On January 13, 2011 I participated in a webinar by Finis Price, iPhone and iPad for Lawyers: Apps You Need to be Using. Price is a personal injury lawyer in Kentucky who blogs on TechnoEsq.
Price started by dispelling some misconceptions about the iPad, which is not just a bigger iPod Touch. Despite having the same screen type and operating system, the larger screen allows much more functionality than smaller mobile devices.
An iPad can help efficiency and lighten loads when traveling out of the office or going to court. Price accesses nearly anything in his office from his iPad, which saves considerable time from digging through the files. The bulk of Price's presentation consisted of app reviews and how they relate to his practice.
Price uses remote desktop applications for greater efficiency. Opening up a computer and logging on takes time, but an iPad can be turned on right away.
By downloading iTeleport on your desktop your computer will wait for your iPad to connect and work through any firewalls in the systems. Most other apps get caught up on firewall blocks. This app has full keyboard support and volume control, and uses secure encryption.
Courts in the U.S. have ruled that jailbreaking a smartphone does not contravene the law. Although this will typically void a warranty, it is possible to return a phone to it's original state without the manufacturer being aware of its former jailbreak status.
Jailbreaking allows smartphones to have more apps than they would normally have. One app to accomplish this is Cydia.
The main reason to jailbreak a phone is to allow it to make a mobile Wi-Fi, which can be accomplished with My WI, which allows for Wi-Fi tethering on the iPhones and iPad.
Verizon announced the release of an iPhone4 in the U.S. this past Tuesday. The new phone should have Wi-Fi capabilities, largely making jailbreaking unnecessary, which is more of an AT&T issue. However, Verizon does not allows users to use data and voice at the same time the way AT&T does, but for the iPad this isn't any issue anyhow.
With all the different systems and platforms we're all working with these days, there are normally a whole slew of passwords we need to keep track of.
1Password creates complex 16 digit alphanumeric passwords for you and stored them, so all you need to do is remember one master password. These passwords can also be backed up manually for additional security.
Price tends to be on the road a lot, for business development and the numerous seminars and presentations he gives, and as a result is frequently driving through areas that he's not incredibly familiar with.
Using Trapster he can receive live information about traffic conditions wherever he is. Although Google Maps has a similar function, it's typically about 15-30 min. behind real-time traffic, which can make a considerable difference in rush hour. Trapster is able to provide real-time information by pulling data from other Trapster users.
Voice recognition software is getting better all the time. People have been discouraged from using it by their experiences in the past, and may not have noticed how the current technology has improved.
Dragon Dictation allows voice dictation to be converted to test or email, or dictate notes while driving.
It's much easier to use the keyboard on an iPad than on an iPhone, which makes a difference when taking notes. Audio Note will record audio at the same time as note-taking and provide time-stamps to keep track of what is being said.
By clicking on the time-stamp you get the actual audio of what was being said, similar to the Livescribe Pen being used in universities.
Your touchscreen can also be used to sign-off on documents without printing, faxing, and scanning. Zosh will pull up a document, allow you to add your signature and date, and then send it on to others.
This can be useful for contracts and other documents that need signing, especially when you're out of town but there are documents in the office requiring your signature.
Price uses his iPad to allow a witness to draw in colour where things are on a picture, using Air Sketch. When connected to a projector during trial, these drawings can come up simultaneously on the screen.
The witness can show where different vehicles were situated, which can then be saved and cleared, and drawn again for comparison. Juries particularly like this feature because it matches their expectations of what they believe litigation is supposed to be based on television sitcoms.
Price uses iAnnotate more than any other app because it allows him to open pdfs, annotate them, and store it for trial. His notes can be used by others and it can be used while he is in court waiting for his case to be called.
Although similar apps are available, this is one of the only one that allows searching of all your documents. During depositions he call pull up a summary of his annotations and click through to areas of interest.
This app can also be very useful during trial presentation using its projection mode.
