Can you use Pages for legal writing?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by ihazapple, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. ihazapple macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I am planning on using my iPad for work and am in the legal profession. Does anyone have experience using Pages to write legal briefs which require footnote citation? Does Pages have a redline or track changes function? I tried to review the description for Pages discussing Endnote X2, but that seems more like a publishing bibliography tool and might not work for footnotes. Unfortunately, I think the lack of these two things will hamper the iPads utility for legal writing using Pages instead of Word.

    I usually use Word for Mac at home and will occasionally have problems when I send a redlined version to a PC Word user who is using Word 2003 but nothing too bad. The Mac and PC versions of Word are mostly seamless in conversion between the two.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Ichneumon macrumors member

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    #2
    I know this isn't entirely helpful, but I've heard that MIcrosoft is planning on making a version of Microsoft Office (at least Word) for the Ipad.
     
  3. alia macrumors 6502a

    alia

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    #3
    That's a really good question! I am an attorney, and I was going to use it for legal writing as well (albeit, not that often compared to a laptop/PC). The desktop version of Pages does have footnote capability, but none of the videos elucidate whether Pages for iPad has that functionality (I have to imagine it does, but there's really no way to know until Saturday). I guess you should wait and see. I will be downloading Pages once I have my ipad, but I am waiting for the 3G version, so it could be a while until I could answer your question personally.
     
  4. bradg33 macrumors member

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    #4
    Pages will do footnotes but there is not compare documents feature like in word (for redline/blackline).
     
  5. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #5
    Can't be done. Simple as that. Pages has footnotes, but it does not have the necessary formatting abilities to comply with court pleading requirements on anything but the most basic filings.

    Pages is to a real word processor what iPhoto is to Aperture. Powerful but simple, user friendly, and mostly useless for professionals.
     
  6. wyneken macrumors regular

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    #6
    I don't have personal experience to judge by, so I may be wrong about this, but I don't believe Pages has either of these capabilities.

    I've always thought of Pages for the Mac as more of a page-layout application with basic word processing capability, rather than a full-featured word processor.

    Pages for iPad will turn out to be, I think, a direct descendent of such earlier apps as MacWrite for the original Macintosh. What I mean is, it does certain things really easily and intuitively, but it is basically aimed at a broad consumer audience -- people who want to crank out nice-looking newsletters or letters or resumes or brochures, or to perform basic text-processing tasks -- but it does NOT pretend to be a full-featured work processor on the same level as Word. In a sense it will serve as a "place-holder" app, providing early iPad users with an immediate word processing solution (as MacWrite did for early Mac users) until more specialized professional apps are developed by third parties.

    I don't mean to denigrate Pages. I expect it will fully suffice for my own professional writing needs, which are text-intensive and don't require much in the way of special formatting or other advanced functions. But it isn't an all-purpose tool that attempts to meet everyone's needs.

    All this is just educated guesswork, of course, since none of us have seen this new thing yet.
     
  7. spyker3292 macrumors 65816

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    #7
    You could still type it in Pages, you'd just have to copy and edit it in Word to get it right.

    Just sayin' :p
     
  8. dcsatt macrumors member

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    Apr 29, 2005
    #8
    That's simply not accurate. I think you need to qualify the "pleading requirement" statement by state, district, or practice area.

    I practice civil litigation in Florida, and my firm uses Pages exclusively for all pleadings, discovery, motions, etc. There is nothing in my practice area, from filing to verdict, that Pages can't handle (with ease). Most folks underestimate the application.

    To the OP's question, Pages does have redline and track changes functionality.
     
  9. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

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    #9

    Cool. We always assume that macs are used in creative fields so it's definitely cool to hear instances of them being used in more corporate environments. And sorry I don't mean to say that law isn't creative but you hopefully know what I mean!
     
  10. GeekLawyer macrumors 68020

    GeekLawyer

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    #10
    I also practice in Florida. I also use Pages (from time-to-time) for pleadings and other matters.

    I don't think I'd rely on my iPad to draft a hundred-page appellate brief, but I can imagine using the Pages.app to supplement my work in some situations.
     
  11. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #11
    It doesn't do automatic preparation of authorities, topical indices, can't prepare appendices, has several issues with ECF submissions, autoformatting and data detection support is laughable, does not always faithfully reproduce documents prepared in Word, can't import to or from WordPerfect, is incompatible with all Bates stamping and autodocument workflow tools, and does not cooperate with the pleading paper templates for superior and federal district conventions.

