Cool Apps to Show Your Friends


Recently, I had a delightful dinner with my distinguished co-counsel renowned Arkansas trial lawyer Bobby Jones and his beautiful and delightful wife Cheryl. Over the course of the night, the topic of fun Apps came up (imagine!). The Apps we discussed, which normally would not be the focus of this blog, are some of my current favorites I am recommending to my lawyer and non-lawyer friends alikeDescribed below are a number of the apps we talked about in the “courses” of dinner.

Reading the Menu

First things first– for those of us past 40, those menus can be hard to read, expecially in dimly lit restaurants.  There’s an App for that–

MagLight+ Magnifying Glass with Light [.99 The App Store]

This app turns your iPhone into a lighted magnifying glass perfect for reading those small print menus. 

Ordering the Wine ([$1.99] App Store, Android

Excerpted from the website- so true–

“ helps you enjoy wine even more! They say that life’s too short to drink bad wine. We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we’ve created the Wine Info iPhone application. In seconds, you can access CellarTracker’s information on over 1,000,000 bottles of wine… right from your iPhone!

Virtually any bottle of wine can be found using – really! So stop taking chances on the bottles you buy at the market and in restaurants. Simply type in the name of the wine (or even scan the bar code!) and you’ll have access to over 2,000,000 notes and ratings from experts and from the huge CellarTracker community of wine drinkers.

Whether you’re a seasoned oenophile or a novice, has great features to enhance and enliven your wine-drinking experience. If you’re just starting out, will help you improve your palate, find more wines you like to drink, and save time and money. Experts will love the detailed information on each wine and the inclusion of even the most rare and exotic bottles.”

Dinner talk—great trips–pictures


360 Panorama (App Store $ .99)—

This App is incredible– allows you to create an interactive 360 degree photograph with your iPhone or iPad. An invaluable tool for capturing those unforgettable vacation sights (or mapping out an accident site or crime scene). You can see an example photograph of a cul-de-sac I created in about five minutes using my iPhone. These images can be shared, flattened, etc. One of the Apps I use when demonstrating the “amazing wonders” of the iPad/iPhone.

Dinner Talk- The Amazing Walmart App

Walmart Mobile App [Free] for iPhone/iPad or Android


Walmart is not a frequent subject in my dinner conversations. However, this dinner took place just a few miles from Bentonville, Arkansas – the worldwide headquarters for Walmart.They have developed an amazing “Savings Catcher” App that allows you shop with confidence that you are getting the benefit of advertised deals by Walmart’s competitors when shopping Walmart. Simply scan the barcode on your Walmart receipt, and within three days Walmart notifies you what items were advertised for less by its competitors in your locale, and here’s the kicker Walmart refunds you the difference in the form of an egift card. BRILLIANT! In three weeks of shopping with the app, Walmart has refunded me $ 28.00. You can also use the Walmart app for comparison-shopping while shopping in a competitor’s store. Simply scan the barcode of the item in question and the App will show you the price for the same item in your local Walmart store.

Skip the Desert—time to work out

The practice of law is often stressful and sedentary – a bad combination.  There are a number of technology tools designed to encourage you to live a healthy lifestyle and TO MOVE YOUR BODY.  I have been using the Fitbit Flex for five months now. I have only lost 10 pounds, but I have kept them off. So what is a Fitbit Flex?

It is a small bracelet monitor that keeps track of your movements (steps). It can also track how long you sleep and coupled with the Fitbit scale, your weight and percentage of body fat. Based upon your activity level, and how aggressive you tell it you want to be losing weight, Fitbit will set a custom daily calorie goal for you, and allows you track what you eat and the calories you burn through activity. You can also manually record your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels using the Fitbit App, although none of these are actively monitored by the device.


If you are the competitive type, the Fitbit App allows you to compete with your friends and family showing a weekly step level.  As you near your goal levels, the Fitbit sends you words of encouragement. When you to hit your goals, it sends you an electronic certificate of completion.

The Fitbit Flex comes in a variety of colors and interchangeable sets of bands only are available so you can coordinate colors with your wardrobe. The Fitbit Flex can be purchased at most big box stores, Best Buy and (see above).  It normally sells for about $99. The scale is about $120. The App is free: iPhone/iPad or Android.

Let’s Get Moving!!

Lawyers Get Organized With Microsoft’s OneNote


Microsoft’s OneNote is an easy-to-use electronic notebook and organizational system (Windows, Mac, iPad, Android, Windows Phone and Kindle) that is one of the most useful tools in my electronic arsenal.   Heavy in features, OneNote is totally integrated with the Microsoft Office suite, so you likely already have it installed if you use a Windows PC with Outlook.  If it is not installed or you use a Mac, you can download it for free using this link.

