Should You Go Mac or PC as a Lawyer?

technology for lawyers

The debate over Mac vs. PC has continued for decades. Years ago, die-hard Mac users were holding out in a predominantly PC world. In recent years, however, Mac is gaining popularity and Mac computers are now much more commonly found in law firms. As reported in an article on Nextpoint, practice management software company Clio conducted a survey of the legal market last year and found that:

  • Office Mac OS use increased from 56% to 66%
  • iPad usage increased from 57% to 67%
  • iPhone use went from 12% to 74%

As with any longstanding debate, strong advocates can be found on both sides of the question. Some are convinced that PCs are simply better. Others claim that Mac systems are far superior. Still others personally prefer Mac but use PCs to avoid being the lone Mac user in a PC office.

According to an article published by the American Bar Association, lawyers who use Mac can trust their computers, while those who use PCs cannot. The article states that many law firms are converting to all Mac systems because of their efficiency and ease of use. Mac users enjoy additional benefits, as reported in the article, including:

  • iPad and iPhone integration
  • Keynote (superior to PowerPoint)
  • Integrated visual tools
  • Higher quality software applications
  • Built-in security features

In an article published in the ABA Journal, a PC proponent claims that many lawyers have been using Windows operating systems for a long time, and if it’s not broken, why fix it? He states that PCs are less expensive and more easily configurable, with clearly superior choices in software. Although the Intel processor now enables Apple machines to run both Apple-based and Windows-based operating systems, Windows users still make up more than 90% of the market and there is safety in numbers, according to that author.

Attorneys who switch to Mac will have to buy new computers, learn a new operating system, and buy and learn new software, as covered in the article. In addition, using Mac will put them in an 8% minority of users.

The American Bar Association article has answers for those who would prefer Mac but have to operate in a PC world. According to the author, collaborating with PC users while using a Mac is no longer difficult, and a variety of tools are available to bridge between Apple OS X and Microsoft Windows. Additionally, currently compatible software makes it easy to share documents. Skype, which is available for both PC and Mac, makes it easy to communicate with anyone inside your firm, and Evernote for either PC or Mac is also available.

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