The iPhone for Lawyers Debate Rages On

Still wondering if an iPhone is the right move for you and your law practice? Seems the device is slowly making inroads into the legal community, at least in those firms, companies or agencies that don’t demand employees use a specific device. Alan Cohen writes on the subject for the American Lawyer, noting several firms that allow, if not promote, use of the iPhone, now that the phone incoroporates more business-friendly features, such as Microsoft Exchange, remote wiping and other minor changes.

I approached the article with preconceptions about its conclusions based on my own adoption of the iPhone as an adjunct to my two Blackberries and replacement for my old Palm Treo running Windows Mobile. I believe I have a firm grasp on the phone’s pros and cons. Yes there are cons. But ultimately it depends upon how you use your mobile device. If you are a heavy email user and depend upon broad functionality to cut, paste, move, organize and massage your email information, then the iPhone rates a distant second to the Blackberry. If you are a writer who drafts emails or short documents on your tiny tool, then the iPhone’s touchscreen keyboard and persistent auto-correction likely will frustrate. And unfortunately, you cannot harness all of that gigabytage into a portable hard drive for moving documents or other materials from office to home to back again.

However, if you are interested in morphing your smartphone into a little command center capable of a broader range of functionality, then it is hard to beat Apple’s mobile brainchild. Business and law related offerings from the App store are increasing and now the iPhone may prove a more capable Kindle than the Kindle itself. And it is impossible to beat Safari for the Web experience. With the Web and the Cloud moving to the forefront of business computing, the internet function will gain in importance, propelling the iPhone to the top of the heap.

So, in short, no phone has yet reached that perfect balance between business and personal, form and function. But, when you tally up your needs, the iPhone ably meets a surprising number of them. As Mr. Cohen relates a statement from one of the firms mentioned in the article, not one person who switched to an iPhone went back. And neither have I. Yet.

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6 comments on “The iPhone for Lawyers Debate Rages On

  1. The App store, thankfully, has filled many of the voids in the phone’s initial design. Great that there are options, but too bad you have to add cost to the already pricey phone to get basic functionality! Still love my iPhone, but sometimes I do want to scratch my head about Apple.

  2. For a bigger keyboard, get TouchType. It lets you type in landscape mode.

    For file sharing, just get Air Sharing. It not only lets you store gigabytes of files and folders on your iPhone, but lets you view them (documents, images), or play them (audio and video), or surf them (archived web sites), or share them (entire web sites, served wirelessly).

    Most of the shortcomings that people see in the iPhone can be patched for about five bucks.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions. Definitely mitigates some of the frustration. Unfortunately it is the touch-type and not the size if the keyboard I find crippling for more than quick entries. Also do you have any suggestions for the hobbled email functionality and inability to copy and paste, which I would be very excited about?

  4. “Remote wiping?” The e-discovery lawyer in me recoils in horror. Where are the custodial documents? Who do I subpoena? 😉

  5. Pingback: AmLaw article on lawyers and iPhones – iPhone J.D. « Popslim Blog

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