iPads, iPhones and drafting legal documents

In several meetings recently I’ve noticed just many of the solicitors present had iPads with them. Suddenly, from once being a fancy plaything confined to over-paid partners, editing legal documents on mobile devices is clearly becoming an established way of working. And it’s not just the more junior staff; seasoned lawyers of maturing years love nothing better than slipping their iPad out of its expensive leather pouch, hoping to be met with glances of envy and approval from those present.

A word of caution: having an iPad doesn’t necessarily increase competence or common sense. One particular solicitor who never has his iPad out of arm’s reach has also been known to mark up hard copies of agreements (and make corresponding notes) with a chunky permanent marker. Yep, you read that correctly. Well, some mothers do ‘ave ‘em – let’s hope the iPad wasn’t just for show.

While an iPad isn’t necessarily the tool of choice for hardcore drafting -- you probably won’t be minded to start a fresh draft of a master services agreement with a gazillion service schedules using it -- there’s nothing that surpasses it for portability and simplicity.

The vast majority of lawyers spend their lives managing endless drafts of versioned documents, whether they’re a commercial contracts solicitor in the middle of a drafting rally with the other side, or a litigation fiend pulling together statements of case with their team. A lot of information tends to be conveyed on drafts of documents as balloon comments, too.  In my experience you can accurately gauge the receptiveness and reasonableness of the other side by the snarkiness of their comments in a marked-up agreement.  Regardless of your area of practice, tracking and commenting functionality is absolutely crucial and having that functionality be fully compatible with Microsoft Office (are there any law firms still using WordPerfect now?!?) is non-negotiable.

As “bring your own” hardware policies are hitting the big-time, it’s pretty clear that a lot of lawyers are going to be increasingly editing documents on their iPads and other mobile devices going forward. That’s always been a major headache - as anyone who’s tried well knows.

Thankfully, for all iPad wielding lawyers screaming for a compatible office suite with versioning and commenting functionality, you’re in luck. The latest version of Office2 HD launches today which includes the solution to all these needs and more. It’s available via the Apple App Store.

And if you’re inclined to flick through the latest draft of an agreement on your smartphone (come on, we’ve all done it, no matter how inefficient and awkward it might be) the ability to make sense of the latest amendments has always been the missing piece of the puzzle. Office2 HD should solve that dilemma as well, as it works superbly on your iPhone, too.

The app looks well worth checking out and should be the answer to a lot of lawyers’ frustrations when trying to use their iPad or iPhone to get work done.

Office2 HD screenshot

Comments

  1. This plague of 'tablet-technology' seems to be taking hold in the crown courts too - I saw 3 different advocates using them last Friday. One of them had a very nifty gadget - a pen (presumably with its own app), which seemed to magically turn his epileptic spider scrawls into neat text. Handy for on your feet work I'd think, but I'm not sure I'd want to mark up documents using one...

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  2. I know... it's scary... stylus devices seem to be coming back into fashion.

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