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.

All materials © 2014 Ted Brooks, unless otherwise indicated.

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Great Backyard Grilling iPad App


Okay, so this doesn’t have much to do with legal technology, or trial presentation, but it does have something to do with iPad apps for attorneys and other legal professionals – assuming you eat. More specifically, assuming you have an iPad, and you like to BBQ. And, since another review I had ready to publish just got snagged by Law Technology News (idocument REVIEW), and since I had been asked to review this app, and since we’re coming into the Independence Day weekend, and since Jeff Richardson (iPhoneJD) is on vacation, well, I saw a void.

With that, here is the Great Backyard Grilling iPad App. Before I get into the details of the app, I’ll share a bit about the celebrities involved, from On The House.


James Carey and Morris Carey, known as the Carey Bros., are nationally-recognized experts on home building and renovation. They share their 55+ years of experience as award-winning, licensed contractors with millions of people nationwide through a weekly radio program and syndicated newspaper column both titled On The House.

With wit, enthusiasm and clarity, the Carey Bros.' Associated Press syndicated newspaper column, four-hour radio broadcast and daily radio vignette offer people money-saving tips on building, remodeling and repairing homes. The column, with accompanying graphic, is distributed weekly to over 700 AP member papers including The San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Cleveland Plain-Dealer, San Diego Union-Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Washington Post and New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Television personality, award winning designer and author Rebecca Cole joins the Carey Brothers as the new radio co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show On The House.

Over the past 13 years, Rebecca Cole has developed an internationally renowned lifestyle and design business, known in New York City as Rebecca Cole Design and worldwide as Cole Creates.

When she is not designing terraces or giving color-anemic living rooms her trademark infusion of orange, she might be writing a book or newspaper article, planning weddings and events, designing furniture or bedding or hosting a TV or radio show. Rebecca hosted all 200 shows for Discovery Channel's Surprise by Design and has appeared nearly as often on to the Today Show. Other favorite TV appearances include Oprah, The View, CNN, BBC World News and The Megan Mullally Show.

So, Great Outdoor Grilling is produced in the same fashion as you might expect from a TV show, with the opening screen showing the three hosts of On The House. From there, we get right into the meat and potatoes of the app (sometimes I crack myself up).


There are 6 icons at the bottom: Recipes, Shopping, Favorites, Menu, Know-How, and On The House. Once you pick a category from meats, seafood, chicken, or veggies & fruit, you are then able to view a list of possible entrees, sides, appetizers, and deserts. When cooking times are indicated, tapping the icon brings up an actual time, which you can use during cooking. Okay, you could probably use this in court too, since the timer can be set as desired.
Tapping on the + sign of the image brings up a full-screen photo of what your meal should look like when it’s done. Actual mileage may vary.

You can also choose from serving 4 or 6 people, and the ingredients quantities change automatically. While this is pretty cool, it would be nice to have more flexibility with the number of people.

There’s also a shopping list section, and an invitation you can fill out and email to friends.
The app states that videos will be added with upcoming updates, and I would expect additional recipes to be added as well.

From iTunes

BBQ and grilling enthusiasts out there, this app is for you! Here comes On The House - Great Backyard Grilling, an iPad app developed by Culinart Media, that features the best grilled delicacies you can imagine. With over 50 lip-smacking grilling recipes, this app is sure to bring out the passionate griller in you.

On The House - Great Backyard Grilling has a range of exciting features that are bound to leave a smile on the faces of both grilling neophytes and veterans. The app makes grilling easier and a lot more fun. The recipes are all illustrated and presented in a step-by-step manner. Included with each recipe is a list of required ingredients, details of the time needed for preparation and cooking, and the level of difficulty. Users have the option of adding their favorite recipes to their favorites list or personal shopping lists.

