If you are a frequent Lawyerist reader, you know that I am the resident Mac fanboy.

I use my iPhone in conjunction with my law practice almost daily, along with a number of Macs. I do have an iPad, and I definitely think it is useful. But it is not ready to replace my laptop.

The iPad is great for lots of things, but not everything

The iPad has some outstanding uses, but for the most part, it is used to consume data, rather than input data. If you need to show a client something during a client meeting or take notes during a settlement conference (Sam just did it), the iPad is great.

The next time I argue a motion in court, I will leave my laptop at home and rely on my iPad if I need to lookup part of the case file (one of many reasons to go paperless). The bottom is that if you need to look at data, or input small amounts of data, the iPad is great.

If you need a computer, use a computer

Typing on the iPad is ok, but not great. I do not have the keyboard attachment, but I will probably get one. Even with the keyboard, I would not be caught dead trying to write a brief on my iPad. You could do it if necessary, but the inability to view multiple windows at once is a productivity killer. Again, I’m not saying it’s impossible, just tedious.

If you are working out of the office or traveling, bring along your laptop. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to write a letter to the judge, or worse yet, a brief, you will want your laptop. Sure, you could go to Kinkos, but can you imagine writing a brief inside a Kinkos? I’ll take my chances with my laptop in my hotel room.

The iPad can be a great tool for lawyers, but it’s not quite ready to replace laptops.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/4576420023/)