Today’s Tech: How A Personal Injury Lawyer Uses His Android Tablet

Technology today's tech This isn’t the first time I’ve written about tablets. In prior columns I’ve shared how an appellate lawyer uses his Sony Notebook, how a public defender uses her iPad, and how two federal judges use their iPads. And each time I did so, some of you lamented in the comment section that Androids weren’t getting fair coverage (yes, I read the comments sometimes).

Well, good news! Today’s column is all about Android tablets and how an Oklahoma personal injury attorney uses his tablet in his practice. And it’s not just any attorney–it’s Jeffrey Taylor, blogger at The Droid Lawyer. If anyone knows the ins and outs of using Android tablets in a law practice, it’s Jeff.

Jeff currently owns 2 Android tablets: a Nexus 7 and an Asis Transformer Infinity tablet. After using both extensively, he prefers a 9-inch tablet. For that reason, he has his sights set on the newly released Nexus 9: “I’ve used the Nexus 7 more because of the performance issues with the larger Nexus tablet. So I’m looking into getting the Nexus 9 since larger screens are easier to read.”

As a civil litigator, he spends a lot of time reviewing legal documents and depositions. According to Jeff, his tablets help to simplify that process, increasing his efficiency and reducing paper clutter. “I hate dealing with paper. My desk’s already messy enough with all the paper I have to deal with,” he says. “So instead of carrying around a big old file I can carry a tablet with all of my documents easily accessible and searchable. Because the scanning and the character recognition capabilities of OCR are so accurate, it doesn’t make sense to use paper when you have the quality of programs that we do.”

Jeff explains that because civil litigation involves so many documents, personal injury attorneys stand to benefit tremendously from using tablets in conjunction with a practice that uses less paper: “Personal injury attorneys should definitely use tablets in their practice. Being able to store document intensive files on a mobile device is huge. Not only do you have access to every document in the file, you don’t have to worry about losing or damaging it. And, you can carry the entire contents of a large, heavy file on a device that weighs less than a pound.”

For Jeff, one of the greatest benefits of using tablets is the ability to practice law from anywhere. He explains that the increased mobility and flexibility are key to running his busy personal injury law firm: “With my tablet and cloud computing, I can access my case management software and law firm documents from anywhere in the world. The ability to have a mobile law firm is going to shape the future of law practice. Working from anywhere gives lawyers greater accessibility to information while simultaneously making them more accessible to their clients.”

Like most lawyers, Jeff consumes far more content on his tablets than he creates. He describes the three ways that he primarily uses his tablets: “First, I use my tablets for reading depositions, pleadings, and other motions. I would say that 90% of the time on my tablets is spent using Acrobat or some other app for reading depositions. A smaller percentage of my time is spent drafting documents on them. Finally, I use them court. I’ll transfer all my files to one of my tablets so I can easily access all my files in court.”

He also uses it with his clients, something he says they appreciate: “My clients love it when I use my tablet. The main way I use it is for signing client engagement forms. We sign them right on the tablet, and I can then save them to my web-based practice management software. Then I email it to them.”

He doesn’t have one go-to app for the many ways he uses his tablets. Instead he relies on a number of different apps to achieve the mobile access that is essential to his practice. “I rely on Dropbox and Google Drive for storing documents in the cloud. I prefer Google Drive because I have much more storage space available to me. PDF Reader is my preferred PDF reader and annotation app. That being said, although it has a lot of features, it’s a lot like a Ferrari: it has lots of features but lots of issues, too. So the second app I use on occasion is the standard Adobe reader app. Another great PDF app is Replica Reader—it’s no longer in the app store but if you search for it, you can still find it. It’s the best overall PDF app because it syncs back to the cloud instantaneously. And, for creating documents, I like the Google Docs app. Sometimes I’ll also use Office Suite Pro 7, which is a Microsoft Office-type app. It has an interface that looks like MS Office and reads PDFs, which you can edit as well.”

If you’re thinking about using an Android tablet in your practice, Jeff offers the following advice: “The big falsity is that you can’t do enough with an Android tablet as you can with an iPad and that’s just not true. You’re essentially accomplishing the same functions and 99% of lawyers are going to use it for document review or creation and the smaller 1% are going to use for other uses, like trial presentation. But it can handle those, too. So, get one of the newer tablets—a Samsung or a Nexus tablet. Then start using it. Upload all the files for a small hearing and take the tablet to the hearing with you. As long as you have a good handle on your arguments, you can easily do a trial run on the tablet during a hearing. Once you’ve done that, you could even take it to a pre-trial conference or a scheduling conference. As you develop more confidence, start using it more. Before you know it, tablets will be an integral part of your law practice.”

So that’s how a personal injury attorney uses his Android tablets in his practice. As always, if you or an attorney you know is using technology in a creative or unusual way in your law firm, drop me an email at niki.black@mycase.com. I’m always looking for new attorneys — or judges — to feature in this column.


Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and Director of Business and Community Relations at MyCase, web-based law practice management software. She’s been blogging since 2005, has written a weekly column for the Daily Record since 2007, is the author of Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York. She’s easily distracted by the potential of bright and shiny tech gadgets, along with good food and wine. You can follow her on Twitter at @nikiblack and she can be reached atniki.black@mycase.com.

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Source : http://abovethelaw.com/2014/11/todays-tech-how-a-personal-injury-lawyer-uses-his-android-tablet/

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