Spending a Saturday with the firm was made a little more enjoyable for the lawyers at Swaab Attorneys, who were each informed at their staff retreat over the weekend that they would soon receive their very own ipad.
And, as an added incentive for speaking up and contributing in the staff conference, Swaab's first batch of ipads received from Apple were handed over to the lawyers who were deemed to have best participated in the weekend's activities.
Swaab Attorneys is the first law firm in Australia to hand out ipads to its entire fee-earning staff base, following in the footsteps of Eversheds in the UK which also recently announced its own rollout to a limited number of partners in the firm with the ambition of encouraging staff to innovate.
For Swaab Attorneys CEO Bronwyn Pott, giving staff ipads is as much to provide them with a new tool for business productivity as it is a "nice thing to do for staff".
"We thought, 'Well, for it to be special for people, there's probably only a small window of opportunity to roll it out before it became real mainstream'," she told Lawyers Weekly.
"With younger staff, whatever you can do to engage them is positive. If they believe that you're going out of your way to do something special then the loyalty you get in return is immeasurable."
Already, lawyers are benefitting from the ease-of-use of the device, said Pott.
"It's great for reading on out of the office. You push a button and it starts."
Although not a usual Apple convert, Swaab IT manager Andrew Weeks agreed: "I don't find them particularly nice for doing a lot of work on, but they're a lovely platform for reading on," he said "If you have a long document you want to read on the train, or run through with a client, they're great for using and that's where we're getting the value out of them."
The firm has deployed BigHand Dictation on their initial round of ipads rolled out, as well as QuickOffice and the Ipad Configuration Utility. Weeks added that they will soon look to roll out iAnnotate for PDF. "It's absolutely superb; you can highlight and draw on them then email the PDF back to yourself once you're done."
Swaab lawyers have been asked to provide their own data plan on the 3G 16 gigabyte ipad models provided, but the firm allows free access from its office network. This helped to alleviate the concerns of Weeks, who was initially worried about the potential for costs to blow out if lawyers used the device to download movies and music.
Pott said Apple has also been working closely with the firm to enable the rollout. "They were keen to see a law firm embrace it and offered us some resources," she said.