Practice Management


Practice Management:

8 ways an iPad can improve your law practice

Chad E. Burton
Columbus, OH

In today’s remote working world, lawyers must be able to practice law on the go. Smartphones and tablets have cut the rope that used to tie lawyers down to their desks. Clients have unprecedented access to their counsel. Mobility allows lawyers to respond more quickly than waiting to get to the office to send a hardcopy letter or a fax. 
The iPad and other tablets have changed the way lawyers practice law. 
To be clear, the iPad does not minimize the needs for lawyers to have sharp legal skills. The iPad, instead, is a tool that allows lawyers to create a mobile work environment. Entire firms can be operated from an iPad if the right technological set up is in place. It also allows busy lawyers to communicate with clients, create and modify documents, and even review electronic discovery on the go. Lawyers also are using iPads in depositions and trials.   
The following highlights various ways a lawyer can use an iPad to enhance their practice and client service on a daily basis:   

1. Communications via Mail, Skype and Line2 

The most obvious way to communicate with an iPad is to use the Mail app. This allows the lawyer to keep up to date with email traffic throughout the day when on the move. The iPad also can be used as a telephone through apps such as Skype and Line2. Skype can be used for video conferences and instant messaging.   

2. Note taking via iOS Notes, Noteshelf, Penultimate, Evernote and OneNote 

The iPad allows lawyers to ditch the yellow legal pad. Apps such iOS Notes as Noteshelf and Penultimate (along with a growing number of similar apps) allow for hand written notes to be taken on the iPad. When the set of notes is complete, it can be emailed off for filing or directly uploaded to online document management systems, such as Box or Dropbox. Evernote is a popular app for note taking that is synced to various devices automatically. Microsoft Onenote is also a robust note-taking app from Office 365. 

3. Create and modify documents with DocumentsToGo and Pages 

Document creation and modification is an area where apps are being released that allow documents to maintain their original formatting, so that lawyers can create content on the go. Document suites such as DocumentsToGo allow the synchronization of the app with online document management systems such as Box and Dropbox. The user can download documents into the app from those online storage systems, edit the document, and then upload it back to the system. Pages is a solid app for creating and editing Word files. 

4. Presentations with Keynote and TrialPad 

Every lawyer must present information at some point, whether at a deposition or trial or in a board room. The iPad allows this without lugging around computers and provides an interactive environment between the audience and presenter. The latest version of the iOS platform allows the iPad to be synced with an Apple TV, so that the lawyer can hold the iPad and walk around the room wirelessly while changing exhibits or slides in a Keynote presentation. Apps such as TrialPad allow the lawyer to present exhibits before a jury and witnesses, digitally write on the exhibit, "call out" parts of an exhibit and even has a whiteboard feature. Here is an example of using iPads in paperless depositions.​ 

5. Legal research with Casemaker

Lawyers can do their research on the move. Casemaker now has a stand-alone app. CaseCheck+ Citator instantly lets you know if your case has been treated negatively or if it is still good law, plus a list of linked cases that have cited your case. Apps such as iAnnotate and Goodreader are useful tools to annotate PDF documents. ​

6. Practice management with Clio and Rocket Matter 

When traveling, owners or partners in a firm need to keep up with day-to-day operations and all-firm reports. Cloud-based law practice management systems, such as Clio and Rocket Matter, can be accessed from the iPad and have iPhone apps. These platforms include billing, invoicing, docket management, to-do lists, accounting, and many other features. All of this can be managed from the iPhone and iPad. 

7. Electronic document review with Nextpoint 

Discovery dominates modern litigation. With more information being produced electronically, the amount data to review has grown tremendously. Several eDiscovery platforms have moved to the cloud. Nextpoint is a good example. Lawyers can review and code documents through Nextpoint on their iPads. Instead of being stuck in the firm's war room, the lawyer can review this endless data from anywhere. 

8. Dictation. 

Mobile devices can change the way workflow occurs with lawyers. Documents can be produced in creative ways using smartphones and iPads. Here is an example.​​