Lawyer’s Guide to Palm Powered Handhelds
review by John Anderson)
The new Palm Powered devices
are everything that laptops were originally meant to be. The ultimate portable
electronic assistant pulls together all of your valuable information and
puts it at your fingertips while truly freeing you from the bulk and slow
boot times of their big brothers. Today’s new personal digital assistants
(PDA) can do much more than keep track of your phone numbers and calendar
items. They offer a powerful way of keeping all of your information protected,
easily accessible and sharable with your office staff. You can easily use
these devices to keep track of everything from frequent flier miles to your
favorite recipes, plus a whole lot more.
If you haven’t yet
made the jump from paper organizers or have a PDA that you feel you aren’t
getting the most out of then the ABA publication The Lawyer’s Guide
to Palm Powered Handhelds by Margaret Spencer Dixon is one of the best
sources for advice, tips and general helpful information. Dixon, a consultant
specializing in time management and stress management, focuses on basic ideas
and techniques and offers many valuable Internet resources. In the end, she
delivers a balanced informative guide that will not go out-of-date as quickly
as many other books of this nature. Best of all, it is written with “the
non-‘Techie’ in mind” in a language that is easy to understand.
After a short description
and history of PDAs, you are quickly introduced to the benefits and ease
of use that PDAs hold over their paper counterparts. There is even a helpful
appendix that can guide you in your decision of which handheld is right for
Even if you aren’t
tech-savvy, you will be a PDA guru by the end of this book. Terms and techniques
such as HotSyncing (allowing you to always have your work and PDA information
match) are easily explained with the emphasis on making you more organized,
efficient and effective.
Special sections of the
book give real-life examples and helpful tips on how actual lawyers use their
PDAs in their day-to-day lives. Dixon goes into great detail about each of
the most-used applications, breaking each down into separate sections that
allow you to get as much or as little information as you need. The author
also draws upon the expert tips and views from other legal professionals,
all of whom are experienced Palm users. They lend their voices to share their
valuable suggestions and experience.
The first portion of the
book plots out all the ways that you can use your PDA and lists some of its
many benefits. After that, it’s on to the second section, which gets
into the actual usage of your PDA, starting with an informative tour. Each
of the major features are explained with the same great attention to detail.
The way they are broken down lets you easily go back and review them without
an extensive search of the index. If you’ve never before picked up
a Palm device, this roadmap will make you very comfortable with navigating
the menus and application features. This is also where you are introduced
to Graffiti, the handwriting recognition script that lets you quickly and
easily enter information or edit documents. The characters closely resemble
the printed capital version of each letter. Usually a little practice will
make you an expert in no time. If you intend to enter large amounts of information,
portable keyboard peripherals are also available. These are also covered
in this book.
The last portion of the
book is just as valuable to current Palm users as the beginning chapters
are to those of you just starting out. They are the chapters that show you
how to get the most from your handheld devices. The information in these
last few chapters will make you a power user in record time with tips on
adding new programs to your handheld, using your PDA for timekeeping and
addressing issues of ethics, privacy and security.
such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal make
their publications available in PDA format. More legal material is becoming
available for download in PDA-compatible format everyday, and in the future
you will be able to access law reviews, newsletters, magazines and educational
program materials using your PDA.
Software companies are
also recognizing the potential of the PDA in the legal community and companies
are now offering PDA versions of time and billing programs such as Abacus,
DTE, PCLaw and TimeMatters. New Palm Powered devices can access the Internet,
giving you access to your e-mail wherever you go.
This publication clearly
has something for all lawyers who own or are thinking of purchasing a Palm
Powered Handheld. It answers your questions, dispels your doubts and quells
any fears you may have about the device or the information it carries.
I personally found the
book easy to read, very complete and the type of book that will stay on my
bookshelf as a reference for years to come.