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« Checking Available Storage on your iPad | Main | 60 iPad and iPhone Apps for Lawyers - The Apps, Redux! »

Answers to Questions - 60 iPhone and iPad Apps Seminar

Last week I was honored to reprise our very popular 60 iPhone and iPad Apps in 60 Minutes, presented by Josh Barrett, Jeff Richardson, Reid Trautz, and me as your humble moderator.  Because the session was so fast-paced, we had very little time to answer all the great questions we received.  We took the time to jointly answer the questions, which appear below.  If these answers raise even more questions, please let me know.  

Question #1 from S.F. from Anchorage, AK:  What is the best way for lawyers to use Dropbox or a similar service with an iPhone or iPad, assuming the need to access client information occasionally?

Answer:  Dropbox is a useful service for sharing documents between multiple computers and between a computer and an iPhone and/or iPad.  Because Dropbox is run by a third party, however, you need to be conscious of security issues.  Jeff's solution is that he only uses Dropbox for non-confidential documents, such as copies of pleadings, depositions and exhibits.  For confidential attorney-client documents, Jeff keeps those documents in an app like GoodReader or Quickoffice that allows you to password-protect documents.

Tom also uses Dropbox, but understands that SpiderOak provides better security.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t integrate with as many iPad apps as Dropbox, which limits its utliity.  Tom also recommends GoodReader as a good app for downloading and accessing your Dropbox files - it is relatively simple to connect your Dropbox account to GoodReader, and start downloading files to your iPad.  Tom says "Whenever I download a new app, one of the first things I do is check to see whether it integrates with Dropbox.  You may find you have a lot of apps that do so, and it may be easier to download into those apps directly from Dropbox, rather than into GoodReader."

Josh often uses the file manager built into LogMeIn Ignition to grab confidential client files left on the computer back at the office. The transfer from desktop to iPad is encrypted end-to-end and doesn't let the document sit on a cloud based service so the confidentiality concerns some raise about services like Dropbox don't apply. The key to using any cloud based service with your device is setting up a good workflow to help keep track of document revisions, versions and originals.

Reid uses the Dropbox-GoodReader combo, and also uses DropBox to transfer PDFs to the Apple iBooks app for reading. Jeff adds that, on the iPhone, the Apple iBooks app is his favorite app for handling PDFs.

Alternate Calendar Apps
Question #2 from J.H. from San Francisco, CA: Does entering an event in Calvetica simultaneously make the entry in the iPhone Calendar app?

Answer:  Yes.  One of the nice features of third party calendar apps such as Calvetica, Easy Calendar or Agenda is that the all use the iPhone and iPad's built-in calendar database.  Thus, you can use one app to enter an event, another app to edit the event, another app to view the event, and they are all working from the same database.

Question #3 from C.P. from Greenwood Village, CO:  Do the calendar apps interface with Microsoft Outlook calendars?
Question #4 from L.L. from Saint Louis, MO:  Do the calendar apps interface with MS Outlook?  We use an Exchange server to coordinate with our iPhones.

Answer:  Again, yes,  Because all iPhone and iPad calendar apps use the built-in calendar database, if you have your iPhone and iPad configured to synchronize with your office's Exchange server, you can add an event in a third-party app and then the change will be synced to Exchange and will show up in Outlook on your computer.

Question #5 from C.McD. from Blue Bell, PA: What stylus do you like for Penultimate?
Question #6 from M.M. from Reno, NV:  What is the name of the suggested stylus?

Answer:  Jeff's current favorite stylus is the Kensington Virtuoso Stylus for Tablet which he reviewed on iPhone J.D. here.  Tom's current favorite stylus is the Adonit Jotpro Stylus.  Josh uses the MORE/REAL Stylus cap because it has the weight and balance of a regular pen. That said, Josh recommends waiting until version 2 is released with the faster tip. If you go to the iPhone J.D. website and do a search at the top right for “stylus” you will find lots of reviews pointing out the advantages and shortcomings of many different options.

Accessing Online Legal Resources
Question #7 from: M.S. from Shawnee Mission, KS: Two general questions regarding the iPad.  First, do you have any suggestions on how to access electronic dockets and pleadings etc. in federal court?  I can access it through my browser on the iPad but cannot scroll within documents that are retrieved.  Do any apps help?  Second, and similarly, I cannot scroll down within the web browser when accessing Lexis on my iPad.  Do any apps help for this?

Answer: When you access PACER from an iPad, once you select a document from the docket, if you click the button to view a document you only see the first part of the first page and cannot scroll down.  However, there is a workaround.  Instead of clicking the button that says "view" click the button that says "download."  This will send a .zip file to your iPad, and your iPad will ask what app you want to open the zip file in.  One such app is GoodReader an app that Jeff recommended. Josh recommends ReaddleDocs for the same functionality.  Either app will allow you to unzip a .zip file and view all of the PDF files contained in that file.

