As a lawyer, anything I can easily use on my iPad to help with my job is a major win. So many companies in the legal services space fail to create apps that I have abandoned looking for legal-centric apps altogether. Instead, I try to incorporate apps others are raving about. Enter: Quip. Of the many note-taking applications available these days, Quip is beginning to make waves several years after its debut. If Marc Benioff is interested, so am I.
Quip is ultra-mobile and cloud-based. I can take notes on my iPad at a hearing, return to my office and edit my thoughts on my desktop computer, and then respond to team comments on my iPhone during my commute. Quip’s app development team deserves kudos, because its products are easy to use and work well no matter what device I’m using.
Within Quip, you can create folders, documents, or spreadsheets. Documents have full functionality and operate similarly to Word documents. You can create checklists, bullet points, write blogs, and develop business plans. And, you can import photos into documents easily and seamlessly. I found that manipulating photos is a little bit harder once they are in the Quip application, and it can be slightly difficult to get your text in the right spot.
Once you’ve created and begun working on a particular document, it can be kept private or shared with a team. Along the left-hand margin of the app, there is a running feed of all the edits made to the document, identifying who made changes, when he or she made them and from what device. In that same margin, you can type directly to your team and collaborate on changes in real time. For example, this is what the app might look like if you were planning a vacation:
You can “pin” each document to your desktop if you’d like it top of mind each time you open the app. Or, you can move it among folders, share it with team members, or send out a link via email. Ideally, Quip would replace numerous emails among teams, and, naturally, this requires buy-in from your partners, employees, etc. You can also create chat rooms for easy group chatting.
Quip offers an importing service for documents from Evernote, Dropbox, Box, and Google. Unfortunately, but understandably, Quip turns these imported documents into Quip documents. The inability to store PDF and Word documents in native formats has proven difficult for lawyers, mainly because our work is often sent out externally and in narrowly acceptable forms.
The main drawback for any lawyer is the adoption—and true integration—of your whole team. For Quip to work best, everyone in the office needs to be onboard. This requires putting in a fair amount of work to make sure everyone is excited and up and running with a new system. It also requires a clear idea of which projects can be accomplished in Quip and how Quip can assist with court filings, discovery requirements, and the production of any other externally-facing documents.
The main benefits of Quip are its completely mobile and seamless usage across devices as well as the short learning curve it requires. Quip is plain old easy to use, a concept that seems somewhat hard for some companies to grasp.
The main drawback for lawyers is, as I said, Quip’s limited capacity to create proper legal documents. Depending on what kind of law you practice, this drawback may prevent you from using the app altogether. Its usefulness is limited in my practice as a litigator. But it’s still great to have a handy, accessible-from-anywhere application that you and your paralegals can use when one of you is in court, one is in a deposition, and one is in a meeting. Another great way to stay connected!