Wednesday, July 6, 2011
From The Legal Intelligencer:
Desktop and laptop computers are giving way to tablet computing, led by the iPad, and the numerous applications that are specifically being designed for the legal profession or that are easily adaptable to the practice of law. These devices and applications are game-changing in their impact.
As a result, the days of carrying heavy trial bags and pushing dollies loaded with banker boxes are over. Despite the doubters, the iPad has arrived and has ushered in a new way for lawyers to manage and carry information. Let me be clear about one thing, however: I am not suggesting that the iPad, or any other tablet-based device, is a complete substitute for a desktop or laptop computer.
As others have correctly pointed out, the iPad is an information consumption device, not an information creation device. For example, the information for this article was collected on an iPad, but the article was drafted on a laptop computer. In fact, I often work on a computer with an iPad at my side as a handy way to refer to research documents. In this way, I have the equivalent of a dual monitor setup that I can use anywhere.
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In my practice, the iPad serves as a media consumption device that I use to store and organize digital documents, photographs, video files and sound files. It has not yet enabled me to realize the dream of a paperless office, but I do now have a paperless briefcase. There is no longer any reason to lug around bulky accordion folders and three-ring binders. My briefcase, holding little more than my iPad, is light, uncluttered and easy to carry. Unlike a desktop or laptop computer that requires constant scrolling on the screen to read a document, the iPad provides a comfortable full-page display. In addition, the iPad is an "instant-on" device and there is no annoying boot-up time to suffer through. Reviewing documents, reading and responding to e-mail messages, surfing the web, checking my calendar and contact lists, and conducting legal research are all functions that have been enhanced by the iPad. For those who do a lot of flying, the reclining seat of the passenger in front of you will not prevent you from using your iPad, as it often would if you were using a laptop.
You can descriptions of several iPad apps made specifically for lawyers here.