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10 essential iPad apps for the lawyer

- For more on this topic click Practicing Law, technology

The iPad promises to change the way lawyers practice the law. Here are 10 essential iPad apps that any lawyer should have.

  1. iWork for iPad – $30 or $10 for each of the three apps – includes a word processor (Pages), a spreadsheet application (Numbers), and a presentation application (Keynote). This suite of applications will enable you to create fairly sophisticated documents, although it’s probably a better for editing documents, rather than creating full-fledged contracts or agreements on the fly.
  2. Evernote – Free – A fantastic program that you can download for your computer, your iPhone/iTouch, and your iPad. This program allows you to save ideas, things you see on the web (on any of those devices), record notes, ideas, and voice memos, and to then share these things across platforms. So if you’re in court or in a meeting away from your computer, and you need to save a note, or a memo, it will synchronize with Evernote on your computer as well.
  3. Aji Annotator – $4.99 – Many legal documents come in PDF format. Aji Annotate lets you mark-up, annotate, and add notes to PDF documents, which you can then save and re-share with other people/lawyers.
  4. DocuSign – Varies – Until DocuSign comes up with a native application for its electronic signature service, you’ll have to have internet connectivity and the ability to reach the DocuSign website, which the company says is fully compatible with the new iPad.
  5. Air Sharing – Lite ($2.99) or Pro Version ($9.99) – Allows you to move files to your iPad (from your desktop) or to your iPhone or iTouch with ease. The early version for the iPad is getting reports of being buggy. The iPhone version which I’ve used works quite well.
  6. Instapaper – $4.99 – Works like a charm on the iPhone, and will be even better on the iPad. This app allows you to “bookmark” various webpages, which you then synch with your iPad. Allows for off-line browsing. Slightly duplicative of Evernote, although Instapaper does this one thing really well, whereas Evernote has a broader range of capabilities.
  7. DropBox – Free – DropBox allows you to share files via the “cloud” with multiple users on multiple different platforms. Obviously, highly confidential material needs to be treated with more care, and so this may not be appropriate for all documents you use. But for commonly used forms, standard agreements, standard documents, this is a good solution.
  8. Desktop Connect – $11.99 – Desktop Connection allows you to use your iPad to interact with your desktop or laptop that you left back at your office. You need to have VNC or RDP installed on the desktop/laptop so that the iPad can see the screen. Also, the quality of the connection will govern how useful this application is. In other words, the worse the connection, the less useful this application will be in allowing you to interact with your office computer.
  9. Dragon Dictation – Free – Dragon, the world’s best transcription software developer – has brought Dragon Dictation to the iPad. And it’s free! Dictate memos to yourself. Share them with yourself later at the office.
  10. Memeo connect Reader – Free – If you use Google Docs as the home for some or all of your Word and Excel documents, then the problem becomes accessing those documents when you’re not connected to the Internet. Memeo Connect Reader allows you to download those files so that you can work with them on your iPad.

With these 10 essential apps for lawyers, you’ll be well on your way to using the iPad as more than a toy, and as a genuine tool to help you practice law more effectively.

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