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Lawyers aren’t generally technology pioneers, with one small exception. They have embraced the minicomputers made by Palm and Handspring and the wireless e-mail device called the BlackBerry. To paraphrase Woody Allen, a large part of good lawyering is just showing up. And that’s where these devices are so handy. Palm’s built-in calendar, for example, is indispensable. “I can tell the judge if I am available for a deposition a month or two from now,” says Sheryn Bruehl of Bruehl and Chapman in Norman, Oklahoma. “Anyone who goes to court is going to find a Palm worthwhile.” Many lawyers are taking these devices to the next level, installing software tailored to the legal profession and their busy lifestyles. Time Matters ($350 for Professional Edition; www.timematters.com), for example, is popular practice-management software that synchronizes with Palm devices. Lawyers who jot down appointments or other information on their Palm during the day can update their Time Matters client and project records on their laptop, PC, or office network when they return. Similarly, iambic Software’s TimeReporter 2000 ($149.95; www.iambic.com), a case-management and billing system, also allows you to use your handheld computer to enter and synchronize billable hours, expenses, and mileage. These Palm-type devices can do more than just keep track of time and money. Tired of stuffing the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure into your briefcase for a deposition or trial? Each of these publications can be downloaded onto your Palm from Peanut Press’ site ($14 each; www.peanutpress.com). Memoware ( www.memoware.com) is another place to find handheld-friendly documents online, including the text of the Constitution and the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Most Memoware documents are free, and compatible with both the Palm operating system and units that run Windows CE, the miniversion of Windows. West Group will shortly roll out Westlaw Anywhere ( www.westlaw.com/anywhere), a mobile-access solution for users of Palms, Windows CE devices, and BlackBerry pagers. In addition to case searches, Westlaw Anywhere will provide lawyer directories and downloadable ebooks. Separately, Westlaw already is providing its PocketParalegal service via Motorola’s PageWriter 2000X ($89 per month; www.itcor.com). Just because you’ve got documents in the palm of your hand doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to read them. You’ll still need a program like AportisDoc ($30; www.aportis.com), TealDoc ($16.95; www.tealpoint.com) or SmartDoc ($19.95; www.tapworks.com) to access and edit them. While some people love working with Graffiti, the Palm handwriting-recognition software, others find it cumbersome for taking notes or making changes to documents. If so, you should consider an add-on keyboard, such as Think Outside’s Stowaway ($99; www.thinkoutside.com). The Stowaway folds out to a full-sized keyboard and plugs into the slot at the bottom of a Palm unit. Need to have a brief or deposition testimony handy? DataViz’s Documents to Go ($39.95; www.dataviz.com) allows you to convert word processing and spreadsheet documents from your PC or Mac into a Palm-friendly format. Dennis Kennedy, an information technology and intellectual property associate at Thompson Coburn in St. Louis, says his favorite Palm program is Aportis Software’s BrainForest ($30; www.aportis.com), an outlining program he uses to take notes and sketch out presentations. He says that it is ideal for creating to-do lists and tracking multiple projects. Being on the road doesn’t mean that you must fill every waking hour with work. There are places to go, newspapers to read, and stocks to trade. Using free software from AvantGo ( www.avantgo.com), the users of handheld computers and Web-enabled phones and pagers can download information from more than 400 Internet sites, including news from The New York Timesand The Wall Street Journal,stock updates from TheStreet.com, and maps and directions from Mapquest. (You can access these sites directly if you have a wireless unit, like the Palm VIIx, or a unit with a modem. But if you are not so equipped, you can select sites to browse, and then those sites will be downloaded the next time that you sync your unit with your PC.) AvantGo’s array of travel channels include several airlines and online travel agencies. Delta Airlines ( www.delta-air.com), for instance, provides arrival and departure information, schedules, itineraries, and airline phone numbers to wireless visitors. Continental ( www.continental.com) and United Airlines ( www.unitedairlines.com) will send flight delay, cancellation, and gate information to wireless users via e-mail or pager. Zagat’s Palm-formatted restaurant guide ($29.95; www.landware.com/products/zagat) reviews more than 9,300 restaurants in major U.S. and overseas cities. The database is searchable by name, location, price, and cuisine. Want to catch a movie? Check out ShowTimes ( showtimes.jrray.org), a free utility that lets you load local theater schedules onto your Palm. For sightseeing, bring along Frommer’s City to Go guide ( www.frommers.com). If your handheld computer has a wireless modem, you can even use TeeMaster Wireless Golf ( www.teemaster.com) to review local courses and book tee times. Of course, handheld computers are not your only choice for staying connected on the road: Smart phones and the latest generations of pagers offer many of the benefits of handhelds along with belt-clip portability and always-on wireless connectivity. There is no need to fire up an e-mail program to receive messages. Devices like the Motorola PageWriter and the BlackBerry essentially are a hybrid of pagers and Palms. The BlackBerry, for example, has a larger than average screen and a small keyboard, and can be used to scan clippings from Web sites and read and write e-mails. Like a Palm device, these pagers can be synced with a computer back in the office. BlackBerries, too, can be turbocharged. Out of the box, they don’t handle e-mail attachments — a problem for document-dependent lawyers. But a company called Astata ( www.astata.com) has developed a workaround that will let you view Microsoft Word and Excel files that colleagues send you. The service, called E-Attach, costs $4.95 per month and works like this: When you receive an e-mail with an attachment, you forward it to E-Attach, which then sends you an e-mail containing the text of the attachment. “It isn’t foolproof, and you won’t be able to manipulate the text,” says Robert Bourque, a partner at New York’s Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and chair of the firm’s technology committee. But you can review the documents you’re sent. Last year, Los Angeles-based Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher offered BlackBerry pagers to its attorneys on a voluntary basis; to date, more than 700 have been distributed. Who said lawyers are laggards? Robert Curley is a freelance writer based in North Kingston, R.I.

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