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New Technology Series: The Top iPad Apps for Paralegals

The iPad serves as a media consumption device that can be used to store and organize digital documents, photographs, video files, and sound files. Also, unlike a desktop or laptop computer that requires constant scrolling on the screen to read a document, the iPad provides a comfortable full-page display. In addition, the iPad is an "instant-on" device and there is no annoying boot-up time to suffer through.

But I need to be clear, the iPad is an information consumption device, not an information creation device. For example, the information for this presentation was collected on an iPad, but this paper was drafted on a laptop computer. However reviewing documents, reading and responding to e-mail messages, surfing the web, checking calendars and contact lists, and conducting legal research are all functions that have been enhanced by the iPad.

Here is a list and the official software description of specific useful iPad applications. If you don’t already know them, learn them:

• QuickOffice Connect. Create, edit, and share Microsoft Office documents.

• Westlaw Next. Access familiar WestlawNext features including, WestSearch, KeyCite, Folders, History, document notes and highlighting, browse database content and more -- all redesigned for the iPad multi-touch screen. (Free, but Westlaw Next account required).

• Fastcase. 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. (Free). Other legal apps include Lawstack, which includes, among others, the U.S. Constitution, the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and certain state codes. (Free). LawBox (free) is another app that is very similar to Lawstack.

• Litigator -Litigator is an easy-to-use, all-in-one reference for the working litigator. Whether in court, on the road, or at your desk, have the Federal Rules of Appellate, Civil, and Criminal Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, Supreme Court Rules of Procedure, Title 18, Title 28, and Local Rules at your fingertips in a single searchable application.

• Pages. This is an Apple software product that has been adapted for the iPad. It is the closest thing to a full-fledged word processor on the iPad, but I do not recommend it for lengthy documents. One important feature is that documents created in Pages can be e-mailed in a .doc or .pdf format. In fact, this is the easiest way to convert a document to PDF on the iPad.

• Keynote. Apple's answer to PowerPoint, but not quite as powerful. The app can import PowerPoint presentations.

• TrialPad. This is an up-and-coming trial presentation app that includes Dropbox integration. The user can organize all the exhibits in Dropbox on a computer, then easily import multiple files at once into TrialPad with the folder and file structure intact. Version 2.0 is about to be released and it will include the ability to use "callouts" to emphasize particular words or sentences for presentation. It is the most costly of the attorney-specific applications. Competitors include the RLTC Evidence and Exhibit A.

• Save2PDF. This app allows you to convert documents to PDFs simply and easily right on your iPad without having to go near a computer. Save2PDF will convert most file formats into a PDF including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Photos, Web Pages, Contacts and many more formats.

• IJuror. Provides a seating chart and allows the entry of information on each prospective juror.

• Pulse. Although it is not a lawyer-specific app, it is my favorite way to follow blog postings. (Free).

• Court Days Pro. Provides attorneys and legal professionals with the ability to calculate dates and deadlines based on a customizable database of court rules and statutes. Once the rules are set up in the application, calculations are performed using a customizable list of court holidays. Once you choose a triggering event, e.g., a motion hearing date, the application will display a list of all events and corresponding dates and deadlines based of triggering event, e.g., last day to file moving papers, opposition, reply briefs. Icons on the screen show the number of calendar days and court days from the current date for all resulting events.

• TaskTask HD. A simple, easy-to-use task management application that enables you to synchronize your tasks from your Exchange mailbox to your iPad with ease.

Please note that the next post in this New Technology Series will be published next week!

Ms. Sherry Kubanyi received her B.A. in Political Science and has worked as a paralegal for plaintiffs and defense firms throughout the State of Georgia for over 15 years.