Our Take on Legalweek 2017

This past week, LIT SOFTWARE visited Legalweek (formerly known as Legaltech). We had read and heard some exciting reporting that the format had been updated to serve the needs of information gatherers from all parts of the legal industry, and we hoped that is what we would see.

First, a little background. In 2010 LIT SOFTWARE had just launched TrialPad, and we were the first legal specific app available on the iPad, which was also brand new. We decided to exhibit at Legaltech in January 2011 as a sort of product launch. And, while we generated plenty of excitement there and thereafter, we still concluded that exhibiting at Legaltech in the future wasn't for us.

Why? Because it wasn't for our users. While Legaltech had billed itself as a sort of Consumer Electronics Show of the legal field - it was in reality pretty narrowly targeted to very large firms looking to spend lots of their clients’ dollars. eDiscovery dominated the show, as did big vendors with deep pockets. They dominated it not just in large booth sizes, but also in sponsorships, sponsored talks, and year round advertising dollars to American Legal Media, the host of Legaltech and the largest presence in print and online information for lawyers and legal professionals.

So, when we heard that 2017 might be a pivot year for Legaltech, now rebranded Legalweek, with something-for-everyone offerings, we decided to have a look for ourselves. We arrived with two questions: Has Legalweek changed significantly enough for us to now recommend it to our users? Would it be worth it for LIT SOFTWARE to exhibit there again? Here's our take:

THE GOOD

While it may not seem like a good thing, Legalweek offered no free attendance options. That meant that even just a visit to the exhibit hall would cost you (up to $115 for same day admission). An admission cost for everyone may have narrowed the number of attendees. It was a certainly less crowded than we've ever seen it. However, those in attendance had some skin in the game, and were probably better motivated to engage with exhibitors. Overall, it was a good move.

THE BAD

Despite tracks focused on small law, Legal CIO, etc., those tracks just didn't live up to the marketing for small to medium sized firms. Overall, Legalweek was still very much a big law conference.

Pay to play speakers dilute the quality of the content, which is not helpful to attendees looking for new and different content and products. The big sponsors of the Legalweek are often advertisers in ALM publications, at times featured in ALM articles, and usually have a big booth in the exhibit hall, so arguably attendees already know what they have to say, and what they have to offer. When they also pay to provide speaking content, hand out product flyers and put their brands on the sessions, the conference experience becomes monochromatic.  

Paying to speak is disingenuous to the attendees at any conference who see the panelists as experts. The Exhibit Hall is the place for companies to show, tell, and sell their products and services, but the sessions should be comprised of invited industry thought leaders chosen without regard to their history of advertising, sponsorship, or exhibit hall status.

THE UGLY

Even though there is a clear move toward an even playing field for vendors and attendees of various legal backgrounds, Legalweek still isn't even close to reaching its goal. It is still a very expensive proposition to attend, or to exhibit or sponsor, and the focus remains on what ALM, big companies, and big firms seem to find fascinating: governance, security, artificial intelligence, etc. Most small to medium firms we've spoken with don't focus on any of those things. So, for now you still have to breathe the rarified air of big law to get a good value from Legalweek.

ONE LAST THING

The big sponsors of ALM and most legal shows aren't just big. They are enormous and they dominate the market. They can afford to sponsor everything, and they do. They also help maintain a high dollar barrier to entry high for small companies and startups entering the marketing space. CES had a great alternative to this called Eureka Park, and the ABA TECHSHOW seems to be forming something similar. Offering something for startups and small shops adds to the diversity of the products available to be viewed, and helps to better legal technology as a whole.

How to Back Up or Share Your TrialPad Case!

Here’s a 4 minute video to show you how to back up a TrialPad Case Folder. You can save your backup for a later date, or share it with someone else!

May we briefly extol the virtues and values of backups: If you’ve worked long hours creating witness folders, annotating documents, and making video clips, you owe yourself a backup copy of all your work. Making the backup is easy (as you’ll see in the video). Once you’ve made your backup, you should store it in a location other than your primary iPad. Consider loading your case onto a second iPad, a location in the cloud, or your laptop.