Envision a shelf of hard copy case notebooks, divided into labeled sections and organized for efficient access to case materials.  OneNote works the same way, only the notebooks are electronic.  The way I use OneNote, each notebook is a case or matter file that contains the usual sections of a litigation notebook such as general information, pleadings, discovery, witness files, motions and orders, attorney’s notes, etc. You can also create sub-notebooks.

OneNote Screen Shot 2

Practically any type of file can be drag and dropped into these OneNote sections for ready access. With OneNote, there is no more searching for one of the ten legal pads I have used over time to take notes in a particular case. My notes (and key case documents) are neatly filed by matter, date, subject, witness, or any other criteria I want to choose. Alternatively, I can do a word searches across all of my OneNote matters to find anything in the database. OneNote’s integration with Outlook allows for the easy and intuitive transfer of emails to appropriate OneNote notebooks. You can also email almost anything directly from the notebooks (e.g., sharing notes with a colleague). Task and calendar functions can also be linked and cross-referenced between OneNote and Outlook.

OneNote clipping demo

One of my favorite features is a screen capture function which provides “what you see is what you get” snapshots of your computer screen with optional reference stamp (date/time/source). OneNote then prompts you for instructions for an appropriate place in one of your case notebooks to store the screen clipping, or you can send it to your clipboard for pasting into documents, emails, etc. I used this feature to capture the screen shots for this article.

OneNote can also record audio and video (camera required) and insert these into your case files in real-time. OneNote can even correlate your typed notes with recorded video/audio in real time. This allows you to click on a particular portion of your notes and go directly to the audio/video that corresponds with the notes.

As you might expect, you can use OneNote on the go, synching across all of your mobile devices—iPad, Android, Windows Phone and even the Kindle with the free OneNote Apps. You can take handwritten notes on touch-enabled devices and save them in your OneNote files. OneNote notebooks can be shared with others for online collaboration with your case team.

I have created a simple litigation template to give you an idea of how a typical trial lawyer’s OneNote notebook might be set up. You can download it with my compliments then modify it to fit your needs. The template is a OneNote file designed to be opened in Windows. If you have OneNote installed, it should open right up. If not, install OneNote and then try again.

This article has just scratched the surface of the many possible uses of OneNote for attorneys or anyone that needs to organize large amounts of information and have ready access to it, any time, any place. Highly Recommended!

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Premium – Video Demo and Review

DNS caption Pic

Nuance has introduced Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 – the latest and greatest of its voice type dictation programs. In the linked video, I demonstrate the accuracy of the program and the ability to dictate and control your computer by voice. The major improvements are a claimed 15% greater accuracy over Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12, the ability to switch microphones with less hassle, and the ability to use product without extensive time spent reading text to train the program in your voice patterns.  From my limited testing to date, DNS 13 fulfills all of these promises.  RECOMMENDED.

US Law: Commercial vs. Recreational Use of Drones


In a post last Fall, I demonstrated the capabilities of my inexpensive drone and suggested that an imaginative attorney could find lots of ways to use such a drone in a law practice. I did not, however, address the legalities of using private drones for commercial purposes.  For now, it is an open question whether the commercial use of drones in any manner is currently permissible in US airspace.

The Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) takes the position that drones, such as the one I demonstrated, are not subject to regulation and are perfectly legal to operate for recreational or hobby purposes within certain parameters discussed below. However, it is illegal to use the very same drone for commercial purposes (unless a rare individual exception is approved by the FAA) until the agency finishes developing the regulations for commercial use due out by September 30, 2015.  So, if I want to take an aerial picture of farm as part of my hobby as an amateur photographer, as far as the FAA is concerned it is perfectly legal to do so. However, if I am the farmer and want to check the health of my crop from the air using the same drone, that would be a commercial purpose, would be illegal, and could subject me to a $10,000 per violation fine.

That said, the FAA’s current authority to prohibit the commercial use of drones has been called into question in recent court rulings.  In the agency’s initial attempt to enforce its claimed regulatory authority in this area, the FAA fined one Raphael Pirker $10,000 for using a remote controlled model power glider to take aerial photos for advertising use on the University of Virginia campus. The FAA relied upon a 2007 FAA Policy Statement that requires commercial drones to obtain a Certificate of Airworthiness and be subject to the Federal Aviation Regulations which include operation by a licensed pilot. The agency cited Pirker for violating its ban on commercial drone usage, for operating the drone “in a careless and reckless manner,” pursuant to 14 C.F.R. § 91.13, and operating the drone without a pilot’s license. Pirker challenged the agency’s regulatory authority to enforce the commercial drone ban.

In Administrator v. Pirker, FAA Case No. 2012-EA-210009, NTSB Docket No. CP-217 (2013), a federal administrative law judge held that the power glider used by Pirker was not an “aircraft”—rather, it met the requirements for a “model aircraft” even if it was engaged in commercial operations. More significantly, the Pirker Court held that the FAA had no authority, absent regulations properly adopted through the regulatory process, to regulate this model aircraft whether it was being used for commercial purposes or otherwise. The $10,000 fine was vacated and the case dismissed.

