Last year, my most popular post was about the LegalBoard, a keyboard designed specifically for lawyers. In fact, as I wrote at Above the Law, never in all my years of covering legal technology had I seen the legal world react to a new product as it did to the LegalBoard.

Now is your chance to get one for free as part of a huge LegalBoard giveaway, and you’re reading about it first here, so act fast.

Here’s the deal: The first person to sign up from any law firm or non-government office with 25 or more attorneys will get a free LegalBoard. You will have to pay the shipping cost, which is $5.99, but there is no other cost. Here are more details:

  • First lawyer from a firm or other non-government law office to fill out the online form at www.freelegalboards.com gets a free LegalBoard.
  • Must be at a firm or business/non-profit with 25 or more total attorneys nationwide.
  • The email people use to fill out the form should be from the firm/business/non-profit so we can more easily ensure that the person works there.

That’s it. Founder and CEO Brian Potts tells me that, over the past year, he has sold LegalBoards in all 50 states and dozens of countries.

To read more about the LegalBoard, see my prior posts:

Remember the LegalBoard, a keyboard designed specifically for lawyers? Now there is a mini version designed to be portable — and that has the added advantage of working with Macs, which the LegalBoard does not.

I first wrote about the LegalBoard last January, and later followed that post with a hands-on review and a video unboxing. Recently, Brian Potts, the lawyer who conceived of the LegalBoard, sent me a review unit of the new mini version, called the LegalPad.

The idea of the original LegalBoard was to save keystrokes for lawyers by designing a keyboard that had keys for the functions lawyers frequently use, such as inserting a section sign (§) or common citation terms such as F.3d.

The LegalPad takes mostly the same functions and arranges them in a separate pad that plugs into a USB port. No set-up is required — just plug it in and it works. It is compatible with both PCs and Macs.

Using the LegalPad, a touch of a key lets you insert these common symbols:

  • §
  • ©

Other keys let you insert common words and abbreviations:

  • see
  • e.g.
  • id.
  • U.S.
  • F.3d.
  • F.2d.
  • F. Supp.
  • U.S.C.
  • C.F.R.
  • plaintiff
  • defendant
  • appellant
  • respondent
  • supreme court
  • court of appeals
  • court

If you press shift while pressing any of these word keys, the word is capitalized. So if I tap the supreme court key, it is lowercase, but if I press shift plus the key, it is Supreme Court.

In addition to inserting these characters and words, the LegalPad has keys that perform functions:

  • Insert bullets.
  • Turn small caps on and off.
  • Start or close the find window.
  • Add a footnote or return to the text from a footnote.
  • Add a comment or return to the text from a comment.
  • Turn Track Changes on and off.
  • Add an em dash.
  • Add an en dash.

Pressing the number-lock key on the LegalPad turns off its legal functions and enables it to be used as a number pad.

This post was a LitigationWorld Pick of the Week.

There are two differences between the LegalBoard and the LegalPad. The keyboard includes keys for setting line spacing, while the pad does not. The pad includes keys for inserting em and en dashes, which the keyboard does not.

The LegalPad can be purchased for $59.99 from the LegalBoard website. The original legal keyboard can be purchased for $75 from the LegalBoard website or for $79.99 from Amazon. It is roughly 6.4″ by 5.25″ in size.

If you frequently write legal briefs and memoranda, the LegalPad is a handy accessory that can save you keystrokes or time spent figuring out how to insert a symbol. At this time of year, it is also a good holiday gift for your favorite lawyer — or yourself.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the LegalBoard, a computer keyboard designed specifically for lawyers. Little did I know what that post would provoke. As I later wrote on Above the Law, never in my 14 years of blogging had I seen the legal world react to a new product as it did to the LegalBoard.

Well, hold on to your seats, because now there is another one, called Citepad. This one, however, is not a piece of hardware, but rather is software. And, for now, it works only on Macs, although versions are in development for Windows and iPads.

The idea, however, is similar to that of the LegalBoard. It allows legal professionals to easily insert citation words and commonly used symbols, reducing multiple key strokes to a single click. Like the LegalBoard, it lets you toggle between italic and underline formatting with a click of a button.

If you use Citepad with WestlawNext Copy with Reference and Lexis Advance Copy Citation to Clipboard, you can complete an entire citation with signals in a few clicks. Law students and professors can turn Small Caps on and off with one button for their law review article footnotes.

Citepad can be used with Word, Pages, OpenOffice and Google Docs. The company plans to add support for additional word processors.

Citepad inserts the following:

  • id.
  • ibid.
  • see
  • see id.
  • accord
  • but see
  • but see, e.g.,
  • see, e.g.,
  • see generally
  • see also
  • cf.
  • but cf.
  • contra
  • e.g.,

It also inserts these symbols:

  • π
  • §
  • Em-dash
  • En-dash

The developer of Citepad, Emily Montgomery, is an attorney in Las Vegas and a graduate of UCLA Law. She credits the movie Margin Call as her inspiration.

“I was clerking for a federal magistrate judge in Riverside, Calif., when I was watching the movie Margin Call,” she explains. “I saw the Bloomberg terminals for stockbrokers in the movie and knew attorneys had to have a more efficient way to input data and format their documents.”

She started by creating a physical keyboard prototype but pivoted to an app model after deciding it would be less cumbersome and more flexible across practice areas.

Citepad will sell for $49.99 regularly, with a limited-time special introductory price of $39.99. You can get a free trial or purchase it here.

This post was a BlawgWorld Pick of the Week.