Enjoy!

TrialPad Bookmarks!

The best tool for document organization and presentation on your iPad just got better. Meet TrialPad Bookmarks! After a lot of user requests, the LIT SOFTWARE lab got creating. We rebuilt a lot of our PDF processing, which gives our users some things: even better performance, AND Bookmarks!

Now, when you open a document, you'll see the Bookmark icon at the top right of your screen. As with all our tools, it’s easy to use, and intuitive. Just press the Bookmark icon, tap on Add Bookmark, and you'll have bookmarked the page. The default name is the page number, but you can rename it to anything you like (e.g. Trade Dress Clause), and you can make as many bookmarks as there are pages in your document.

How does this help? Once you've bookmarked a page, you can quickly jump to it by simply pressing the Bookmark icon and tap on the bookmark. Especially for documents with a high page count, you will now quickly access the sections you need in each without any scrolling.

We’ve also added a Jump to Page option! Just tap on the Page X of Y indicator in the top right and type in the page you want to jump to! Handy if you’ve imported a 300 page deposition in PDF format and quickly want to jump straight to page 234.

DocReviewPad Notes Just Got Way Better!

Keep an eye out for a DocReviewPad update! There's a new killer feature in DocReviewPad that many of our users have requested - improved Notes! As you review and annotate your documents, you can now apply notes as “sticky” notes directly onto the page you are reviewing (up to 10 notes per page!). You can apply multiple notes on any page, and move them to the area of the document that the note corresponds to. Best, all your notes can be printed with our powerful (and, yes, also improved) Reports!

Some other great feature additions include new navigation through Documents, Speed Review, and Tags/Issue Codes tabs. This allows you to get where you need to go quickly, and helps you see what you’ve reviewed and annotated even faster than before. And in the updated DocReviewPad, you’ll never lose your page. DocReviewPad remembers your page if you access a different document mid-review, so you can go right back to where you left off.

We’re proud that all our apps are simple, quick, efficient, and effective. And we’d like to thank our users for great feedback and requests. As you can see, they lead to great new features! You asked, we listened, enjoy!

Deploying Apps Made Easy

We've received many emails from lawyers and law firm administrators who want to roll out our apps to other lawyers or paralegals in their firm. Why? Not just because they're so easy and powerful, but because buying the latest 9.7" iPad Pro AND all three of our apps (TrialPad, TranscriptPad, DocReviewPad) costs less than JUST the comparable PC trial presentation program! And that's before you even add in the cost of a complicated PC laptop to run it on!

Because all our apps are very effective, and straightforward to use, and there are no yearly "maintenance" fees, law firms love our apps. So how can you get them for your team? To prevent the headache of asking each user to purchase it and submit a reimbursement request, and all the paperwork and accounting that goes with it, just use the Gift option to send everyone a copy of the apps.

Gifting apps on the App Store is easy to do. Tap on the image below to view or print out step-by-step instructions:

The Best Way to Bates Stamp Your Documents

We recently put out a blog post that described how easily exhibit stickers can be created and applied in TrialPad. In the same spirit, we thought that it might be a good idea to cover how easy Bates stamping can be using DocReviewPad. 

Bates stamping is a great way to have a unique identification number on every page of a document (as opposed to exhibit stickers which place a unique number on only the first page of every document). Bates stamping helps minimize confusion before trial when production sets are exchanged, and during trial to identify individual pages of documents for the record, especially when there are different versions. Bates stamping used to be done by hand with an ink stamp that automatically increment end a number with each application, and often would be sent out to a third party vendor. Unfortunately, sometimes a page would be skipped, or the same Bates number would be stamped twice on two different pages – defeating the entire purpose. So, because of expense and inaccuracy, as well as the prevalence of records in electronic format, programs like Adobe Acrobat DC Pro ($449.00) came to be used to electronically apply Bates numbers.

