I’ve had my iPad for a few weeks now and am slowly but surely discovering how it fits into my daily routine. After using it for a while, I continue to believe that the iPad is primarily a media consumption device, but it does have some utility for lawyers and will become increasingly more useful as more third party applications are released.
However, even at this stage of its development, I do think that many lawyers will find the iPad to be useful in the practice of law.
First, it’s a great device on which to store documents, rather than lugging huge reams of papers with you everywhere you go. Imagine using it at trial or at a deposition to cross a witness in lieu of flipping through deposition transcripts or stacks of papers.
Another way that lawyers will use the iPad is for marking up a pleading or contract, making notations in the margins to a draft appellate brief, or commenting on an internal memorandum. Such tasks are not accomplished easily while on the road, since neither laptops nor smart phones are well suited to those types of document annotations.
There are a number of promising apps for annotating PDF files, including Zosh, Writepad and Aji. I was recently advised by Zosh’s CEO that an iPad app is in the works and that they’ll soon be adding additional annotation features, including the ability to highlight documents.
There are a number of styluses available for use on an iPad that have the potential to make annotating documents on the iPad much simpler: the Pogo Sketch, the Universal Touch Screen Stylus for iPhone and the DAGI stylus are prime examples. Both annotation tools can only be purchased on eBay at this point since they are yet to be released in the US.
Finally, there’s no shortage of information about the iPad, its uses and the endless stream of new iPad apps. There are a number of great blogs that have sprung up that can help you learn more about using an iPad in your law practice: