Welcome to the modern briefcase
28 April 2015 by Marketing Team
Digital is continuing to become a bigger part of nearly every aspect of our daily lives and the legal profession is no exception. iPads are not a ‘fad’ but a common sight in most professions, and online services are the next big thing. But where does this leave the trusty book and physical documents, a staple of the legal profession? No more technological than sheets of paper bound together. Are they becoming passé or do they still have a place? The marketing team at FJG set out to take a look at it…..
The days of transformation are upon us as more and more professionals around the world are turning to iPads for their needs. Gone are the days when a person would need access to multiple books and case studies within a library to carry out research, nowadays they can simply switch on their devices and browse the web and its never-ending online resources. With Wi-Fi networks ever more accessible and portable devices like the iPad becoming more advanced, you don’t even need to be in the office. This is an essential step away from paper to electrical devices, which brings about three significant movements for the legal profession, as well as the world:
Technological advancements allowing professionals to record, organise and store their data in a safer, more reliable and more efficient way
Instant access to articles, books, blogs and other reference materials
Reducing carbon foot prints by reducing consumption of paper
The iPad – A potential game-changer?
The iPad began life as a tool for leisure and entertainment, but soon evolved into a device for professional use. Today the iPad is used within numerous business environments, ranging from architecture and design to secretarial work. Even Steve Jobs might be surprised at just how prevalent his device has now become in nearly every walk of life.
The iPad boasts a range of comprehensive apps which could and should now be utilised within the professional world, such as Pages, Numbers and Keynote, the Apple equivalents of Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint. But developers are also working specifically on innovative ways to use the iPad to practice law, accountancy and architecture to name but a few; Ways which will not only replace traditional paper, but evolve the way we work with innovative new possibilities.
Look at the device as a technological briefcase. We are reaching the stage where there is no longer a need for a notepad and pen, physical case files, diaries or even laptops – The iPad allows the users to complete every task associated with their day to day work, and all through 9.7inches of portable screen real estate.
For the legal world you now have apps such as litigation app TranscriptPad. Where the user is able to search across an entire case, reference exhibits, flag important sections and print or email reports in PDF form or Excel. In accounting the software giant Sage has now developed a whole range of fully functional accounting apps and in Architecture the apps available are just as extensive.
For architects apps such as AutoCAD 360 mean design on the go is almost on a par with desktops in an office but it’s apps such as MagicPlan that really show a glimpse of the future. Using your tablets camera for an augmented reality view, drawings and building plans can then be overlaid on top and the results can be saved and exported. This isn’t just a portable version of something from the office; it’s something new, something that couldn’t be done before with older technology. It’s a new way of working, something we are bound to see more and more of across other professions in the not too distant future.
Putting all the helpful apps aside leaves us with the basic foundations of what any tablet device offers us; a portable and refined device with remote internet access on a small touchscreen; an invaluable tool to any professional wanting to keep up with their workload and the news, wherever they are.
Of course these digital developments are great for clients as well as professionals; there doesn’t have to be as much waiting for documents in the post, their data and documents can be stored securely online, accessible from a variety of locations and online meetings and contact can be made with the touch of an onscreen button.
Keep it green
According to The Economist, consumption of paper has increased by nearly half since 1980, with the big hitters being Belgium (the home of the EU bureaucracy!). The UK comes in at number eleven on the list with each member of society using the equivalent of 4.48 forty foot trees per year, the equivalent of 53.76 metres of paper!
Thanks to the opportunities of an ever-more advanced internet and the ease of use of mobile devices, the legal profession, a prime offender, now has the ideal opportunity to dramatically reduce its paper consumption and reduce its mark on the planet. New apps as we have already seen are set to ensure that documentation is as efficient and paper free as possible.
It is vital we remember not to be concerned with how small our actions may seem. Our efforts however small they may seem, will work towards changing the attitudes of today, thus creating a greater attitude and possibilities for tomorrow.
The place of the book
So with all the advances, possibilities and benefits of the iPad and other technological innovations the book must be dead then? Well, not just yet….
Yes the benefits and new possibilities are great but are we a paperless society now? No. Are we a paperless profession? No. Are we a paperless firm? No, not yet anyway. A change as seismic as this, changing age old methods of communication that have been around for hundreds of years in some of the world’s oldest professions, is not going to happen overnight. It’s not going to happen over a year and it may never happen 100%.
Books are reliable, trusty, comforting and reassuring. Pages written on paper are known and they’re physical. You can hold your most important documents, you can file them somewhere you know is safe. You can see your most treasured moments, written out in front of you. There are no security issues as an important document is passed from one pair of hands to another and signed in front of your eyes.
Despite the many disadvantages of paper, there are also many advantages, many things you can’t put a price on that a lot of people rightly want to hold on to. Using books and communicating with paper may be a dying art form, it may be being taken over by the relentless pace of change and change for the better, but books will always hold a special place in our society…. They may even always be around in the future – you may even be reading this in a book of influential blogs of the 21st century….. Just maybe!