While many third party vendors and trial support companies still offer Bates stamping, it can be an expensive and time consuming process, and there is a better option. There are a number of PC-based tools to electronically Bates number your documents, all are expensive, and only some are legal-specific programs. The easiest and least expensive option is to apply Bates stamps yourself, and there is one legal tool that is both reasonably priced, and very easy to use – DocReviewPad.

With DocReviewPad you can assign Bates numbers whenever you like. There are different reasons for assigning them as soon as you import (i.e. you received production from opposing counsel and you are reviewing everything), or right before you export a production set (i.e. you’ve gone through an entire record and removed or deleted irrelevant document and don’t want a numbering gap).

When you decide to assign them, the process is so simple it really shouldn’t be called a “process” at all. Press Select to select the document(s) you want to apply Bates numbers to (or press Select All); press Edit and tap on Assign/Remove Bates Numbers. You can then choose a prefix (optional), a separator (optional, but recommended if you choose a prefix), a starting number, and where you want it placed on the document(s). Yep, that’s it. You don’t have to buy an expensive “Pro” version of Acrobat. You don’t have to right click anything, or find a special menu with “Batch Field Fill” language. And there’s no special export dialog to make sure the Bates numbers are saved, DocReviewPad saves everything automatically.


Step 1: Press the Select button.
 

 

Step 3: Press Edit and tap on Assign/Remove Bates Numbers.
 

 

Bates numbers are now assigned to each page of the document(s) you selected.

Step 2: Tap on the documents you want to Bates stamp (or press Select All).

 

Step 4: Choose the prefix, starting number, and location, then press Apply.

 

In this case a separator (dash) was chosen to be included between the prefix and starting number, and a solid border was selected.


In fact, if you find that a Bates number overlaps a part of a document, moving and updating the appearance is just as easy, simply press and hold on the document, and select one of 8 different location choices for the Bates number. Again, DocReviewPad automatically saves it.

DocReviewPad was created to solve many of the complicated issues that arise with expensive legal software. Like Bates stamping, it makes those processes easy, and, dare we say it? Yes, DocReviewPad even makes it fun!

DocReviewPad – designed to help you win! Download it now, and be prepared in court this fall.

The Best Way to Apply Electronic Exhibit Stickers

Recently, Los Angeles based trial tech Ted Brooks wrote a tech tip in his blog about applying electronic exhibit stickers. Coincidentally, we published a blog post on the same day, covering a similar topic. Since our post we’ve received a lot of feedback from our users about exhibit stickers so I thought we could take this opportunity to dive in a little deeper, and address some common misconceptions, such as the belief that assigning exhibit stickers has to be complicated.

Let’s start by saying that there are a lot of areas in which we at LIT SOFTWARE agree with Mr. Brooks. Electronic exhibit stickers are an excellent option for pre-marking exhibits. As he points out, they make exhibit admission in court much smoother, they save time and energy affixing the peel-and-stick exhibit stickers (that inconveniently expand the bottom right corner of an exhibit binder), and documents with electronic exhibit stickers can be distributed and printed multiple times with the same sticker.

But this is where we diverge. We don’t think that TrialDirector, the PC desktop program mentioned, is one of the best or easiest methods to apply exhibit stickers. It may be the 800-pound gorilla of trial presentation, but the user interface to apply exhibit stickers is unnecessarily complicated, and the user experience can be unintuitive and confusing. With TrialPad the process of applying exhibit stickers is straightforward and intuitive, and the resulting image is sharp and professional. Simply tap in the various fields and start typing, there’s no right-clicking or selecting tools. Here is a comparison of the process of assigning exhibit stickers, TrialDirector v. TrialPad (tap on any image to enlarge):

TrialDirector - Step 1: Click on the Annotation Tool button to reveal the Annotation Tools, click on the Label tool dropdown, and click on Design Labels.

TrialPad - Step 1: Press-and-hold on any document and tap on Assign Exhibit Sticker.


TrialDirector - Step 2: In the Design Labels dialog, enter your data into the various fields, press the appropriate buttons, click on Create Label, then click on Save & Exit.

TrialPad - Step 2: Tap and type your exhibit information directly onto the exhibit sticker. When finished tap on Apply. You're done!


