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DTCI: To 4G or not to 4G, that is the question

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By Kori L. McOmber
 

mcomber-kori-mug.jpg McOmber

Okay. I’ll admit it. I’ve had iPad envy ever since the first iPad launched in April 2010. My envy was not the result of needing one (truth be told, I was not really sure what I would do with it once I got it), but more in the spirit of always wanting the newest toy. The iPad just looked cool. It seemed to be a great way to kill time surfing the Internet and keeping up with the news while waiting for a hearing to start. The thought of using it to advance my legal practice never occurred to me. Soon after surfing the app store, it became clear that the iPad was not only great for personal uses but could also help lawyers manage their practices more efficiently even when they are away from their desks. Here are highlights of some apps that can make a lawyer more efficient:

Penultimate – This app is like having a legal pad on your iPad. You can write with your finger or a stylus and take notes just like you would use a pen and a legal pad. After you are done taking notes at a meeting or hearing, email yourself the notes and print them for your file. The app is very easy to use and understand. You can erase something or cut and paste text on a page or in a notebook. You can change the order of pages and move notes around to different pages in your notebook. Notes are easy to review if needed during a deposition or hearing and shuffling between pages is simple. There is a view that allows you to see all pages in a notebook at one time and click on the one you want. And at 99 cents, this app is quite a deal.

Good Reader – The Good Reader app is a little difficult to figure out at first. In essence, with Good Reader, you can review PDF documents, such as depositions, and highlight important text. You can also make annotations linked to certain text. For example, if a witness testifies to a fact that is contradicted by another witness, you can type an annotation that links the two contradictory statements complete with page and line references. You can email yourself copies of the highlighted and annotated depositions and print them for a trial notebook. The app took some getting used to but this is a great tool for those who travel and do not want to carry several transcripts with them everywhere they go. The cost of $4.99 makes this a worthy investment.

FastCase – This is a free legal research tool which seems to provide accurate search results. A recent search on FastCase turned up the same cases a more involved search on Westlaw revealed. While this may not be the fastest way to conduct legal research, it seems to get the job done if needed in a pinch. And, the price (FREE) is right.

In addition to apps, there are accessories that should be considered. A keyboard is a nice addition for those who intend on monitoring heavy email traffic and doing lots of typing. In addition, if you intend on using your iPad for presentations, you will need a connector or adapter to plug into a TV or projector. Finally, there is the difficult decision whether to purchase a 4G iPad or an iPad that runs on WiFi. The 4G iPad costs approximately $130 more depending on the amount of memory you select. Only Verizon and AT&T offer the new iPad data plan, but you do not have to have your cell phone plan through either of these carriers. Setting up the data plan is quite simple and can be accomplished in just a few minutes. The 4G allows instant access to email and the Internet without having to locate a WiFi signal everywhere you go. If you are a person who likes convenience and instant gratification, the 4G is the way to go.•

Ms. McOmber is a partner in Schultz & Pogue in Indianapolis and is a member of the board of directors of the DTCI. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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  1. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  2. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  3. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  4. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

  5. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

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