 

 

Last week, I told you about the LegalBoard, a keyboard designed just for lawyers. It is the brainchild of Brian Potts, a partner at Perkins Coie in Madison, Wis.

This post was a BlawgWorld Pick of the Week.

On Friday, I received a review unit and over the weekend I had the chance to play around with this new keyboard. Here are more details. You may also want to see this video of unboxing and trying the LegalBoard.

As a keyboard, it is pretty nice. It is a full-sized, wired membrane keyboard with good feel in the keys and solid legs to prop it up. It feels like a sturdy unit that will stand up to regular use.

But of course, the raison d’etre for this keyboard is its legal-specific keys. Potts’ design incorporates common lawyerly functions into the keyboard, using the F1 through F12 function keys and the number pad. The keyboard shifts from lawyer mode to standard mode, so the number pad and function keys can function normally whenever the user wants.

Before I got the actual keyboard, I was a bit unclear on exactly what those functions were. Now I can be specific.

The function keys – the F1 through F12 keys at the top of the keyboard – insert these common words and abbreviations:
2017-01-09 08.25.17

  • F1 = see.
  • F2 = e.g.
  • F3 = U.S.
  • F4 = F.3d.
  • F5 = F.2d.
  • F6 = F. Supp.
  • F7 = U.S.C.
  • F8 = C.F.R.
  • F9 = plaintiff.
  • F10 = defendant
  • F11 = appellant.
  • F12 = respondent.

Four of the number keys also insert words:

  • + = supreme court.
  • ENT = court of appeals.
  • 0 = court.
  • . = id.

If you press shift while pressing any of these word keys, the word is capitalized. So if I press F11, I get appellant, but if I press shift+F11, I get Appellant.

Three number keys insert symbols:

  • 7 = §.
  • 8 = ¶.
  • 9 = ©.

The remaining number keys perform functions:
2017-01-09 08.25.25

  • – = insert bullets.
  • / = turn small caps on and off.
  • * = start or close the find window.
  • 4 = add a footnote or return to the text from a footnote.
  • 6 = add a comment or return to the text from a comment.
  • 5 = turn Track Changes on and off.
  • 1 = change line spacing to single.
  • 2 = change line spacing to 1.5.
  • 3 = change line spacing to double.
  • NUM = turn the keyboard’s legal functions on and off.

Three additional keys situated between the alpha and numeric keys allow you to format text as italics, underlined or bold.

Many of the keyboard’s functions also work in other Microsoft Office products, including Outlook and PowerPoint.

The keyboard is comfortable to use and I can see its appeal for anyone who regularly writes legal memoranda and briefs.

The LegalBoard costs $65. You can buy it at legalkeyboards.com.

image3

[Update: See my hands-on review of the LegalBoard and a video unboxing.]

Brian Potts had me at the section symbol.

The lawyer and founder of Pro-Boards LLC was explaining why he has developed the LegalBoard, a computer keyboard designed specifically for lawyers, which he will formally introduce tomorrow at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

I was furiously writing a brief when I went to insert a section symbol. As was my custom, I had to stop what I was doing, use the mouse, go to insert a symbol, find the section symbol and hit insert. This process stopped my train of thought, took up my precious time, and more than anything else, was incredibly annoying.

What lawyer can’t relate to Potts’ annoyance?

Some of the more technologically astute among you might be thinking, “He could just create a shortcut in Word for the section symbol and his problem would be solved.”

Actually, he couldn’t. At the time, Potts — who is now a partner at Perkins Coie — was a partner at Foley & Lardner. Foley’s computers were networked, and every time he powered down, any shortcuts disappeared.

(Another option is a tool such as ActiveWords, which I reviewed here. I don’t know whether Potts’ network would have allowed that to be installed.)

As he pondered the problem, his first thought was to ask the firm’s technology staff if they could put some sort of section symbol button on his computer screen.

Then it dawned on me that having the section symbol as a key on the keyboard would be even easier.  In fact, having lots of things that lawyers use every day on the keyboard would make my life a lot easier.

Potts went to work with engineers to come up with a keyboard that had keys for the functions lawyers frequently use. After testing prototypes, the LegalBoard was born.

image1

What does it do? I haven’t tried one yet, but Potts describes these features:

  • Insert a footnote or comment with a key stroke, type whatever you want in the footnote or comment, then toggle back to your place in the main body of the document without taking your hands off of the keyboard.
  • Turn track changes on and off.
  • Use the find function.
  • Add a bullet.
  • Add a section symbol, a paragraph symbol or a copyright symbol.
  • Turn italics, underline and bold on or off with a single keystroke.
  • Change the line spacing or add words and phrases that lawyers use all of the time (like court of appeals, plaintiff, appellant, etc.) with a single keystroke.

These functions all work in Word and some also work when typing emails in Microsoft Outlook.

The functions are all available via the F1 through F12 keys and on the number pad.  The keyboard can toggle between legal mode and standard mode, so the number pad and function keys can function normally whenever the user wants.

The LegalBoard will go on sale tomorrow for $65 at legalkeyboards.com. (It may already be on sale today — the website appears to be up and functioning.) Potts says it will pay for itself in weeks in the time it will save a lawyer.

Having now designed a keyboard for lawyers, Potts says his company will go on to create keyboards for other professionals, including doctors, engineers and journalists.

For decades, companies have been working hard to streamline software to make the process of office computing easier.  Yet most of us are still working with an office keyboard designed in the last century.  The keyboard design hasn’t really changed significantly since the typewriter.  Pro-Boards, LLC is looking to change that.

The keyboard is being manufactured by DS International. Here are more images.