The FAA has appealed the Pirker decision, and staying the regulatory holding pending review by the full National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”).   Even if the NTSB agrees that the commercial use of drones operated within the model aircraft rules is currently unregulated, as discussed below, once the FAA has properly promulgated commercial drone regulations in place, it will have the regulatory authority necessary to take enforcement action against violators.

The Statutory Framework

On February 14, 2012, the President signed into law the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (” the Act”) into law (P.L. 112-95). One purpose of the law is “to establish a roadmap for getting [drones] integrated into the national airspace,” Regulations are to be in place to allow for the use of commercial drones by no later than Sept. 30, 2015, although some question whether the FAA will meet this deadline. It is anticipated that the new regulations will require some type of pilot licensing and airworthiness certification for drones used for commercial purposes.

In contrast to the regulatory restrictions on the operation of drones for commercial purposes, section 336 of the Act provides for a “special rule for model aircraft.” This section prohibits the FAA from promulgating “any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft” if the following statutory requirements are met:

  • the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
  • the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;
  •  the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization;
  • the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and
  •  when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower … with prior notice of the operation….

P.L. 112-95, section 336(a)(1)-(5). Note that no pilot training, licensing or drone air worthiness certification is required or even permitted.  Also note that a 55 pound drone could inflict some serious damage/injury if it plummets from 400 feet above– just saying…

One aspect of the FAA’s interpretation of the Act particularly controversial with the hobby and recreational community is the requirement that the drone operator be able to see the drone with his or her own unaided eyes:

By definition, a model aircraft must be “flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.” P.L. 112-95, section 336(c)(2). Based on the plain language of the statute, the FAA interprets this requirement to mean that: (1) the aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator; (2) that the operator must use his or her own natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to observe the aircraft; and (3) people other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight. Under the criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an unobstructed view of the model aircraft.

To ensure that the operator has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would preclude the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed to provide a “first-person view” from the model. Such devices would limit the operator’s field of view thereby reducing his or her ability to see-and avoid other aircraft in the area. Additionally, some of these devices could dramatically increase the distance at which an operator could see the aircraft, rendering the statutory visual-line-of-sight requirements meaningless.

Finally, based on the plain language of the statute, which says that aircraft must be “flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft,” an operator could not rely on another person to satisfy the visual line of sight requirement. See id. (emphasis added). While the statute would not preclude using an observer to augment the safety of the operation, the operator must be able to view the aircraft at all times.

Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, 14 CFR Part 91 at 8-9.

This interpretation prohibits the drone operator from using augmented reality devices (such as Google Glass or Oculus Rift) as the visual means of controlling the aircraft. Looking at the limited field of view for these devices in the linked examples, suggests that the FAA’s interpretation is a wise one.  If you have an opinion on the matter the FAA has granted a 60-day extension for the public to comment on its interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. The new deadline for comment is September 23, 2014.

While the FAA recognizes that it does not have the authority to regulate drones meeting the model aircraft criteria that are used are strictly for recreational purposes within the described guideleine, but asserts that it can regulate the same model aircraft used for commercial purposes:

Thus, based on the language of the statute, we conclude that aircraft that meet the statutory definition and operational requirements would be exempt from future FAA rulemaking action specifically regarding model aircraft. Model aircraft that do not meet these statutory requirements are nonetheless unmanned aircraft, and as such, are subject to all existing FAA regulations, as well as future rulemaking action, and the FAA intends to apply its regulations to such unmanned aircraft.

Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, 14 CFR Part 91 at 11. To clarify this, in its interpretation the FAA provides the following examples of recreational (non-regulated) versus commercial use (regulated and currently prohibited):

Hobby or Recreation Not Hobby or Recreation
Flying a model aircraft at the local model aircraft club. Receiving money for demonstrating aerobatics with a model aircraft.
Taking photographs with a model aircraft for personal use. A realtor using a model aircraft to photograph a property that he is trying to sell and using the photos in the property’s real estate listing.A person photographing a property or event and selling the photos to someone else.
Using a model aircraft to move a box from point to point without any kind of compensation. Delivering packages to people for a fee.
Viewing a field to determine whether crops need water when they are grown for personal enjoyment. Determining whether crops need to be watered that are grown as part of commercial farming operation.

While drones operated for recreational use under the criteria set forth above are exempt from regulation by the FAA, state and local authorities may impose additional restrictions.

While the difference in regulatory treatment of the same drone and same operator based only upon whether the drone is used for recreational or commercial use is not particularly logical, it arises from the desire of Congress to protect the recreational model aircraft community and not an effort to stifle the use of drones for commercial purposes (nor permit their unfettered and unregulated use).

