The iPad as a Legal Pad for Attorneys

31 Mar The iPad as a Legal Pad for Attorneys

Just this morning a colleague asked about whether he could use the iPad to replace his legal pad.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, I get this question a lot. I believe the question comes from the use of “pad” in the name and the similarity of the device’s form factor to a legal pad. Based on my survey of the app store, there isn’t currently a native application on the iPad that captures digital ink quickly and easily.

But, there is hope on the horizon. Take a look at the review of the iPhone app Note Taker over on iPhone J.D. today. Note Taker is an app that allows you to capture your handwriting (with finger or stylus) on an iPhone. Handwriting isn’t converted to text, but simply stored and may be exported in different formats (pdf, jpg).

Note Taker on iPhone

The author, Dan Bricklin, talks about the new version of the app in his personal blog. The implications for the iPad are obvious, and it looks like Dan thinks so as well.

I’m spending some time to get a feel for this device and then am planning to see what I should do with my Note Taker app to make it run better on it. So, for all of you who have been asking, yes, I am looking into making a Note Taker HD, but I need to craft it for the real device in my hands. I’ll only know when I’ll be done with it when I actually feel my changes and see if they are sufficient. As I move along I’ll probably send out some tweets on Twitter (I’m @danb). When done I’ll post here.

Implemented well, this could be an amazing tool for lawyers. I would expect the app to have a decent text buffer, allowing me to write full speed while the app digitizes my notes in the background. Multiple page note taking sessions would be critical as would the ability to easily flip back and forth among pages within a note session or different sessions. I’d hope to see the ability to append handwritten notes into an existing pdf (though from a development standpoint this is more of an annotation function than a pure note taking function) PDF export would be more than adequate, though some effort to avoid gigantic file sizes would be useful. I would like to also have Dropbox (or similar) integration for file management or a web based sync solution (like Simple Note).

I’ll keep you posted when Note Taker hits the app store.
Update: I spoke too soon. Go read my review about Penultimate!
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