Is an iPad Useful During Client Meetings?

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Back in January there was an intra-GLF war about whether the iPad would be useful. I claimed the iPad would be a welcome addition, and Sam thought it was just a giant iPod touch.

Since then, both of our views have changed almost 180 degrees—leaving me wondering whether an iPad would be useful during client meetings.

Do you need anything more than a legal pad?

Back in my January post, I wrote about all the cool things I did on my iPhone during client meetings. Since then, I have noticed my phone tends to stay in my pocket. If I am meeting with a current client in regards to discovery or strategy, I generally meet with them in my office. Any documents we need are pulled up on my computer.

When I meet with potential clients, the only time I use my phone is to look up their case on the court’s public access website. I definitely do not need an iPad to do that. Although, it would be nice to hold up an iPad and explain the case history (or lack thereof) to them.

For the most part, I use my pen and paper more than anything else. Those initial notes are invaluable—many times I refer back to them months into a case.

When is an iPad useful?

I am willing to bet there is a notetaking application that would allow an attorney to take notes on their iPad. That would be a great way to save paper and to instantly have your notes uploaded onto your cloud drive.

As noted above, there are times when it would be nice to show clients things that you pull up on screen—their court record, a website related to their case, or even something on your website that you want to point out. For initial meetings, I think this is preferable over a laptop or desktop computer. Most people do not pass a laptop and say “here, look at this.”

My iPad fever has cooled, but I still think it can be useful during client meetings.

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  • I use my iPad for clients to take the required Internet courses for their bankruptcy filing. They don’t have to take up an office computer and can sit in the reception area and work on the class (plus they think it is cool).

    I’m also thinking of adding instructional videos and information relating to our office’s representation of the client for them to watch on the iPad.

    For taking notes, I’ll stick to the computer.

  • Randall Ryder

    That is an awesome use—and the instructional videos is a pretty neat idea too!

  • Julie Kiernan

    I am just adding an excel spreadsheet for our client intake information. We used to fill out a form manually. This will be quicker, more legible and Excel is really a mini database so I can pull data out as I wish. I think you could even use Adobe Ideas for forms they need to fill out or write on with a pogo stylus. I am getting more excited about the iPad possibilities! It is nice to not have a screen between you and the client.

  • There is a note-taking application, Penultimate, which is good for taking a few notes in a meeting but it is difficult to write small enough and fast enough to really make it useful as a primary notetaker. I think I can type faster. But it’s great for grabbing when I pick up phone messages and need to jot down numbers.

    The iPad is great for meetings though because it is very unobtrusive (except for the fact that everyone wants to ask you questions about it). You can just rest it on your lap, look at documents using your Dropbox app, type or write the occasional note, etc, without the back of a laptop in everyone’s else’s face.

    Lawyers I talk to all seem to be snapping up iPads. It’s a game-changer.

  • Wendy

    I made PowerPoint presentations with the steps in the most common immigration petitions, and I use my iPad to demonstrate the process to my clients. Most appreciate the visual aid, and the iPad is far less distracting than a laptop computer would be in this case.

  • I have seen attorneys with them at confirmation hearings in bankruptcy court, using them to access the trustee’s database over the court’s wireless connection. However, I could not help but think if they were able to access THEIR file with SugarSync for the iPad rather than lugging a trial bag full of paper files, how much better that would be. All of your documents for court in a slim folio. Cool!