One thing that is clear, while the federal regulatory bureaucracy may be slow in promulgating commercial drone regulations, the commercial use of drones is coming and will be big business.  It will also present many noval legal issues to be addressed by “hytech lawyers”

If you are interested learning more about the big future ahead for the commercial use of drones, I recommend the linked 60 Minutes ( story which provides some excellent background information.

The Lawyer’s Tool Box– Litigation Task Based Budget Excel Spreadsheet (downloadable)

Cost-conscious clients demand that their litigation firms prepare and yes adhere to budgets, implement Legal Process Management (“LPM”) systems, and generally be more intentional in developing an efficient litigation plan. A basic part of that process is creating a litigation budget. In the old days you might get away with giving a ball park, seat of the pants, life of litigation estimate, all the while knowing it was probably low, because after all you did not want to scare the client. Those days are gone. Clients are insisting upon thoughtful, realistic, task based, process driven legal budgets

While hardly revolutionary, a specially designed Excel spreadsheet can be a very useful tool for creating detailed task based budgets, enabling you to easily see the results of changed assumptions on the bottom line. If you traditionally bill by the hour, but are asked to quote a fixed fee, an Excel spreadsheet budget template is also a useful tool to arrive at a price for which you can reasonably do the work.

Below is an image of one of the templates I use for preparing hourly rate litigation fee budgets (Click on the image to download a working copy):

Task Basked Billing Budget Template

In the template, we used the ABA Litigation Task Based Billing Codes. You input the names and rates of the timekeepers, and then fill out the budget using hours per timekeeper, per task. It automatically adjusts the totals as you change the numbers. Of course, you need to have the experience to reasonably estimate the time it will take to complete each task. Then, if your client agrees to the budget, you need to actively manage the case to stay close to the estimates. That is not always possible, but is more likely to happen if you are intentional in your planning and management of the litigation.

If you are already using the ABA Task Based Billing Codes, it can be a useful exercise to go back and do a post mortem on some concluded matters to get a feel for what it is costing your clients for you to litigate their cases. Savvy clients are doing just that analysis and comparing you to other firms.   While you are doing this review, look for inefficiencies that could be improved upon in your next case to make you more efficient

Detailed upfront planning is the key to litigating more efficiently. We hope the budget template is helpful to you and your clients in developing accurate task based budgets that can then be effective management tools as the litigation progresses.

The Lawyer’s Toolbox: MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad


In late March of 2014, Microsoft released its long awaited Word, Excel and PowerPoint Apps for the iPad. OneNote had already been released several months before. I have been using all of them since the introduction and have generally been impressed. The Windows 8 versions of this same software, with the exception of OneNote, are not touch screen optimized. The iPad versions on the other hand were designed from the ground up for touch screens and visually are works of art.   The irony is that the Word experience on the iPad is actually superior to the Word experience on Microsoft’s own Surface Pro.

The Office Apps are free to download (Word Excel PowerPoint OneNote), and as of the date of this post they have been downloaded over 30 million times. The catch is that unless you upgrade to an Office 365 subscription, you can only view documents—there is no editing capability.   The least expensive subscription option is a “personal” account, which costs $7 per month or $70 for 12 months paid in advance. This buys you use of the apps on both the iPad and one computer (PC or Mac), Plus 20GB of cloud storage through Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service.

I purchased the “home” subscription which allows you to use the software on five computers (PC or Mac) and up to five tablets, with 20GB of cloud storage for each user. The cost for this option is $10 per month or $100 if you pay in advance for the full 12 months. I am running the apps on my iPad, a Mac, an Asus Windows 8 tablet and a laptop.

The advantage to the subscription model is that you always have the latest version of the software, you can use the software on multiple devices, and you have a respectable amount of cloud storage capability. The downside is that you do not own the software and must pay tribute to Microsoft every year.

Word for iPad

This is the opening screen for Word on the iPad. As you can see there are a number of eye catching templates available in addition to the blank document.


Here is a view of an open document:


Most of the core Word functions are available. Here are a few key exceptions:

There is continual spell checking, but no grammar check.

  • You can view, but not update footnotes and end notes.
  • YES- You can you can review and edit using track changes. However, there does not appear to be any way to insert comments.

Now you start a document in the office, work on it on your iPad while travelling and then finish it up on you home computer. OneDrive allows you to have a common secure storage place for your working documents. Once you have created you document you can save it to OneDrive, Email as an attachment, or email as a link to your OneDrive.  [Update: Email as PDF feature added with July 31, 2014 update]

Excel for iPad

Like Word, Microsoft packed the most important functions of its PC version of Excel into a attractive, touch enabled iPad version.   Over 400 formulas are available.   Creating charts and reports will be intuitive for experienced Excel users.


There are some limitations and the following features are NOT supported for Excel on the iPad:

  • Split and multiple windows
  • Slicers data sorting and filtering
  • Timeline data sorting and filtering
  • Adding or updating conditional formatting
  • Adding or updating data validation
  • Adding, updating, sorting or filtering pivot tables
  • Running macros
  • Updating with external data
  • Adding or updating comments (but can view)

On the more positive side there are a number of preformatted templates:


All in all, Excel for the iPad has most of the functionality that most lawyers will need on a regular basis.


