Do you use iPads in your law firm? If not, you’re not alone. According to the 2016 ABA Legal Technology Survey, only half of all lawyers use tablets for law-related tasks. This is because iPads have been around for years now, but not all lawyers have figured out how to incorporate them into their day-to-day workflow. This is unfortunate since iPads can be incredibly useful if you’ve discovered the right apps for your needs.
Fortunately, there are resources available to help you learn more about using iPads in your practice. There are books and blogs on iPad apps for lawyers. There are also webinars, like tomorrow’s, “Top 10 Apps for Lawyers” with Brett Burney (if you haven’t reserved your spot yet, make sure to sign up here.) And then there are CLEs, like the one held this year at ABA Techshow, “iPads in Practice.” During this presentation, Barbara Leach and Tom Mighell offered lots of useful advice on how to use an iPad in your law practice.
Below you’ll find the visual notes from that session along with some of our favorite tips and links to sites that provide further information (click to view larger image):
Accept payments from clients
iPads are great for invoicing and accepting payments from clients on the fly. As the presenters explained, there are lots of useful apps that help you keep track of your firm’s books and track invoices and payments. For starters, there’s the Quickbooks app for accounting. You can also track and enter your billable time with your iPad using either the tools built into your law practice management platform or a standalone billing app. And, you can invoice clients using your iPad via your law practice management system and then accept credit card payments on your iPad from clients during your initial consultation using the payments features of your law practice management platform or a standalone app.
In other words, your iPad is great for tracking your law firm’s invoices and get paid. It’s just one more tool in your arsenal that will help to ensure that your law firm is meeting its financial goals. For even more tips on effective billing practices for your law firm, make sure to read this in depth blog post and take a look at the accompanying infographic.
In the courtroom
If you haven’t tried using an iPad for a litigation matter, then you’re missing out. As the presenters explained, there are lots of useful apps designed to assist busy trial lawyers. Whether you’re deposing a witness, picking a jury, attempting to negotiate a settlement, or trying a case in court, there’s an iPad app for that! Some of the apps recommended by the speakers included: TranscriptPad, iJuror, Picture It Settled, and TrialPad.
Of course, there are lots of other apps for trial attorneys. Some have been around longer than others so you’ll have to do your research and test each one out in order to find the one that works best for your needs. To help you get started, here’s a blog post that covers many of the different apps available for litigation lawyers.
Document signing and PDFs
Although iPads have many uses, they are particularly handy when it comes to PDF management and annotation. Lawyers of all stripes work with documents and sometimes need to review or work with a document on the go. That’s where iPads really shine. As the presenters explained, reviewing and annotating PDFs on the fly is a breeze when you’re using the right apps. Some of their favorites were PDF Expert, Type on PDF, and iAnnotate. Another useful application for iPads is for accepting signature on documents, and the app they recommended for that purpose was Sign My Pad.
For an in depth look at working with PDFs – both on your iPad and off – in your law firm, make sure to watch the video recap of this webinar with Ernie Svenson: “PDF Basics for Lawyers.”
Lawyers take notes all the time. And iPads are a great tool for note taking, whether in your office or on the go. As the presenters explained, there are many benefits to taking notes using your iPad, including the ability to easily access and organize your notes from any device once the notes are synced to the cloud. Also useful is the ability to quickly and easily search your notes for keywords. Some of the apps recommended for note taking included Notability, OneNote, and Evernote.
To learn more about note taking and managing documents with your iPad, make sure to watch the video recap of this webinar with Jeff Richardson: “How to Use an iPad for Your Law Practice.”
Productivity and task management
One reason lawyers love their mobile devices is because they help increase productivity. When you can work from any location, you’re able to make the most of your time. As the presenters explained, working from a mobile device like an iPad makes it easy to be a mobile, productive lawyer. By using your iPad to manage your tasks, you can easily track your productivity and ensure that work gets done. You can accomplish this be using the task management tools built into your law practice management system or by using standalone task management apps.
Interested in learning more about increasing your law firm’s productivity and streamlining your law practice? Then make sure to download this free guide: “The Practice Management Toolkit for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers.“