Guest Blog Post by:
Legal Adjunct Instructor
I love my laptop. I truly do. The thought of having another piece of hardware to deal with was a bit overwhelming at first. After purchasing my iPad, I used it to watch Netflix and played a few games, and kept it on my nightstand. (I really enjoy Word Jewel, and highly recommend it.) However, I could already do all of these things on my laptop. So why need an iPad? I looked at some apps on my iPad but wasn’t really sure what to do with them initially. I mean doesn’t my laptop have everything I could possibly want? Quickly I learned that the answer to this is no.
I spent some time perusing some applications on my iPad for my legal courses, and I found some really interesting apps. One in particular was iJuror. I was looking for something for my course unit on jury selection. As I explored iJuror, I became enthusiastic at the prospect of using this in my courses. As I played around with the app, I found that I could hand pick my jury, use courtroom graphics, and place my jurors in a jury box, after filling out information for each juror. I also had the option of entering juror demographics, create custom jury questions, and make challenges to prospective jurors. When all of the jury was selected, the information could be e-mailed to other colleagues (or the instructor) in this case. Students could use this app free for 24 hours, which is really all they would need to complete the task. After that I believe it was $1.99 for longer use.
As I unearthed new apps and sampled them, I was eager to include these as an option for students to incorporate into their discussion board posts; with the hope that they would share ideas for some of the applications they tried. In many of my courses I added an “iPad Unit” for students to examine if they wished. It really was not difficult once I took the time to peruse the legal apps. I can visualize in the legal world how paralegals and legal assistants could use iPads to keep current in the law, and how very useful it could be for trials or depositions. Instead of going through a stack of papers, apps would be a great way to keep track of transcripts, and this is something wonderful to share with students as they can bring this technology to their firms. Many lawyers share .pdf files, and there are some free sites that allow for importing and sharing .pdf files, which include voice notes; directing the paralegal or legal assistant what to do with annotated documents (School Notes Pro). There are also many blogs that discuss how paralegals can use iPads in their firms, including: Tablet Legal, iPad Notebook, the iPad Lawyer, iPad4Legal, iLawPad. If you do some touring of apps, you are sure to find similar blogs on apps in your area of practice.
I am now happy to report that I do use my iPad for much more than Netflix now! There are many free apps to visit and incorporate into my courses. Students can apply these apps to enhance what they are learning, to further their discussions, and will be able to enter a job with new skills that they can share with their employers, making them more marketable.