The iPad Lawyer: Really Making Your Wish A Command

Published on: 18 October, 2012

The iPad Lawyer: Really Making Your Wish A Command


Scott J. Grossberg, Esq.

I have been touting the use of the iPad as a powerful and effective dictation device for quite some time. My workflow includes speaking into my iPad roughly 1/4 of the time I am using it and it has made me incredibly more productive and profitable (there, that should get your attention). During my iPad for Lawyers seminars, there have been many questions lately about the availability and efficacy of utilizing Siri on your iPad now that iOS 6 has arrived.

Let’s begin with a basic understanding: Siri (dictation) is only available for the new iPad (3rd generation), iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, and iPod Touch (5th generation). Sorry to say that even if you have the iPad 2 with the new iOS 6 operating system you don’t have Siri. But wait . . . for you iPad 2 users, there are still some viable options. For those with the iPad 2, take a look at these apps (please note that app prices are subject to change):

Dragon Dictation (FREE)

Vlingo (FREE)

Evi ($.99)

vokul ($2.99)

I recommend that you download either Dragon Dictation or Vlingo because . . . well . . . they are FREE.

For those of you with the new iPad, the first thing to do is make certain you have Siri enabled.  Here’s how:

  • Go to SETTINGS
  • Tap on GENERAL
  • Find the SIRI section
  • Set Siri to ON

When Siri is enabled and you hold down the Home Button (the small round indented button at the bottom of your iPad) for about 2 seconds, Siri will be activated. Most of the time, I am not using Siri to answer questions, get directions, find the local coffee shop, nor have her tell me joke. Rather, I am using her dictation function (which works in any app that has an onscreen keyboard ability). To use this dictation function, take a look at your onscreen keyboard and just to the left of the spacebar you will see a little microphone. Tap on the microphone and you can begin dictating. When you’re finished speaking, tap the microphone again. You can easily add to your dictated message/note by repeating these steps.

There are an immense number of things of which Siri is capable. I certainly don’t use them all and to ask you to remember the vast command list would not be too empowering. So, I’m going to share with you only those Siri commands that I find magnificently productive in working in partnership with my new iPad and making my business profitable:

Dictation commands

•    New line (like pressing “return”)
•    New paragraph
•    All caps (makes the next word all uppercase)
•    All caps on . . . all caps off (allows you to make part of a sentence all uppercase)
•    Period
•    Comma
•    Apostrophe
•    Exclamation point
•    Question mark
•    Ampersand
•    Asterisk
•    Open parenthesis
•    Close parenthesis
•    Open bracket
•    Close bracket
•    Dash
•    Percent sign (%)
•    Copyright sign (©)
•    Registered sign (®)
•    At sign (@)
•    Ellipsis or dot dot dot
•    Quote or quotation mark
•    Smiley
•    Frowny
•    Winky


•    Find all emails from [insert contact name].
•    Email [insert contact name] about [insert topic].
•    New email to [insert contact name].
•    Email [insert contact name] and say [insert topic].
•    Check email.
•    Show new email from [insert contact name].
•    Do I have any new messages?


•    Show me/find people named [insert the part of the name you remember].
•    What’s [insert name] address?
•    What is [insert name] phone number?


•    Set up a meeting at [fill in time].
•    Set up a meeting with [fill in contact name] at [fill in time].
•    Meet with [fill in contact name] at [fill in time].
•    Set up a meeting about [insert topic] on [insert date] at [insert time].
•    New appointment with [insert contact name] at [insert time] on [insert date] in [insert location].
•    Move my [insert time] meeting to [insert new time].
•    Cancel the [insert meeting description] meeting.
•    What does the rest of my day look like?
•    What’s on my calendar for [insert date]?
•    When am I meeting with [insert contact name]?
•    Where is my next meeting?
•    Add [insert additional contact name] to my meeting with [insert existing meeting contact name].


•    Note that I [insert message].
•    Find my [insert topic] note.
•    Create a [insert topic] note.


•    Remind me to [insert reminder].
•    Remember to [insert reminder].


    •    Play [insert app name]
    •    Open [insert app name].

Naturally, any app that requires connectivity to work brings with it questions about security and privacy. Make certain you check out each publisher’s privacy policies to ensure you are complying with your ethical guidelines. For example, here is the policy from Dragon Dictation:

In order to improve recognition accuracy, Dragon Dictation will only upload names from your address book when permission is provided… no emails, addresses, phone numbers, or other personal information are uploaded. This information is not used for any purpose other than improving the usability of the application. Dragon Dictation will also utilize the data in spoken messages collected over time to continuously improve and provide high speech recognition accuracy. All data is stored in secure data centers according to stringent privacy and security standards. For more information, please view our end user license agreement
And here is a link to Apple’s rather lengthy privacy policy:

Now go out and make your wish your command!

If you enjoyed this, I’d be grateful if you share this with others. That’s right, go ahead and help spread this information by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.  And, if you’re interested in finding out how I can make a presentation to your law firm, please contact me at 909-483-1850 or email me at

© 2012 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

Mr. Grossberg is a founding partner of the Southern California law firm of Cihigoyenetche, Grossberg & Clouse. He is a featured speaker and published author on numerous topics including media relations, social media, technology, public speaking, memory, and various other cutting edge concepts. Mr. Grossberg’s “iPad Lawyer” seminars provide legal professionals with the ability to truly harness the potential of Apple’s tablet. He is regularly called upon to address the impact of emerging technology and social media, suggest policies and procedures that should be in place, and to discuss liability exposure for this new way of doing business. He can be reached at


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  1. Andrea Cannavina

    26 October, 2012 | 5:51 am

    I’m curious with the disclaimer language posted, if you feel it appropriate to divulge client contact details and dictate client work product through Siri or if you limit Siri dictation to non-client work product types of projects.

    Thank you.

    • Scott Grossberg

      26 October, 2012 | 6:50 am

      Andrea –

      Thank you for writing. For me, Siri is an invaluable part of my workflow. As such, you might find the following helpful:

      You might also want to check out the September 2012 article in the article by Nikki Black.

      You might also enjoy:

      I am very aware of the Wired article about IBM’s concerns over Siri:

      And I know about the ACLU’s warning:

      With the great promises that Siri brings to law practice management, productivity, and profitability for lawyers, perhaps one of the best ways to partially address the ethical issues is to give a disclosure to your clients with a specific reference that you communicate by cell phone, email, and the cloud. If the client does not agree with your workflow you can either modify your techniques or choose a new client. Naturally, I would be circumspect in using ANY online or cloud system in handling highly sensitive and confidential matters.

      Remember, too, that there will always be ethical challenges presented as technology advances. I can only imagine what the buzz must have been around when the telephone partyline and dangers of eavesdropping were recognized. Imagine the stir that arose when cell phones had signals that could be inadvertently intercepted by another passing user and, of course, the dreaded facsimile raised questions of reasonable expectations of privacy. While we certainly have the highest duty to protect our clients’ confidentialities and keep our privileges intact, I have no doubt that ethical guidelines will become more clear in the future to permit attorneys to use the massive benefits that advancing technology provides.

      I suppose, of course, I could go back to using the pen and quill that sits on my desk. (Now I just have to find that carrier pigeon.)

      Let me know if you have any other questions or if I can be of further help. – Scott

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