Grilling has never been so exciting. On The House - Great Backyard Grilling for iPad includes some impressive features such as:

-A collection of popular, mouth-watering grilled food recipes
-Quick sharing of recipes through Facebook and e-mail
-Descriptions of key ingredients with photographs
-Attractive illustrations
-Simple preparation and dispatch of invitations for events
-Innovative shopping list generation
-Handy inbuilt timer that lets you know when to take your food off the grill
-Convenience of adding notes to recipes
-An ingredient calculator that simplifies your job by determining the exact quantity of ingredients to be used for a specific recipe, according to the number of people being served.
-Easy saving of recipes to the menu, list of favorites and shopping list.
-Ability to shop on the go by saving recipes to shopping list. The app combines all the ingredients you will need at the store.

If you are craving grilled beef, pork, lamb, seafood, chicken, vegetables or fruits, your wait ends here. And if you know other people who just can't seem to tear themselves away from the grill, recommend On The House to them so that they can download it and add it to their grilling repertoire.

So folks, the time is now to get your grill going. Where there’s smoke there’s fire; and where there’s On The House – Great Backyard Grilling, there’s great grilling going on!

Conclusion

For $3.99, the Great Backyard Grilling iPad App might just help you become the BBQ star you’ve always dreamed of. Actually, a very well-designed and helpful app. This type of activity can help alleviate some of the Stress of Trial.

Happy 4th of July!


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.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

iKeyboard for iPad: No More Hunt & Peck Typing

Finally (or, at least almost finally), a touch-typist’s dream-come-true – a keypad you can actually “feel,” instead of having to keep your fingers hovering above the iPad’s display, simultaneously watching the document you are creating, and the keypad, making sure you’re about to hit the right key. All of this is done as you’re also monitoring the auto-text to see if you can tap the spacebar for a shortcut or watching to see if you’ve misspelled a word.

The iKeyboard has joined a long list of inventions on the Kickstarter website, each trying to hook an audience, in order to help with financing the initial development of an idea. I first learned of this when it showed up on #Tech & #Law.
(Note: The content at this Paper.li link changes twice daily, so you will not find this original article there, although you can find it on Mashable.com: iKeyboard Enhances Touch Typing on iPad)
I was so impressed with the concept that I joined what has now grown to over 500 “backers” of this Kickstarter project. Why? Because I’m not about to carry an external battery-powered keyboard, just so I can make my iPad work more like my laptop. Although the total weight would still be less than my laptop (but then, many full-sized desktop computers would probably be lighter), the advantage of easily fitting the iPad on the tray while on an airplane, or the social advantages of not being separated from others by your laptop screen, would all be lost.

The real advantage of the iKeyboard is that it can easily stay with your iPad, and since it lays directly on the iPad display, it doesn't add extra bulk, and doesn't mean having to tilt your iPad up to use it.
I eagerly look forward to receiving my first generation iKeyboard, and then followed by the next version (all part of my backer-level investment of $50).


If you’ve never heard of Kickstarter, give it a look. If you’re interested in the iKeyboard, you still have 4 days left to join as a backer. After that, you’ll pay retail to whoever sells it. Stay tuned, as I will review it as soon as I get it and have a chance to try it out.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top 12 Reasons Attorneys Should Be Using Technology in Trial

Trial Presentation Consultant Robb Helt, of Litigation Resource Group, recently polled his jury, shortly after they came back with a favorable verdict. Their feedback is priceless, as it gets directly to the core of the matter as to whether we might look “too slick,” or like we have so much money that we can afford to drop a truckload of it into our trial presentation.

Let’s assume that most attorneys nowadays accept the fact that technology helps speed up a trial, that it aids in juror comprehension, and that they retain the evidence better than if they just listened to witness after witness, explaining fact after fact.

With those assumptions in place, the only real considerations left are cost, and whether the jury is sophisticated enough to accept the “high-tech” trial presentation – especially in a rural setting. While I won’t cover costs in this article, you can email me with questions and request a rate sheet.

