Last year I wrote about the 10 essential iPad apps for the lawyer and lots of people read and reviewed that list. Over the course of the year, I frequently used my iPad not just to pass the time while waiting in court, but to do real work. During one bench trial, I used my iPad to show video of a traffic stop. It was very convenient.
Now I’ve got the iPad 2. I got it for a couple of reasons. First, I expanded my practice to include a legal assistant, and giving her an iPad (my old iPad) was a great way to help her improve her ability to help clients. Second, I wanted to change carrier from AT&T to Verizon. Verizon simply has more towers where I live and work in Raleigh, and those towers give better coverage in the courtrooms. AT&T coverage was spotty at best. While it may be true that AT&T has faster data, I would rather have reliable data than faster data. And Verizon is plenty fast.
I’ve had my iPad 2 (64 gig, with WiFi and Verizon wireless) for a week now. I can say it’s quite a bit faster than my older iPad. And that helps, especially when I need to load pages. I’m developing a series of presentations so that when I sit down with clients, I can better able to demonstrate what happens in North Carolina’s criminal system.
Truthfully, very few apps have been optimized for the iPad 2. But here are my top 10 iPad lawyer apps:
- Daylite Touch – This app will only be useful if you use the MacOS Daylite as your database. This is not the place to review Daylite, which is mostly a great product, with a couple of significant flaws. But Daylite is the best solution I’ve found in a Mac environment to manage customer or client relationships. I remote host my Daylite database so that I can reach it anywhere in the world. Daylite Touch is simply awesome. It lets you add new clients (if I get a call when I’m not at the office), update court dates (while sitting in court), add notes, add tasks, and manage an awful lot. It rarely crashes, it seamlessly integrates with the desktop version of Daylite. Truly, Daylite Touch may be the best part of Daylite. There’s a yearly fee of $50 per device, but in my estimation it’s well worth it.
- FastCase – I don’t need to do a lot of case research on the fly. But when I do, I use Fastcase, which has a terrific iPad application. It’s very speedy, doesn’t crash, reliably finds and locates cases, and is very intuitive. I really love it. Best of all, it’s free.
- EverNote – If you need to sync documents between devices and computers, EverNote is a great solution. In North Carolina, we have various sentencing guidelines, or updated court room calendars that show which judges have been assigned to which courtrooms. At the start of each week, I’ll refresh whichever documents I need to refresh from various sources in EverNote. During the week, I merely need to go to one spot on my iPad to find whatever reference document or calendar I need to view. EverNote, in short, allows me to keep all of these documents synced and in one place across multiple computers.
- LogMeIn – LogMeIn provides a secure way to access your desktop when you’re not in your office. This can be incredibly useful. Let’s say you forgot to load a document from your office into Evernote. LogMeIn will let you load it, so that the document will then be synced with your iPad. Of course, it’s always important to keep your password confidential, since if someone has access to your desktop, they can see everthing.
- iAnnotate PDF iPad – I liked iAnnotate last year, and I like it this year. It provides all you really need to view, edit, and share PDFs. There are multiple different PDF viewers, but from my perspective this is the best. Easy to use, not expensive, and very stable.
- WordPress for iPad – One of the things I do is maintain my own website and blog. Doing so can be a chore. But it’s also important to keep people up to date about the latest developments in the news and in the law. WordPress for iPad allows me to do this. Admittedly, writing very long posts on the iPad is not very convenient. But I’ve found that I can make quick posts or updates with ease.
- DocumentsToGo – I’m cheating here because I haven’t used this suite of software. I have used Apple Pages, which I don’t like. I find the formatting gets all messed up. Since I don’t write long documents on my iPad, I prefer a word processor that will not mess up formatting from documents received from a desktop, but will allow me to make small edits. DocumentsToGo syncs with the cloud (which Apple Pages does not).
- Air Sharing HD – There are a number of applications, including DropBox, that allow you to share documents with your iPad. DropBox syncs with the cloud, which then syncs with your iPad or computer (and vice versa). This application allows you to sync directly with your iPad, which means nothing will go to the cloud. In addition, this application will allow you to print directly from your iPad to a networked (Mac) printer. That can be very convenient.
In the future, it would be nice to permit your iPad to print to any printer (if authorized) in any networked situation. But for now, Air Sharing HD will have to do.
- Skype – I put this on the list because I don’t have standard telephones. Instead, I use a combination of Skype and Google Voice and cell phones to direct calls. It works quite well in a small office, allows you the flexibility of appearing to run your office from where ever you may be located, and is very inexpensive. My gripe with Skype is that even after a year, they have not updated their app for the larger iPad screen. Certainly with the new cameras on the new iPad, video conferencing should be integrated into the new Skype iPad app. When it is, this application will be fantastic, much better than Apple’s Face Time which is nearly useless because virtually no one has it.
- 1Password – I’m pretty fanatical about managing passwords to maintain security. When you do this, it’s difficult to remember all the passwords you have for different accounts and so forth. 1Password is a secure way to maintain passwords, while not using duplicate passwords at different sites. 1Password is, as far as I know, only for the Mac. But the iPad version of it nicely integrates with the Mac environment. Highly recommended.
Hopefully these apps will help you use the iPad in your legal practice as more than a toy. I’ve found that these apps really help me deliver high quality criminal law defense to my clients. There are a number of other apps, including iJury etc., that I have not used and would not use. From my perspective, using an iPad in a trial where the technology has not fully been tested is trouble. Stick with a pad and a pen if you really need to keep track of notes etc. during a jury trial.