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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Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Live" Interactive E-Briefs for iPad

Morgan Smith (Cogent Legal Graphics) has come up an ultra-cool way of putting together e-briefs. If you’re not familiar with the concept of e-briefs, you’ll do well to do a little research on the topic. Many courts are now requiring submission of briefs via electronic files, such as PDF. I was actually working on a review of some e-brief providers for Law Technology News, when I saw this. 

Smith has a method of saving a brief in an iBooks files format, which can be viewed on an iPad. The really cool thing about this is that although a “normal” PDF-based e-brief allows you to include extra files and add hyperlinks to exhibits and cites, this allows you to actually “embed” the files into the presentation, including documents and photos, plus video and even 3-D models. 

I’ll be honest – it takes quite a bit to get me excited about something “new” in legal technology these days, but this one does it. Smith shares an article on his blog, e-Briefs on the iPad: An Exciting New Tool to Give Attorneys an Edge, and if you are reading this on your iPad, you may download the demo file here.

The downside is that in order to view it with all of the bells and whistles, you’ll need to use an iPad. Now, if the case is worth 7 or 8 figures, it could even be worth providing one for the Court, if necessary. This could also be extremely helpful in Mediations, Settlement Conferences and Markman Hearings. As an alternative, you can also view most of it in the PDF format, but you won’t be able to view video, or “grab” and examine a 3-D object. 

In any event, e-briefs should be on your to-do list. I look forward to sharing this with my clients. It's definitely something I can add to my arsenal.

Contact me if you're interested in more info on the "iBrief" and how it can help your case.


  1. These look great. Do you know if they would be accepted by courts that require electronic filers to use the PDF/A format? I think that typically bars the kind of embedded files and external links you're describing here.

  2. No, this is not going to be accepted by the courts - at least for awhile. It requires the use of an iPad for proper viewing. This is great for Mediation and that type of forum, but for archival purposes, the PDF/A is self-contained and reliable.

  3. Agree with Ted,this is not going to be accepted by the courts - at least for a while.

    ipad App Developers

  4. The future is clearly eFiling and it's one the way for every court at some point coming up. But the current ways to eFile are expensive and complicated, and don't work to help a lawyer win a case. The iPads are being used by more and more appellate courts (they are doing it all over Texas).

    The challenge with eFiling is creating PDFs is either very expensive (outsourced solutions) or complicated with Adobe Acrobat (takes 17-steps to embed one hyperlink/citation) or other PDF writers. You also can't make last minute changes from Word and then convert into a PDF because you have to embed all the hyperlinks/citations all over again. How many times have you found a case at the last minute and wanted to make changes? Well, you can't do that with solutions out there today. If could make last minute changes, it would provide you with a competitive advantage over other lawyers.

    Microsoft Word and Adobe have never had a good working relationship and I would not expect that to change, just as Apple and Adobe Flash don't work. Finally, judges probably won't read the entire filings them because they are so long (and have toggle back and forth), and because they are so long they will print them out anyways, so it defeats the purpose. If could make it more manageable to read an eFile, you would have an advantage because the higher probability a judge reads your case.

    I'd consider checking out, which has $25 program to file ebriefs in 3-steps and allows last minute changes. They have a free trial now too. The iPad version is coming out in less than 4 weeks.


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