TrialDirector - Step 3: After designing the exhibit sticker, click on the document you want to apply the sticker to, click on the Label tool dropdown, click on the sticker you just designed, enter the exhibit number in the resulting dialog box, click OK, then click on the position where you want to place the sticker.

To Reposition the Sticker: Click on the Annotation Selector tool, click on the exhibit sticker, move it to the new location, and remember to click on Save markups on current page button.

TrialPad - You're Already Done: Finished exhibit stickers are crisp, professional, and easy to read.

To Reposition the Sticker: Press-and-hold on any document, tap on Modify Exhibit Sticker, choose a new position, tap on Apply.


TrialPad can also apply exhibit stickers to multiple documents at once, with auto incrementing numbers. Just tap on Select > Select All > Edit, then tap on Assign Exhibit Sticker. Enter the starting number (or letter) and tap on Apply. In this example a white exhibit sticker is going to be sequentially applied to the bottom right corner to all of the 218 selected documents, starting with 0001.


If you’ve named your documents by exhibit number (e.g. 1234) you can automatically use the document name as the exhibit number. Again, tap on Select > Select All > Edit, then tap on Assign Exhibit Sticker. This time choose the “#FileName” option that pops up for the exhibit number, then tap on Apply. The file name is inserted in the exhibit number field for all 218 exhibits in one tap.


With TrialPad you can easily apply exhibit stickers to hundreds of documents in just a few seconds, as opposed to having to click on each document with your mouse to apply each sticker, and then go through a second time-consuming process just to assign the numbers.

Speaking of sequence, besides being able to automatically increment numbers, TrialPad can also automatically increment letters (some judges ask one side to use numbers, and the other side to use letters for their exhibits). The problem with letters is that many people apply letter sequences with the letters going from A through Z; then AA, BB, CC through ZZ; then AAA, BBB, CCC through ZZZ; and so on. This method catches out a lot of people in the stress of pre-trial preparation! If you assign letters this way you will end up trying to admit, and the jury will have to write down, “Exhibit ZZZZZZ” for only the 156th exhibit (talk about putting them to sleep!). TrialPad automates this for you: it correctly assigns letters A through Z for the first 26 exhibits, then for the 27th exhibit onwards will assign AA, AB, AC through AZ; then BA, BB, BC through BZ; then CA, CB, CC through CZ; and so on. This way of assigning letters means you can have over 700 exhibits before you’ll even need to go to three letters (AAA).


TrialPad can automatically generate exhibits by letter as well as by number. 


As you view the documents, if you discover that some text is covered by a sticker, or you want to change the color of the exhibit sticker, just press-and-hold on the document and tap on Modify Exhibit Sticker. This can even be done on the fly as you’re presenting! And there’s no need to save your changes, TrialPad automatically does that for you. But what if the Court comes back and changes the whole exhibit numbering sequence right before trial? Easy, just select all the documents, select Modify Exhibit Sticker again, and give the documents a new starting number.

Because TrialPad works with the concept of cases to organize your evidence, just as you do, TrialPad remembers the fields used in the exhibit sticker fields for each case so you don't have to retype redundant information (e.g. “Smith v. Jones” and “Case No. 123-456-789” will always be prepopulated on the exhibit sticker for the Smith case), and TrialPad is also smart enough to pre-populate the next exhibit number in sequence, so you don't need to remember that the last exhibit number used was 456, it will automatically suggest 457 as the next exhibit number.

Applying exhibit stickers should be a simple, easy, quick process, and not cause any pain or cause you to waste time that you could spend preparing for your opening statement or witness examinations.

Some of the other advantages of using TrialPad: you are in control; you can check and reorder documents even while sitting at counsel table waiting to re-direct your witness; you don't need to call out exhibit numbers in trial as you can see the preview on your iPad; and you don't have to rely on someone else to remember that the Contract is Exhibit 123, or vice versa.

TrialPad – designed to help you win! Download it now, and be prepared in court this fall.

