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Mac v. PC in the Law Office

I find this to be a matter of preference, personally. Before law school I purchased a Macbook Pro.  I was very skeptical at first because I had never used a Mac before.  I used a Dell PC my whole life.  I was an accounting and finance major in college, and I was afraid to lose the version of Microsoft Excel for PC.  I had heard stories about how it was so much different. I also was worried about the firm that I worked for, and other businesses using PCs. I was afraid of the change.  On the other hand, I had heard stories about how wonderful Macs were, how reliable they were, and how they were less prone to viruses (probably somewhat debatable).

Macs

As I plan on starting my own small firm at some point, or at going to work for an existing small firm, I have begun to wonder what type of computer system I should use in the office.  According to an article by Randall A. Juip, Larry Port, and Ben Stevens, Standing Out in a PC World: Using a Mac in the Office, using a Mac in the office is much more convenient and logical.  Their basic thesis is that “Attorneys who use Macs trust their computers, whereas attorneys who use Windows PCs often live in fear that their computers may fail them—especially at crucial times.”

The authors state that “Using a Mac can provide an attorney with immense benefits in terms of workflow, organization and ease of use.”  Obvious for many Mac, iPhone and iPad users, iCloud allows attorneys to integrate their computer systems with ease.  For example, if you update your calendar on one of your devices, it goes to all of them.  Photos and documents can be placed in iCloud and be viewed on all your devices.  As we have seen in recent history, however, iCloud has been breached and privacy of individuals has been invaded.  A prudent attorney would need to find a way to secure its data and make sure that Client Confidentiality will not be breached.

The authors go on, however, writing that being a lone Mac user in an all-PC firm presents some challenges to collaboration, document production and data access. Fortunately, many of these hurdles are easily bridged, allowing a Mac-loving attorney to continue to use the tool that he or she has grown to rely upon.”  With Microsoft investing $150 million in Mac, the Microsoft Office pack is now available, making documents sharing easier between the two systems.

PCs

One of the reasons to stay with PCs is the classic saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Mac v. PC, Ben Stevens and Rick Georges.  I know personally teaching the people in the law firm that I work for currently a new operating system would be a difficult task, but it would be possible.  (Additionally, I know it would a complete disaster if my father ever came of the bench and worked with me–haha). Switching over to Mac would take up a lot of valuable time in training that small firms often do not have. Transferring all the documents from PC to Mac could also be a potential nightmare.

As mentioned above, Microsoft and PCs control a large share of the legal market.  It is most likely that these computers are less expensive to the law firm.   PCs also offer the same data sharing and information as well, it just is not as simple as the Mac, in my opinion.

Conclusion

Having done the switch already, I now personally like the use of Mac computers much better than that of PC. If I start an office, I will most likely use all Macs.  However, if I would use whatever operating system for the office that the office uses, while maintaining my own MacBook for personal use.   I believe it all comes down to a matter of preference.

-Andrew Grillo