Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Using the iPad in your legal practice — 2016 update

iPad, sidduz, FlickrIt has been over 3 years since I wrote this piece – – I feel an update is in order. What I want to convey is merely what has worked for me, and what hasn't. Let's start with the apps I've been using regularly for work.

For emails, I am still using the native MAIL app but now in tandem with INBOX BY GMAIL. The reason I use the second app is because I need its "defer till later" function which allows me to put aside unimportant emails which will reappear in my inbox later in the day, the next day, the weekend, or to a specific date and time, or (and this is cool but not really useful for me) to a time when I arrive at a particular place (this is useful when I need, say, a batch of emails to reappear in my inbox when I arrive at a particular location for a meeting).

My calendar is still the native CALENDAR app mostly. But since my phone is an Android, I also have the GOOGLE CALENDAR app running because the "schedule" view totally works for me.

For word processing, I use the native NOTES app for quick pieces since basic formatting is now available. I will only use PAGES when the need arises to edit the raw text since anything pasted into PAGES is pasted as raw text, while formatting is maintained when you paste into NOTES. I have not used the MICROSOFT WORD app after trying it out for a month or two. But it is a good app. When collaborating with other lawyers, I use GOOGLE DOCS because it allows for realtime editing with collaborators and we can leave comments for each other. This speeds up work tremendously.

When preparing cases, I work mainly with scanned PDF of my files – annotating them to remind myself of salient points in each case file. I still use PDF EXPERT. It is, to me, the best app on my iPad. For organising the development for each case file, I use EVERNOTE and devote 3 notes (usually) per file – chronology, examination-in-chief/cross-examination flow/questions, and the submission flow. Each case file gets a specific name, and I do not create individual folders for each case file. What I do is use tags to remind me what each case is about, for e.g. statute, court, active or closed case file, area of law, and anything that will help me tap into research already done when preparing a future case. I use the tag function as guideposts.

To convert photos to PDF, I use SCANNER PRO, and I have PDF PRINTER on standby to convert web pages to pdf (this can also be done with the 'save to PDF in iBooks' function now available on the latest iOS).

I still use DROPBOX and GOOGLE DRIVE for my cloud storage needs. iCloud is on by default.

For instant messaging, I have WHATSAPP and TELEGRAM on the phone, and TELEGRAM on the iPad. Having Telegram on both the iPad and phone is liberating because there is the option of typing out longer messages (and it's easier to proofread on the iPad), sending it to myself via Telegram, and then forward to others via WhatsApp (which is the preferred app for most of the people on my contact list). There is less chance of typographical errors. I also use ZELLO on occasion – usually when coordinating large events or outings.

As part of my continuing education, TED talks are still a staple. I use the YOUTUBE app. Channels that I find particularly good are The RSA and The School Of Life.

New things that I currently use: IKEA's ISBERGET tablet stand. Cheap, and works brilliantly when I'm conducting a case at court.

Things/Apps that I do not use anymore: The stylus. iPad works best with fingers. That is its magic. As for all the other apps that I mentioned in the first article but not in this, I don't/rarely use them anymore.

And this article? Written on the iPad with the 2-thumb typing method, and final editing using a laptop.

Explore the apps mentioned in the article:-
Jason Kay is a lawyer residing in Melaka.  His interests include legal aid (YBGK) (Bar Council LegalAid Centres) and war crimes (Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal).  He blogs at Open Letters, and tweets @JK_mlk

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