Enterprising Lawyers Adopting the iPad

The iPadJosh Barret on his Tablet Legal blog has an excellent post on what “enterprise adoption of the iPad” means to lawyers. Forrester recently released a report about how the 200 companies they interviewed are adopting and adapting the iPad into their core workflows.

The report highlighted three main points about the iPad in the Enterprise:

  1. It’s “displacing” laptops
  2. It’s replacing paper
  3. It’s providing unique access to information (e.g. sales-people able to use it in the field to close calls)

And while many lawyers would appropriately distinguish their practice from the typical corporate enterprise, these studies are relevant because it portends how the iPad will develop into a better business tool. Josh does an excellent job in his post of’ describing how this recent report relates to the environment of a law practice.

iPads Are Replacing Laptops. I haven’t seen more than anecdotal evidence of laptop replacement among the lawyer set which is surprising considering the typical short list of lawyer computing needs: reading, writing, email, calendar, contacts, internet. All of these are handled well by the iPad. However, lawyers often deal with lots of files. File management on the iPad is much different than on a PC and does require some extra effort.

iPads Are Replacing Paper. The iPad is great way to replace all kinds of materials that would otherwise be printed. In the legal field, I don’t see this attitude among lawyers in large numbers. … Perhaps the willingness to abandon paper is an attitude that will grow with the next generation of legal professionals

iPads Are Creating New Efficiencies. Two areas where I do think the iPad offers lawyers huge opportunities for efficiencies is in document review/annotation, particularly of PDF files, and access to legal information (cases, statutes, treatises).

Josh also notes that one of the top questions he receives is about using Microsoft Office on the iPad. While Microsoft has not released a native iPad Office app, there are some excellent office “suites” for iOS including Documents To Go and Quickoffice. These suites are NOT intended to be a full replacement for the work that lawyers do in Microsoft Office on a computer. Lawyers have very specific needs for a full office software suite that cannot be replicated in a stripped-down, mobile version of software.

You CAN, however, use the iPad to create the CONTENT of your document which can be manipulated and formatted at a later time. Just like Josh points out in his post, lawyers can use the iPad to capture their content, and they have an assistant that can formally format the document, create the TOC or TOA, and generally finalize the document. Even if you don’t have an assistant, consider the workflow from creating the initial content on the iPad, and then exporting it off the iPad into a full version of Microsoft Office on your computer for a second read-thru.

Tablet Legal: Enterprise Adoption of iPad: What about Lawyers

BONUS: TiPb.com posted a “holiday gift guide” for iPhone and iPad gifts for business users – some great stuff there.

UPDATE #1: It’s an older story from August, but the Wall Street Journal has a good piece entitled “Businesses Add iPads to Their Briefcases” which profiles the use of the iPad at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, now SNR Denton. The short audio interview is good too.

UPDATE #2: I don’t mean for this post to be a collection bin for all stories related to the iPad adoption in business, but the Macworld/CIO story “How a small manufacturer turned to the iPad” was just too good to pass up. It really doesn’t have that much to do with the practice of law, but just an excellent example of how the iPad fills an important hole of business communication where not even a computer was viable.