Mobile Law Office iPad Apps
Have you had your fill of blog posts about iPads that are spewed across the Internet? Me neither. To keep the trend going, here is a ridiculous statement: If I were stranded on a deserted island and could have one item to use to practice law, it would be an…iPad.
I know – this is an old/silly premise. For purposes of this discussion, let’s assume (a) there is a Wi-Fi/3G connection on said island; and (b) an outlet exists to charge the device. Stay with me.
Why the iPad? In the current state of today’s legal market, mobility is key. Every lawyer reading this should give some consideration as to how they can increase their ability to practice “on the go.” Anyway, it seems as though half my day is spent on the move between meetings and other happenings. The need for me to connect with clients and the other lawyers in my firm is critical to the success of our business. I like to travel as light as possible on a daily basis, and when on business trips or vacations.
To achieve my maximized mobility goal, I set the premise as follows: Can I run my practice solely through an iPad without using a desktop or a laptop computer? The answer is yes.*
After hours upon hours (and hours) of getting to know the ins and outs of the device, reading everything I could online, using my firm’s existing technology platform on the iPad, and test driving business/legal productivity apps, I can get to such a result. The development of cloud-based technology and the constant myriad of new apps for the iPad are helpful.
Here are some of the apps/web sites that exist on the home screen of my iPad:
- Clio (our web-based practice management system);
- Evernote (a great life organizer);
- Box.com (our document management system);
- Noteshelf (an app where you can take handwritten notes directly on the iPad);
- Quickoffice (an app that can manage documents stored in Box and edit them as well);
- iAnnotate (a PDF annotation app);
- iThoughtsHD (a mind mapping tool);
- Skype (for video conferencing, telephone calls and instant messaging);
- Yammer (an enterprise social network used by our firm);
- iMessenger (the iOS5 messaging app rolled out by Apple that allows you to send text messages);
- Dictamus (an app that turns the iPad into a dictation device that can be synced with Box); and
- Google Earth or Maps (apps that will pinpoint your location on the deserted island that you apparently don’t want to be rescued from despite the fact that you would have access to the world under this illustration).
These apps just scratch the surface and appear alongside the obvious uses for an iPad, such as checking email, Facebook and Twitter. This all allows me to work on each aspect of my firm from administration, client work and business development.
One area that needs improvement is document creation and editing (thus, my asterisk above). You can manage documents through Quickoffice, DocsToGo and other apps, but it is not seamless. If I were actually stuck on a deserted island, I could get by because of having access to documents through Box and dictating items with Dictamus and sending them off to be transcribed through our virtual assistant and speak-write.com.
The technology platform for each firm/lawyer/professional is different. The key is analyzing your own practice and figuring out what makes the most sense to maximize mobility. Though the deserted island example is unoriginal, it can be used to analyze ways to improve business processes, which ultimately should be aimed at better serving clients.