My law firm’s IT group asked me recently to provide it with a short newsletter summary of my utilization of technology in our law firm, centering on use of my iPad. I reprint my summary below that our IT group captioned: “An Attorney with Reflection and Progression Toward Technology” [by James M. Kane]:
As a starting point in this brief summary of how I use technology in my law practice, I recall a note from my father to his Atlanta law partners in 1942 while my father, (in his bachelor days) on leave from his law practice, was in basic training in the Army at Ft. Sill (OK). My father wrote:
“We also have something WAS [Bill Sutherland at Sutherland, Tuttle & Brennan] might be interested in, known as a ‘walkie talkie’ radio, being a combination receiver and transmitter with which he could dictate to you and APJ any time or from any place. If he is interested, I will try to pinch a couple for him!”
I also remember, about thirty years later in the early 70s at our dinner table one evening, my father expressed his fascination about his law firm having just gotten mag-card IBM typewriters. My father was almost at a point of disbelief that the mag-card could retain up to 160 pages of typewritten text.
When I arrived at Chamberlain Hrdlicka in mid-1992 we did not have email and had only a hodge-podge of old IBM 8086 processor computers. Due to the scarcity of computers, I brought my trusty Apple Mac from home (yes, the original black & white screen Mac) and used it for a year or so in my office until our firm added its network, email, computer system. I wish now I had taken a photo of that fine set-up.
At present, I use an iPad for virtually every aspect of my law practice. I admit I sometimes look at all this technology in awe, especially against my history of many years without this digital technology. Of course, one difference is I do not go home at the dinner table and talk about the novelty of these technology tools. My kids are still way ahead of most of us adults in this ever-expanding digital world. They would find my enthusiasm somewhat behind-the-times relative to the scope of apps and tools they use with their computers, iPhones, iPads, etc.
Here are a few of the iPad apps I use in my law practice:
ITimeKeep — This app ties directly into our Rippe [timekeeping] system and is revolutionary, in my opinion. The key feature is my ability to dictate my time entries directly from voice to text. Particularly for situations where my other work gets interrupted, I am now easily able to stop and dictate the time for these interruptions directly into Rippe. This is a phenomenal app. It is helping me capture that 15% or so of work that I simply failed to note in these interruption situations. This app alone would make the iPad a worthwhile office tool.
PDF Expert — This is a PDF reader/editing app. I use it now virtually for all of my reading material, such as research, judicial opinions, outlines, the Fulton County Daily Report advance opinion summaries, and so forth. Using an iPad stylus, I am able to mark-up the PDF item directly on the iPad, including notes, highlights, etc. I can mark-up word documents and email the marked-up copy directly to my assistant. I also now do not worry about arriving at the office, only to find I accidentally left that important research case, etc., on my coffee table at home. These pdf documents are always with my iPad.
GoodNotes— This is a notepad app with which I use the iPad stylus and my iPad for taking virtually all of my notes, including client meeting and telephone notes. I then can select specific pages from this iPad notepad and email those pages in PDF format to Outlook. I then put the notes in a particular WorkSite folder if necessary, etc. I have tried several other notepad apps. The key distinction with GoodNotes is my ability to swipe each page so as to change the iPad view from page to page. By contrast, the other note apps require you to find and actually touch a particular small arrow (button) in order to change from page-to-page. This GoodNotes swiping to move from page to page is the significant advantage of this particular app. GoodNotes actually replicates very closely the way I typically use a regular hardback copy legal pad.
Outlook and dictation — I often dictate responses to emails so that the voice dictation goes directly to text. This uses the Siri feature on my iPad. In fact, this technology summary you are reading is what I dictated on the iPad using the Siri function and Outlook.
iPad Photo function — For various lunch or other business development expense receipts, I use my iPad to take a photo of the receipt and immediately email the photo as an email attachment to my assistant with a brief accompanying Microsoft Outlook text note about the nature of expense. Also, when I am doing research on the iPad, I often take a photo of the particular research material (by clicking the Home and On/Off buttons) for review at a later time. This also gives me the ability to email the particular research to an Outlook WorkSite folder, if necessary.
Phillips recorder — This iPad app replicates my handheld voice-dictation device, but in an image format on my iPad screen. I dictate directly into this iPad app using my iPad. Thereafter with one button I am able to send the dictation file directly to my assistant. We also have a related Outlook rule set up on my assistant’s computer so that I immediately get a confirmation email indicating that the dictation file made it to her computer.
ILinkPro — This is an office telephone app. It enables me to do work at my stand-up desk and to get the caller ID info on incoming calls on my iPad. This gives me the caller ID information so that I can decide whether to answer the call without having to step away from the stand-up desk.
Technology Summary from attorney James Kane in the Atlanta Office (September 03, 2013.)