Jump to content
Pawford

How many lawyers use Mac computers

Recommended Posts

I am curious how many lawyers working for firms use Mac computers.  

My reason for asking is that I use a MacBook Pro.  I love the built in accessibility features.  Specifically, screen reading software.   However, in future I suspect I will need to be ready to enter a Windows environment.  The most common screen reading software is JAWS.  It has a fairly steep learning curve and it is expensive.  That said, a number of people have suggested to me that I may wish to prepare myself for a Windows environment using JAWS.   Reluctantly, I have dual booted my Mac but it is a big change.  So really, all you have to do is tell me everyone uses Mac's ;) Okay probably not.  Still curious to hear how many use a Mac in the workplace.

I have read about one blind lawyer who carries three Daisy players - a device that can read documents and record audio.  Seems a bit excessive to me but a cool solution.  

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can tell you about the prevalence of MacBooks in law schools — sometimes I’ll look at my class and notice rows upon rows of light grey covers, all containing the silhouette of an apple into which someone has taken one or two bites. So I can  imagine they’re quite popular in many law firms. A few people use non-Apple computers, but we’re the minority. I’ve actually been thinking about getting a MacBook, just because everyone basically has one, and I don’t want to look like a weirdo lol. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firms are generally Microsoft environments even though many of their lawyers probably use Macs at home. Some sole pracs may use Macs for their practices.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Bigger firms are using iPads more and more, particularly the litigation departments. Does iOS offer a similar screen reader?

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Bigger firms are using iPads more and more, particularly the litigation departments. Does iOS offer a similar screen reader?

Yeah iOS has voiceover built in.  When properly set up an iPad or iPhone can navigate just about anything.  Not quite as robust as OSX voiceover but for the majority of tasks it works well.  iOS devices will also pair with a braille display or external QWERTY.  Apple has been a leader in universal design for their devices for quite a while.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Pawford said:

Yeah iOS has voiceover built in.  When properly set up an iPad or iPhone can navigate just about anything.  Not quite as robust as OSX voiceover but for the majority of tasks it works well.  iOS devices will also pair with a braille display or external QWERTY.  Apple has been a leader in universal design for their devices for quite a while.  

In that case, if you're working at one of the larger firms I'm sure they'd be happy to set you up with an iPad in place of a windows PC (assuming they've begun using iPads more widely). Just explain that it's for accessibility purposes, and they likely won't have any problem with it! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Macbook has the best screen reader, I have used it to read me texts while I make notes for years.  I use a chromebook as well, and I love it because it was cheap and it powers on in half a second, but the accessibility options do not compare to macbook

Edited by Iheartcats

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Iheartcats said:

Macbook has the best screen reader, I have used to read me texts while I make notes for years.  I use a chromebook as well, and I love it because it was cheap and it powers on in half a second, but the accessibility options do not compare to macbook

Agreed.  Although if in Windows software JAWS has often become the corporate standard.  It can at times do more than voiceover.  It has. built in OCR and some contextual features that are cool.  Also, some IT people are still hesitant to have mixed windows and OSX environments.  It does create a few headaches at times including duplication of new software purchases.  Of course my preference is that everyone goes OSX.  Given the cost most places will not do this.  However, it is nice to be able to sit with anyone's iOS or OSX device and be able to use it in seconds.  I once had to do an exam in an exam centre where they had no idea how they would accomplish the accessibility.  All I had to do is ask if they had a Mac.  By pressing two keys I had a full featured screen reader.

The rest of this post is irrelevant to the original question but might be interesting for some:

It takes some fiddling with settings in OSX but anyone can also convert a pdf docx or many other documents into audio files read in iTunes.  Convert notes to spoken audio.  I know for most people this would not be something they want to list to on the bus or subway but it is a cool feature that started as an accessibility feature in OSX and is now used by many more people.  

Irrelevant fun fact:

I was told one of the issues that technicians deal with in the apple store is people turning on accessibility features like voiceover without realizing it.  Once voiceover is on the iOS gestures are different.  If someone does not have volume turned up and accidentally turns on screen curtain it will seem like their device is dead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do NOT get a mac if you are going to be practicing/articling in criminal law. You will not be able to view 75% of disclosure video files with a mac.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, LuxAeterna said:

Do NOT get a mac if you are going to be practicing/articling in criminal law. You will not be able to view 75% of disclosure video files with a mac.

What format are they in? Have you tried downloading VLC player for Mac? If the problem is they’re meant to be played on PC, VLC should probably make them work! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Most "generic" videos will work with VLC, but disclosure that comes from a battery of cameras or in car footage from police cruisers typically uses its own special program that only works on windows.

Edited by LuxAeterna
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/21/2018 at 9:35 AM, LuxAeterna said:

Most "generic" videos will work with VLC, but disclosure that comes from a battery of cameras or in car footage from police cruisers typically uses its own special program that only works on windows.

I've never tried opening disclosure videos on my Mac at home, but I can confirm that we often receive CCTV videos in all kinds of wonky proprietary formats that are very hard to open.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Almost all the firms I interact with use Windows, including my own. There is one firm that likes to be very cutting edge that has Macs and issues their lawyers with iPads. I think it is super cool, especially that you can take hand-written notes on the iPad. But having an iPad of my own would be a nightmare to sync with my Windows system. Even syncing Outlook with my iPhone is an adventure (one that I often lose), to the jibes of the other Blackberry carrying lawyers.

Re: disclosure: they often come with their own software to run the videos, which seem pretty old and clunky and I doubt are compatible with Macs. I struggle to make them work on Windows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2018-05-21 at 9:55 AM, LuxAeterna said:

Do NOT get a mac if you are going to be practicing/articling in criminal law. You will not be able to view 75% of disclosure video files with a mac.

