If there’s one thing that the year 2020 has taught us, it is that we must be able to adapt to change.
The ability to work remotely from home or anywhere else has become essential. Our phones or tablet devices are excellent tools to assist in keeping us organized and up-to-date.
I’m predominantly an Apple user and both my phone and my iPad are in daily use.
This article focuses primarily on the iPad but some of these solutions will work on the phone as well.
Here are my top 10 iPad essentials for attorneys-at-law in 2020.
Instead of focusing on individual apps, I’ve divided this list into categories as there may be several apps that can do the same thing – it just comes down to a matter of personal preference.
This article is not sponsored in any way by any particular product, so there are no paid endorsements for anything mentioned here.
- CASE OR COVER
So the FIRST category that I want to focus on today is a case or cover.
An iPad is an investment and of course you’d want to protect it. There are many options for cases or covers on the market. Ideally you would want a case that offers some degree of drop protection in case of any accidental falls.
It may also be worthwhile to get a screen protector made of tempered glass to prevent any scratches.
Of course you should always do your research before buying any of these items and read reviews on shopping sites like Amazon or even video reviews on YouTube.
Many people are using the iPad, particularly the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement nowadays.
I prefer having a laptop and a tablet as I use them quite differently, but it is useful to customise your iPad with different peripherals to work faster and smarter.
You many want to consider getting a KEYBOARD. You can get a keyboard that’s actually built-in to a case or you may get a separate keyboard that pairs with your iPad that you can use only when you want it.
I’m currently using the Logitech Slim Folio case on my 7th generation iPad, which comes with a built-in keyboard that pairs with bluetooth. This allows me to type quickly when I want a keyboard like typing notes in Court , and fold it back for surfing the web or reading.
Another essential peripheral for lawyers is a STYLUS such as an Apple Pencil or Logitech Crayon.
This has come in very handy for me to mark-up or highlight documents that I’m reading on the iPad and to make handwritten notes. It can be a real lifesaver in preparing for a trial, if you’re working off your iPad.
A keyboard and stylus may be good enough as add-ons for most people but if you plan on using the iPad as a laptop replacement, a MOUSE or TRACKPAD can bring a familiar feel of a traditional laptop in a more portable way.
The latest version of IOS now has mouse and trackpad support and I would recommend an Apple Magic Mouse or Logitech Pebble if you’re going to be typing and formatting documents on the go. It just makes these tasks much easier.
- EMAIL CLIENT
So we’ve covered some of the hardware basics and this brings me to my third category of essentials, which is an EMAIL CLIENT.
Email is probably the primary way we communicate with clients, the court or other attorneys-at-law. More than likely, you’ll want to access and organise your emails on your iPad and there are many apps that make this easy to do.
Among the best are the native Apple Mail app, Microsoft Outlook and the Gmail app. Each of these is capable of managing multiple accounts. I prefer however to use the Gmail app for work and the Apple Mail app for personal messages.
- CALENDAR AND SCHEDULING
Some lawyers rely solely on physical diaries or planners while others prefer electronic calendars. If you fall into the latter group a CALENDAR OR SCHEDULING APP will be essential on your iPad and this is fourth on my list of iPad essentials.
You’ll need to keep track of several things: court dates, conferences, filing deadlines and personal matters and most Calendar apps can handle multiple calendars in one application.
There are both free and paid calendar applications with some offering advanced features such as natural language input and the ability to integrate with other software or even voice assistants like Siri or Alexa.
I use the native Apple Calendar app as it syncs well among my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro and I can see my work, personal and family calendars in one place.
- PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
On the topic of keeping on top of things, this brings me to my fifth category of iPad essentials: PRACTICE MANAGEMENT APPS.
Your calendar may only be able to go so far in keeping all your files or matters organized. If your office or chambers uses case management software, there’s probably an app for your phone or tablet. And if you don’t use one, now may be the best time to invest in one of these solutions.
At my office, we use Clio and the iPad app has been a lifesaver for making time entries, adding events and keeping track of tasks and to-do lists in each matter.
Even if you don’t think you need an all-in-one practice management solution, it may be worthwhile having an accounting app on your iPad for generating invoices on the go.
Again, research is important in picking the right solution for you.
- NOTES AND WORD PROCESSING
Sixth on my list of iPad essentials for attorneys-at-law is NOTES AND WORD PROCESSING.
The iPad fantastic for making quick notes and again there are many options available. And if you have an Apple Pencil, the experience is even better.
For note taking, I use Apple Notes, Bear and Notability, depending on what I’m doing.
Of course, for drafting letters, pleadings or contracts you may want to use dedicated word processing software such as Microsoft Word.
- PDF READER AND EDITOR
The seventh item on my list of iPad essentials for lawyers is PDF READERS OR EDITORS.
If you’re reading a scanned document on a scared, it will most likely be in PDF format and of course, the iPad makes reading very easy. With an Apple Pencil you can now markup and make your own notes directly onto PDF documents which you can in-turn share with others.
The court’s e-filing portal requires PDF documents and with a PDF editor on your iPad, you can create and manage documents directly on your iPad for filing.
With the iPad camera, you can even scan a page and save it as a PDF document.
I use the Adobe Acrobat app and the native Apple Markup mode which allows you to markup with an Apple Pencil.
- DRIVES AND STORAGE
Eighth on this list of iPad essentials for attorneys is DRIVES AND STORAGE.
IOS now has a convenient Files app, which makes it easier to work with files and folders as you would on your computer. You can even save attachments from your email using the Files app or upload to any website using the directory system that you’re used to on a laptop or desktop.
But you must have somewhere to store your files and the iPad now supports many different types of external storage that can be connected using the USB C port on the iPad Pro, the lightning cable for other iPad models, or even wirelessly.
Many lawyers also use cloud services like Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive, which all require a WiFi or LTE connection to access.
There are pros and cons of each of these as well as potential security risks, so do your research and take precautionary measures when using external or cloud based storage with your iPad.
- VIDEO CONFERENCING
By now, we’re all used to working virtually and may have used VIDEO CONFERENCING applications, which is the ninth item on my list of iPad essentials for attorneys-at-law.
Zoom, Google Meet, Skype and FaceTime may be used for conference calls.
The Court is Trinidad and Tobago is using Microsoft Teams for virtual hearings and if you have the Teams app installed on your iPad, you can use this rather than a laptop or desktop computer.
The iPad camera is often much better than most built-in computer webcams, so lawyers may prefer to use the iPad for virtual court hearings.
Finally, while I’ve focused so far on productivity, the iPad may be your preferred device for downtime.
Whether it’s watching a movie on Netflix, playing a game or reading an e-book, the iPad is an entertainment device with relatively good speakers and the ability to work with external speakers or displays.