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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Monday, June 27, 2011

iPad Apps for Lawyers: TrialPad 2.0 Reviewed

TrialPad 2.0 has just been released, and I will begin by saying that they have indeed read the reviews, listened to the feedback, and have implemented the features necessary to make TrialPad the new Gold Standard of iPad Apps for Trial Presentation.

I always attempt to write my reviews from a professional and objective perspective, and am not afraid to point out weaknesses, as well as strengths of a product. I’m not one to offer a cheesy sales pitch to make someone feel good about their product (the same way I look at a case during trial – I’m not there to make you believe you’re convincing the jury if you’re not). If you want that, you can find it elsewhere. Here’s the link to my first review of TrialPad, “Apples to Apples: Two iPad Apps for Trial Presentation,” which helps make my point. This article continues to dominate the all-time highest traffic rating of any article on my blog.

Here’s an actual presentation screen-grab, taken with two exhibits, and two call-outs.

I’ll include the list of update features from the iTunes site below, but will point out that a few of most important game changers are:

1. Ability to display two documents (or document + video) side-by-side
2. Multiple zoom callouts
3. Handles multi-page tiff images
4. Basic video editing

Now, would I actually use TrialPad in a trial? Only if there were some compelling reason to do so. Sorry fanboys -- but it’s still not a laptop, and it’s still not TrialDirector. The trials I work on are generally larger matters, which would introduce unnecessary risks and challenges, all at the expense of looking cool. Those attorneys who actually use it in trial are generally working alone on smaller cases, which would be fine. My services wouldn’t fit within that budget anyway.

However, I have used TrialPad in presentations (non-trial), and will continue to do so, just because it is cool, and since my presentations generally focus around legal technology – well, you get the picture. Now, if someone contacts me to support a trial with the iPad, I’d love to do it.

TrialPad's competitors are Exhibit A and Evidence, and can each be had at around 10% of the cost of the $89.99 price of TrialPad. The “game-changers” noted above now make it an accurate statement to say, “You get what you pay for.”

One issue I will note is that if you wish to highlight and zoom on a section of an exhibit, you’ll need to highlight it first. You cannot do anything to the zoomed section. Also, if you intend on showing a lot of documents in a side-by-side manner, you may want to create and save some of these ahead of time, as there seemed to be a bit of instability when working with multiple zooms from both exhibits. In trial, a delay of even a few extra seconds can seem like an hour.

From iTunes:

You have asked for all these features, and we have delivered!

CALLOUT TOOL – Pull out multiple sections of a page (with annotations!), even multiple sections from different pages in the same document, even multiple sections from different documents when in split screen (see below)!

SPLIT SCREEN – Show two separate pages side-by-side, even callout and compare different parts of different documents with their highlighting or other annotations!

CASES VIEW – Using intuitive case folders you can now view by Icon, Thumbnails, and List. Sort alphabetically (A-Z, Z-A) or by date. Also search for a case by name.

VIDEO – Import, edit, make clips, and take snapshots!

NEW FILE TYPES – Besides the gold standard Adobe Acrobat PDF format, now you can now import JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF, Multi-Page TIF, and TXT. [Also imports DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, but PLEASE NOTE, for these files our best practices recommendation is to convert these files to Adobe Acrobat to maintain the formatting and look of the original document.]

IMPORT FROM PHOTOS APP – Import photos and web page screen shots.

DROPBOX – Download/upload your files from/to Dropbox to collaborate with the trial team.

EXPORT – Print or email pages or entire documents, with or without annotations.

DOCUMENT NAVIGATION – To complement the existing scroll bar and flick function, new Page Up and Page Down buttons to quickly flip through multi-page documents.

DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT – Now you can easily move documents between cases.

FILE SORT OPTIONS – Sort documents within a case by name or file type, as well as the ability to reorder documents manually.

LASER TOOL – Show a red, blue, or green laser to guide your audience through a document. It even works across documents when in split screen mode.

WHITEBOARD – Draw or write on the new Whiteboard tool and save as a Hot Doc.

NEW HIGHLIGHTER COLORS – Our crisp, blended highlighter now comes in yellow, green, blue, and pink, without ghosting the background document.

NEW PEN COLORS AND WIDTHS – Now choose from red, blue, green, and black in three pen stroke widths, with ability to write.

STICKY TOOLS – Double-tap to lock the Callout, Highlight, Pen, Redact, or Laser tools to keep them active (just like shift lock on the keyboard).

REDACT TOOL – Redact in white or black.


All of this with the same sleek and intuitive user interface!

