For several months, I have been using the IPad during my mediations and I thought I would report the results of how it is going. I must say that the IPad has and will continue to revolutionize the way that we as mediators and lawyers work.
I have been on a quest to try and make myself completely paperless and with the IPad I have achieved that goal. The reality is that the IPad can be used in many ways and can be customized to your specific needs. Here’s how I have been using it.
First, I use Dropbox. Dropbox is a cloud data service that is free (up to 2 gb of storage) that allows you to synchronize data. I loaded Dropbox onto my office hard drive, my assistant’s hard drive, my Ipad, my laptop, and other computers. Then I simply drag and drop files into the Dropbox directory just as if I was moving or copying them on to any other directory. Once that is done, then I can access those same files on any computer loaded with Dropbox. If I make any changes to the file and save it back to the Dropbox folder, then the changes will be saved on all computers.
My assistant loads the briefs that I receive into my dropbox folder and I have instant access to the files. For attorneys, this could mean that you could load the entire contents of the necessary files for deposition, hearing, or meeting on to the dropbox and not have to carry those files around.
Document Viewing and Reading
I use two programs for reading, marking up, and reviewing documents. The first is Iannotate. This program allows me to read any pdf document; to mark it up; to highlight it; to make comments; to place electronic post it notes; to quickly access a specific page or annotation that I have created. It is very simple to use and easily integrates on the Ipad. I can also then email the new annotated document back to someone else or my staff should I desire to do so.
A nice feature of this program allows you to take the highlighted annotations, and create a summary of the document automatically. As a mediator, this is effective in allowing me to write notes of what the case was about in moments. This helps to refresh my memory.
Another program I use is Goodreader. This program does not allow annotations and is simply a pdf, and other document format reader. As such, it can read formats such as word documents and excel documents.
I like the free application of Dragon Dictation for the Ipad. This App comes for both the Iphone and the IPad. It is very simple to use and very accurate in accepting dictation. The keys to this App are to enunciate clearly and be in a quite room. I use this App for dictating my summary of the events that occurred in mediation. It is also good for dictating short emails or summaries. As an attorney, it can be used after a hearing to dictate a summary of a hearing for a notice of ruling or for a quick correspondence to the client. Out of the many times that I have demonstrated the Ipad to attorneys, this features seems to be a hit with everyone.
During the mediation, I use the program Notetaker HD, which allows me to write in handwriting directly onto the IPad my notes of the mediation. I then email those notes to my assistant for storage in my computer file after the mediation.
I use an application called Print N. Share. It does a pretty good job of allowing me to print wirelessly to any wifi printer or with some limited installation of software, to most other computers. This program is not perfect, but it is not bad.
With these programs in hand, you will have a very easy way to go paperless and maintain good organization of your files.