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Tips from ABA TechShow: iPad Apps to Use in Your Litigation Practice

Ipad 2Attending the ABA TechShow is one of my favorite conferences  for 4 reasons:

  1. The top notch  speakers who are experts in their topic;
  2. The attendees (solo/small firm lawyers, IT folks and law firm administrators) are all there in collaboration mode to share and learn from each other;
  3. The vendors with great products to add efficiency and productivity to your practice, and
  4. You get to meet, in person, all the people you have been following on social media.

As follow-up to the iPad CLE seminar on Friday, I wanted to give you a list of iPads apps talked about at the TechShow, particularly, apps for litigators. The below summary comes from presentations by Jeff Richardson, Ben Stevens, Paul Unger, and Tom Mighell (author of book, iPad Apps in One Hour for Lawyers) and additional research I conducted. With apps being so cheap, if you are curious, just buy it. You may also want to use an app that your co-workers or friends are using so they can help you better use and learn the app.

Why has the iPad become such a useful tool for lawyers? It is one of the biggest innovations in legal technology in the past 3 years. The design is simple, lightweight and the functionality is equally as nice with new legal-specific apps constantly being developed. So if you carry around your legal pad and Redwell to the courtroom, this summary of apps will have you thinking about dumping all that paper and using the iPad as your legal pad and digital folder. For courtroom work, the iPad can be used to access exhibits, pleadings, legal research, depositions, and other documents you may need in a hearing or at a trial. And it’s so easy to carry.

First, worth mentioning, when purchasing an iPad, do you spend the extra $100 or so for a model that supports 3G and 4G LTE on AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. Or do you purchase the less expensive Wi-Fi only model where you can use the hotspot feature on your iPhone, a hotspot device or the readily available free Wi-Fi. I will mention the risk of being on an unsecured, free Wi-Fi internet – if you are using your iPad as a tool for your practice, you should invest in secured access via a data plan from your cellular provider.

Deadline Calculators:

  • Court Days Pro ($2.99) This program turns your iPhone, iPad, or other iOS device into a court date calculating machine. By inputting rules for various “trigger” events, Court Days Pro will be able to instantly create all the deadlines that accompany it. It’s a handy piece of software. However, the biggest problem is that the set-up process can be pretty time-consuming. The app requires a lot of initial input on the user’s part. Once you do get it up and running though, Court Days Pro can easily become a lawyer’s best friend.
  • Lawyer’s Professional Assistant ($4.99) This app from Wolfram Apha, is a reference tool to help lawyers with a number of calculations that may be relevant in your practice. Such as calendar computations, legal dictionary, statute of limitations for each state, financial computations including settlement and fees calculator, real estate law calculations, plus more. Here is a good article written by Gyi Tsakalakis reviewing this app:

Document Review and Organizers:

  • Circus Ponies Notebook ($29.99) is a powerful tool for organizing notes, research, and even full case files.  Besides it has a name that has to make you wonder. Some attorneys use Circus Ponies Notebook as their trial notebook in the courtroom, enabling a lawyer merely to carry an iPad around rather than be weighed down with boxes of transcripts, file folders, and all of the other piles of paperwork created in preparing for trial. This app has great search functions, ability to take notes, and even a voice annotation feature.
  • ReaddleDocs (FREE)  is a document manager for the iPad which saves documents so they can be accessed anywhere. ReaddleDocs can access PDFs, MS Office documents (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint), Apple iWork files, and any other document converted to PDF. PDFs in ReaddleDocs can be highlighted using multiple colors, and notes can be added directly to the files. Files can be uploaded or downloaded using many file sharing services. As an iPad app for lawyers, ReaddleDocs is a great tool for reading and marking depositions and trial transcripts. Important pages can be tabbed, significant passages can be highlighted, and reference notes can be added from the iPad without having to open the file on the computer.
  • Quickoffice Pro HD ($19.99) Another office suite option that can perform the core features found in Microsoft Office on your desktop. This app is one of the top choices for legal professionals because of its robust functionality in viewing and editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.

