The Trial Lawyer’s Guide to the iPad

In early November 2010, the Chief Information Officer (“CIO”) of our Firm had the foresight to realize that the iPad and other consumer tablets would be adopted by lawyers for their practice, regardless of whether that fit into the master IT plan of the Firm—this phenomena has been described as “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD.  To test the Firm’s preparedness to deal with the expected iPad onslaught, certain members of the Firm’s Technology Committee, myself included, were presented with the original iPad for use in our practices as we saw fit, if we agreed to actively experiment with applications and interact with the firm’s existing IT infrastructure.

Prior to receiving my iPad, I had never even held one. My misinformed impression was the iPad was just an oversized iPod Touch. However, after having it only a day, I realized it had tremendous potential for litigation. While a traditional laptop has more sheer computing capability, the elegance of form of the iPad, with its high quality display, user-friendly design, and an ever-growing collection of thousands of applications of all varieties, presented almost as many opportunities for legal practice use as one’s imagination permitted. In the ensuing 2+ years,  I have literally tested and reviewed hundreds of applications, used the iPad in investigations, deposition preparation, depositions, hearings, mediations and an arbitration hearing.

Now for a little about me and my practice. I am an experienced trial lawyer and an equity partner in an AMLAW 200 (soon to be 100) law firm. My practice is national in scope, focusing primarily in the defense of consumer no injury class actions, franchise litigation, dealer/distributor issues for the automotive and trucking industry, and litigation involving alleged unfair and deceptive advertising. Among my clients are some the largest and most successful corporations in the world.

The variety of my practice areas has presented me with a unique opportunity to use the iPad in many situations. In my advertising cases, the ability of the iPad to store, edit, organize, and eloquently display significant quantities of video and audio files makes it a useful presentation tool.  In my class-action cases, typically hundreds of thousands, if not millions of documents are involved. I have found that using the iPad to store key documents to be used in deposition preparations, hearings, and other matters is far superior to loading the documents on a laptop or traditional computer. As for other presentations, Keynote on the iPad is far superior to PowerPoint as a presentation tool for most situations because of its simplicity, wonderful graphic effects and the ability to walk around presenting wirelessly on the fly, as opposed to using a laptop or traditional Windows-based computer. You get the idea.

This Guide provides you with the benefit of my experience, so you can learn from my successes and avoid my mistakes.  I enjoy answering questions and responding to your comments. My goal adds a chapter every two weeks until I am satisfied the major topics have been covered. I hope my work is helpful in your practice.

Bill Latham aka “the hytech lawyer”

January 5, 2013


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