“iPad has changed the way this firm practices law. And I think it’s changed the practice of law in general.”
Director, Fennemore Craig
Making the case with iPad.
If there's one thing lawyers have too much of, it's paper; boxes and binders, folders and reams and piles of paper. But at Fennemore Craig, a full-service legal firm based in Phoenix, Arizona, iPad is enabling them to go paperless, saving money and becoming more efficient.
"You used to have three or four copies of everything," explains Marc Lamber, one of the firm's Directors and Chairman of the Plaintiffs' Personal Injury Practice Group. "You could have ten thousand pages of documents for each case. But now it’s on the iPad. You want to highlight a document, underline something, annotate it, or add a note that this page is important? Now you can do all that on an iPad."
Rather than carting boxes of documents into the courtroom, Lamber and his colleagues now carry their thin, lightweight iPads to court dates, mediation sessions, and other legal meetings. The information they need to support each case is organized and instantly accessible.
"What's beautiful about the iPad is that you can carry all the essential documents with you so they're searchable," says James Goodnow, a Director in the Plaintiffs' Personal Injury Practice Group. "And you don't have to wait for it to boot up — you turn it on and immediately have access to the information you need."
Taking Care of Client Needs
Since going paperless with iPad, attorneys and support staff make far more efficient use of time, space, and materials. "The cost associated with exhibits and documents can be astronomical," Lamber says. "And with iPad you save that expense — it’s saved a tremendous amount of money."
But that's just one of the many benefits iPad brings to the firm.
Fennemore Craig's personal injury group maintains a fleet of iPads that they loan out to clients during the course of a case. These iPads provide a direct "red phone" link between key parties, making it easy for clients to keep in contact and provide key information such as photos, video documentation, and signed release forms.
Clients can stay in touch with their lawyers via email on iPad, and even participate in remote meetings using the built-in FaceTime app or Skype for videoconferencing. "By providing them with an iPad, we give them instant access to information related to their case, and an instant ability to communicate with any member of our team," says Lamber.
"The legal system can be very intimidating, but iPad really makes it accessible for our clients," Goodnow adds. "That's been a huge benefit to our clients and out practice."
Worth a Thousand Words
Fennemore Craig also uses iPad to present "video demand packages" that outline the facts of a case to opposing attorneys, mediators, and other decision-makers in legal negotiations. Fennemore Craig creates these presentations in-house, combining video interviews, photos and diagrams of locations and incidents, explanations from expert witnesses, and computer generated imagery (CGI) to build a compelling picture of the events in question.
"Historically we would send a written document to opposing lawyers or insurance adjusters to try to get a matter resolved," Lamber says. "But as artful as you can be with the written word, it can never communicate the whole story as effectively as we can with the iPad. It's a window to the case. It’s a direct view."
Before iPad, this transmission of information wasn't as practical or reliable. Sending the documents from their computer would oftentimes result in incompatibilities and technical support issues. Using iPad to deliver this information now ensures that the message is received as precisely as intended. "They get an iPad, turn it on, and it instantly works," says Andrew Clawson, a litigation specialist at Fennemore Craig. "The video plays, the documents open. When we send an iPad, we don’t have to worry — we know our message is going to get delivered."
As a result of their innovative iPad-based video demands, lawyers in Fennemore Craig's personal injury group are able to settle disputes more quickly for their clients. "I would say the iPad is absolutely helping us win cases, and settle cases so our clients get the outcomes they deserve, and get back to their day-to-day activities as quickly as possible," Goodnow says.
"We're using iPad to present information and evidence in a concise, powerful, real, and honest way," Lamber says. "That gives us the ultimate competitive advantage, empowers us to represent our clients in a manner better than we could have before, and as a result, we can assist more clients."
Apps for Attorneys
Both in and out of court, Fennemore Craig staff rely on iPad apps like iAnnotate PDF, which allow them to make changes and corrections to PDFs, add highlights and notes, and capture digital signatures on important documents and release forms. Once a case is completed, these PDFs can be permanently archived as digital information — no more need for endless shelves of physical file storage.
In the courtroom, attorneys can connect their iPads to media systems with individual screens for jurors, the judge, and the opposition, giving everyone a perfect view of presentations and exhibits. "The last thing any juror wants to hear is a talking head simply reciting the facts," Goodnow says. "So we use Keynote to bring the case to life."
iPad is even making its way into the jury selection process. In mock trials and focus groups, Fennemore Craig attorneys use an iPad app called iJuror to keep track of jury responses and information during the jury selection process.
The firm has begun to incorporate iPad into its core litigation training for its new lawyers. "There's an entire unit devoted to technology, specifically how to integrate the iPad into the practice of law," says Goodnow. "Everything about the iPad — its simplicity, its stability, its ease of use, its portability — has changed the way this firm practices law. And I think it's changed the practice of law in general.”
More Creative, More Effective
For Lamber, Goodnow, and their colleagues, iPad provides new creative possibilities for presenting and resolving legal matters. "iPad helps us provide information in ways that people can clearly understand," says Lamber. "It eliminates a lot of needless work, and it fine-tunes the issues and the analysis. So when you're dealing with disputes, it facilitates a more expedient resolution."
"If I didn't have an iPad as a lawyer, I'd be at a major disadvantage," Goodnow notes. "It used to be that you were capped based on what you could do in writing. With iPad you're not capped by anything, except your imagination. Everything is simpler. Everything is more seamless. The difference between practicing law before iPad and now is night and day."
- Founded in 1885
- Arizona’s oldest law firm
- 400 employees, including 180 attorneys
- Areas of practice include finance, insurance, intellectual property, personal injury, and real estate
“The cost associated with exhibits and documents can be astronomical. And with iPad you save that expense.”
Marc Lamber, Director, Fennemore Craig
“The legal system can be very intimidating, and iPad really makes it accessible for our clients.”
James Goodnow, Director, Fennemore Craig
"The difference between practicing law before iPad and now is night and day.”
James Goodnow, Director, Fennemore Craig