Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Colleague Corner: If you had to delete all but three apps from your phone, which ones would you keep?


Courtney Ernston

Courtney Ernston, the president of North Star Law Group, focuses her practice on business and construction law. She is a huge advocate for alternative billing methods, including subscription billing and flat fees.

My three remaining apps would be Outlook, Chrome, and TikTok. As a token millennial, I do the vast majority of my communications through email. Because I am frequently out of the office, the app makes responding to emails so much easier. It also allows me to have more flexibility with my schedule—so if I want to spend the day out and about with my kids or go to events, I am able to still get things done without hauling around a laptop. I definitely would not be able to live without an internet browser, considering all the ADHD-rabbit holes I go down, the ability to look up who is calling me before I answer, and all the other wonderful uses for the internet. Finally, for my mindless doomscrolling, TikTok is my little escape and guilty pleasure.


Maya Sanaba 

Maya Sanaba is an associate at Lathrop GPM and primarily practices in the fields of M&A and company formation. She received her BA from Purdue University and her JD from the University of Iowa College of Law. Maya was admitted to the Minnesota bar in 2023. 

If I could only keep three apps on my smartphone, they would be Google Calendar, Audible, and NYT Games. 

When I changed my major as an undergrad, I was very overwhelmed by all the new courses I needed to take. Someone suggested I use a calendar app to stay organized, so I downloaded Google Calendar, and I haven’t looked back since. The ability to color-code my commitments based on what part of life they fall into is particularly valuable to me. I haven’t found another user-friendly app with as many colors to choose from (workouts are yellow, work is blue, family is bright green, and so on). I also make sure to put everything in my calendar, even if I don’t plan to attend the event or do the task. With this time-management system, I can keep myself on track even when life feels chaotic. 

Audible is a necessity for me because I have always loved using books to unwind. Unfortunately, as I entered law school and then the workforce, I struggled to find the headspace or time to sit down and read. With audiobooks, I can listen to books while doing my daily activities like working out or walking the dog, rather than having to make time. Going to the gym and listening to a book for an hour has become one of the most calming parts of my day.

The New York Times Games app is one of the “fun” apps I’ve had on my phone for the past few years. My parents and I love word games, so we try to solve Connections, Wordle, and Spelling Bee every day and send our results to each other. It’s given us an easy way to touch base even when we don’t have time to talk for a few days.

Though I enjoy seeing what people are up to on Instagram and Facebook, I value these three apps more, as Google Calendar keeps me organized, Audible provides me with a convenient way to do something I enjoy, and the NYT Games app is a bonding tool for my family.


Christopher Bowman 

Christopher Bowman is a shareholder with Madigan, Dahl & Harlan, where he represents individuals and businesses in a wide range of civil litigation and transactional matters across the country. He is a former chair of the MSBA’s Appellate Practice Section (2022-2023) and recipient of the MSBA’s Award of Professional Excellence (June 2019) for his pro bono appellate service.

The most obvious answer to this is probably a web browser, my contact list, and the various calling, text messaging, and virtual meeting apps that help me stay connected to friends, family, coworkers, and clients. But the obvious doesn’t make for interesting reading, so let’s set those aside. 

First, Google Calendar. Between work commitments, hockey games (Go Gophers), and my kids’ basketball games and girl scout meetings (cookie sales now open!), I sometimes feel like I’m headed in 20 different directions at once. Having a single calendar that stays synced with my work-based Outlook calendar and home-based family calendar and that is readily accessible helps me make sure that I’m at least headed in the right direction most of the time. 

Second, Spotify. I listen to music and podcasts during my commute to and from downtown Minneapolis and while working on briefing, as I like to have background noise as I write. Plus, my kids will listen to music on my phone as they fall asleep at night. 

Third, the NYT Games App. I try to start each day with at least Wordle (I’ve used ADIEU as my start word ever since the game moved over to the Times), Connections, and the Mini. If I can get each of those before the first cup of coffee, it’s usually a good sign for the day.

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