PowerPoint for iPad is the most disappointing of the three core iPad apps in the Office Suite. While it will allow you to display your PowerPoint presentations created in Windows, including animations, the tools for creating new PowerPoint presentations or editing existing ones are fairly limited. The following Windows version features are NOT available in the iPad version:

  • Playing, adding or changing video.  [Update this feature was added July 31, 2014]
  • Playing, adding or changing audio.   [Update this feature was added July 31, 2014]
  • Adding or changing animations (but will play existing ones).
  • Adding, removing or changing comments

If you need to create a PowerPoint presentation on the iPad a number of basic templates are available:


Here is what the creation screen looks like:


I prefer Apple’s Keynote to PowerPoint for iPad for presentation creation— especially since I tend to add audio, video and animations. But if you simply want to use a created PowerPoint (without video or audio) on the iPad, the PowerPoint iPad app will serve you well.

Overall Conclusion —while not perfect, the addition of the Office suite to the available iPad apps makes the iPad even more useable for legal work. Recommended.

ABA: Lawyers Can Access Juror Public Social Media Posts but Contact Not Permitted

In a new ethics opinion (Formal Opinion 466 ), the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professionalism opines that lawyers may access public information that jurors or potential jurors put on the Internet about themselves, but they may not communicate directly with the jurors, such as asking to “friend” them on Facebook or “connect” with them on Linked In.  The Committee’s summary of the opinion states:

Unless limited by law or court order, a lawyer may review a juror’s or potential juror’s Internet presence, which may include postings by the juror or potential juror in advance of and during a trial, but a lawyer may not communicate directly or through another with a juror or potential juror.  A lawyer may not, either personally or through another, send an access request to a juror’s electronic social media. An access request is a communication to a juror asking the juror for information that the juror has not made public and that would be the type of ex parte communication prohibited by Model Rule 3.5(b).

The fact that a juror or a potential juror may become aware that a lawyer is reviewing his Internet presence when a network setting notifies the juror of such does not constitute a communication from the lawyer in violation of Rule 3.5(b).

In the course of reviewing a juror’s or potential juror’s Internet presence, if a lawyer discovers evidence of juror or potential juror misconduct that is criminal or fraudulent, the lawyer must take reasonable remedial measures including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal.

ABA ethics opinions are not binding authority but are often adopted by state ethics authorities construing state rules based upon the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

Lawyer Alert– Microsoft Announces Security Flaw in Internet Explorer



Microsoft has issued a security advisory regarding vulnerability in Internet Explorer that could allow remote code execution. Microsoft Security Advisory 2963983 states:

“Microsoft is aware of limited, targeted attacks that attempt to exploit a vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 10, and Internet Explorer 11.  The vulnerability is a remote code execution vulnerability. The vulnerability exists in the way that Internet Explorer accesses an object in memory that has been deleted or has not been properly allocated. The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer. An attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website.”

So what does all this mean in practical terms? To exploit the vulnerability, hackers have to trick users into taking some sort of action such as clicking on a link or opening an e-mail attachment.”An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.”

How to Protect Yourself

If you are a Windows XP user, the product is no longer supported by Microsoft, so no security patch is likely to be forthcoming. It is estimated that 28% of Windows Users are still using the 12 year old XP—seriously, it’s time to move on.  Until you do, you can avoid the IE vulnerability by using any Web browser but Internet Explorer. Good choices in the short term would be Google Chrome, Safari, or Mozilla Firefox. If using another browser isn’t an option, Microsoft suggests downloading its Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit version 4.1 to help guard against attacks until a patch is released.

Users of all Windows versions newer than XP should also use alternative Web browsers, such as the three suggested above until a security patch for the IE vulnerability is provided by Microsoft.

Recommended iPad Apps for Lawyers—The Hytech Lawyer (Winter 2014)

The Hytech Lawyer’s updated iPad Application recommendations for Winter 2014 have just been released.  Many of the favorites return, a few drop off, and eight Apps debut on the list for the first time.  The basic criteria for inclusion are that the App be practical, useful for lawyers, easy to use, and among the best in class.  If you think there is a great App that we are overlooking, please let me know-  Enjoy!


Goodreader ($4.99 App Store)


One of the all time best selling non-Apple apps for iPad. This App allows you read and in most cases mark-up PDFs and many other varieties of documents. Also has a well designed document management system which permits multi-level document files (i.e., organizing documents by case/matter). Integrates well with Dropbox, email and many other applications. Aggressive development team constantly refines and updates the application. A must have for the serious iPad lawyer.

Documents To Go Premium ($ 16.99 App Store)

Docs togoAnother must have application for the serious iPad lawyer. Allows you to open, edit, save, email and create documents in the most popular word processing and spreadsheet applications to include MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and WordPerfect. The “Swiss Army Knife” of iPad document apps.



