Using iPad to Create an Ultra Portable Law Library

Using iPad to Create an Ultra Portable Law Library

I am a collector of legal materials and love to have things close at hand. With the iPad, we can now have thousands of pages, not only close at hand, but actually in one hand. 

There are certainly a number of ways to get this done, here is one way I have tried and found it easy and convenient enough to share with you.

 This plan involves two apps:

1. GoodReader

This app is a place to store and read files of all types, I use it for PDF, but it will take MS Office files, video and even audio.  You can transfer files to GoodReader using Wi-Fi, download them from the Internet, from email attachments or connect to a popular server. 

I chose the last option and used Dropbox to load up the iPad with cases and statutes.  As you can see from the screen shots, GoodReader also connects to MobileMe and Google Docs.

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Using iPad to Create an Ultra Portable Law Library

2. Dropbox

After reading a post by Ben Stevens at the Mac Lawyer on Dropbox I wanted to check it out.  Dropbox is a way of sharing files across computers and devices and also makes them available online.  It’s just like Mobile Me’s iDisk but I think the sync is better.

All you have to do is install the Dropbox desktop software and arrange files in it as you would any other file structure.  Then just connect to GoodReader and click on the files you want to download into GoodReader. Connecting to a server may sound like something difficult, but it’s just a matter of entering a user name and password.

Once you have the files in GoodReader, you can:

  • Search them
  • Move them around in Folders
  • Add bookmarks
  • Email them
  • And much more

I am often asked how much space files take up. 

I have a 5000 page PDF on GoodReader and it is 27.4MB.  A GB (Gigabyte) is 1000 MB (Megabyte).  Most of the recent cases from the New York Court of Appeals are about 10 pages and take up 100KB, there are 1000KB in a MB, so if my math is correct, you can get about 20,000 cases loaded onto the free 2GB space on Dropbox. 

Because the iPad has 16, 32, or 64 GB of memory, I think it’s safe to say that the limit on files is not a practical one, or at least nothing to worry about.  When it comes to text files, I always tell people not to worry about storage, it’s cheap and plentiful and getting more so all the time.

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