Remember the LegalBoard, a keyboard designed specifically for lawyers? Now there is a mini version designed to be portable — and that has the added advantage of working with Macs, which the LegalBoard does not.

I first wrote about the LegalBoard last January, and later followed that post with a hands-on review and a video unboxing. Recently, Brian Potts, the lawyer who conceived of the LegalBoard, sent me a review unit of the new mini version, called the LegalPad.

The idea of the original LegalBoard was to save keystrokes for lawyers by designing a keyboard that had keys for the functions lawyers frequently use, such as inserting a section sign (§) or common citation terms such as F.3d.

The LegalPad takes mostly the same functions and arranges them in a separate pad that plugs into a USB port. No set-up is required — just plug it in and it works. It is compatible with both PCs and Macs.

Using the LegalPad, a touch of a key lets you insert these common symbols:

  • §
  • ©

Other keys let you insert common words and abbreviations:

  • see
  • e.g.
  • id.
  • U.S.
  • F.3d.
  • F.2d.
  • F. Supp.
  • U.S.C.
  • C.F.R.
  • plaintiff
  • defendant
  • appellant
  • respondent
  • supreme court
  • court of appeals
  • court

If you press shift while pressing any of these word keys, the word is capitalized. So if I tap the supreme court key, it is lowercase, but if I press shift plus the key, it is Supreme Court.

In addition to inserting these characters and words, the LegalPad has keys that perform functions:

  • Insert bullets.
  • Turn small caps on and off.
  • Start or close the find window.
  • Add a footnote or return to the text from a footnote.
  • Add a comment or return to the text from a comment.
  • Turn Track Changes on and off.
  • Add an em dash.
  • Add an en dash.

Pressing the number-lock key on the LegalPad turns off its legal functions and enables it to be used as a number pad.

This post was a LitigationWorld Pick of the Week.

There are two differences between the LegalBoard and the LegalPad. The keyboard includes keys for setting line spacing, while the pad does not. The pad includes keys for inserting em and en dashes, which the keyboard does not.

The LegalPad can be purchased for $59.99 from the LegalBoard website. The original legal keyboard can be purchased for $75 from the LegalBoard website or for $79.99 from Amazon. It is roughly 6.4″ by 5.25″ in size.

If you frequently write legal briefs and memoranda, the LegalPad is a handy accessory that can save you keystrokes or time spent figuring out how to insert a symbol. At this time of year, it is also a good holiday gift for your favorite lawyer — or yourself.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.