Pages ($9.99 App Store)


Apple’s proprietary word processing program. Most robust word processing App for the iPad. Converts Word documents for editing and then can convert them back to Word or PDF. Documents created in Pages can be converted to MSWord or PDF and shared by various means. If you plan to draft documents on the iPad, you will want this App.




Digits ($. 99 App Store)  NEW RECOMMENDATION


Full function business calculator that keeps a running “register tape” of all inputs and results.  Customizable.  Great practical App.





SpiderOak (Free up to 2 GB App Store)

SpiderOakSpiderOak does everything that Dropbox does, and more, but is much more secure. Your files are encrypted and SpiderOak does not have a key. SO DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSWORD. To start out, you install the desktop app and select folders you want to backup. Once backed up, you can sync them to other computers/devices or create “Share Rooms” to share files with other users. Use SpiderOak for cloud storage (after 2 GB charges based on storage size), file transfers and collaboration with others. Last year SpiderOak introduced SpiderOak Hive that works just like Dropbox—only much more secure. In my opinion, a “must have” App.


dropboxIn some respects, Dropbox is a fantastic App. It allows cloud storage and sharing of files between computers, smart phones, iPads, you name it. With this App, you can make a file available to all your devices by moving it to the Dropbox on any of your other computers/devices. It  is incredibly easy to use.  The problem—there are lingering questions about the security of files stored in Dropbox and access to them. Further, the terms of service are such that Dropbox can pretty much do what it wants to with your files. In my opinion Dropbox is not suitable for storing or transferring confidential and/or privileged materials.  However, it is probably true that using Dropbox to simply transfer files, and then deleting the files from Dropbox post transfer presents minimal risk. I use it frequently for transferring nonconfidential files because it is easy and many applications are designed with Dropbox capability.


UPAD (4.99 App Store) (most natural handwriting and note taking)


UPAD allows you to use your iPad as a notepad for handwritten notes. I use it every day (with a stylus) in place of my yellow legal pad (although UPAD has yellow legal pad templates for those who wish to honor tradition). I have tested most of the popular handwriting Application (Penultimate (old #1 choice), Note Taker HD, Noteability, PaperDesk, PhatPad 7Notes HD Premium) and have found UPAD to be the easiest to use with the best file storage functionality and most natural writing feel.

Audio Note ($ 4.99 The App Store) (syncs audio with your handwritten or typed notes)

This is a particularly useful app that allows you to take handwritten or typed notes and audio record at the same time. The recording is synced with your notes. On playback select a word from your notes and the audio occurring at the time the note was taken is played back, with the corresponding text being highlighted. Great for witness interviews, depositions, meetings and classes. Caution:—remember the ethical issues related to recording others without their knowledge.

 Smart Writing Tool- 7Notes HD Premium (App Store 9.99) (Best handwriting to text conversion)

7Notes7Notes is reasonably capable at converting handwriting to text. This App has been updated multiple times and has evolved into a practical note-taking tool. My handwriting is horrific, yet 7Notes converts almost every word correctly. It does this by using a predictive language engine, which while generally accurate, struggles with proper names.

You have the option of having your text converted as you write, making corrections along the way, or converting to text later. In our testing, the text conversion was much more accurate in the “convert as you go” mode as compared to using the “convert later” feature.

7Notes allows for the exporting of documents by Email, DropBox (under the print function) or direct upload to Twitter or Facebook. Right now the export is in text, image, or PDF file formats, but the developer is reportedly working on an export to Word feature that could be useful. The App also integrates with Evernote with in App purchase. This integration was not tested.


Twisted Wave ($ 9.99 The App Store) (Best pure audio recorder)


Twisted wave is a professional quality audio recorder app that provides surprisingly clear sound recordings. It has an intuitive interface, which is easy to use and full of powerful exporting and editing features. Caution:—remember the ethical issues related to recording others without their knowledge.




 Air Display ($9.99 App Store)


In my office, I have a dual monitor set-up I find to be very useful. You purchase the iPad App and download the PC host software for free. When on the road, I carry my laptop PC and an iPad2. Air Display allows me to use my iPad as a dual monitor for my laptop over a common WiFi network or via an ad hoc network. You can have an extended screen (screen view) or a duplicate screen. The iPad functions as a touch screen for your Windows PC. This gives you the option of using your iPad as a remote control for your PC or vice versa.

The duplicate screen mode could be also be used to display documents to a witness in deposition prep. The Lawyer on the PC and the witness with the iPad.



Reflector ($12.99  PC/Mac Application)– NEW RECOMMENDATION

Reflector is an application that you install on your PC or Mac.  It allows you to use the Apple Airplay WiFi feature to mirror your iPad to your PC or Mac screen.  This in turn allows you to wirelessly present from your iPad by connecting the PC or Mac to a monitor or projector.  No need for an Apple TV.   Great for teachers and presenters who may need to move around while presenting.


