Is the iPad Useful in the Courtroom?


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I do not own an iPad, but I have written more then one post as to why I think it is a great asset to tech-savvy attorneys. Sam, however, has yet to see the light. Perhaps this recent post about a litigator using the iPad at trial will convince him our firm needs one.

Better then a laptop?

Yes, a laptop can do everything an iPad can do, and laptops offer more functions. The advantage to an iPad is that it is easier to use. No little touchpad, no awkward mouse falling off the podium.

You can run a slideshow on either a laptop or an iPad. Arguably, it is much easier (and cooler) to run it from an iPad.

The iPad is unobtrusive

Unlike a clunky laptop that can distract a jury, the iPad uses its low-profile to sit quietly next to your legal pad on the podium. Sure, it is still a piece of technology. But instead of tapping away on a keyboard, you can silently push buttons. Taking a legal pad sized object to the podium seems much more natural then sticking a laptop up there.

Quickly switch between slideshows

Maclitigator notes that the iPad is adept at using PDFtoKeynote, an application that turns multiple page PDFs into a Keynote presentation. He specifically mentions the ease and speed of switching between multiple slideshows (direct, cross, impeachment) during trial.

The iPad cannot run simultaneous multiple apps

Admittedly, that is a big downside right now. Whereas any laptop can easily switch between multiple applications, you cannot do that on an iPad. The good news is that OS 4 should solve that problem.


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  • Larry B.

    To the extent that points were made here that the IPAD has an advantage over a lapton, those same advantages can be had by using a Droid Incredible to do a presentation. Moreover, the Droid is smaller, less noticeable, and since you would already be carrying it for your email and phone it is one less device to carry to court. The only drawback on using the Droid Incredible would be for courts that make your check your phone at the door.

  • Malcolm Pearson

    I really think the iPad is very cool, however if I wasn’t 100% sure of buying an iPad this would not convince me!
    The notepad does everything, plus all the things the iPad cannot like run multiple tasks at the same time. Maybe the smart thing is to wait for the iPad to get to the OS4 before buying?

  • Randall Ryder

    @ Larry – I would love to hear more, have you used the Droid Incredible?

    @ Malcolm – I think that is a valid point and I do think OS 4 will greatly improve the flexibility and utility of the iPad.