This is true. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of firms use Windows, mainly because the software needed to run law firms typically are only available on Windows. I'm sure there are Mac variants, but most of the well-known large-scale stuff like file storage and retrieval, billing, and so on, tend to only have Windows versions (at least, from what I have seen). I'm sure it's getting better, as writing stuff cross-platform is getting easier, but there still has to be a demand and inertia is hard to overcome. Also, networking Macs versus networking PCs is a huge difference. Microsoft corporate infrastructure is still miles ahead and, particularly large firms, will want to leverage everything that system can give them to manage all of their workstations, data, servers, etc.

Great thing about a Mac though is that it can dual boot Windows, and I'll take Mac hardware any day over any PC (at least for laptops). Sure, the OS isn't the same, but it's a small learning curve for most people. And, not for nothing, but Office on Mac is terrible (even the latest version) compared to Windows. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Ryn said:

Great thing about a Mac though is that it can dual boot Windows, and I'll take Mac hardware any day over any PC (at least for laptops). Sure, the OS isn't the same, but it's a small learning curve for most people. And, not for nothing, but Office on Mac is terrible (even the latest version) compared to Windows. 

I heard this was the case, but didn't they fix this with the release of Office 365, or at least significantly shrink the gap?

While always a Windows user, I plan to go Macbook through law school, just for the rock solid reliability, especially after all the trouble I had with my SP3. Dualbooting is always an option, or just getting a cheap Windows laptop as needed. There's also options like Parallels if you need to run one or two programs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, RNGesus said:

I heard this was the case, but didn't they fix this with the release of Office 365, or at least significantly shrink the gap?

While always a Windows user, I plan to go Macbook through law school, just for the rock solid reliability, especially after all the trouble I had with my SP3. Dualbooting is always an option, or just getting a cheap Windows laptop as needed. There's also options like Parallels if you need to run one or two programs.

Office 365 is much, much better, and for law school I would say that it more than suffices. I certainly was able to do everything in it without any problems.

For work, though, it would be missing the mark quite a bit. To start, it's missing some features over the Windows version, but nothing that I use for work so I'm only mentioning it as an aside. The real issue is that it's a bit of a hog on resources. I find myself with over a dozen or so large documents open regularly at work and if I tried that on my Mac it would have some major problems (even though it's a relatively new system). Though, to be fair, they have been improving it slowly, so it may be getting better; I hadn't tried to really stress test it in a while. The renderer also used to be crap (lots of low-quality graphics when rendering text; glitches; etc.) and had poor performance, but recently I've noticed it's also gotten better.

I guess in summary my thoughts would be that it's slowly improving, but the one for Windows is clearly much more mature. If I was banking on it (which, at work, I would be), I wouldn't want to gamble with fledgling software. Maybe in a couple of years when they iron out all of the bugs and bring both of them to feature-parity, we can talk. That said, I think, for their target audience on Mac, it's probably sufficient for now (and better than Pages, certainly).

Edited by Ryn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



  • Recent Posts

    • Not to disagree on what probably isn't important at all, but I think the notion of burn out is often overstated and person-dependent. I spent far too long studying for the LSAT (about ~5 months total), and my progress went from a mid-150s to mid-160s pretty quickly, then a spotty performance with a wide range of low-160s to low-170s. It then took me a solid month of grinding it out daily (~8-10 hrs) to average ~177-178 (over a sample of ~20 PTs). 
    • Thank you for the positivity!! It is nice to know someone was on a similar boat as me. I am dedicated to putting in the time and effort for acing the LSAT. I know it is a very hard test, not something I can master in 3 months, more like a year. I am aware the courses will just help me understand concepts but if I want to master those concepts I have to put in a lot of time practicing. Do you teach classes in Toronto? Once again thanks for the positivity   It helps knowing I wont get it overnight, it will take time and effort to get it. Now I get why America believes the idea that a strong LSAT is a must for law school and luck with the bar. FYI, I read this in a law school blog, its someone's opinion do not bash me for it.  YEs very true, its something costly mentally and financially. For now, I am    
    • Hi everyone,  I've written both the September and November LSAT, and am wondering if it would look bad on my application that I've done the LSAT 3 times. I know most schools just look at your highest score but I'm sure they see that I've done it multiple times. I didn't have much time to study for these last two tests, although hopefully I did better on today's than September. I'll have much longer to study for the January and am hoping that will give me an advantage. Any advice is appreciated!
    • Congratulations!  Are you waiting on any other acceptances?   
    • I feel like a lot of comments here have been quite negative about your chances. You can absolutely go to Law School with a L2 of 3.48 but your LSAT will be key. In my opinion 10 hours a week is pretty much nothing in terms of LSAT prep. You are looking at needing probably a 165 or better. This is absolutely doable but you will need to dedicate yourself entirely to it. I had a similar situation to yours, I have a low GPA and to get into the school I want I needed a 170 LSAT. I took the test twice. The first time I scored a 165 and the second time I scored a 171. I studied a minimum of 4 hours a day 6 days a week. I didn’t burn out because I wanted it more than anything else. You can get yourself into law school if that’s what you want. But it’s going to take a lot of work.  As far as prep goes. I am now an LSAT instructor and I will tell you that prep courses are designed to teach to the middle. You are looking at needing the 90th percentile or better so prep courses can help you get started but you’re gonna need to do a lot on your own to get your score where you need it. I like the bibles a lot and 7sages LG explanations are probably one of the best free resources out there.  Good luck! If you really want this, you’ll get it. Although I will caution you that the LSAT is a ruthless test. Don’t be discouraged if it takes you a lot of time to get it right.  And finally. Remember that law school is extremely expensive in both time and money. So really think about whether it’s an investment you are willing to make.
×