Jeff Richardson (iPhone JD) recently shared an interesting story of attorney Carolyn Elefant’s use of an iPad and the TrialPad app in trial. He includes a list of several others as well.
While Jeff and Carolyn share another great story of the iPad in use for things once reserved for computers, one thing we don't read about much is where the iPad falls short in power and function. While the iPad can do many things, it is still not a computer, and there comes a point where its limitations are (or should be) realized - often with specific tasks that would require labor-intensive workarounds using several different tiny task-specific apps. Some things simply cannot be done efficiently without a computer. Smaller cases may be a great place for the iPad, but I wouldn't want to try juggling 50,000 exhibit pages in trial without my laptop. Let me be clear that I do enjoy using my iPad, but I don’t use it as my primary workstation. Call me a hater, but the iPad just isn’t a practical tool for everyday use, in my opinion – especially when you need all the horsepower you can get.
My point? Use the iPad if you want, but don't get caught up in the hype to the point it hurts your case or productivity. Be aware of your own limitations, and those of the tools you have at your disposal. If you’ve never been much of a “techie” in the past, it’s not likely the iPad will make you one. There’s a little more under the hood than you might realize. Just because Carolyn Elefant can do it (read her story) doesn't mean you can. Definitely don't just show up for trial with your iPad and expect everything to work properly. As with most other things you can try doing yourself, it's still a good idea to use the right tool for the job, or to bring in an expert when needed. Trial is not so much about looking cool as it is representing one's client in the best possible manner.