One of the most powerful things that an attorney can do with an iPhone is use it as a mobile law office, allowing the attorney to get work done no matter where the attorney is located. Clark Stewart, a solo practitioner in Gadsden, Alabama who specializes in criminal defense and family law, demonstrates this in the following story that he sent me about how his iPhone helped him to get a client out of jail:
Back in May, my wife and I were enjoying a quiet night of sleep before driving the 6 hours with a toddler to Panama City for a much needed vacation. I got up to get a glass of water around 4am and checked my iPhone for new mail out of habit. I had several missed calls and voicemails. Upon playing my messages I learned that one of my clients was in jail on a bench warrant. The problem was that the judge in her case had recalled said warrant the afternoon before!
I called the booking officer on duty at the jail who was less than sympathetic to my client's plight since he didn't have a copy of the order quashing the writ. However, I did.
Earlier that day his Honor had e-filed said order. Since any new filings in all cases assigned to me come directly to my iPhone via email I now had proof for the jailer. But how to get it to him? He was unable to access his email from the booking computers due to policies and security firewalls. He could receive a fax though.
Being a sole practitioner at 29 years old, I don't have the capital for a fax machine and all the extra expenses they entail, but I do have the fax to email services of MyFax for $10 a month. I simply forwarded the judge's order to the jail's fax machine while I was talking to the officer, all from my iPhone.
30 minutes later my client was back on the street, and I could go back to sleep rather than facing the moral dilemma of sleep versus a cross town drive to my office to print out the order had I not had an iPhone.
In short, MyFax and my iPhone saved the day — at least, as far as my client was concerned. The next day drive to the beach with Elmo playing over and over on my kid's DVD player is another story!
What a great story. Because my practice is mostly class actions, complex litigation and appeals, I know that my natural tendency on iPhone J.D. is to talk about the use of iPhones in civil litigation. I'd love to hear from more criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors who have made good use of the iPhone in their practice.