COURT TECHNOLOGY AND TRIAL PRESENTATION

The Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg features articles, reviews and news of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals. This blog is published by Ted Brooks, a Trial Presentation and Legal Technology Consultant, Author and Speaker. Ted's trial experience includes the Los Angeles Dodgers McCourt divorce trial (with David Boies), People v. Robert Blake murder trial (with M. Gerald Schwartzbach), and a large number of high profile, high value and complex civil matters.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Portable Law Office Equipment: The Printer

Each day during trial, I bring not only my laptop(s), but I am also prepared to print, scan, and perform a variety of other essential functions – all in court. In this article, I will offer a brief review of the Canon PIXMA iP100 printer.



I have used the HP 450 and 460 portable printers, and was about to purchase a new HP 470 printer, when I decided to do a little bit of research before dropping another $250 or so on the latest model. The primary reason for doing this was that I’ve actually purchased two or three 450’s and one 460 – and NONE OF THEM WORK! Actually, the reason I bought the 460 a couple of years ago was because the 450’s would do nothing more than pass a blank page through with any print command – even a print-test page. It appears that the drivers just won’t work any longer. I have no idea why, nor do I care to waste more of my time attempting to figure out what happened and why. According to the reviews I read, it seems that I am only one in a multitude of others with the same issue. Not good.

The HP 460 apparently suffered from some sort of traumatic injury (did I mention I carry these things in my rolling carry-on?) during my daily walks to court. All it does now is shake and rattle a bit, and then lights up to indicate it’s having a paper feed issue. Not good.

So, I looked at alternatives, and the Canon PIXMA iP100 seemed to be the next logical choice. I couldn’t really find much in the way of reviews, which I now guess is a good thing. Did I test this thing before going to court? You bet I did.

During my last trial (one month in the U.S. District Court in S.F.), I hauled in the trusty new Canon in case we would need to print exhibits, outlines, and emails (all of which we did) in court. This little printer performed flawlessly. It (like the HP) is a little noisy for use during the trial, and is best used during a break. A battery pack and Bluetooth capability are also available, although I’m sticking with the USB.

This printer doesn’t actually look all that durable, as it is made of lightweight plastic, but the design appears to work. It is a little smaller than the HP also, which is another benefit. The paper feeder also works better and holds more paper. I’m not sure how the ink will hold out yet, but I’ve made it through one trial without changing cartridges.

The bottom line on the Canon PIXMA iP100 is that I would highly recommend it to anyone needing a small, lightweight and portable printer that will actually work when you need it. At about $250 list (about the same as the HP), it is well worth the money spent.

Ted Brooks, President
Litigation-Tech LLC
"Enhancing the Art of Communication" Member, American Society of Trial Consultants
Certified inData TrialDirector Trainer
415-291-9900  San Francisco
http://trial-technology.blogspot.com/
WINNER: LAW TECHNOLOGY NEWS AWARD FOR MOST INNOVATIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY DURING A TRIAL

8 comments:

  1. I've actually found that model to be much too slow for a trial setting, particularly when printing out WestLaw cases and large documents.

    The only thing this unit has really going for it is size. Another detriment, since it's InkJet, is that a number of Court Districts won't accept print outs from InkJet as that media smudges and will not maintain the print quality over time. This is particularly important in California (just ran two trials there over the last 6 Months) where it was mandated not only all print-outs had to be Laser but also on Recycled Paper.

    For a little larger in size (almost a Banker's Box Size) I prefer either the HP LaserJet 2340 or the Samsung SCX-4623FW (which has a scanner/copier built in) for high speed print needs (and scanning) both are whisper quiet and I've printed during examinations with both the Judge and Jury unaware we were producing exhibits. May want to look at those two models in the future. The scanner component obviously is a little loud, but printing definitely could be done during trial.

    I'd to give a thumbs down for this review.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comments. I think you might have missed the "portable" part. There are a number of decent printers, scanners and multi-function machines you might use, but this would require advance setup and a work area large enough to accomodate the equipment - more along the lines of what you might set up in a war room.

    Additionally, if you're going to bother with that, you should consider a color laser, as opposed to monochrome.

