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Home / JDs Rising / The Modern Lawyer: How to make iPads and apps work for you
If you are inclined to use a tablet computer to do your work on the go, there are a couple of steps you must keep in mind.

The Modern Lawyer: How to make iPads and apps work for you

By Francis Rojas

Given their convenience, the popularity of the iPad and other computer tablets have grown dramatically.  Every time I walk into a coffee shop, a restaurant, a park, or anywhere else, it is not uncommon to observe a number of individuals carrying or using their tablets.  The ease, size and weight of these tablets just might sway you.

Tablets allow you the option to use an alternative interface to do your work on the go (or at home if you so desire).  You can use tablets with a VGA connector to put up presentations.  You could use tablets to work on Word documents, take notes, take depositions and communicate instantly with your office and assistant.

If you are inclined to use your tablet of choice to do your work on the go, there are a couple of steps you must keep in mind.

  1. Make sure to password protect your tablet.  With the iPad, you can choose between a simple password (of 4 numbers), or a complex password (numbers and letters).  In order to password protect your iPad, go to Settings, then Password Lock.  Make sure the iPad cover Lock is turned on.
  2. Make sure to encrypt your tablet when backing it up.  With the iPad, when you are syncing to your computer through iTunes, make sure to select the box that states your back ups will be encrypted in your computer.

Now that you are ready to start using your iPad for work, I have a narrowed a list of apps that I have found the most helpful.

Reference Apps

  • Federal USC codes: 29 USC Labor Code, 28 USC Procedure, 29 CFR Federal Regulations, etc.  These legal reference apps are made by Tekk Innovations LLC, and I would suggest searching their apps to see if there is an app in your specific legal field.  These apps are a good way to keep the federal laws at your fingertips.  What is so great about these apps is that you can key search through them.  You can also email the text or print it right from the iPad.  These apps are regularly updated.  These are particularly handy if you do not have access to the internet and need to check a rule quickly.
  • Litigator. What is great about this app is that you have instant access to the Federal rules and State/Local rules.  Once you have downloaded the app, you can select what State/Local rules will be in your short list (for ease of access).  For instance, in my short list I have the Minnesota District Court rules (local rules) and Minnesota State Civil rules.  The downside is that you have to pay for access to the State and Local rules.
  • Black’s Law Dictionary.  The Black’s Law dictionary at your fingertips.  The pros of this app are that you can key search, that all words are linked to their definitions, and that it shows suggested related definitions.  A definite primer for law students and attorneys on the go.
  • Deponent.  This app is great for making deposition outlines of questioning and keeping your exhibits organized.  The Deponent app can be linked to your dropbox, making the use of this app a real treat.
  • WestLaw Next.  This app is for the attorneys on the go who want to look up cases and do research while out of their office.
  • Lexis Advance.  This app is for the attorneys on the go who want to look up cases and do research while out of their office.
  • Dropbox.  This certainly is the best app for lawyers out there.  With dropbox, you can securely store your documents and images, and pull them from another app, another computer, or share them with your staff.  And to top it off, this app is free.  The convenience of the dropbox app is bolstered by the fact that most all other apps out there can be linked to your dropbox account.

