What can you do with an iPhone/Kindle in law school?
June 22, 2009 at 4:16 PM
Technology advocates have long predicted that we are approaching a tipping point where mobile electronic devices can effectively replace print materials. A number of legal scholars, and law school IT specialists, point to a future where casebooks are collated electronically and then transferred to a mobile device -- either a cellphone or an e-book reader. With the advent of the iPhone and Amazon's Kindle, that future appears to be rapidly approaching. Although few law classes have replaced their print casebooks, there are pilot programs to do so at a number of law schools. Additionally, textbook publishers, including those for the legal market, are preparing their products for the seemingly inevitable electronic transition. Here are some resources for this emerging technology
iPhone and other "smart" phone devices:
Apple Computer came out with the iPhone on January 9, 2007. Since then, it has become the country's most popular smartphone and it widely seen on law school campuses. One of the biggest advantages of the iPhone platform is the number of available applications that can be downloaded and installed. Among these are a few suitable for law school. Rich McCue, a law librarian at the University of Victoria, recently presented a presentation at the CALI Conference on using the iPhone in law school. Entitled, "iPhone : A Research Tool for Law Students and Faculty?" the presentation describes how some of the applications available for the iPhone can be used for law school. Personally, I recommend downloading the DropBox application for the iPhone so that you can read your class notes and presentations while away from your computer. Additionally, you can purchase Black's Law Dictionary through the iTunes Store for $49.99 and the entire series of "Law in a Flash" flash cards.
Kindle and e-book readers:
The Kindle, made by Amazon, is a popular proprietary e-book reader released in November of 2007. It uses e-ink technology that requires little electricity which gives it a long battery life. You can purchase Kaplan's PMBR series via the Kindle Store and there is discussion about getting textbooks available. The new model, the Kindle DX, has a much larger screen and is reportedly much more suitable for textbook reading than its smaller cousin. The legal blog, Law School Innovation, has an article about replacing casebooks with e-book readers.
Update: The law librarians at King County Public Law Library in Seattle have written an article on iPhone applications of use to law students entitled "Legal Applications for the iPhone".