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.

All materials © Ted Brooks, unless otherwise indicated.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Happens in Vegas: DRI Product Liability Conference

I had the pleasure this week of speaking at the DRI Product Liability Conference on the topic, “There’s an App For That,” along with Josh Fleming (Frost Brown Todd LLC). Josh is an attorney who has truly embraced technology and the iPad, replacing a lot of books and notepads with the ubiquitous little tablet. It was a treat sharing the session with him, as we offered two very different perspectives on iPad apps for lawyers and trial presentation in general.

A nice collection of legal apps

Most of the apps discussed have been reviewed on this blawg, and you may use the search feature to locate any specific app or topic. In this article, links are to articles containing relevant links to other reviews (e.g., the ExhibitView link will lead to reviews of other trial presentation apps). Trial Presentation apps covered (and shown) were TrialPad, Evidence, Exhibit A, ExhibitView, and TDmobile -- TrialDirector’s yet-to-be-released offering, which is expected to be available in a couple of months or so. In all fairness, I won’t write a review until the final release is ready to go, although I have been testing early versions. This app, according to inData, will be free. That could certainly shake up the trial presentation app market space.

One advantage TrialDirector has recently added is the ability to export a subset of exhibits all packaged for the iPad app. ExhibitView (for the PC) also has this capability, and according to Ian O’Flaherty (TrialPad), the exported data set will work with any of the trial presentation apps.

TrialDirector Export to iPad

In addition to these, Josh and I also covered several jury selection (voir dire) and monitoring apps, legal research and calendaring, and of course Dropbox, which seems to be the key to getting data into all of the apps. Josh also discussed several stylus options and keyboards for the iPad.

We wrapped our session by showing an actual “iBrief,” which contained embedded animation, video, and even a 3-D products model. This was probably the “ooh, ahh” moment of our presentation. It could be used for expert witnesses, mediations, depositions, and settlement conferences. The nice thing about the iPad is that you can easily capture the current screen at any time by simply hitting the two "on" buttons at the same time.

Please feel free to follow up with any questions either by posting them here, or by using the contact info links at the top of this page. I just had a couple of trials get pushed, so if you happen to need a little assistance in an upcoming matter…

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Medical Malpractice CLE in Palm Springs

I was in Palm Springs this weekend, where along with the beautiful 90 degree weather, I enjoyed speaking at the California Medical Legal Committee Annual Meeting to a group of some of the Golden State’s top Medical Malpractice Defense Attorneys. We discussed how using technology can improve your trial practice, and I shared some ideas on how to get insurance carriers and clients to cover the cost of this valuable service. It is critical to educate them on how the use of technology in trial presentation can significantly reduce the length of the trial, improve jury comprehension and retention, and easily increase the volume of evidence presented. 

It is far more efficient to show everyone an exhibit at the same time. Highlighting a word or sentence can then actually help you “argue” the document to an extent -- pointing out facts to the jury which can help them view your perspective of the case. It should also be explained that jurors learn just like the rest of us. When we have a visual image available, we understand new information better -- and retain it longer.

Another idea to help convince a client or reluctant carrier is to propose a cost-sharing plan with opposing counsel. Although a Trial Presentation Consultant cannot provide privileged work-product to both parties, you can share the in-court presentation of the exhibits in a neutral fashion. If opposing counsel is agreeable, they will also cover half the cost, making it a very reasonable option for all. Should they also wish to have someone helping organize and prepare exhibits, deposition designations or demonstratives (work-product), they will have to bring in another trial tech. Ethical walls must be respected at all times. I can say that in my experience, when an agreement to share costs is reached, carriers have been willing to cover their half of the expenses.

An informal survey (attendees raising their hands) indicated that nearly all of these trial veterans had used some form of technology for their own trial presentations such as an ELMO (document camera), most have seen fully-equipped courtrooms (with everything you need to simply plug in your laptop and present your evidence), about 25% or less had used actual trial presentation software, about 50% have an iPad, and only one (out of about 50 or 60) was running a Mac platform, with the remainder on a Windows/PC system. Insurance carriers and clients should be aware that if the courtroom is already set up for trial presentation technology, chances are the Court will expect parties to use it.

Note: I am available for a few CLE presentations each year, generally covering the topic of technology used in improving your trial practice. If your group is interested, feel free to shoot me an email (links are at the top of this page).