Haynes and Boone's Newsroom

Texas Lawyer Reviews Nick Nelson's Spanish Legal Dictionary iPhone App
01/25/2011

There's An App For That
Texas Lawyer Blog

Before studying law, Nick Nelson spent two years in Bolivia on a church mission, an experience that led to his Spanish fluency. But to produce the $2.99 “Legal Spanish” iPhone application, he had to bone up on translations of basic legal terms such as abeyance (en suspencion) and above cited (antes mencionado). Nelson, an associate who started at Haynes and Boone in November 2010, put the app on the market this month with his new firm’s blessing. He started developing the app by creating a spreadsheet of some 2,300 legal terms, translated into Spanish. Eventually he read those into a recorder and worked with a brother-in-law, who has software programming skills. The result is an app that legal practitioners may use to translate legal terms from English to Spanish; a lawyer presses his phone’s sound button to hear Nelson enunciate the words. Nelson says reading all those terms made tedious work. “It made studying for the bar look good. But there was no way around it,” he says. He worked on the app in the fall of 2010 after taking the bar and before starting at the firm. He says, when he got ready to tell firm partners about his app-invention plans, he worried, but they embraced his plans. “They have been very supportive of the project,” says Nelson. David Harper, a partner and litigation section head who supervises the IP litigators and with whom Nelson works, says the firm welcomed the new associate’s ingenuity. “It shows how creative he is personally, and everybody likes to see that in their lawyers,” Harper says. So far, Nelson reports he has sold about two or three apps a day — enough, after subtracting the 30 percent cut that Apple takes, to buy an inexpensive lunch in downtown Dallas. He’s offering no freebies for members of the firm, but he does encourage his colleagues to use — and may try to find them — Apple-sponsored discount codes, he says.

Excerpted from the Texas Lawyer Blog. For full text, click here.