    Moreover, its layout functions lack the depth and manual adjustments found in Word for any form of complex IP litigation, and Pages redlining and multi-user collaboration is simply not suited for serious use. Table and spreadsheet integration is not even close.

    For a solo practitioner or a small firm handling the most straightforward uses, it might be suitable, but Pages absolutely does not have the features and power required of anyone who actually does advanced document preparation requiring a professional-quality result.
    Not nearly so much as you are currently overestimating it. I have Pages and I love it. For personal use. There is no replacement for Word, WordPerfect, or LaTeX for professional use, though.
    I assure you, there's nothing corporate about Pages. Most attorneys practice in a solo or small firm environment. There are plenty of big firms using Macs, but none that use Pages.
     
  12. dcsatt macrumors member

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    #12
    Thanks for the qualifier. I agree. Pages is not fit for appellate and Federal work. But, one doesn't always need heavy artillery; sometimes a handgun does the job.

    Now, as for your good-for-solo-and-small-firm-but-not-corporate opinion, again, I think that deserves to be qualified. The size of a firm doesn't necessarily matter. As you pointed out in the above quote – it's the type of work being done. Our firm could be ten times larger, and Pages would do just fine.

    Also, I never electronically file or bates editable electronic documents. I convert Pages documents to PDF through Print to PDF.
     
  13. pedregosa macrumors member

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    Mar 31, 2010
    #13
    Pages is great for my law practice

    I am a lawyer, an appellate specialist in California. I do all my work on Pages on my Mac. I much prefer it to Word. It is fine for all the requirements of both the California Court of Appeal and for the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. From time to time, I also do filings in the California Superior Court (i.e., trial court), mainly in post-trial proceedings. There, one needs to print on so-called "pleading paper" with a line down the left-hand margin side and line numbering. But I early on found a template for that, which works fine.

    Maybe there is some jurisdiction that has some special requirement that Pages can't handle. But I don't know of one.

    I am very much hoping that the iPad version of Pages will work for all my needs, too. I'm not aware of any limitations so far.
     
  14. ihazapple thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Thanks so much for all the helpful responses. I was asking primarily about the drafting and collaboration capabilities. I am in a national practice that routinely does cooperative brief work with both our CA office and other firms. I would not personally be formatting the final document for filing using the iPad. It would be nice, however, to be more mobile while drafting or take notes in a deposition without a laptop.

    The other concern I have has been raised in this forum multiple times about the multitasking capabilities ie: toggling between Westlaw/Internet and Pages while writing.

    In any event, I have ordered two and I'm really excited about the possibilities! Our firm is planning to raffle an iPad away to one of our associates to see if it works for our firm and I think at least one or two other attorneys is planning to buy their own.
     
  15. frank.deale macrumors regular

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    Jan 23, 2010
    #15
    I'm a law professor and have been experimenting with Pages for law review writing. The only problem I encountered was not being able to cross-reference footnotes, which one can do with Word. I placed a query in the Apple forum devoted to Pages about this weeks ago and no one has yet been able to provide an answer.

    I'm assuming that it cannot be done.
     
  16. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #16
    I'm in law school, and all work I've done so far (memorandums, briefs and a "journal publishable :p" paper) with Pages. I find it fantastic with footnotes - even better than Microsoft Office in my experience. I love how smoothly it deals with footnotes - cut out a passage that has a footnote? The footnote is removed as well, and the numbers re-ordered. Paste it somewhere else? The footnote goes with it, and the numbers are re-ordered as well.

    However, I never went too depth - cross-referencing and that fancy stuff.

    I obviously can't comment on the iPad's version of Pages because I don't know it's capacities, but the desktop version definitely delivers for me.

    (Just wanted to note that, yes, I know that Microsoft Office 2008 (and perhaps prior?) handles footnotes the same way - most of the time. That's the key phrase, "most of the time." Sometimes it would bug out and ruin my formatting, forcing me to revert to a prior saved copy. That and Microsoft Office is just slow and unstable on OS X, I couldn't trust it with a 25-page brief that I slaved over for the past week.)

    Edited to add: California is my jurisdiction, and I've written briefs that perfectly meets the courts' requirements with Pages. No issues.
     
  17. rmg007 macrumors member

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    Aug 28, 2009
    #17
    Interesting discussion. I'm old school and still rely on Word Perfect for all of my pleadings, although I do have MS Word on my PC and iMac, along with Pages.

