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How lawyers can use an iPad for professional and business development

Last week at the Texas State Bar Annual Meeting author and technology pioneer Attorney Tom Mighell gave an excellent presentation on legal trends.

As part of his presentation Mighell spoke on how lawyers can use the iPad, a tablet Mighell believes is at least a year ahead of competitors when it comes to performance and features.

With the various applications that can be used on iPadMighell saw the following uses for lawyers.

  • Note Taking
  • Research
  • Reading
  • Meetings
  • In Court

I’m no longer practicing law, but I am going to start using some of the applications Mighell mentioned for note taking during meetings and while at conferences — even if it is hard for me to read my own handwriting.

On the professional and business development front, I’m already using the iPad and advise you as a lawyer to do same.

  • To read my news and information.
  • To share what I read.
  • To network with people professionally and personally.

For reading my news and information?

  • The days are numbered for reading news and information on a browser. We’re going to look back and laugh in a few years as to how we used a computer and large monitor to read blogs, newspapers, and other content. The iPad experience for consuming information (text or video) in an application, not a browser on the iPad, has it all over a computer by a multiple of fifty.
  • The best way to consume information, hands down, is to use Google Reader. Google Reader not only allows you to subscribe to sources (blogs, publications, columns) by RSS, but also allows you to subscribe to subjects (Google News search or Google Blog search) by RSS. Google Reader also allows those feeds to be stored in folders organized by subjects or sources. You see more information from trusted sources in less time by using Google Reeder.
  • By using Google Reader as my news/information data base or hub I can use applications on my iPad to pull that news and information onto my iPad for easy reading.
  • I use the app, Reeder, to read news and info fed from Google Reader. Reeder strips away the design of the source (blog or other publication) and allows me to read the content, see images, and watch video in an elegant and simple interface. Mighell uses Mr. Reader as his iPad RSS Reader app.
  • I am now using Zite more than a RSS Reeder on my iPad. Zite, self described as a personalized magazine and which I blogged about earlier, pulls in news and information from blogs, newspapers, and publications on various topics it thinks I would enjoy. Zite determines my interests based on what I follow in my Google Reader and who I am connected with on Twitter.
  • Twitter allows me to follow groups of people sharing relevant information in my iPad. I set up these groups in Twitter lists that include influencers/amplifiers, potential business partners, mainstream media, Seattle, Green Bay Packers, Mariners, Indy 500 races, Military JAG Officers, and more. I monitor those lists (not all of them all the time) as well as searches covering me, my company, and my company’s products on application called Twitterific.

For sharing?

  • Both Zite and Reeder allow me to tap a Twitter button to share the title and shortened link of what I am reading and would like to share with you. It takes a second. By sharing information like this I have established trust with you as a source of helpful news and information.
  • Both Zite and Reeder allow me to email what I am reading, again by title and link. This allows me to share things with my LexBlog teammates, business associates, and friends in a direct and personal way that goes beyond Twitter sharing, which someone may or may not see.
  • I can also share to Delicious, Facebook and other social media/social networking sites via these applications.
  • When at conferences I may see a thing or two I want to share with you or capture for myself for later. I’ll do this via Twitterific.

To network with people personally and professionally?

  • Twitter allows me to instantly connect with relevant people, in addition to relevant info. By Re-Tweeting what I am reading from others, I am engaging that source – they see that I shared what they shared on Twitter and probably appreciate my ‘spreading the word. I do this through Twitterific.
  • I may direct or open message, through Twitter, a person I see sharing something on Twitter. People send me messages on Twitter as well. I have and continue to build and nurture relationships via Twitter that have led to significant business for my company. I use Twitterific for this.
  • I don’t believe LinkedIn has an an app for an iPad so I don’t use LinkedIn on my iPad.
  • Though Facebook doesn’t have an official iPad app, I do use the app, Friendly, on my iPad to read what closer business associates, friends, and relatives may be sharing as well as to share news and my own experiences with them. Facebook definitely has a role in professional networking as you’re apt to have as Facebook friends people you learn from and who may refer you work.

In addition to business development, the above forms of networking help me grow professionally. I learn from others, and have a deep and rich network of smart and experienced professionals to call upon when I need information or advise. I get better at what I do for others in my business by such networking.

My iPad remains my mobile device for Twitter and Facebook. When I am at the office or at home, I am apt to be using my MacBook Air for Twittter (Tweetdeck is the application I use there) and Facebook.

But for news and information consumption and sharing, it’s the iPad  — whether on the ferry commute, at  home, or at a conference.

I suggest you try the iPad. It’s a powerful professional and business development tool for lawyers.