So, if you’re in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., or another major city, it should be easy to decide. But, what if you’re in some remote part of Arkansas? While I cannot personally claim to have ever been in trial in Arkansas, Robb Helt has, plenty of times. Here is what the twelve most important people in the courtroom had to say about technology in trial:



This feedback, along with quotes from the Judiciary, indicate there are fewer excuses than ever for not bringing technology to trial. If presenting the best possible case for your client is important, you may want to consider trying your case with a little help from a Trial Presentation Consultant.

BVB5SB777EGR

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Exhibit A iPad App for Trial Presentation Version 1.3 Released

Although it didn't appear in my iPad or computer iTunes App Store Updates list, once I launched Exhibit A, I was prompted to go to the App Store for an update to version 1.3.0, released (today) on 6/15/2011. It is a free update to the $9.99 app.

I will say that this version is a very significant update, and although I'll list the update features below, I can tell you that the callout and highlighter work like trial presentation software now, as opposed to just an area focus, like an ELMO.

Although you're limited to one exhibit with one callout, this can now actually be put to work in smaller matters. It would also work well for presentations, using PDF or another supported format. Supported file types are PDF, images (jpeg, png, etc.) and video. PowerPoint is no longer listed as a supported file type.

My original review:

The developer's site:

The iTunes link:


From the iTunes Update Feature Listing:

What's New in Version 1.3.0

Introducing New Features!

The most advance, easy to use presentation app is now even better!

INSTANT CALL-OUT:
(Access by selecting “Tools” from the exhibit display screen)

Create call-outs on the fly to emphasize areas of an image, or focus on items in a document. Simply select the Magnifying Glass from the Tools menu and drag your finger over the desired area of the exhibit. The exhibit dims and a bright box containing the designated area of the exhibit is displayed in magnified form. Dismiss a call-out with a touch and select another, quickly creating multiple call-outs.

QUICK HIGHLIGHTER:
(Access by selecting “Tools” from the exhibit display screen)

Need to quickly highlight a large section of the exhibit? Simply select the Quick Highlighter from the Tools menu and create a highlight block by dragging your finger over the desired area of the exhibit. This new tool nicely complements the existing highlighter pen, which allows you to freehand draw highlights.

REDACTION MARKER:
(Access by selecting “Tools” from the exhibit display screen)

Quickly block out sections of your exhibit. Simply select the Redaction Marker from the Tools menu and drag your finger over the desired area of the exhibit. Default redaction color is white, but you can select any of the five colors available in the color palette.

EXPORT EXHIBITS:
(Access by holding a touch on an exhibit thumbnail)

You can currently email exhibits up to 10MB in size. Now, we are adding the ability to:
(1) Send exhibits to your Dropbox account, for seamless sharing of exhibits with your colleagues, team members or others; and
(2) Save photo and video exhibits to your Photos library, enabling you to send them for editing with iMovie or other apps. Edited photos and movies can be reimported to Exhibit A from your Photos library.

BATCH MOVE & DELETE:
(Access by selecting “File View” from the exhibit thumbnail screen)

Delete or move multiple exhibits, or entire Folders and Subfolders of exhibits at a time. You can move between Folders and Subfolders, or between separate Projects. This feature greatly improves your ability to manage your files and projects from within Exhibit A.

UPDATED USER INTERFACE:

We have made several changes to enhance the way you interact with your Projects.

The “My Projects” screen now graphically displays when Projects are empty, and shows projects to the left and right of your current selection for easier navigation.
The Toolbar on the exhibit display screen is now easier to see against the background of the exhibit.
The “File View” has been redone for easier navigation.

If you already have Exhibit A, get the update! If you don't, for $9.99 it's worth a look.


Monday, June 13, 2011

The Stress of Trial

Funny, after many years of trial consulting, I've never bothered to consider what an incredibly intense level of stress we are expected to endure for weeks -- or even months at a time, when we are in trial. The Holmes and Rahe stress scale is basically a list of a list of 43 stressful life events that can lead to illness.

