Illinois Bar Journal

April 2015Volume 103Number 4Page 52

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CLE Spotlight

iPad Apps for Lawyers

Two tech-savvy ISBA members - one a litigator, the other with a transactional practice - describe some of their favorite iPad apps.

Every year, hundreds of Illinois lawyers share their knowledge with thousands of colleagues through the ISBA's Law Ed program. Here's a look at just a few minutes of a representative presentation.
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ISBA Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute, Fairview Heights, September 19, 2014


iPad Apps for Lawyers


Alan R. Press, Lincolnshire

Bryan M. Sims, Naperville

Bryan Sims and Alan Press, both members of the ISBA Committee on Legal Technology, have very different practices. "I'm a litigation guy for the most part, about 80 percent litigation," Sims says.

"My practice is primarily estate planning, probate work, and elder law," Press says. "I don't typically do trials. I'm doing uncontested estates and probate work in court."

The difference in their practice concentrations is reflected in some of the iPad apps they find most useful, as they explained to attendees of the first ISBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute in Fairview Heights near St. Louis.


True to its name, TranscriptPad is designed to enable a litigator like Sims - or anyone else, for that matter - to work with transcripts. "I love this app," Sims says. "I use it all the time."

Because many apps are free and few cost more than $10, "people are going to think it's outrageously expensive at $90," Sims says. "But for what it does, that's a great price."

It's great for reading, annotating, and coding transcripts, he says. "If you just want to read your transcript, it's got a little play button, and you can let your transcript scroll by if you like. You can speed it up or slow it down."

Another nice feature: color codes you can use to indicate specific issues you're dealing with, Sims says. "It's simple to color code an area that you want to mark. You can also highlight text in different colors. You can underline. You can flag something [and] make a little note. You can search for words throughout your transcript," he says.

And when you're done, you can export a report of your processed transcript "In various formats," Sims says. "You can send it out in a PDF, as text, as a spreadsheet. If you really want to, you can print a hard copy or look at it as a full-sized PDF.

"In the past, I paid a couple of hundred dollars for a program on my computer that did this," and TranscriptPad works better, Sims says.

Skype and FaceTime

"As an estate planner, my practice is very meeting intensive," Press says. "I spend a lot of time in front of clients. One of the things I use the iPad for is Skyping or using FaceTime with clients. They tend to have iPads, and [these apps are] quite useful for the iPad. Obviously, it has a built in camera." FaceTime is a preinstalled app that works exclusively with iPads, iPhones, and Mac products, while Skype can also be used in the non-Apple world.

"A lot of you probably already use an app like Skype or FaceTime," Press said. "I have found, even when my office isn't that far away for the client, if I'm having a half-hour meeting, I can use this rather than asking someone to come in or driving out to their house to meet with them."

This is a preferred option for many clients, Press says. "They get to see me, so it's more personal than a phone call. And I can also be anywhere. I can be sitting in my living room with my iPad. I don't necessarily have to be at the office."


"If you use the online version of Quickbooks, they have a special app for iPad and iPhone to access your financial data," Press says. "You can review recent transactions, create invoices, check client information and balances, and receive payments. It also does credit-card processing."

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