Legal Research Apps
With WiFi in many courtrooms, and the ability to connect to high speed cellular networks, the iPad makes legal research fast and easy on the go. Here are a few of the popular apps for legal research:
Lexis Advance – Free to download, but requires a subscription to Lexis. If you are more familiar with LexisNexis than Westlaw, then this is the app for you.
WestlawNext– This app is free to download, but requires a subscription to Westlaw. The app is easy to use and has all of the features you would expect from Westlaw.
PDF Annotation Apps
The iPad is also perfect for reading, reviewing, marking up, and signing PDF files. Also, you can review and annotate depositions and transcripts that have been converted to PDFs with these apps:
Adobe Reader – Free. View, annotate (highlight, strike through, and underline), draw freehand, add comments, and organize your PDFs. This app is more “stripped-down” than the others. Also, it does not integrate with any cloud storage such as Dropbox, so you have to email yourself your PDFs to open them, but it is free and gets the job done.
GoodReader – $4.99. This popular app supports reading, annotating, and sharing PDFs. Also the app supports viewing Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint® files, iWork® files, photographs, and videos.
iAnnotate 4 – $9.99. This app is probably the most robust annotation app compared to the others listed here. You can read, annotate, bookmark, and share PDF documents and Word/PowerPoint files, open multiple documents in tabs, customize toolbars, and store documents in the cloud.
PDF Expert – $9.99. Read, annotate, highlight, make notes, draw on, and share PDFs. Also views document types such as iWork, MS Office, images, and videos.
Handwriting & Note Taking Apps
Writing on the iPad using a stylus takes a little practice because you do not rest your palm on the screen as you would if you were writing on paper. If you have ever spent time trying to write legibly on a chalkboard, then you will get the idea. However, with a little practice, once you get the hang of it, the iPad is great for taking and organizing handwritten notes. Nevertheless, for those of you who would rather type, there are apps to suit just about every note-taking need:
Evernote – Free ($45 annually for premium account). This is not a handwriting notes app, but it is an excellent app for taking typewritten notes. You can type notes, record audio notes, search through notes, organize notes by notebooks and tags, and share and email notes. Best of all, you can sync your notes across every device you have including iPad, iPhone, PC, and Mac.
Notability – $9.99. This app integrates handwriting, PDF annotation, typing, and audio recording. You can also organize all of your notes and media by category and subject.
Notes Plus– $9.99. This app supports handwriting, typing, audio recording, and PDF annotation. You can export notes as PDFs. Your notes automatically backup to your Dropbox account.
Penultimate – Free. This app is the most popular app of the group. Although Penultimate is not as feature-rich as Notability, this handwriting app is easy to use, and the handwriting looks spectacular on screen. Organize your notes by topic, project, or category. If all you are looking to do is occasionally jot down notes or ideas, this app is perfect for you. Now syncs with Evernote.
OneNote – Free Capture your thoughts, discoveries, and ideas with OneNote, your very own digital notebook. With OneNote you can seize that moment of inspiration, take your class notes, or track that list of errands that are too important to forget. Whether you’re at home, in the office, or on the go, your notes are available to you on all your devices.
Word Processing, Spreadsheets & Slideshows
Although the iPad’s on-screen keyboard is not exactly conducive to creating elaborate documents and presentations, it works well for smaller projects such as letters, short memos, small presentations, and simple spreadsheets. Using a bluetooth keyboard definitely opens up the possibility of more expansive document creation on your iPad. Plus, there is built-in dictation for 3rd generation iPads and above.
Microsoft Word – Free Read Word documents on your iOS device for free. To create and edit docs, you need a qualifying Office 365 subscription.
Documents to Go Premium – $16.99. Create, edit, and view MS Office files and iWork files. Back up to the cloud. Works with a free desktop (PC) application to allow you to wirelessly sync your files to your laptop or desktop.
Pages, Numbers, and Keynote – $9.99 each. Apple’s iWork suite of applications. Create, view, edit, and share word processing documents, spreadsheets, and slide shows. Overall, these apps do a decent job of converting their MS Office equivalents of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Additionally, the latest version of Pages tracks changes in documents which makes it easy to collaborate with users of Word.
Exhibit & Presentation Apps
Combined with the inexpensive Apple TV ($99.00) and a wireless router, you have an untethered presentation device at your fingertips with no shortage of apps to take advantage of mobile presentations.
Explain Everything Whiteboard – Free/subscription. Explain Everything is the most innovative online whiteboard. Start transforming your virtual collaborations on iOS and then take it to the web and beyond!
The only interactive whiteboard experience that has both real-time and continuous collaboration with voice chat, and advanced recording & timeline editing that can be shared as a web video link.
Keynote – $9.99. Create, view, edit, and share slide shows.This app does a so-so job of converting its MS Office equivalents of PowerPoint, so if you want to keep your transitions and other effects, it would be best to create the slideshow in Keynote.
TrialDirector – Free. This app is just as robust as TrialPad, which would make it a standout considering its price tag. TrialDirector works with or without the desktop version of Trial Director 6 ($695.00) which allows you to create advanced annotations on your PC before you transfer your work to your iPad. Display videos, photographs, PDF’s, and other exhibits. Import all of your exhibits from DropBox. Easily make call-outs, and highlight, redact, and draw on exhibits. Unfortunately, during testing, this app failed to consistently display videos and some images.
TrialPad – $129.99. After importing PDFs, images, text files, and audio and video files into this app, you can present them electronically in the courtroom. Make call-outs from documents, highlight, annotate, redact, add exhibit stickers, create reports of your evidence with exhibit numbers, share database with other TrialPad users.
Law Practice Management Apps
Amicus Attorney Cloud – Subscription. Amicus is not an iPad app per se. Rather, it is a cloud-based practice management, time & billing and client collaboration platform. However, the web-based interface is designed to work not only on desktops, but on iPads and iPhones.
Clio – Subscription service. Like Amicus, Clio is a cloud-based practice management solution for small to mid-sized firms, and its interface is designed to be accessible on mobile devices such as the iPad.
Cloud Outliner 2 Pro – $2.99. Very similar to Outliner, but also syncs with Evernote.
Outliner – $4.99. Create outlines with notes, structured lists, or detailed projects. Sync outlines with Dropbox.
Legal Reference Apps
There are literally several hundred legal reference apps available including state and federal codes and other specialized materials:
LawStack – Free. Lawstack gives you access to the US Constitution, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Criminal, Appellate and Bankruptcy Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, CFR, and several state codes.
Cloud Storage Apps
If you plan to back up, share, and import data, then you need access to cloud storage. Here are the two most popular options:
Box – Free/subscription. 10GBs free. Not as popular as Dropbox, but Box offers more storage space for free. If you need more space, subscription plans are available.
Dropbox – Free/subscription. 2GBs free. This service is the most popular of the bunch, and many of the apps listed here take advantage of linking to your Dropbox account. If you need more storage space, there are paid subscription plans or, if you encourage others to sign up, you get more storage for each referral.
Google Drive – Free/subscription. 15GBs Free with every Google account.
OneDrive – Free/subscription. 5GBs free with every Microsoft account and is built into windows 10.
Spideroak One – Subscription. Starts a 150GB for $6/month. Unlike Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive, Spideroak offers secure and encrypted sharing through the cloud.
Continuing Legal Education Apps
CLE Mobile – Free. Listen to continuing legal education (CLE) programming on your iPad. More than 4,500 CLE courses available for download.