What was interesting, if not alarming, this past weekend at the ASTC Conference in Seattle, was when Ric Dexter shared that we can approach the breaking point, just by being in trial. Little things such as changes in work, sleep patterns, eating, exercise, living conditions, place of residence, personal habits, and social activities are all adding up, making us increasingly vulnerable to illness or other issues, such as a short temper or lack of patience for others.

I've always realized trial was stressful, and that tempers were often short (including my own), but I guess I never really gave it much thought. It's just part of the job. We just do our best to adjust, and try to be as effective as possible.

While I was working recently with three defense firms and their clients in a complex class action trial (insanely high degree of life stressors in play), one attorney commented to me that she had noticed my calm demeanor, and had surmised that I was certainly the lucky owner of a "Type B" personality. I had to chuckle. If I weren't OCD, and hadn't thoroughly prepared, checked, double-checked, backed up my data, and felt completely confident in all of my preparation the night before, I would not have gone to sleep. That's just me, but that's also just trial. There are no good excuses for failure when you're in trial, and there is no chance I would risk not having enough time to get something done in the morning. Last-minute changes are the rule -- not the exception.

Am I a Type B? Hardly. Do I appear to have those laid-back qualities to others? Apparently so -- and that's my goal. I've been told many times that I bring a sense of calm confidence to the trial team. I wouldn't want it any other way.

I enjoyed presenting my topic of iPad Apps for Litigation (go figure), but I'm also glad to have benefitted from this valuable bit of insight, along with all of the other great sessions and presenters.

This is one of those topics we don't often discuss. Please consider sharing this with others.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Updates: iPad & Android Apps, plus Trial Presentation Software

There’s been quite a flurry of activity recently, with updates to several apps and software I’ve reviewed here over the past few months. Links to all apps and software are located in the original reviews.

TrialPad has added Dropbox to version 1.5, and has shown what version 2.0 will look like. While it looks good, they are holding it back for release until they’re certain they have all of the bugs flushed out. I can’t blame them, although I would have expected to see it sooner – especially after showing it off at ABA Techshow. More supported file types, display of multiple pages and zooms are all on the list.

The Deponent App
One of the biggest drawbacks with this app was corrected shortly after I reviewed it and reported that the Public Folder in Dropbox was used to store trial exhibits. Now, a folder named “Deponent” is created, which prevents others from having potentially easy (no password required) access.

What's New in Version 1.1
The Deponent App Dropbox feature has been enhanced to create a folder named Deponent within the Dropbox folder instead of the public folder within Dropbox.
The Deponent App review

Exhibit A
According to the developers, version 1.3.0 has been submitted to Apple for approval, and should be out any day now. New features will include on-the-fly call-outs, block highlighting, block redacting, export to Dropbox & Photos, batch move & delete, and UI updates.

What's New in Version 1.2.0
Introducing New Features!
EMAIL: Email your exhibits to a colleague, the court reporter, opposing counsel, or anyone else with whom you want to share. Exhibits must be 10MB or smaller to email.
QUICK SEARCH: Find any exhibit by typing the first few letters of the exhibit name. Search results populate instantly as you type.
PROJECTS VIEWER: Have a lot of projects in Exhibit A? Now you can jump instantly to the desired project using the Projects Viewer to quickly locate and select your project.
EDIT PROJECT & EXHIBIT NAMES: When renaming Projects and Exhibits, you now have the choice between editing the existing name or entering a new name.
STABILITY ENHANCEMENT: Improved handling of very large PDFs resulting in significantly improved speed and stability when presenting these documents.

