Will lawyers and other legal professionals be lining up for the next best iPad? As the classic lawyer response goes, “It depends!” Here are some initial reactions, ranging from enthusiasm to overt skepticism:
• Andrew Jurczyk, now CIO at Seyfarth Shaw, was an early adopter of Apple Inc. devices when he was CIO at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal — and was even featured in a video that ran on Apple’s site. Jurcyzk says Seyfarth will buy a few iPad minis for support purposes, “but not en masse for the general population.” He said, “To be honest, I’m more excited about the Microsoft Surface.” And he’s also “more excited about the 13-inch Macbook Pro and the new iMac than the new iPad. I’m perfectly happy with the original iPad [size],” he said. And he doesn’t forsee any support issues for the iOS 6. “We’ve already vetted that.”
• “We may buy one for our family; we have four TouchPads (two running Android 4.0) and an iPad 2 already, but no 7-inch tablets, which are better for kids to bring to school for educational needs,” says Jonathan Ezor, assistant professor of law and director of the institute for Business, Law and Technology at Touro Law Center in Central Islip, N.Y. “The advantage I can see for attorneys is portability,” he observes. “Seven inches is probably large enough to read documents (even PDFs) comfortably while still fitting into larger pockets and a single hand. Unless the attorney or firm is already on iOS, though, I can’t see much of an advantage over the growing number of 7-inch Android tablets, especially if the iPad Mini’s price and features are not otherwise competitive.”
• Warren DiDonato, director at Huron Legal in New York, will also pull out plastic to buy an iPad mini for his offspring “as a less costly alternative to the iPad.” He doesn’t expect to get one at work, but Huron does provide iPads, he said. DiDonato owns a Kindle Fire, and is skeptical about the iPad mini’s lure for legal professionals. “I can’t imagine the smaller screen size being embraced by lawyers or business people in general,” he observes. But he does see it as “a great upgrade over an iTouch and less expensive than the iPad.”
• Theodore Banks owns a “regular” iPad, and lawyerly reserves a final verdict until after he actually has “a chance to play with it.” That caveat stated, the partner at Chicago-based Scharf Banks Marmor says he’s “not sure how the mini iPad will be more useful to lawyers than any other tablet computer. I’m having trouble envisioning an environment where the smaller size will be an advantage (or a necessity),” says Banks. “A smaller screen is always a negative as far as I am concerned.” But Banks, who also is the president of Compliance & Competition Consultants, does see one potential advantage that could come in handy in courtrooms or at business lunches: “perhaps the smaller size would make it easier to hide, and this might come in useful in some circumstance where a lawyer would want to refer to it surreptitiously.”
• Victoria Edelman, lead associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, says she’s going to get an iPad mini next month so she can access a specific technical certification program. “It fits in my purse better. Silly reason, but reality.” Edelman, based in McLean, Va., currently uses a Samsung Galaxy Tab with Wi-Fi support. Lawyers and vendors may both find the new mini useful for training, and she predicts that the 4G cellular access will be very popular.
• Warner, N.H.-based Daniel Coolidge says he views the new device as “eye candy — great for a teen.” He ponders the question, “Why get a mini?” musing that “I already own a full-sized iPad2. Am I too weak to tote it around?” Asserts Coolidge, of Coolidge & Graves: “Nothing in the latest iPad warrants upgrading; iPads do mail all right, but are a pain in the neck for documents — which is what lawyers do.”
• Debbie Caldwell can’t wait to get in line to get the “smaller, easier to transport” iPad mini as her first tablet. “It’s about time,” she said enthusiastically. Currently, Caldwell’s only Apple device is an iPhone. The director of marketing communications at Portland, Ore.-based Exterro Inc., she anticipates “taking notes at meetings, showing presentations, and sharing ideas among team members.” She expects Exterro clients will use the devices to monitor legal hold notifications’ status, timelines and tasks through dashboards. But colleague Joseph Aakre, an e-discovery consultant, says he will neither buy the mini iPad nor will his company give him one. “There’s too much product/feature redundance across the three devices I currently carry,” he said, referring to his iPad, iPhone and Kindle Paper White. But he sees how attorneys and litigation staff might access such devices for “on-the-go access to their favorite e-discovery tools,” for up-to-the-minute project status.
• Michael Manfredi, regional sales vice president at Special Counsel Inc., won’t be shopping “next month or any time soon,” but says he expects the mini to have most of the same functions as the big iPads. He does use his iPad for work, but often finds he needs more computing power and flips open his laptop. “I can’t image this being a game-changing device for me, vendors, or lawyers,” said Manfredi, based in Philadelphia. His wish list to Apple: please offer longer power cords. “Couldn’t everyone use a 10-foot cord?”
• Another company that won’t be writing checks for new tiny iPads: inData Corporation. President Derek Miller already owns iPad 1, 2 and 3. “The company won’t be providing any mini iPads — not versatile or powerful enough for company needs.” But he does see them as “somewhat useful” for lawyers who need to review depositions or read briefs. Despite the resistance, Miller, based in Gilbert, Ariz., gives kudos to the shop in Cupertino, Calif.: “Another great innovation from Apple, that provides the consumer with an option between an iPhone and an iPad.”
• San Francisco attorney Caitlin Murphy, director of legal marketing at AccessData Group, already owns two iPads and a Google Nexus 7. “I find the Nexus 7 incredibly useful and much more portable than the large iPad,” she said. “I use it to read email, surf the web, watch TV and movies, as a cookbook, to control my Sonos music player,” says Murphy.
She foresees a frenzy for the e-discovery crowd. “I think vendors will find mini tablets to be a treasure trove of e-discovery data. Like any mobile device, users will store all kinds of discoverable data on them. Vendors will need to be able to collect and process that data so that their customers can review it. Likewise, lawyers can not only use these devices as part of their practices — taking them to court and depositions, but they will also be looking at them as the subject of discovery requests.” She continues: “Mobile device e-discovery is truly the wave of the future. With the release of each new mini-tablet or cellphone, legal practitioners have a new source of data to consider.”
• J. Craig Williams, who owns an iPad 2, won’t be queueing up. “Upgrading every time a new version comes out is not economically sound,” says Williams, principal of The Williams Law Corp. “If Apple had added a cellphone into the new iPad, I would have bought it in a heartbeat,” says Williams. Echoing objections once made by Apple visionary Steve Jobs, who once famously said that “Seven-inch tablets are going to be dead on arrival,” and too small for a comfortable touch screen experience, Williams predicted that lawyers and vendors won’t find the new device useful: “not at all; too small.”
“Apple has to realize that people are no longer going to bite every time it offers up a new flavor of the month. Apple needs to set a new bar each time it offers a new device, and this one falls flat, because it doesn’t have any major advancement, such as adding a cellphone to it,” said Williams.??
• Craig Ball, an Austin, Texas, trial lawyer and computer forensics and e-discovery special master, is in the same camp. “Steve Jobs thought a 7-inch iPad was a dumb idea. He had great instincts,” said Ball. “Will it be a freakishly small iPad or a freakishly large Touch? Couldn’t they just bring a little creative MatSci to bear and offer one that stretches and compresses? Oh, wait, people on your planet don’t have that technology yet.” •