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Here are three new additions to the practicePRO Lending Library you can read in under an hour. Two cover the gadget everyone waits in line to buy, and the other a powerful (but often underused) tool for building your online professional contact network.

iPad in One Hour for Lawyers

by Tom Mighell. Published in 2011, 106 pages

Lawyers are jumping on the tablet bandwagon in huge numbers, and many are opting to go with Apple’s iPad. This book is a great quick read for those who are still thinking about getting an iPad, or who bought one and are still figuring out how to get the most out of it. The author – Tom Mighell, a member of the Law Practice Management section of the American Bar Association (ABA) – aims to have the user configured and ready to start using the device in under an hour.

After quickly familiarizing the reader with how to navigate the buttons and controls of the iPad, Mighell explains how to set up email, contacts and calendars (the essentials of remote lawyering).

From there, it’s on to learning how to synchronize, organize and access your files both through the device itself and via “the cloud.”

With the user now set up, the remainder of the book explores how lawyers can use the iPad in productive ways (as opposed to playing Angry Birds). Add external tools such as a keyboard, stylus, and stand to make it easier to work with the tablet. Download apps for taking notes, reading documents and holding virtual meetings. Other lawyer-focused apps specifically help with trial preparation and legal research.

To really dig into all the apps available, be sure to also check out the following.

iPad Apps in One Hour for Lawyers

by Tom Mighell. Published in 2012, 115 pages

With more than 200,000 apps for the iPad to choose from, finding the best ones can be time-consuming and confusing. In this book Tom Mighell selects what he considers the best apps for lawyers looking to get the most out of the iPad.

After first explaining how to buy, install, and organize apps, the author then breaks down the selection into broad categories. There are apps for getting organized, document-editing apps, apps for the law office, news and reference apps, utilities that let you work with other devices (such as printers and scanners), travel-focused apps and apps to help you relax and have fun at the end of a long day.

The focus is mainly on paid rather than free apps, because in the author’s opinion these are usually a cut above in terms of quality and functionality (though there are still lots of great free apps out there). Each section features must-have “recommended” apps, along with “runners up.”

LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers

by Dennis Kennedy and Allison C. Shields. Published in 2012, 128 pages

By now many lawyers will have set up a LinkedIn account – but they may not have done much more than register, create a simple profile and add new connections from time to time. Some may see it as just another social media fad, when in fact LinkedIn can be a tool for replicating online what lawyers strive to do in real life: build connections, network and gain new clients. The authors are Dennis Kennedy, an IT lawyer and technology columnist for the ABA Journal, and Allison C. Shields, an author and consultant on practice management and business development issues.

The first portion of the book is a series of ten lessons that will take a lawyer step-by-step from creating a profile that’s active and dynamic to building a network of connections to leveraging knowledge and experience by participating in LinkedIn’s Groups and taking part in Answers (a type of discussion forum) and Recommendations. The remainder of the book covers more advanced topics such as ethical implications lawyers need to consider, how to use LinkedIn in the hiring process, and apps that can be installed to make your profile even more functional and interactive.

If all you’ve done on LinkedIn is set up a profile and added a few colleagues as connections, read this book. After you’re done you’ll want to take a fresh look at how much more this tool could be doing to help you nurture and expand your professional network.

Tim Lemieux is practicePRO coordinator at LAWPRO.