Will Lawyers Use the iPad in Law Practice?

Now that I’ve had a chance to use an iPad, I’m quite sure that lawyers will find a way to use it in their practice.  The iPad won’t replace laptops or desktop computers for businesses. Rather, it will provide lawyers with flexibility and allow them to practice law more efficiently by ultimately saving them time and money.

That being said, in my opinion, the iPad is primarily a media consumption device, rather than a device for content creation. For that reason, I mainly envision lawyers using iPads to keep up on their practice areas by reading blogs and online articles or using it at trial or at a deposition to cross a witness in lieu of flipping through deposition transcripts or stacks of papers.

However, it does have some potential for content creation and will become increasingly more useful as firmware updates improve iPads and as more third party applications are released which will facilitate the ability to create and edit documents.

In the meantime, there are already some apps available that will allow lawyers to use their iPads to annotate PDF documents, something not accomplished easily while on the road using other types of devices, since neither laptops nor smart phones are well suited to those types of document annotations.  This ability to annotate PDFs is will facilitate tasks such as marking up a pleading or contract, making notations in the margins to a draft appellate brief, or commenting on an internal memorandum.

Apps currently available that allow PDF annotation include:

  • Zosh ( iPhone app only. According to the CEO, an iPad app is in the works and additional annotation features will soon be added-$2.99)
  • School Notes Pro (Free iPad app that allows importing and sharing PDFs and ability to include voice notes directing your assistant what to do with the annotated document upon receipt)
  • Writepad (iPad app that includes handwriting recognition features and allows annotation and sharing of PDF documents-$9.99)
  • Aji iAnnotate (iPad app that allows PDF annotation and sharing-$6.99)

Use of a stylus may make these apps even more appealing to lawyers. There are a few styluses available that may suit your needs and more are surely to be released, created just for iPads, in the near future:

Finally, there is no shortage of information regarding how lawyers can use iPads in their practice, including these blogs:

(photo: Jesus Belzunce)


  1. Avatar Gious says:

    I just don’t see how I would use it

    If I need to write something, I use my laptop

    At my desk, desktop

  2. Avatar Randall R. says:

    @ Gious – you need to broaden your view. An iPad could be used for approximately 8 million things during a client meeting. If you wanted to review a brief, and make hand notations, you could use it for that.

    Generally, it is a consumption device, but I think many people would rather consume from an iPad versus a clunky laptop. I’m assuming you do more then just write with your computer(s).

  3. Avatar TheRevP says:

    In general I don’t see what the iPad offers lawyers above and beyond the technology currently in use. I can however see the allure of “new” technology swaying some – who doesn’t want the latest shiny gadget? – however I don’t see any real return in investment given the plethora of devices most already have at their disposal.

    Having said that the need to appear at the leading edge, and appear to offer a differential in these trying times will sway some.

    Still, a quick conversation with your IT department (assuming you’ve not staffed your office with Apple fanatics) will give you many more options for your requirements. The iPad was never envisaged as a business tool, and lacks the interoperability of even the most basic lap top.

  4. Avatar john cobern says:

    I use my ipad every day. I find it an excellent tool for my law practice. It’s a great calendar system, plus very handy for emails. I also use it to track tasks. It’s just another tool to make me more efficient.

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