Why all lawyers should have an iPad!

By Foong Cheng Leong

Well, this article is not only about the iPad but about other tablets in the market in general. Other tablets such as Samsung Galaxy Tab or Blackberry Playbook are instructive examples, too, but that is not my focus here.

For me, my iPad is probably one of the most useful tools in my practice. It helps me with the following:-

Research

An internet enabled iPad is very useful for quick research. Imagine you’re in Court and you suddenly remember a case which would help your case. You can easily access legal publishing websites such as CLJ, Lexis-Nexis and even British and Irish Legal Information Institute (Baili). On a different note, Lexis-Nexis now has its own iPhone App. I understand that an iPad App for that will be out soon.

You can also store your basic cases and statues in your iPad. Since my practice is only limited to intellectual property matters, I keep a folder of relevant statues such as the Trade Marks Act 1976, Patents Act 1983, Copyright Act 1987, Industrial Designs Act 1996, Franchise Act 1998, Personal Data Protection Act 2010 etc. This allows you to access it quickly without internet connection.

Accessibility 

With the right App (such as DropBox) or a proprietary software, you can access your files anywhere. Let say you need to look at a letter for a file, you can view straightaway it on your iPad.

I use DropBox to store my statues and legal cases – divided into various categories. For example, if I want to view a case regarding trade marks, I only need to access my Trade Marks folder.

Dropbox also synchronizes my folders in all my devices. To illustrate, the files that I keep in my PC will be the same as all the files in my iPad when I update the former.

If you have a little bit of money to spend, build a proprietary software or use a reputable software to make your files accessible remotely and securely.

But remember, everything that can be accessed on the internet, although secured by professionals, is not 100% secure. You wouldn’t want to end up like ACS:Law, a UK law firm who had some of their confidential information leaked online after its website was attacked.

Saving paper 

The iPad allows you to take notes using its keyboard or even scribbling your notes on handwriting apps such as Penultimate. I have books and books of notes in my room. Some of these notes have no value and it’s a waste of paper.

Once you’re done with your notes, your can email them to yourself or anyone you like.

Presentation

Recently, I met a potential client who wanted help on drafting an intellectual property license agreement. He had never seen such agreement before and my professional fee was a concern to him. He was probably thinking why should I pay so much for something I’ve never seen before?

I downloaded a 20 pages sample intellectual property license agreement into my iPad and showed him that such an agreement would look like this. That 20-page agreement was a great help to him to visualize the deliverables and of course, my fees.

Screen sharing

Few months ago, my colleague printed a few copies of presentation slides and distributed them to some clients in a meeting. I suddenly thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if he had distributed iPads with those slides?”. Imagine walking into a board meeting with 10 iPads in your hand to be distributed to the board of directors!

With screen sharing, a user can share his screen with others by connecting the devices wirelessly. Let’s say if you wish to refer to a passage in a case to a Judge, you can do so by sharing your screen with him (provided that the Judge has an iMac or iPad, which brings to say, “All Judges should have an iPad too!”).

Digital Text Converter

If you have iPad2, you can use it like a scanner by taking a picture of a document and then convert it to editable text using Apps like FotoNote. Very useful when you have some hardcopy precents that are too troublesome to be typed.

You can also convert written digital text into editable text using certain Apps like PhatPat.

GPS

iPad has basic GPS function. It gives you your real-life location and directions to a specific place. Although very basic, this function saved my skin numerous times when I needed directions to Court or finding my way out of Putrajaya and Cyberjaya.

Conclusion

There are many functions which I have not explored on my iPad. I’ve seen Apps which allow you to digitally sign on a document. I’ve also seen Apps which could turn your iPad into a fax machine to send and receive facsimile. It will also help you send the document by mail!

I only own an iPad hence I am unable to advise whether the other tablets are good. But if you’re looking for an iPad for work, my view is that a 16Gig and 3G+Wifi iPad2 is sufficient. iPad should be treated as a secondary device hence there is no point storing all your information inside. Also, with cloud computing, your data need not be stored in the iPad but in the “clouds”.

As for the best country to purchase an iPad, Malaysia has one of the lowest iPad prices.

As a closing note, iPad is a portable device. It is a light and easy to carry. It can easily be misplaced and lost. Therefore, security is very important. Make sure you password protect your iPad and ensure that MobileMe is installed. MobileMe allows you to wipe out your content if you lose your iPad.

