The iPad – Using it at work

The iPad, what an amazing invention…. ok, perhaps not so much an inventions when it was released by Apple.  I guess it was genius marketing.  At the time it came out there were already other gadgets on the market that probably would have done the same thing but none of them ever took off like the iPad did.  Even when the competitors came on, and there were quite a few, the iPad remained the one table everyone wanted.


I had the original iPad and then the iPad 2.  when the Mini came out I swore I would not get it.  After all, why would I want a smaller tablet?  Would I be able to read anything on the screen?  Well, it didn’t take a lot of convincing.  One visit to the Apple store and one look at the cute little table, I had to have it.  I got the regular WiFi only version, at times it’s annoying, but I’m surviving and I love it.

Originally, I was using my iPad more at home and occasionally to read some PDFs, read books, take some notes.   I never took it to the next level.

Recently I’ve discovered whole new world of Apps which make my life 100% more productive no matter where I am.  This could be a good or bad thing.  Considering that I’m always ready to pick up my iPad it means that my boss knows that no matter where I am I will always have everything available to have a discussion……. Use at your own risk.

Research:  There are two great apps for the iPad that I use quite often The CFR and The US Code.  The actual apps are free but you have to buy the titles.  The good thing about this is that you only need to buy the titles you need.  For instance, for me, in the Code of Federal Regulations, only needed to buy Title 12 (for now) I may at some point need to buy others but the price is not so bad.  I use these all the time when I just want to quickly look at the Reg or the Code.  I’ve used it mostly when I’m on the phone.

There is a Black’s Law Dictionary which would be a great addition to my iPad, but I have not purchased this one.  For now I’ve been using the dictionaries at the office or at times I can get away with free dictionaries on the internet.  You know how that is, when you’re on a paralegal salary…. Sometimes have to wait. I guess I’d say that this one is a “nice to have.”

Fastcase, is another app that I currently don’t use very often but have used from time to time.  It’s free and it provides you with information regarding case law.  It can be search using a citation or natural language.  Although not as comprehensive as a Lexis or a Westlaw, it’s good enough when you need a case in a hurry and have no access to either of the other two or don’t have subscription to the others.  I liked it and would recommend it.

Note Taking:

Note taking applications are various.  I have a tried a few and at the moment am sort of disappointed with all of the handwriting note taking applications.  So in order to protect the guilty I will refrain from reviewing or mentioning any of them until the time I actually find one I enjoy and works well.  I’m not very picky.  All I need is an app that recognizes handwriting and allows me to write lots and lots…. almost like having a notebook at my desk.

So, for now, I am taking my notes on the Apple Pages which is the equivalent of Word.  I bought a small keyboard for my iPad and carry it with me wherever I go.  I really like it.  I bought the Logitech Keyboard in white for the iPad Mini (my Mini is white).  It takes a little of getting used to, since the keyboard is so small but I’ve found that the typos can be corrected later and I’m getting faster at typing on it now.  So I don’t mind so much.  I still wish I could take notes by hand….. What can I say, old habits die hard.

Reading and Marking Up Documents

I have used two apps for reading and marking up documents.  I don’t know about you, but I love to write notes on the margins of the documents and draw arrows, highlight and doodle when I have nothing better to do.  Let’s just say my documents wind up being very colorful…. But neat…. I don’t like messy.  So for this purpose I have found two apps which do the trick.  Evernote and Goodreader.  Evernote is great because it syncs with all your other devices which can be a good thing.  However, I don’t often need that since my iPad is with me at all times.  Goodreader is my favorite for no particular reason other than there is more room on the margins to write and the way the pages turn is more user-friendly, in my opinion.  Goodreader also syncs with my Dropbox account so I can access my documents on my computer if I have to.  I find that downloading the PDFs to Goodreader is simple and if I want to keep a clean copy as well as a marked up copy, the app allows me to do that.

Legal News

Well, this one is all over the place.  So most of the time I get my news from the various blogs I read.  Where it comes to apps on the App store I sometimes read the ABA Journal.

appointments and Meetings

I used iCal for a very long time.  This year I was introduced to Sunrise and I have not looked back.  Sunrise syncs with iCal so I can go back and forth if I need to and because my husband and I have one shared calendar on our phones it’s a good thing that it does.  He still gets all my notices….. Sometimes he’s not so happy when I put “to do’s” on his calendar or schedule things for him to do.  But …. those are the breaks, right?  Sunrise is pretty to look at and because it syncs with iCal my color coding does not have to be updated or re-created. Once I set it up it just worked.

I no longer carry notebooks or pens and paper with me anywhere.  The days of having a notebook and a pen and shuffling through my purse or whatever other bag I happen to be carrying to find a pen so I could write a note are sooooooo over.  These days I take a note on my phone and within seconds I have that same note on my iPad and on the iPhone.  If I can’t write it, I sometimes even dictate it.  I have pens at my desk at home but those are mostly used to write on my calendar at home because I still can’t get used to not having a paper calendar.

I hope this helps a little bit.  Finding the right app to help you be as productive as you can be is a work in progress and I feel as if I have only scratched the surface.  I made a promise to myself that by the end of the year I would be close to being paper free.  So far, I’m doing really well.  Aside from some files which I still need to convert to the computer my desk has no papers on it.

If you know of any apps you think I’d like, please feel free to leave a comment.  I would love to try them out.  As I said, my road to a greener work life is still a work in progress.  What about you?



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