As for accessing Lexis on the iPad, Lexis is supposed to be updating so that it can be accessed from an iPad.  Moreover, before the end of this year, Lexis will be releasing a Lexis Advance app for the iPad.  For more information on the upcoming Lexis app, see this post from Jeff on iPhone J.D.

Voice transcription
Question #9: S.E. From Draper, UT: Can the Dragon Diction app be download to an iPad?

Answer:  Yes.  The Dragon Dictation app works on both the iPhone and iPad.

Remote access
Question #10 from R.H. from Milwaukee, WI:  Is there an app to allow my iPad to connect to my desktop remotely?  I use Time Matters.

Answer:  Yes, any of the remote access apps that we discussed in our session will let you do this — Citrix Receiver, LogMeIn Ignition or GoToMyPC.

Question #11 from P.O. from Austin, TX: Is LogMeIn Igntion better than iTap RDP?
Question #12 from P.dB. from Stuart, FL: Do you recommend LogMeIn more than iTeleport?

Answer:  None of the presenters have used the iTap RDP, but in Tom’s opinion, it looks like a good option.  It uses Windows’ Remote Desktop Protocol, which is a solid method for remotely accessing your computer.  Tom thinks that LogMeIn might be better for one reason:  ease of configuration.  With LogMeIn, it “just works,” and requires very little configuration.  It looks like the iTap RDP requires a little more work under the hood, which might limit the app’s appeal to more advanced users.  Further, with LogMeIn you can access your desktop from any computer using just a browser, with no configuration; with the Remote Desktop Protocol, you’d have to configure it on any computer you plan to use.

Likewise, none of the presenters use iTeleport, which also looks like a solid remote desktop application. However, like iTap, it does not appear that you can use iTeleport on regular computers to remotely access your desktop - LogMeIn’s universal capabilities give it an advantage here.

Reid’s office has a corporate GoToMyPC account, so he has to use their iPad app. He finds it works well on his iPad2, although sometimes a bit balky.

First generation iPad
Question #13 from J.G. from Pocatello, ID: Do most or all of the apps discussed work with the first generation iPad?

Answer:  Very few apps that work with the iPad require the iPad 2, although some do exist.  All of the apps that we discussed work on the original iPad and the iPad 2, although some of these apps are designed for the iPhone and therefore run on the iPad/iPad 2 in iPhone emulation mode.

Accessing Word documents
Question #14 from M.H. from Lubbock, TX: What is the best app to read and edit Microsoft Word documents?

Answer:  The most popular apps for reading and editing Word documents are Documents to Go, Quickoffice and Office2.  Jeff's current favorite is Documents to Go because it is the only app of the three that shows you footnotes and shows you redline edits (although it will not let you create footnotes or create redlines).  But these apps are updated frequently, so hopefully the other apps will add this feature soon.

Apps for transactional law
Question #15 from D.C. from Naperville, IL: I am a transactional lawyer, with a specialty in business law, estate planning, tax and some business litigation.  What are the apps you would consider important for a lawyer with that type of practice to have?

Answer:  As a transactional lawyer you deal with a lot of documents.  If those documents are in PDF format, GoodReader or PDF Expert are essential apps for managing and annotating those documents. Josh prefers PDF Expert because of the easy to use document signing too, the ability to reorder/move/delete pages from a PDF and the ability to fill PDF forms. You also need one of the Microsoft Office compatible apps like Documents to Go or QuickOffice.

Josh recommends creating a folder on your Dropbox with your principal forms. This will give you access to your key drafting inspirations from anywhere.

If you use a Mac in the Office, also consider TextExpander Touch (with the desktop companion TextExpander) which allows you to expand text snippets into words, sentences or even paragraphs. With this app, Josh types "attfee1" and TextExpander types his preferred attorney fee clause. The snippet "simplemisc" expands into my preferred miscellaneous clauses for a basic contract that I can then edit. "engageltr" expands into the text I start with when drafting my engagement letter or email.  Note that iOS 5 will also provide a shortcut feature like this but it is unclear whether you can sync the shortcuts to a computer.

One key to making the iPad work well for transactional lawyers is to have some flexibility or be willing to try new things in your workflow. For example, Josh does lots of drafting in plain text on the iPad and only worries about formatting when back in front of a desktop computer. Even with the Word compatible apps mentioned here, they aren't WYSIWYG. You will still need to fine tune back at the office on your own or send to an assistant to format. Plain text is also necessary to take advantage of TextExpander since at this time the Word compatible apps do not support it but apps like Elements or Plaintext do support TextExpander.

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