iPad Apps for Practicing Law in the “Post-PC” Era, 0513 SCBJ, SC Lawyer, May 2013, #2

Author:Stephan Futeral.

iPad Apps for Practicing Law in the “Post-PC” Era

Vol. 24 Issue 6 Pg. 34

South Carolina BAR Journal

May 2013

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0 Stephan Futeral.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Over the years, many lawyers have dragged their laptops into court for on-the-fly research, showing PowerPoint® presentations and displaying documents, photos and videos using programs such as Trial Director® or Summation.® Then, in 2010, along came the iPad®, which presented some intriguing possibilities for use in the courtroom and in the office. To be sure, the iPad is great for reading novels, watching Netflix®, listening to iTunes® or playing Angry Birds®. But the iPad is also a useful tool for legal professionals. For example, an iPad can be used to take notes; to outline motions; to review and annotate transcripts; to display slide shows, time lines, photos and videos; to conduct research; and to select juries. Indeed, according to the ABA’s 2012 Tech Survey, 30 percent of all attorneys now use an iPad for law-related tasks.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0With more than 250, 000 apps specifically designed for the iPad, and more than 100 more added each day, finding the right app for the job can be daunting. If you search for the term “law” in the app store, there are more than 1, 350 listings. Search for “lawyers, ” and you will see more than 450 listings. To help you narrow your search, the following is a brief list of law-related apps including prices and Apple App Store Ratings based on Apple’s scale of 1 to 5 stars (please note that prices and ratings are subject to change on the App Store).

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Legal Research

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0With 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.


\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: Free

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Rating: 3 Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: This app is free to download and gives users access to a library of legal research materials including state and federal case law, the S.C. Code of Laws, ethics advisory opinions, court rules, published and unpublished court opinions, past South Carolina Lawyer articles, a searchable index and much more. Best of all, access to these legal materials is free for all South Carolina Bar members.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Fastcase HD

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: Free

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Rating: 4 Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: Fastcase is not as feature-rich as Westlaw Next or Lexis Advance, but it is free and provides accurate search results for cases and statutes, state and federal. You can pay to upgrade to access more researching features.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Lexis Advance

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: Free

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Rating: 3 ½ Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: 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.


\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: Free

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Rating: 3 ½ Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: 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.


\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0The iPad is an excellent “consumption” device for reading and annotating transcripts. Although you can convert your transcripts to PDFs and use one of the PDF Annotation apps listed below, here are a few apps specifically dedicated to reviewing and to annotating transcripts:

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Mobile Transcript

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: Free app; subscription services Rating: 3 Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: Requires a subscription to load transcripts into the cloud. Review transcripts, highlight key testimony with the tap of a finger and quickly e-mail selected points (in Excel format or PDF with yellow highlights). The app also logs the lawyer's billable time, and the time log is exportable as an Excel or PDF file.


\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: $49.99 Rating: 4 ½ Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: With this app, you can carry your transcripts in a single app; search across an entire case, a single witness or one deposition; reference exhibits as you read the transcript; create, color code and assign issue codes; and print or e-mail detailed or summary reports.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Westlaw Case Notebook Portable E-Transcript

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: Free

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Rating: 3 ½ Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: This app allows you to read transcripts prepared as e-transcripts (PTX format), search word indexes, highlight, create notes and e-mail transcripts with annotations.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0PDF Annotation

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0The iPad is great for reading, reviewing, marking up and signing PDF files. You can review and annotate depositions and transcripts that have been converted to PDFs with these apps:

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Adobe Reader

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: Free

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Rating: 3 Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: View, annotate (highlight, strikethrough 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 e-mail yourself the PDFs to open them, but it is free and gets the job done.


\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: $4.99 Rating: 4 ½ Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: This popular app supports reading, annotating and sharing PDFs. The app also supports viewing Word®, Excel® and PowerPoint® files; iWork® files; photographs; and videos.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0iAnnotate PDF

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: $9.99

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Rating: 4 ½ Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: Read, annotate, bookmark and share PDF documents and Word/PowerPoint files, open multiple documents in tabs, customize toolbars and store documents in the cloud.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Legal Viewer

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: $4.99 Rating: 4 Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: This is a PDF app designed to view and annotate eBriefs (hyperlinked briefs) and other PDFs on the iPad.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0PDF Expert

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Price: $9.99

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Rating: 5 Stars

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Description: Read, annotate, highlight, make notes, draw on and share PDFs. Also views other files such as iWork, MS Office, images and videos.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Note-taking and Handwriting

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Writing on the iPad using a stylus takes a little practice because you do...

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