Depositions:

  • The Deponent App ($9.99) – With this deposition questions and exhibits outline application, attorneys can select from over 150 deposition questions by customizable categories, including admonitions or expert qualifications; organize the order of questions; and customize the questions for their witnesses. Questions can be linked to an exhibit. Exhibits can be loaded into the app from DropBox in PDF, Word and other file formats, so you can view the exhibits while you are asking questions and even show the witness during the deposition. Very cool.
  • TranscriptPad ($49.99) – Once depositions have been taken, load them into TranscriptPad to review and create designations. Simple issue coding, highlighting and flagging are the backbone of TranscriptPad. TranscriptPad has a powerful search tool that allows you to find key words. Your search results will display the number of times your search term was used per transcript, and also the page and line. And once your designations are done, you can create a report and email them to co-counsel, judges or clients. When you import your transcripts, at the same time you can import your exhibits into a folder which is automatically created in your case, and then access them easily as you read.

Jury Selection/Tracking:

  • JuryTracker ($4.99) – JuryTracker is a unique jury observation tool that allows the trial attorney, paralegal, jury consultant and client to observe and report on juror behavior in a consistent, concise and effective way.
  • iJuror ($9.99) – Developed with the help of many attorneys, iJuror is juror selection for the 21st century. Simply tap the seats to add juror information, add notes, and drag-and-drop to choose jurors and alternates, and to dismiss jurors. Configurable for seating arrangements of up to 60 jurors.
  • Jury Duty ($29.99) – Jury Duty is an innovative app that will give you the control you need to take voir dire to the next level. During voir dire, you have a limited amount of time to get to know the potential jurors. This app helps speed the process, with tools to customize voir dire and capture critical information with seating charts and question lists.

Presenting Evidence:

  • TrialPad ($89.99) – TrialPad for the iPad is a powerful tool for organizing case presentations for the courtroom. Unlike many apps which have merely been adapted by lawyers to use in their practices, TrialPad was specifically designed by lawyers for use in the courtroom. TrialPad enables attorneys to organize, annotate, and manage their case files for court hearings, jury trials, mediation presentations, and other settings. To use a document or photo in TrialPad, it merely needs to be converted to a format compatible with Adobe PDF. Along with tools such as highlight, redline, and redact, TrialPad allows you to display images and exhibits using a projector or a monitor.
  • Exhibit A ($9.99) – Present your key documents, photos and videos in the courtroom or boardroom in a beautiful fullscreen HD display. Presentation tools let you highlight, mark and call-out key sections of your exhibit instantly, in real time. A virtual laser pointer improves visibility as you emphasize your points.
  • MagicPlan (Free) – This app lets you measure rooms and draws a floor plan just by taking pictures. You can then get the floor plan for exhibits and presentations in PDF, JPG and DXF format, or publish an interactive floor plan on the web. MagicPlan CSI (Free) measures crime scenes with menus that allow you to position and document evidence and create PDFs and graphics to use in reports.

Legal Research:

  • Fastcase (Free) – The Fastcase app allows subscribers to the legal reference service to search its growing virtual law library on the go, in the palm of their hand —including cases and statutes from all 50 states and the federal government. Search by citation or keyword (in Boolean or natural language), or browse statute collections.
  • Black’s Law Dictionary ($54.99) – For more than a century Black’s Law Dictionary® has been the standard for the language of law. Today it’s the most widely cited law book in the world. The 9th Edition contains more than 45,000 terms, alternate spellings or equivalent expressions for more than 5,300 terms, and West key numbers.
  • Law Stack (Free) – A “legal library for your pocket,” Law Stack comes preloaded with the U.S. Constitution, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and much more. Plus, state codes can be added to your “stack” from the apps embedded collections.
  • LawBox (Free) – Provides free access to all federal law – rules, codes and rhe Constitution. You can also purchase rules for certain jurisdictions at $4.99 each.
  • FedCtRecords ($9.99) – this is an iPhone app but completely worth the purchase for your iPad. The app provides access to your Pacer account.

I hope this summary, although not short, was helpful. Here are some additional links about top apps for lawyers.

http://www.americanbar.org/newsletter/publications/youraba/201203article01.html

http://www.attorneyatwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Top_iPhone_and_iPad_Apps_for_Lawyers-0912.pdf

Peggy Gruenke, LawBizCOO

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