The above article is written by Foong Cheng Long and first appeared on the eLawyer Law Blog Forum . Copyright © 2011 Foong Cheng Leong. All Rights Reserved. Republished in Reading Law with permission. Foong Cheng Leong is a legal practitioner who specializes in Intellectual Property and is currently in active practice within Malaysia. He maintains his own website at FoongChengLeong.com and can be reached at fcl@foongchengleong.com 

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Quotable law quotes

  1. If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers. – Charles Dickens
  2. The trouble with law is lawyers. – Clarence S. Darrow
  3. When men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken. – Benjamin Disraeli
  4. A successful lawsuit is the one worn by a policeman. – Robert Frost
  5. The law isn’t justice. It’s a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are alsolucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be. – Raymond Chandler 
  6. The magistrates are the ministers for the laws, the judges their interpreters, the rest of us are servants of the law, that we all may be free. – Marcus T. Cicero
  7. In law, nothing is certain but the expense. – Samuel Butler
  8. The wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand, which perishes in the twisting. – Ralph W. Emerson

Some of Asia’s weirdest laws

After days of serious posting, we thought we might mark Reading Law‘s comeback with a list of some of Asia’s weirdest laws. Sit back and laugh silly!

China

1. You may only have one child, or you will have to pay a fine.

2. To go to college you must be intelligent.

Phillipines 

1. Cars whose license plates end with a 1 or 2 are not allowed on the roads on Monday, 3 or 4 on Tuesday, 5 or 6 on Wednesday, 7 or 8 on Thursday, and 9 or 0 on Friday from 7:00 AM.

South Korea

1. Traffic police are required to report all bribes that they receive from motorists.

Singapore

1. Bungee jumping is illegal.

2. The sale of gum is prohibited.

3. Failure to flush a public toilet after use may result in very hefty fines.

4. f you are convicted of littering three times, you will have to clean the streets on Sundays with a bib on saying, “I am a litterer.

5. It is illegal to pee in an elevator.

Thailand

1. It is illegal to leave your house if you are not wearing underwear.

2. You must wear a shirt while driving a car.

3. You must pay a fine of $600 in Thailand if you’re caught throwing away chewed bubble gum on the sidewalk.

4. No one may step on any of the nation’s currency.

Turkey

1. All married women must get their husband’s permission if they wish to have a job, they must live wherever the husband wishes to reside, and they must forfeit all jointly held assets upon divorce from her husband.

Source: http://www.dumblaws.com

LAW572: Cyber Law

One of the elective course offered to Law Students in the 4th Semester at Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia is Cyber Law (Bachelor of Legal Studies (Hons.) Programme Structure).

Cyberspace was born with the invention of the Internet, a generally accepted opinion. Because of its digital form, it becomes a new frontier for the legal world. As humanity becomes more dependent on this virtual world, activities – both good and bad – trickle over in there. Heck, an extreme is online rape – where your character or identity online was ‘sexually raped’ by another. Sounds weird and unbelievable, right? But it happens (Link). So how do you handle this?

Another question which Cyber Law in UiTM covers is data protection. How much of your information that you are giving away being exploited and used against you? Well, you do know that personal information includes you password, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, pet’s name, school and other ‘innocent’ data which you disclose on social networking sites like Facebook, Friendster and MySpace. Perhaps you accidentally blogged about it. Hey, these days you do not know who’s being paid by whom at what rate to do what online. As a human being, what right do you have against such exploitation?

In this physical realm, if you defame someone in Ashford or Muar, you will be subjected to the laws of the land as it is in England or Malaysia. But what if you are in New York and you are defaming a person or company in Russia in your blog? Are you protected by geographical and geopolitical immunity? Or, for example, you forward seditious materials via e-mail. Are you liable for any crime? Apparently, the New Yorker can be sued by the Russian person, natural or corporate.

In this elective, you will also learn the laws affecting e-commerce, copyright, blogging, spamming and many other ‘cyber’ issues.

From a few friends who are in the field, I would like to state for the record that Malaysian lawyers versed in cyber law is very much in demand. It’s a matter of looking for the opportunities before the bandwagon arrives.

Back To School!!

For the students of Universiti Teknologi MARA across the country, the July-November 2008 Semester begins next Monday (July 7th, 2008). For Freshmen of the second semester, Juniors, Sophomores and Seniors, please remember to register your courses online at the i-Student Portal. Don’t forget to pay your university fees.

This is also the scholarship season. Please be alert and conduct your own scholarship hunt. Remember, the University is meant to assist and facilitate, the buck does not stop at their tables. You are responsible for your own future!

With that said, we at Reading Law wish you the best in this coming semester. 😀