Disclaimers, qualifiers, and other tid-bits to provide prospective:
I work in a prosecutor’s office in Virginia with a paperless filing and data-storage system. Attorneys in our office have a primary computer (some of us have PC’s others have Macs) to use in the office and an iPad to use on the go. I use my standard issue iPad everyday in court to access the Virginia code, Supreme Court Rules, various state and local agency websites and most importantly our court’s paperless filing system. An Otterbox Defender protects my machine from the dangers of the daily grind.
I finished the download from the App Store and prepared to dig in. I had the iPad in the landscape position in the built-in stand of the Otterbox Defender. The first thing I noticed about the iClient app is the auto rotating screen I’ve grown to love on the iPad is frozen in place in the vertical orientation. The screen lock was off. The app wouldn’t rotate. A vertical screen orientation would probably be a small gripe for most but I am accustomed to using the built in stand of the Otterbox in landscape.
After coming to terms with the immutable screen orientation and moving past my disproportionate disappointment I jumped in and started exploring. The iClient app is geared toward attorneys in private practice with different types of cases who sit down with clients for intake meetings. Clients are organized alphabetically and by case type so they are easy to find. Provided are standard intake forms with predictable data fields. Attorneys unsatisfied with the standard form have the ability to customize data fields; adding and labeling as many as needed.
True to its name, iClient’s organization centers around the client and allows a simple way to organize multiples cases a involving one client. A given case’s schedule is also easily accessed and kept tidy with the app. The app has the ability to keep up with court dates and email reminders and has a function to track what has been done and what needs to be done regarding a case (e.g. discovery, subpoenas, depositions).
The ability to customize iClient’s data fields makes it useful to attorneys across the board regardless of what area of practice, public or private. Based on the data fields provided in the standard forms the developers had private practice attorneys in mind when iClient was created but the app is easily adapted for use with the cases I handle as a prosecutor.
iClient is as good as advertised BUT, it can’t overcome the obstacle many other apps for the iPad face: no good way to enter data. Unlike apps such as Evernote which users can enter data through other hardware and then sync the data with the same app on the iPad, iClient has no companion program for a PC or other Mac hardware. The user is left with the iPad itself as the point of data entry, which as anyone using the tablet for more than marble balancing games knows, can be a pain.
Without a “sync” type ability, using iClient for a firm’s primary client data storage is impractical and unrealistic. The inability to move data from the iPad to other platforms is like a six lane highway bottlenecking onto a narrow dirt road. The app does have potential and the downside is fixable but I would not recommend this app as is for it’s intended purpose.
Josh “G.B.” Newberry
UPDATE: It appears the developer has updated the app, and data can now be entered in both landscape and portrait mode, solving some original complaints I had with the app.