JuryTracker What's New in Version 1.1
New Features: Separate Time Entries listing under the specific day in Total Time Used Report Section to have more accurate Time Report.
Performance Enhancements : General performance enhancements in certain sections like Juror Info, Case Info, Juror Observation etc.
RLTC Evidence What's New in Version 1.1
Updated loading sequence allows instant refresh of document list when files are loaded via iTunes. Underline tool enhanced.
Jury Duty What's New in Version 1.01
Added Bluetooth support for transferring cases to another iPad. Added support for emailing juror information. Updated Misc. items & error fixes.
iJuror What's New in Version 1.26
Added a Juror Overview Map so you can easily see all of your juror information at once.
SignMyPad I saved a tree the other day, by signing an Agreement with this quick and simple app, rather than printing and signing, and then faxing back to the sender, which would require yet another printed copy. I was able to sign, save it back to Dropbox (or could have emailed it), and had it available to send via my regular email.

There’s now a Pro version available, which adds red ink for signatures. It can also input your GPS location into the meta data. It sells for $99.99. The regular version is only $3.99. Maybe it costs a lot to get the GPS data in there? According to Justin Esgar of Autriv (developer), "As for Pro - the reason for the price jump is that it's targeted for those who have businesses that require such a feature."

Android App Available
They also offer an Android version of this app, also $3.99, according to their website.
So, I nabbed a copy for my Nexus S Android phone (see my phone review here) and just signed another form. It's a quick and easy "green" method, using Dropbox or your email. You can also point the app to a website to download a form. I would recommend using a stylus (iPad-compatible) for this, but your finger can work.

Sanction 3 missed the announced release date of March 29, but it appears there is now a Beta version available for download. While this is likely to be close to a final release, unless you’re very comfortable working with new software that is likely to have bugs and issues (that’s what Beta testing is for), I’d recommend not running off to trial or upgrading all of your current databases with it just yet. A 30-day demo is available for free download now. While it’s a bit unusual to offer a Beta to the public, it can certainly help getting it in the hands of more users to try it and report any potential problems.
TrialDirector has also been busy in the coding room, and version 6.3 should be about ready for release. It is in Beta, but not yet available to the public. It has some great new features, including video editing updates and the ability to place several objects in the presentation window, and move or resize them as desired. Many of the updates have been suggested by current users, adding to this proven trial presentation application.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

iPad Making History: 25 Million iPads Sold In Just 14 Months!

I was fact-gathering for some up-to-date stats to use in my presentation at the ASTC Conference, "Improving Your Practice from a Business Perspective," with my session focusing on the use of iPads in Law, and I was a bit surprised. Maybe this helps explain why all of my iPad Apps for Lawyers Reviews have been so popular?
Reported 6/6/2011 at Apple's WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) 2011:

25 million iPads, 450K apps, 90K iPad apps, $2.5 billion to developers – all in just 14 months!
Source TiPb.com

That's a lot of iStuff.


For a little bonus, here's some iData from Wikipedia:

Apple released the first iPad in April 2010, and sold 3 million of the devices in 80 days. During 2010, Apple sold 14.8 million iPads worldwide, representing 75 percent of tablet PC sales at the end of 2010. By the release of the iPad 2 in March 2011, more than 15 million iPads had been sold more than all other tablet PCs combined. In 2011, it is expected to take 83 percent of the tablet computing market share in the United States. 
Source: Wikipedia

Hmm, maybe there's something to this?

 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Red Well: Blog Aggregator for Views on Litigation Persuasion


With the ASTC (American Society of Trial Consultants) Annual Conference in Seattle this week (I’m speaking on Thursday, in case you’re going to attend), it seems appropriate that the newly redesigned blog aggregator, “The Red Well,” has just been launched. The Red Well features a fresh and constantly updating source of some of the best material online, for those interested in reading great articles submitted by the diverse membership of the ASTC. Jury Consultants, Trial Presentation Consultants, Litigation Graphics Consultants, and other top-level professionals offer their best, all assembled for you in one convenient and free location. Did I mention this is FREE? Please Click the "TWEET" button below to help spread the word!