Thinking back on my history with computers – yes, I started as a reporter long before we had PCs, laptops, or the ability to create a caricature of one’s self from a cell phone. As a matter of fact, for the first year of my reporting career I dictated my notes for a typist. Then came the large PC that stayed at the office. In order to work on transcripts, we would need to be at the office or transport it back and forth from home and office. I remember hauling my first personal PC in a baby stroller.
I was thrilled when laptops became available and we could easily transport them between home and office. And add now the lightweight and easy-to-use iPad or your tablet of choice, together with our smart phones, and we can work anywhere, at any time, with the right apps.
I have written before about apps, but in this article I am focusing on Cloud Storage, Legal Research, and Deposition and Trial Apps.
Cloud Storage Apps
A very popular cloud storage option is Dropbox. With Dropbox, a lawyer or legal assistant can carry an iPad or smart phone to court to read and notate client files rather than carrying the paper files. The bigger the file, the greater the benefit. You can even use the doc scanner to save and share work right from your phone. The beauty of Dropbox is that you can work with your team through shared files. Android user? That’s not a problem with Dropbox. That’s available as well.
A similar app is Sharefile. We have used Sharefile in our office for years for sharing large files with clients. The mobile app is used in conjunction and allows the user to access, share, edit, and store files 24/7 from a smartphone or tablet. ShareFile offers security in a customizable solution – in our case we have it branded as well – and it integrates with the tools you already use. It is also available for Android devices. The good news is that if you need to share documents with a client, it will not matter what kind of device you’re using to send the file, and it will not matter what kind of device your client is using. The file will transfer cleanly and securely with ShareFile.
Legal Research Apps
Fastcase is a free legal research application. It’s like having the American law library in the palm of your hand. This app for either an iOS or Android user contains cases and statutes from all 50 states and the federal government. Not only can you search by citation, but you can also search by statute collection or by a keyword search.
LexisNexis and Westlaw are very popular, and depending on which service you use, these apps, Lexis Advance and Westlaw, can also be a great tool for legal research on the fly from your mobile device. You can set up alerts, access and share your research, and you can also view documents easily.
Rulebook has had a recent update with some good reviews. It is available for both iOS and Android. With this app you can have mobile access to state and federal court rules and other publications such as The Bluebook. It’s easy to navigate through the different rule sets. However, those do need to be purchased. Once you have downloaded the rules, they are stored locally on your mobile device for access offline. You can also keep multiple rules and authorities open at once and toggle between them.
Deposition and Trial Apps
ICVNet, a free app, or CaseViewNet’s Browser Edition is the easiest way to receive a realtime feed from the court reporter. This product is one of the most popular and user-friendly realtime applications available. The days of tokens and cords are over. Thank goodness! With the new browser-based edition, attorneys can not only view a witness’ testimony in the deposition room in realtime but anywhere there is an internet connection.
Do you need to sit in your office and work on another matter but would like to monitor what is happening in the conference room down the hall? Will you be out of the state on vacation and would like to be a fly on the wall for a few hours during a critical witness’ testimony? No problem. Just click on the password-protected secured link provided by the court reporter from any device and you can follow along. With ICVNet and the CaseViewNet Browser Edition, attorneys and legal professionals can receive, view, mark, and search. At the end of the deposition, you can email the transcript file to yourself or an associate as well.
For those of you looking to put your Post-Its or yellow pad away during your next jury selection, you should check out iJuror for $14.99. With iJuror you can add and organize juror information by seat. Simply tap the seats to add juror information, drag and drop to choose and dismiss jurors. Attorneys can share the information with colleagues, and it’s configurable to seating up to 60.
Jury in a Hurry was designed by a litigator. It’s $49.99, but it gives you information about your jury pool at a quick glance. You simply enter the juror data that you have chosen from an easy-to-use dropdown menu. At a glance at the image of the juror on the app you will be able to see sex, age, race, level of education, marital status, et cetera. It’s also customizable with your own questions and own case types.
TrialPad is a very popular courtroom presentation tool. It runs $129.99, but this app makes it easy to bring up documents, compare documents, highlight text and even edit and show video clips. For $299.99, you can get the Ultimate Litigation Bundle that has TrialPad, TranscriptPad, and DocReviewPad. With TranscriptPad, you can store and annotate transcripts and even create reports. There is also the ability to assign issue codes as well. Best of all you can print and email summaries. With DocReviewPad, you can review, assign Bates numbers, generate reports and also create production sets. As with TrialPad, DocReviewPad and TranscriptPad can be purchased separately.
It’s time for me to end this blog and get back to something very pressing…..ordering a few things from Amazon. Boy, is this handy for not only the office but anything else that can be purchased with a click.
As always, if you have a great app to share, please let me know at [email protected].