Trial Attorney Stephen P. Haber Might Be the Best Deal in New York

We hear from users all the time about how they use our products in their practice. Many users have unique use cases, but Stephen P. Haber of New York might be the Clark Kent/Superman combo of trial presentation! Stephen combines 33 years as a litigator with 17 years of trial presentation technology experience in one of the busiest legal markets in the country – New York. In both his litigation practice, and his trial presentation business he uses TrialPad.

LIT SOFTWARE took the opportunity of speaking with Stephen earlier this week, and he shared how he uses TrialPad in his practice, and the great value that he brings to his trial presentation company. Many of his trial presentation clients come to him after seeing him present in the courtroom, but what they get from the experience of working with him as a trial presentation consultant is of a much bigger value than what they pay.

For far less than what most trial presentation companies charge, Stephen begins by scanning the entire case file so that there is an electronic copy of everything. Then, working with the attorney by web conference, he helps draw out the main issues in the case, and organize the supporting documentation, all with an eye to how it will be presented in the courtroom. Unlike, most presentation companies, he runs his own successful litigation practice, and so he isn’t necessarily looking for business. Stephen doesn’t try to hide what programs he uses, or keep his methods for organization secret. On the contrary, he readily shares what works for him, as well as what hasn’t worked in the past and why. In this way, working on a case with Stephen Haber is like an extended training session on how to do-it-yourself from case organization, to electronic presentation of evidence with TrialPad.

“Under every conversation of every trial presentation job I do runs the question ‘Can’t I do this myself?’ I show them that they can.”

Once in court, Stephen brings in the presentation equipment (along with all the equipment redundancies every professional trial presentation consultant knows are all too important). By the time he’s in the courtroom, he knows the case and its themes and witnesses inside and out. But best of all, aside from the actual presentation of documents and evidence, Stephen brings his 33 years of litigation experience in New York courtrooms and sits second chair without fee splitting.

We’re very happy that he has chosen TrialPad as the best presentation app and his tool of choice. He expressed to us that he found it reliable and easy to use, not to mention powerful from a presentation standpoint.

“Part of being a great trial lawyer is reading the jury. If they aren’t following you, you shouldn’t just press on. You have to be able to throw the sledgehammer you’re holding earlier than expected and get the jury back with you. TrialPad lets you do that. It’s a great system. I love it.”

In Stephen’s experience, some attorneys who may have been burned by high priced or ineffective trial presentation companies turn back to boards, perhaps afraid of picking up and learning presentation technology themselves. If that’s you, you may want to call Stephen P. Haber (www.yourtrialsupport.com). He would be happy to show you how you can make your case presentations more impactful, coherent and persuasive while making the task of organizing and planning your trial easier than you ever thought possible. TrialPad and Stephen P. Haber make an unbeatable team!

TrialPad Proves Its Worth In Document Intensive Trial


Recently in a state court case lasting several weeks, TrialPad was used to organize, manage, and present a voluminous amount of documentary evidence – and it performed flawlessly. The case had over 6,700 separate exhibits, and many were large multi-page documents, including several containing thousands of pages. At the pre-trial conference the judge declared that he did not want any paper exhibits in boxes as the courtroom was small and space was at a premium.

TrialPad was first used to place exhibit stickers on all the documents, which were in PDF format and were named by exhibit number. Using the Exhibit Sticker tool, a custom sticker was created to the clerk’s specification, including the case number, plaintiff or defense designation, the exhibit number, a space where the clerk could record the date in lieu of a physical stamp, and the name of the Circuit Court Clerk. As documents were admitted and shown during trial, they were marked as Admitted in TrialPad. At the end of each day TrialPad’s Evidence Report tool was used to show which exhibits had been admitted into evidence that day, preserving the record.

Hundreds of exhibits were shown over the next few weeks, annotated on the fly, compared side by side, highlighted, with sections called out, all using TrialPad. The trial was a bench trial, and the outcome has yet to be determined – but the judge did make it clear that the technology behind the organization and presentation was a success.

Trial season is coming soon. Download TrialPad today, and be prepared in court this fall!