In the first post in this series, I made the argument for investigating whether the iPad can add value to the way you provide service to your clients. Today, in hopes of persuading those of you with lingering doubts, I’ll discuss the best part about having an iPad: The apps! The iPad doesn’t run “programs,” not like you’re used to on a PC or Mac, and most iPad apps are not as full-featured as software programs. Still, apps can do some amazing things.
Here are some of the apps that I recommend for the practicing lawyer.
Being Productive. The iPad is not the best device for creating legal documents, but it’s a great tool for taking notes and working informally on legal documents. My favorite note-taking apps include Note Taker HD, Penultimate and WritePad. You can use a stylus or your finger to write in a notebook or legal pad-type page, then save those pages to PDF or another location. If you need to work with Microsoft Word or iWork documents, take a look at DocsToGo, QuickOffice Connect or Office2HD. Apple’s iWork suite (including Pages) is also a good investment for document and presentation creation.
Reading Documents. Although the apps listed above are great for working with documents, they just don’t do the job when it comes to reading and marking up caselaw, briefs, contracts or other documents. My picks for apps that make iPad reading a joy include GoodReader, which will allow you to view just about any type of file, and iAnnotate PDF, a fantastic annotation tool.
Legal-Specific Apps. iPad apps designed specifically for lawyers are starting to make their way into the App Store, and there are some intriguing choices. You can find dozens of apps that provide access to your state’s laws, the U.S. Code, CFR, Constitution and many other laws and regulations. Just go to the App Store in iTunes and search for “law” or “legal,” or be more specific if you know what you’re looking for.
Beyond legislative resources, some of the better apps are designed to help lawyers at trial. One set of apps—including Jury Duty, Jury Tracker and iJuror—help you not only pick a jury but monitor jurors’ reactions during trial. Unfortunately, none of these does all of these, but hopefully future releases will include the complete functionality. Apps like TrialPad and Evidence allow you to present evidence to a judge or jury. You simply connect your iPad to a projector (using a VGA adaptor, purchased separately) to show PDF and image files during trials or hearings.
More Resources for Lawyers Who Use iPads
This is only scratching the tip of the app iceberg, and already I’m running out of room. With more than 60,000 apps designed for the iPad, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which app is best. To keep up with the latest apps, for lawyers or otherwise, check out these resources:
- TabletLegal by Josh Barrett
- TechnoEsq by Finis Price
- iPad4Legal by Patrick DiDomenico
- iPad Notebook by Justin Kahn
- Legal iPad by Niki Black
- Walking Office by Rob Dean
- AppAdvice (a great general app blog with a companion app)
Next, in our final post in this series: Accessories for the iPad owner.