When using a laptop on the road it can be cumbersome to try to enter large amounts of numbers with the condensed keyboard format.
NumberKey lets your iPhone act as an extension of your laptop, specifically acting as a number keypad, which can be incredibly useful for populating Excel spreadsheets.
Ever been in court and don't have spare change to make a copy of a crucial document?
DocScanner will take a photo of a document, find the edges and crop it, fix the resolution and make a clean pdf that can be emailed back to the office. It's different from just taking a photo because the app will flatten the image for you.
GoDocs and DocsToGo
GoDocs and DocsToGo help you edit documents or slide presentations on the go. You can fix briefs or pleadings on the road, change a few words, and send it back to the office in a format they can read.
SmartNotes is another annotating app that lets you draw all over the page, change font size, and even has icons that can be used for shorthand. It's the perfect replacement to a legal pad, without the need for a whole bunch of different pens.
Price uses lots of different GPS software and has reviewed their features because he's on the road a lot. He prefers Navigon mobileNavigator, which has also won a number of awards and favourable reviews. It has a 3D view, supports multitasking, shows which lane you should be in, and provides route options.
Map add-ons are available which include roads in Canada.
FastCase is a free iPad app with a full library of American statutes and case law.
No such app exists in Canada, to the best of my knowledge.
When browsing the web on an iPhone or iPad there are often things you want to copy and past for later, which is tougher to do than on your desktop. BrowsingPad lets you copy something without switching between apps.
For creating charts with shapes Price uses OmniGraffle. He has used this to demonstrate the relationship between parties and witnesses.
It can also potentially be used in trial by putting a photo on the background and making shapes for cars and vans, which a witness on the stand can then move around.
After reading about all these apps you might decide you want some of them but don't want to download them right now or don't want to pay for it yet.
AppShopper lets you create a wishlist of apps, with reviews and descriptions, and price histories.
ReaddleDocs and Evernote
To get documents from a computer to an iPhone, Price uses ReaddleDocs. It will connect to a dropbox or Gmail, and pull documents to your phone with changes made.
To store and retrieve documents in the cloud, he uses Evernote, which allows you to access it from any computer.
You can create a voice-based to-do list with reQall. The voice recognition also allows you to open your calendar, check for appointments, and enter meetings.
DropBox is a web-based cloud computing app which allows information to be stored on the cloud and accessed from an iPad or iPhone.
EvidPredicates and Courtroom Objections
To keep track of all the (U.S.) evidentiary rules and objections you can use EvidPredicates or Courtroom Objections. They are designed for phones, but may not be executed very well in the courtroom if a lawyer has to object and read off their phone simultaneously.
App developers are realizing that trial litigation software is in high demand, so it's a quickly growing area that will likely see improvement.
TrialPad has only been out for a month. It has limited functionality, but is useful for bringing in documents as exhibits to show to the jury.
This app allows you to redact that information on the screen if there are segments of a document that a judge rules are inadmissible while in court, a function not available with other apps.
Highlighting, inserting signatures and entering forms can all be done with PDF Expert. Pre-filled forms can be sent to a lawyer immediately before meeting a client for an initial interview, or pre-formatted fields can guide an interview to focus on key information.
Another presentation software for lawyers is RLTC: Evidence. Some unique features include underlining as a straight line, instead of free form, and rotating exhibits.
The competition of of trial presentation apps will lead to more features, and we'll see better versions of this over time.
To help pick your juror panel you can use iJuror. It stores information about each person, which can then be used for pre-emptory challenges or dismissals. This can be useful when doing a trial by yourself without someone to take notes.
A new update of this app allows customization of the jury pool by adding additional columns and rows, so it's more likely to be adapted to various jurisdictions.
Price recommends the following sites for more information on apps for lawyers:
- Jeff Richardson's iPhone J.D.
- iSource (formerly JustAnotheriPhoneBlog)
- Nikki Black's Legal iPad
- Tablet Legal
To that I'll add: