Here’s the promised post on the iPad apps recommended, or mentioned warmly, by Tom Mighell and Nerino Petro during the ABA session on Thursday that discussed the use of tablet computers in the practice of law. Some of the those identified as “free” also have a beefed up version offered for sale. As I’m sure you’ll understand, there are literally thousands upon thousands of iOS apps now, and it was only possible for the panel to discuss a very few in the time allotted. And, as I’m sure you’ll also understand, all kudos goes to the two expert panelists and any misdescription is strictly my fault.
Dropbox [free] – This is everyone’s favourite storage and sync app. It just works, much like the iPad itself. All of your files are available anywhere online. And it works with a wide range of other iPad apps, which is important because one of the features of the iPad is the… difficulty of getting documents off it. With Dropbox, you simply save to that site, and then access it from your desktop or otherwise as needed. Security is a concern for lawyers, when documents are in the cloud, as they are on Dropbox. So it’s recommended that you find a client-side program (check out SecretSync, BoxCrypter, or TrueCrypt) that will encrypt sensitive or confidential documents created on your desktop or laptop machines. (So far as I know, there’s no app to encrypt documents created on your iPad.)
GoodReader [$4.99] – This app reads almost any document you’re likely to use, and it’s as close to a document manager as you can get on the iPad. (Remember: you’re not going to have access to Microsoft Word or Excell on the iPad.) It also has powerful annotation features.
Documents to Go [$9/99] – On the iPad the ability to read documents doesn’t necessarily imply the abilty to edit them. If you want an app that can create and edit Word or Excel documents, for example, you’ll probably want Documents to Go
Note Taker HD [$4.99] – This (and a great many other apps) let you write cursively on the iPad, using your finger or, more likely, a special conductive stylus. A useful feature of this app is that you can write “large” in one area of the screen and have your writing appear helpfully “shrunken” in the body of your document.
SignMyPad [$3.99] – This is one of the apps that aims more at the professional / legal market, allowing you to load a PDF document, add text, date, and have someone sign it right on the iPad.
MindMeister [free] – This is the iPad version of the popular mind mapping tool. You can export your work in a variety of formats.
Atomic Web Browser [$0.99] – iPad comes with Safari as your built-in browser, which is certainly no bad thing. However, this browser is faster and makes use of tabbed browsing, along with a host of other useful features. (As you’ll know, the iPad doesn’t accommodate Flash. If you must watch Flash videos, you’ll want to examine Skyfire Web Browser [$2.99].
The Deponent App [$9.99] – This is a deposition question and exhibit outline application for lawyers. You’ll find 150 stock deposition questions built in and organized by category; and you can add your own. You can also load exhibits into the app.
idocument REVIEW [$29.99] – This app allows you to tag, annotate and redact documents, useful for document discovery.
iJuror [$9.99] – If you’re a trial lawyer working with juries, you might find this helpful. It lets you add information and thoughts about potential jurors, drag and drop to choose or dismiss jurors, and add notes as the trial progresses.
TrialPad [$89.99] – This is a major trial presentation app offering the most useful aspects of the much more expensive full-blown trial presentation apps for laptops.
AppAdvice [$1.99] – Finally, this little app will keep you abreast of iPad app releases and offers you comparison reviews so you can make sensible choices in the very crowded iOS apps field. Along with this you might add the AppShopper [free] which lets you run a wish list and notifies you of impending sales.