    Will somebody please post or link to a template for pleading paper in Pages? Thanks in advance, that would be really helpful.

    Back OT. I am excited about the iPad, although I just can't see myself doing any serious drafting of pleadings on the iPad (I did not order the keyboard).
     
  18. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030

    CylonGlitch

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    #18
    I have switched from Word to Pages a few months ago for the work that I was doing for a large tech company. We write several thousand page tech documents on the products we are producing that get handed around to dozens of people and agencies.

    It does just about everything and does it well. For those who think it is much more limited I get the impression that they haven't learned to use the inspector efficiently or at all -- Pages isn't designed to do all it's work through pull-down menus like Word. It has no problems with red-lining, version tracking, or notes. Formatting I find much more intuitive, once you've learned some of the basics (basically learned to forget word) but not always.

    The one thing it CANNOT do, is have one page portrait and then the next one landscape, the whole document only. :(

    Otherwise, I found it to be one of the best purchases I have made.

    The export to word always seems to work flawlessly, but importing doesn't always work.
     
  19. Sdevante macrumors 6502

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    #19
    FWIW I have used Pages to draft legal documents in TN state court, as well as 6th Circuit briefs.

    It also has track changes. What else could you need?

    I'm looking at getting an iPad to take digital copies of client files into court rather than lugging a brief case with lots of papers.
     
  20. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #20
    Absolutely. Like I said originally, it's fine for basic documents, but any word processor is. If you're actually using the advanced tools or any sort of collaboration, as the OP is hinting at, Pages is simply deficient in those areas.
    It matters a great deal in terms of whether Pages' redlining feature is adequate and whether you need to use other big-firm workflow tools.
    I ordered an iPad as soon as I could. It's perfect for court and far less conspicuous than a notebook. It'll be fine for depositions--particularly once the good note-taking applications come along. But in terms of collaboration and the advanced features, Pages isn't designed for that market.

    It cannot compete, and makes no pretense of doing so, with the niche and high-end functionality of professional tools. Even if it did, Pages' very real .doc conversion issues make it a non-starter. The bigger the files, the more Pages struggles to reproduce them accurately.
    Briefs have margin and spacing rules. You can write them in TextEdit if you want.
     
  21. alia macrumors 6502a

    alia

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    #21
    I'm starting a job with a large firm in June in the corporate practice group, which relies heavily on collaboration and workflow tools such as doc versioning tools and delta view, etc., so I'm sure that my uses for Pages would really be reserved for newsletter-type client docs and presentations. Also, if you are going to write any kind of journal article, you really do need footnote cross-referencing (it was a nightmare as a journal editor to receive articles that were not cross-referenced and trying to update them).

    Right now, I'm working for a federal district court judge, and we pretty much have to write all our orders in WordPerfect (which also has nightmarish compatibility with Word) in the Arial font. Everything that comes in through CM-ECF is a PDF though with variations in line spacing, fonts, and even underlining vs italics for citations, so I'm sure that attorneys use a variety of word processing applications (or scary handwritten motions filed by pro se litigants). The judge doesn't seem to care, as her staff are the ones who have to read the pleadings and the motions anyway. I think the court is more concerned with clean, understandable writing and accurate pin cites than what application was used in the drafting.

    I can't speak at all for the 11th Cir. Court of Appeals though. :)
     
  22. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #22
    While this is mostly true, it is not entirely true, either :)

    (A hint: a certain requirement of the table of contents.)
     
  23. legaleye3000 macrumors 65816

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    #23
    A little off topic, but related:

    1. Can you wired or wirelessly print from the iPad?

    2. Does it have a voice recorder?


    I wish you could set "save to word format" as default.....
     
  24. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #24
    Oh, kids today. It's entirely true. You just have to do it manually (and more to the point, saying it's a requirement is actually an overstatement of the rules). A hint: you can write briefs on a typewriter, so any rich text editor can fit the bill. Many of us started out that way.
    No, not in OS 3.2. There are apps that allow for some degree of printing from iPods/iPhones, so those will work, too. Hopefully OS 4.0 brings network printing support.
    It has a microphone, yes. You need a voice recorder app, but there are several free ones to choose from.
     
  25. legaleye3000 macrumors 65816

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    #25
    So it doesn't come with the voice recorder like the 3GS....? Weird..
     

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