    I would add that if you find yourself printing and/or scanning lots of large documents and cases, that perhaps more of this could/should be done in the war room. The portable equipment is generally used in court for "emergency" situations, rather than for normal prep.

    I do more trials in California than anywhere else, and have yet to be told I need to use a laser printer and/or recycled paper, although I won't disagree that it has happened to you, nor that it's a better idea when possible.

    You might also want to bring a file server computer into court instead of a laptop - that's what we used to do 10 years ago.

    Finally, I hope your "thumbs down" is more about the printer than the review...

    ---Ted

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ted - Definitely a "thumbs down" to the printer suggestion, not to the review. Sorry about that mistype and any suggestion of the ilk about your reviews and hard-work. I do have to disagree with your recommendation that a "portable" printer is more beneficial in a trial setting, especially during a litigation consulting engagement.

    For a trial printer in Court, the Samsung model (or even the HP P2035N, although it’s just a printer) as I mentioned, is less than the size of a typical airline rolling bag. It's definitely portable, in the sense; you could easily bring it into the Court Room, and throw it under your tech table, as the footprint is small enough that no one would notice. Plus at 32 Pages per minute, that performance alone is much more beneficial in a trial setting. Add in the scanning and copying abilities, it's a no-brainer.

    For a solo-practitioner, that printer you suggested may be a good idea. For a trial consultant/litigation technology consultant like us, it’s definitely not a good route to take. As we both can agree, trial support in Court, always consists of re-printing exhibits,
    re-printing witness outlines, printing WestLaw cases, etc. It's easy to say that all "should" be done during in witness prep, which always is never the case. It’s the “If I had a Dollar…” syndrome. Attorneys, Associates, Paralegals are always needing, rightfully so, exhibits and documents in trial. Here’s another way that we, as litigation consultants, deliver on that need. Combined with the never-ending need to scan new exhibits that arrive out of "thin-air" from opposing counsel during examination, it's much more beneficial to pay the same price for something like the Samsung model I suggested.

    As for Ink-Jet vs. Laser mention, the two trials I recently assisted with in Santa Rosa Superior Court and Los Angeles Superior (along with trials last year on both the Federal and State Level) both instances, both the Judge and his/her Clerk, requested that all documents be printed in Laser ink format rather than ink-jet and also on recycled paper. This also has been suggested to me in recent trials in Boston, Wilmington DE and Phoenix, AZ just in the last 6 months alone. Not only is it a good suggestion, but also as I'm sure you're aware, ink-jet printing does not last. It is also very easily smudged and all it takes is one simple thumb-stroke on the document to invalidate it as an exhibit that would be submitted to the Jury. Plus, ever had an ink-jet cartridge blow up on you? Let’s say it’s not something you want to be cleaning. Monochrome in court, always works perfectly for that "right-there" need. Color photos, color documents, (especially photos) you'd want to put on photo-paper or high-gloss paper, just for the resolution needs alone. Opposing counsel needs a copy of a WestLaw Cite, why bother in color?

    Ironically I’ve needed to use File-Servers in trial on a few occasions, certain small trials that are dealing with Terabytes of data (not only for a Trial Presentation Software, but also running their discovery databases in trial), sometimes a laptop/external drive may not have the horsepower the attorneys need. Those trials, obviously are few and far between, but why not make sure you have the best technology and advantages available? Personally, if it works and provides the best result why not use it?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ted - Definitely a "thumbs down" to the printer suggestion, not to the review. Sorry about that mistype and any suggestion of the ilk. I do have to disagree with your recommendation that a "portable" printer is more beneficial in a trial setting, especially during a litigation consulting engagement.

    For a trial printer in Court, the Samsung model (or even the HP P2035N, although it’s just a printer) as I mentioned, is less than the size of a typical airline rolling bag. It's definitely portable, in the sense; you could easily bring it into the Court Room, and throw it under your tech table, as the footprint is small enough that no one would notice. Plus at 32 Pages per minute, that performance alone is much more beneficial in a trial setting. Add in the scanning and copying abilities, it's a no-brainer.

