GPSolo Magazine - December 2003

When The Pen Is Mightier Than The Keyboard

Sitting in court with a notebook computer is no longer a new or innovative sight to behold. However, most judges and opposing counsel will agree that the noise of the clattering keys can be very disturbing to the case. Most judges, at one time or another, have kept a glaring eye on counsel as they pounded away with flying fingers.

The scenario is quite different when I use my Hewlett-Packard Compaq TC1000 Tablet PC (approximately $1,700, All I do is what lawyers have traditionally done: write my notes, questions, and other musings by hand in a quiet and comfortable manner. I have used the tablet in all forms of trials and pre-trials, without any hint of a problem. And when I return from the courthouse, all my notes are automatically transcribed, in Microsoft Word, with just two keystrokes. And there’s another advantage: Because my tablet is equipped with a wireless modem, I have the instant ability to obtain documents I may have left behind and even to confer with my colleagues at the office—all while I’m sitting in the courtroom.

The HP Tablet has proven to be a boon to my efficiency, especially since it’s really three computers in one. I no longer need a notebook or a desktop. I have a docking station into which I place the tablet when I return to the office, and—voilá!—I’m on my network, with all the full features and functionality of a desktop (like a keyboard, mouse, and screen). And rather than a notebook, I have a keyboard that goes with and travels light, right along and attached to the tablet for those times that I prefer to type.

Alan Pearlman is a practicing attorney in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. He is the author of the nationally syndicated column “The Electronic Lawyer” and a frequent speaker at national legal technology seminars. He can be reached via e-mail at or on the web at


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