Conclusion

If you’re willing to pay ten times the money for an iPad App versus its competitors, TrialPad is an excellent choice. If you’d rather spend less money, and are willing to have a few less features, I’d recommend Exhibit A, or possibly Evidence. If you have a larger or complex trial, you may want to focus more on trying your case, rather than trying your patience, dealing with the technology yourself. Call me.

Feel free to “like” this topic, share it, tweet it, and add your comments.

7 comments:

  1. WARNING: TrialPad is a seriously flawed presentation app. Do NOT try to use it in trial or you will get a mistrial. The app puts up the wrong exhibits when in presentation mode. There are other significant problems. Here is a video I shot with my iPhone showing these problems:

    http://youtu.be/YfLVwOeQOF4

    I tried putting up a review in iTunes, warning of these problems, but some how TrialPad was able to take my review down. They are not being honest about the problems they have.

    I also question the thoroughness of the law tech blogs that have reviewed TrialPad. I bought it based on these reviews. It does not seem they actually tried using the app in a presentation before posting their reviews, or they would have noticed these significant problems that make the app unusable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The video is certainly interesting - thanks for sharing. I haven't seen these issues before. I wonder if this has anything to do with the external display you're using? I believe it needs to be 1024x768, which is what a typical courtroom projector runs.

    You are running a wide-screen external monitor, and I wonder if the iPad can't figure that out, or whether it is isolated to TrialPad? You might try another presentation app to see if you have similar results.

    I could try to replicate the issue, but I'm sure that the TrialPad folks will do that now, and I'll ask that they post their findings here.

    IMHO, just another reason to call in an expert if you're going to trial, but then that's how I make a living. Mistrial is not a good think to gamble with.

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  3. Nasty bug, I bet Ian's head explodes.

    Use TrialSmart, Sanction, or TrialDirector and you won't have this issue.

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  4. It has come to my attention that a person with variations of the name “Stan Mortensen”, posing as an objective user, and even implying he is a litigator, is posting messages on a variety of blogs pointing out a bug that he says he has found in TrialPad 2.0. This is unfortunate since users may now have mistaken impressions about our app and our quality control process.

    Our users regularly contact our support [support@trialpad.com], or me directly, with questions they may have, which we address immediately. “Mr. Mortensen” did not contact me or our support, but went to the trouble of posting a questionable YouTube video with his concerns. It’s unclear exactly who “Stan Mortensen” is, though the competitiveness of the app development business, and a simple investigation has led me to the obvious conclusion.

    Our team will also be reaching out to the only attorneys we can find with names like “Stan Mortensen,” to make sure that they are not having any difficulties with TrialPad that need our personal attention, or are having their identity misappropriated.

    More importantly, while we’ve been unable to reproduce the issue that “Mr. Mortensen” reported, our investigation has uncovered one flaw which we are addressing immediately. Based on my years as a professional trial consultant, the flaw that “Mr. Mortensen” helped us find would in no way lead to the disastrous results he predicts. We’re on it, and there will be a quick update to resolve it. Lit Software is, and has always been, proactive and responsive to our users concerns.

    Please note that Lit Software, LLC, the developer of TrialPad, reaffirms here that our business practices will comply with the values of our joint venture partners, Kaufman, Rossin & Co. and Saurian Communications, Inc. We will conduct our business with integrity and take responsibility for our words and deeds, even in the Wild West of the blogosphere. After all, if we’re doing work that we’re proud of, our real names should be on it!

    Kind regards,

    Ian

    ---------------------------------------
    Ian O’Flaherty
    ian@litsoftware.com
    Lit Software, LLC
    Developer of TrialPad for iPad

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow. A witch hunt. This is why people post under a pseudonym.

    You should easily be able to reproduce these serious bugs. Here is my set up: iPad 2, TrialPad 2.0, Samsung 46" LCD HD TV (model # LN46D630M3FXZA) that I just bought from Best Buy for my conference room.

    If there is a problem with my set up, maybe TrialPad can publish a list of acceptable devices for running TrialPad? Sure would have been nice to know this before I bought the TV or the app! I have a Dell 5100MP projector I haven't tried it one yet. Will that work?

    Mr. O'Flaherty, ad hominem attacks aside, seems to have learned something from my posting, so hopefully we all benefit from this.

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  6. How embarrassing. So the bug was actually there all along?

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  7. As a representative of Lit Software, LLC, I wanted to make sure all our users are aware that we have updated TrialPad to version 2.0.30. Please be sure to update to this most recent version to get the full effect of TrialPad by visiting the App store on your iPad. This version has also fixed the purported bugs that have been brought to our attention.

    Aubrey Swanson
    aubrey@litsoftware.com

    ReplyDelete