    For a solo-practitioner, that printer you suggested may be a good idea. For a trial consultant/litigation technology consultant like us, it’s definitely not a good route to take. As we both can agree, trial support in Court, always consists of re-printing exhibits, re-printing witness outlines, printing WestLaw cases, etc. It's easy to say that all "should" be done during in witness prep, which always is never the case. It’s the “If I had a Dollar…” syndrome. Attorneys, Associates, Paralegals are always needing, rightfully so, exhibits and documents in trial. Here’s another way that we as litigation consultants deliver on that need. Combined with the never-ending need to scan new exhibits that seemingly arrive out of "thin-air" from opposing counsel during examination, it's much more beneficial to pay the same price for something like the Samsung models I suggested.

    As for Ink-Jet vs. Laser mention, the two trials I recently assisted with in Santa Rosa Superior Court and Los Angeles Superior (along with trials last year both on the Federal and State Level) in both instances, both the Judge and his/her Clerk, requested that all documents be printed in Laser format rather than ink-jet and also on recycled paper. This also has been suggested to me in recent trials in Boston, Wilmington DE and Phoenix, AZ just in the last 6 months alone. Not only is it a good suggestion, but also as I'm sure you're aware, ink-jet printing does not last. It is also very easily smudged and all it takes is one simple thumb-stroke on the document to invalidate it as an exhibit that would be submitted to the Jury. Plus, ever had an ink-jet cartridge blow up on you? Let’s say it’s not something you want to be cleaning.

    Ironically I’ve needed to use File-Servers in trial on a few occasions, certain small trials that are dealing with Terabytes of data (not only for a Trial Presentation Software, but also running their discovery databases in trial), sometimes a laptop/external drive may not have the horsepower the attorneys need. Those trials, obviously are few and far between, but why not make sure you have the best technology and advantage available? Personally, if it works and provides the best result, why not use it?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have to agree with Ted. I've been presenting in trial since 1997 and my best friends for at least the last 6 years have been my HP 460 printer and Canon DR2050C scanner. The small footprint is what I'm looking for. All the "heavy lifting" is done in the warroom, but there is always, always that moment when everyone looks to me and says "can you print this" or hands me a piece of paper and says "we need this scanned and on the screen NOW". I'm a team of ONE. I bring my own equipment into the courtroom every day in a black rolling Pelican case. If I can't carry everything in one load, it doesn't come into the courtroom. I've seen in-house teams come in with four people carrying equipment -- that happens for me only in my dreams. It has to be light, as fast as possible and as small as possible. My HP460 has served me well and I pray it will continue for a while longer, but when it is time to put the old girl down, I'll certainly look to the Canon PIXMA iP100 that Ted has recommended -- unless by that time they have the iP200 that is better and faster! Size matters when you are a party of one. Thanks, Ted.

    Charlene Agnew
    Advanced Litigation Solutions, Inc
    Houston, Texas

    ReplyDelete
  6. Most of the trials that I consult on, are also parties of one as well Charlene, so if the HP460 and having an additional scanner works for you, perfect.

    I'd be remiss to not say that, most Laser Printers today, are about the same footprint and size as a standard PC laying flat, so really the portability shouldn't be an issue any longer. If I'm working with an attorney and space is an issue (which very rarely comes into play there's always some room, even LA Superior Court) I'd use either of those two devices as a last resort, definite not my first call to the bullpen.

    I'd prefer one single unit, having a very similar footprint as both of those devices combined and have the piece of mind to not having to worry about two separate devices, two separate USB connections and two separate power connections taking up my workspace. Also having the ability to fulfill any need definitely is what we all strive for, which is why a small portable unit like this, really isn't (in my opinion) the best suggestion for 90% of all litigation.

    But to each their own...Good Hunting everyone, definitely a good discussion...any other thoughts?

    - Doug

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  7. I think that looks sleek. Let share the page with my Big Boss. We definitely need that. Our printer was like the mother of all printers! Bookmarking this site!

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  8. I recently purchased a Brother MFC-490. It is an "All in One" style printer, but the footprint is "small" and it has both wireless and wired connections. It has been invaluable to me in court! This printer is so quiet, I have printed and scanned documents during testimony!! In one case, one of the attorneys I was working for started to get upset with me because he did not hear the scanner and thought I had not scanned a new document from the other side. I had to assure him that I had scanned it, cleaned it up in Photoshop, added an exhibit sticker, loaded it into TD and was ready to use it in cross!

    ReplyDelete