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 divorce trial, People v. Robert Blake murder trial, and a hundreds of high profile, high value and complex civil matters.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Top 3 Legal Technology Trends in 2015

A recent ThinkTank article asks several leaders in the Legal Technology space to share their big-picture thoughts on the direction we're heading. A few of the key issues mentioned are the billable hour, artificial intelligence, and smart devices. For my bit, I've included a bit on courtroom technology. Here is my Q&A. Links to the full article are below.

“What are the top three legal technology trends you have seen so far in 2015, and what do you expect to see in the near future? Why should law firms/attorneys be paying attention to these?”


1. Courtroom trial presentation systems
Many courtrooms are now equipped with trial presentation equipment, and when they have it, they expect you to use it. State courts are still a bit behind the Federal courts, but overall, the Judiciary is very supportive of its use. Two key reasons are the efficiency of evidence presentation, and the advantage of helping the jury to better understand the evidence. Some judges have estimated a trial can proceed as much as 30-50% faster.
Although this trend is generally a good thing, not every courtroom is set up with the same equipment. The newest installations are getting HDMI systems, and older courtrooms have VGA equipment and connections. Fortunately, the new systems are also including “legacy” VGA access. In any event, one should never assume that everything will work as expected. A thorough test of your actual system is a must.

2. Court Reporting options

Having a Court Reporter available for trial has been an unrealized luxury for many years. With budget cuts hitting the courts, there have been some changes to the system. For starters, you cannot assume that a Court Reporter will be provided for your trial. Some courts (and some departments of courts) still provide the service, while others require you to provide your own reporter. In some courts, only a digital audio recording is offered. If you wish to have a transcript, you’ll have to get that done on your own.
Another recent option available in some courts is “digital court reporting,” where an audio file is recorded, and voice-recognition software is used to create a transcript. Although it isn’t flawless and will not become the “official record” of the proceedings, it does a decent job.
3. Mobile devices and apps

Everyone who has an iPad raise your hands. I’ll bet more than 50% in a room full of lawyers will have one, and most everyone has some sort of “smart” device these days. I remember getting a Blackberry when they came out. It was astounding that we could actually get email while in a courtroom! My, how times have changed. This whole mobile revolution is both a blessing and a curse.
The blessing part may be obvious to some, in that you can have a 24×7 connection to anything from virtually everywhere. The curse part is that you have a 24×7 connection to anything from virtually everywhere. Throw in a dash of cyber security concern, and you have imminent disaster online 24×7 for your IT Department.
For smaller firms and solo practitioners, there is an app for nearly anything you need to do. Although it may be only a few dollars here and a few more there, it all adds up, and with the limited functionality of each app (and the iPad itself), in most cases, it really can’t completely replace a computer.
Larger firms will likely need to standardize and roll out apps in a similar manner as they’ve been doing for years with regular computers and software. There are many options out there—many with inherent risks, compatibility issues and other concerns.
Here's a link to the full ThinkTank article, Legal Tech Trends: Experts Sound Off on What to Expect in 2015 and Beyond.
Here's a link to the complete set of expert responses: Want to know more? Here are the full answers we received from our experts.

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