Office Tools

  • iAnnotate PDF.  This app seems to have been made for attorneys that need to edit and sign PDFs on the go.  What I love about this app is the ease and convenience of it.  You can do a number of things with the PDF, including signing it, saving it as a new PDF, and emailing it out right away. I have personally tried different PDF apps, and I can certainly say this is the best PDF app out there.
  • Audio Memos.  This app is for the attorneys who want to record a message and send it to office staff or other attorneys via email.  The app is very user-friendly.  You can record a message, edit the message, and decide who you want to share it with.  One of the features of this app that makes it worthwhile is that you can create groups, and then decide who you want to share the message with.  For instance, you could share it with your “Litigation group”, “Staff group”, or simply send it to yourself.  This app also gives you the option of auto-sending the recording as soon as you record it.
  • Print n Share.  This app is for attorneys who love working from their iPads, and want to print something right away.  Generally, the iPad allows you to print to AirPrint compatible printers.  Also please note that most Print apps are only AirPrint compatible.  This app, Print n Share, is not!  If you do not have an AirPrint printer, this app will be great for you.  This app allows you to print from your iPad or iPhone to any wireless printer.  This app can print from websites, your email, PDFs, Office documents, images, and so on.
  • GoodReader.  GoodReader is a nice general app that allows you to view different documents and PDFs in a very user-friendly format.
  • DocsToGo and DocsToGo Premium.  DocsToGo is an app that specifically deals with viewing and editing Office documents, such as Word, Excel, PDF, and more.  With this app you may also create a new document.  The highlight of these apps are that you may sync your iPad or iPhone with a specified folder in your computer wirelessly.
  • Numbers. Numbers is an app that creates spreadsheets with tables, charts, photos, and graphics.  Lawyers can use Numbers to keep track of expenses, damages, or keep track of statistics.  Users can open and edit xls sheets, and these documents are saved back as xls sheet without the loss of headers, footers, fonts, column widths, and so on.
  • Keynote.  The Keynote app is used to create and edit presentations.  With Keynote, you may use animated charts and transitions.
  • Pages.  The Pages app is a word processor for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod.  Using Pages, you can view and edit Pages documents, Microsoft Word, and plain text files.
  • iThoughtsHD.  This is the perfect app for lawyers when brainstorming ideas and strategies.  This mind-mapping tool uses diagrams to link ideas via topic.  By using an organic and fluid method of organizing ideas, the lawyer can work with the arguments in a simpler and more effective way.  Personally, as a spatial thinker, seeing an abstract map of the ideas and how they connect, aids in the task of outlining your roadmap of strategies and arguments.  I highly recommend this app to lawyers and students.
  • Penultimate.  Have you ever wanted to take notes on your iPad the same way you would take notes with a notepad?  Well, now you can.  Penultimate is an app that allows you to use your iPad as a note taker tablet.  With the help of a stylus pen (or your finger), you may take notes and keep them organized by folders.  Lawyers will benefit from this app when attending CLEs and jotting notes at interviews and meetings.
  • CloudOn.  When it comes to working with a Microsoft Office document, this app is definitely the best. As an attorney it is important to be able to work on Word documents, make redactions, and send your edits to opposing counsel or other attorneys.  This app is certainly the closest you can get to working with Office in your computer.  Conveniently, this app is linked to your dropbox account and it is currently free at the App Store.
  • Presentation Link.  As an attorney, you are often called to make presentations for CLEs or clients.  The current PowerPoint apps out there allow you to create presentations, which are limited in a way Presentation Link is not.  The main difference is that Presentation Link allows you to add videos and audio recordings to your presentation. A very nice way to wow your audience.
  • iTeleport.  This app will help lawyers access their work or home computers through remote desktop.  With this app, you need to install the desktop version on your computer in order to create the gateway connection to your iPad.  It is good to note that if your law firm already offers a remote desktop connection, you do not need this app for your work computer – but would benefit instead from the Remote Desktop app.

Meeting Apps

Hardware

  • Wireless keyboard (Apple) or a Bluetooth keyboard (Best Buy or Brookstone)
  • VGA adapter (Apple)
  • Pen Stylus

3 comments

  1. Apps are what is needed to make your smartphone smart and unique.Im fond of app creating and find it really helpful to use site like Snappii where i can build apps in minutes.

  2. Former Law Student

    The software for Black’s Law Dictionary is unusable, or at least it was when I bought it in 2008. Don’t buy it. It’s impossible to look up words efficiently with it, especially ones grouped under a lead word, such as “quit claim deed” under “deed” or the like. Buy a few copies of the real thing and keep one at home and one at the office.

    I highly recommend Google Scholar, which is great for looking up Minnesota cases quickly and easily. Unlike Lexis or Westlaw, you can search any way you like, by case name, citation, key facts, etc. And you don’t need a separate app to use it, just a browser.

    Same goes for http://www.revisor.mn.gov for Minnesota statutes, and practicelaw.org for forms and other things. Both are very good and neither require a separate app.

  3. Thanks for these professional applications.

    In business/productivity app, I’d like to recommend a great one which integrated an interesting concept; saving time from your notes. This app, Beesy, generates automatically ToDo lists from a smart note taking. Also, the advantage is you can easily generate professional minutes from your notes and send them by email. Besides, you can browse your ToDo by actions,projects or people. You save a lot of time at meetings.

    I strongly recommend Beesy for people which often have meetings and want to appreciate them again ;)
    http://www.beesapps.com/beesy-ipad-to-do/

    Great post
    Chloe

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