From time to time, attorneys who read iPhone J.D. write to tell me how they are using their iPhone or iPad in their practice. I love to read these stories, and with permission I like to share them here on iPhone J.D., but it occurs to me that I haven't done so since I wrote about Iowa attorney Megan Erickson back in May of 2011. Thus, I was happy to hear from personal injury attorney Zane Cagle of the Cagle Law Firm in St. Louis, Missouri who shared the following with me about how he uses his iPad. Stories like this always make me think about additional things that I can do with my own iPhone and iPad, so hopefully you will also enjoy reading this. Take it away, Zane Cagle:
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Modern technology has changed the way businesses operate and law firms are no exception. This is especially true at The Cagle Law Firm where both I and many of my colleagues use iPads on a daily basis for numerous tasks. Leveraging technology allows us to stay in constant communication with our clients, the courts, other law firms, and internally. Whereas the desktop changed the corporate landscape and laptops brought freedom – the iPad takes the technology revolution to a whole new level.
When I meet with clients it is important to have an understanding of exactly where their case is, the law surrounding it, and the steps forward. Meeting in someone’s home as I often do means that I typically do not have instant access to law libraries, factual information, or the current court records. I can call my legal secretaries and paralegals to assist by looking things up or bringing in files but that requires taking time away from the client to speak with another staff member. In addition, our staff members tend to work more traditional business hours while it is not uncommon for me to meet with clients at all hours of the day. Having an iPad gives me a way to access necessary information day and night, seven days a week.
I also use my iPad for client acquisition. Cell phones have become advanced enough to search the web and store contacts fairly easily but I have found that using an iPad allows almost the same portability as a cell phone but with many more options for providing potential clients with useful information as well as storing detailed contact information. While an iPad probably isn’t the best thing to write lengthy briefs it can be used to take notes during initial meetings. I use it with a note keeping and sharing application called Evernote which allows me to sync information entered into my iPad with my cellphone, laptop, and desk top computer as well as share it with my colleagues.
I often use Google Earth and other similar applications with my iPad to increase the quality of service that I can provide to my clients. When meeting with clients in their homes I can use these tools to help the client discuss and reference exact locations and circumstances of their accident. I often use the iPad camera as well, but perhaps not as often as I could be. I have used it in meetings with clients and at the scene of an incident to document injuries and other images relevant to the case. The camera can also function as a scanner with DocScanner which allows us to scan needed documents and file the originals away. This ensures that I will have all relevant documents at all times and that the originals will remain safe. Again, this feature works great with Evernote which I use to attach a photo or a scanned document to client notes and organize, store, and share these with the necessary parties.
I use the iPad in all steps of my process and this includes the trial itself. Rather than carrying in several heavy boxes of documents we can use the above method to quickly scan, save, and access all necessary paperwork instead of carrying in several heavy boxes full of documents. Exhibits such as jury instructions can be easily altered after rulings when in the past, this meant crossing out words or running to the printer to have items reprinted. Revising on the iPad and then projecting onto a wall or other surface is much more convenient and eco-friendly. Exhibits for trial are easily saved and transported to the court through the iPad which makes preparing for trial less like an office move!
Using an iPad has definitely helped me become more efficient and organized in my practice and it allows me to better serve my clients. For those of us at the firm who currently use them I don’t think we will be giving them up anytime soon, and those who are not will most likely be getting one in the near future.
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If you are interested in letting other iPhone J.D. readers know how you use your iPhone and/or iPad in your law practice, just let me know. My contact information is on the left of this website. I'd love to hear from you!