharing during conference calls. Slack is free with premium models for increased functionality. See: Slack: An Effective Communication Platform For Law Firms.
4. Skype – Another solid, old-timer, Skype is great for remote workers as a messaging app for communicating with teammates and for one-on-one calls. For a few bucks, it becomes especially useful as a primary work phone that can make and receive calls to and from non-Skype users. Skype is free with business pricing options for meetings and collaboration starting at $2 per person per month.
5. Google+ Hangouts – This app has evolved to become a robust communication tool. Quickly fire up a video or audio conference with your client or team members on the case. Best of all, Hangouts works right inside of Gmail. See Heidi Alexander’s Video Conferencing with Google Hangouts in Law Technology Today. Also, JurisPage’s 7 Ways for Attorneys to Use Google Hangouts. The app is free, including calls placed to the US and Canada.
6. Yammer – Startups to Fortune 500 companies use Yammer, a “private social network where teamwork happens.” Yammer CTO, Adam Pisoni, put it this way back in 2013: “We know our value isn’t our product – it isn’t messaging or search. Our value is that we’re helping companies be more adaptable, more transparent, more aligned.” Here’s how one law firm uses Yammer. Pricing starts at $3 per user per month.
Other popular apps include Asana – “Teamwork without email to keep your team organized, connected, and focused on results,” Join.me – “better meetings for all,” Sococo, great for virtual teams in a distributed workforce, and HipChat with chat rooms, file sharing, and screen sharing.