Keynote ($ 9.99 The App Store)


Apple’s answer to PowerPoint for the iPad. You can create presentations from scratch on the iPad, but I have found it more practical to prepare presentations in PowerPoint and then email them to my iPad.  Keynote will convert PowerPoint presentations to Keynote, usually with only minimal tweaking required.  As you might expect from Apple, Keynote has some neat effects for transitions, etc.  If you want to spice up your presentation with animations, effects, cool transitions, and video/audio,  then Keynote is the App to use.


SlideShark  (Free.  The App Store) NEW RECOMMENDATION


SlideShark is the #1 selling app for showing PowerPoints from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch the way it was meant to be seen – with animations, fonts, colors, graphics, videos & hyperlinks intact.  Not quite as full functioned as Keynote—more focused on hassle free conversion from PowerPoint than adding bells and whistles.



Trialpad ($89.99 The App Store)

trial pad

In my opinion, Trialpad is the best trial presentation application available for the iPad. It is also the most expensive (although cheap compared to the cost of preparing even one foam board exhibit). Trialpad allows you to organize documents and display them via a projector or monitor system. You can highlight, redact, mark, and enlarge documents on the fly. It also has the capability to organize and share video and has a whiteboard feature. Documents are transferred to the iPad via Dropbox, e-mail, or iTunes sync. Trialpad is intuitively designed and easy to use.

Exhibit A ($14.99 The App Store)

exhibit aExhibit A has been improved over the years. It has the basic trial presentation functions (callout, highlight, marker and laser pointer). If you are not willing to shell out the dollars for top in class TrialPad, then Exhibit A is distant second choice trial presentation App for the iPad.



Explain Everything ($ 2.99 The App Store)

explain EOriginally designed for educators, “Explain Everything” is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere.

Create slides, draw in any color, add shapes, add text, and use a laser pointer. Rotate, move, scale, copy, paste, clone, and lock any object added to the stage. Add new or existing photos and videos. Import PDF, PPT, DOC, XLS, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and RTF files from Evernote, Dropbox, Box, GDrive, WebDAV, Email, iTunes, and any app that allows you to open these files types using “Open In…”. Export MP4 movies, PDF documents, PNG images, or XPL project files directly from your iPad.

Explain Everything records on-screen drawing, annotation, object movement and captures audio via the iPad microphone. Import Photos, PDF, PPT, and Keynote from Dropbox, Evernote, Email, iPad photo roll and camera. Export MP4 movie files, PNG image files and share the .XPL project file with others for collaboration.

The potential uses for this app are only limited by your imagination. You can create an animation showing the direction of travel of automobile involved in an accident. You can import and crop photographs, add graphics such as arrows, shapes, etc. You can also introduce typewritten text or handwriting. In a nutshell, with the app, you can put most anything on the screen and manipulate it in real-time, while the same time recording it for later presentation in movie format. The animations can be displayed from the app or uploaded into Keynote or PowerPoint.


Timeline 3D ($19.99 App Store)

3d timeWhen it comes time present a time line or chronology, creating a compelling and comprehensible exhibit can be a challenge. Recently, I was consulted on a high dollar commercial dispute submitted to binding arbitration. The lawyers, being cutting edge types, wanted to use iPads in their presentation. There were about 200 key documents, and key dates were critical to the disputed issues. I recommended they use the Timeline 3D App for iPad to display their key dates and documents.




Fastcase HD (Free. The App Store)

fastcase - Copy - CopyFastcase HD is a free legal research application, putting the American law library in the palm of your hand. Fastcase contains cases and statutes from all 50 states and from the federal government. You can search by citation, keyword (in Boolean or natural language), or browse statute collections. You cannot print or copy in this free version, but great for on the fly research.



WestlawNext (Free, but need a WestlawNext account. The App Store)

WestAccess WestlawNext features including, WestSearch™, KeyCite™, Folders, History, document notes and highlighting, browse database content and more — all redesigned for the iPad multi-touch screen.





LawStack (Free. The App Store)

lawstack - Copy (2)LawStack is a portable rules library. It comes preloaded with :

  • US Constitution
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
  • Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
  • Federal Rules of Evidence
  • Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure

You can buy additional references for a fee, e.g., USC Code.

FedCtRecords ($9.99 The App. Store)

fed ctThis application that allows you to easily navigate the Federal Court Pacer system on your iPad. The application allows you to select the court you are interested in from a menu. All you need is your Pacer ID and either the case name or civil action number. You can pull up all general Pacer information and filed documents. Documents can be viewed and emailed from the Application. Once entered a case can be stored for future menu shortcut access. This App is easy to use and well designed.


Scanner Pro by readdle (Free. The App. Store) NEW RECOMENDATION

scannerThere are numerous scanner applications for all the various operating systems. They essentially make your smart phone or tablet a mobile scanner.  My favorite is Scanner Pro by readdle.  With this app you can easily scan receipts, whiteboards, paper notes, or any multipage document. Scanned documents can be emailed and printed, uploaded to Dropbox, Google Drive and Evernote, or simply saved on the iPhone/iPad.

Business Card Scanning

CamCard  (Free. The App Store) NEW RECOMMENDATION

cad scan - Copy - CopyCamCard accurately scans and reads business cards and saves the contact information in your iPhone/iPad Contacts. It syncs all your cards across smartphones, tablets, computers and the web app.





Skype for iPad (Free. The App Store)

skypeThe iPad App for use with the popular video calling service Skype. Call, video call, or instant message anyone on Skype for free. Plus, you can purchase Skype Credit enabling you to call landlines and mobiles at really low rates.



GoToMeeting (Free App iPad Store—requires subscription)

gotomeeting - CopyThis is my favorite iPad application for video teleconferences. This is a subscription based service from Citrix. Very intuitive. Allows for control of the meeting to be transferred among the participants. Now possible to host a meeting from an iPad.




Teleprompt+ ($14.99. The App Store)

telepromptTeleprompt+ is a simple yet powerful professional grade teleprompter for the iPad. Perfect for speeches and presentations where you have a fixed script. You control the speed of the scrolling. Has a video/audio capture feature that records your presentation as you make it.





TripIt (Free. The App Store)

tripitAllows you to manage and share your travel itineraries. Upgrade available by subscription that provides real time flight change, travel advisory and gate information. However, the free version is very useful.




Whether for fun or for work, there are several iPad applications that allow the creative minded attorney to produce high quality photographs, videos, audio, slide presentations and art work that a few years ago would have required sophisticated equipment and help from experienced engineers and/or graphic artists. Here are a number of my current favorites I have used and can wholeheartedly recommend:

AutoStitch Panorama ($1.99.   The App Store)  NEW RECOMMENDATION

pnanAutoStitch is an amazing App that uses you high quality overlapping photographs to generate beautiful wide-angle panoramas with no visible seams.  Easy to use and you can share your creations by email, facebook or twitter. Truly amazing.



360 Panorama (App Store $ .99)—

This App is incredible– allows you to create an interactive 360 degree photograph with your iPhone or iPad. This could be an invaluable tool for mapping out an accident site or crime scene. You can see an example photograph of a cul-de-sac  I created in about five minutes using my iPhone. These images can be shared, flattened, etc.   One of the Apps I use when demonstrating the “amazing wonders” of the iPad/iPhone.

Video Downloader Pro (App Store- $ 3.99)

Allows you to capture download videos from the web and save in your iPad or iPhone photos folder. Once downloaded the video files can be edited in iMovie or Pinnacle Studio. I use the App to download copies of offending advertisements in my false advertising practice.

Snapseed (App. Store $ 4.99) –My favorite photo editing suite for iPhone and iPad. Allows the basic editing and enhancement of photographs and applying limited special effects. Easy to use and great for basic photo touch-up.

Lapse It (App Store – Free) –”Lapse It” is an award-winning full featured app for capturing amazing time lapse and stop motion videos (Available for iPhone, iPad and Android). It is easy, fast and intuitive. I have had lots of fun with this App, capturing cloud movements, traffic patterns, an ice cube melting, etc. Could be useful for a litigator seeking to demonstrate movement patterns over time.

Slo-Pro (App Store – Free) –SloPro captures footage at 720p 60fps, giving you twice as many HD frames to work with. You can toggle slow motion on and off while shooting for engaging fast/slow effects. You can also edit the fast/slow points after shooting. The app allows sharing directly to Facebook and YouTube. Upgrade to export to your camera roll and email. Pro users can also export raw 60fps footage via iTunes. This is great for capturing sporting events, analyzing golf swings and studying batting posture.

Pinnacle Studio (App Store– $12.99) –Pinnacle Studio is an intuitive video/audio App for the iPad. The app allows editing of audio and sound, transitions, titles and special effects. You can share your completed project directly to YouTube, Facebook and Dropbox. For video editing two separate audio tracks are available allowing for a music track and a voiceover track. I have used the App in my litigation practice to create quick and dirty deposition highlight reels.


Zite (Free The App Store). The App Store)  NEW RECOMMENDATION

Like Pandora but for news. Design your own magazine to suit your interests.  As the Wall Street Journal stated—”Great way to deal with information overload.”  I use it everyday.

feedly reader  (Free- The App Store).  The App Store)  NEW RECOMMENDATION–Feedly is a convenient and efficient way to browse and share the content of your favorite news sites, feeds, blogs and youtube channels. Instead of having to hunt down for news, feedly uses RSS to aggregate the contents of the news sites and blogs you like and deliver them as a fast mobile-optimized experience.  I also use this App everyday.