David Greenstone, a long-time TrialPad user, downloaded the new LIT SUITE as soon as it was available. He worked with the entire suite for a month or so, and sat down with us via Zoom, to talk about the update, and his impressions.
First, some background. David is a founding member of Simon Greenstone Panatier, PC based in Dallas, TX. His boutique firm works on cases all over the country with a focus on catastrophic injury, product liability, mesothelioma, talc, pharmaceutical litigation and mass torts. His work involves large cases, a lot of discovery, long, document heavy trials, and very large verdicts.
In the past several years, David has prosecuted many large cases using his iPad, and estimates about $100M in verdicts won using TrialPad (so far)!
Why LIT SOFTWARE
David started using TrialPad in 2012 after an experience with technology in a trial in Chicago. He had been using a low-tech and disorganized presentation system using only an Elmo. At the end of an examination, counsel table would be covered with paper. The other side was more high-tech, using a Windows-based trial presentation program for that trial, including a courtroom trial technician who would display the documents, highlight them, blow them up, etc. It seemed like defense counsel spent more time instructing the technician than they did talking to the witness. David began exploring ways to use technology, but do it more effectively. David has a personal theory about using technology in court: First, that technology can either increase or decrease the metaphorical distance between the presenter and the jury. And second, when used properly, technology should decrease the distance between the attorney and the jury so that it can improve your ability to communicate your client’s story and connect with the listener. The windows-based technology he had just seen seemed to increase the distance between the attorney and the jury, and having a trial technician in the courtroom further increased that distance by bringing another party into what is ideally a direct conversation with the jury. Instead of just talking about a document, or a video, defense counsel would have to ask the technician to “bring up Exhibit X”. Instead of seamlessly zooming in on a paragraph and discussing what it meant to the case, they were giving instructions on how to display it, and then talking to the jury about what it meant. Even in 2012, he knew there must be a better way.
David discovered TrialPad and used it during his next trial. David told us, “Software doesn’t have to be complex, but it does have to be user-friendly. TrialPad is so user-friendly that using it in a courtroom actually humanizes the presenter.” David found he could directly communicate and connect with the jury, and that the small form factor of the iPad device eliminated any barriers and distance concerns. He had been practicing for years and now found himself more organized and looking into the eyes of every juror as he made his case, using the laser pointer to talk about specific photos and documents.
Not only was TrialPad the answer to removing barriers while giving a very effective presentation, David discovered several benefits he had not considered. He found that in his large cases, typically against very large defense firms and multi-lawyer teams, using TrialPad made him much more nimble and responsive in the courtroom. (He would later discover the same was true with TranscriptPad when he downloaded it later that year). Though he has had a lot of success using TrialPad, not all verdicts have been in his favor. In one such case, when defendants submitted their cost bill at the end of trial, David responded that their inclusion of thousands of dollars for a trial technician was frivolous, and the judge agreed!
“For all of my trials over the last several years, my presentations and arguments have been done 100% from my iPad.” David often uses Keynote on the iPad for Openings and Closings, and some direct examinations. TrialPad is always used to reference and display entire documents quickly, for all cross examinations, and to create quick electronic exhibit “boards” and rebuttal slides.
David told us that “The LIT SOFTWARE apps have revolutionized the way the firm practices law” and “helped make [him] a better trial lawyer”.
The LIT SUITE
So what happened when we re-invented all our apps, added many new features and capabilities, and packaged them together as the LIT SUITE? For a dedicated user like David, he had placed a high bar on what could possibly improve the apps he had come to know and rely on. He downloaded the LIT SUITE and dug in. David told us that early on, he could see the functionality we were striving towards with collaboration. All the apps now support USB import and export, as well as AirDrop, and any cloud solutions that work with the native Files app on the iPad.
David said that the new import was a slight learning curve for a long-time power user. But, once he had imported documents he could see the power behind our decision to change it. Whereas before all imported evidence would come in at the top level of a Case File, now you can import directly into any folder within a Case File, making organizations your case that much easier. Put simply, “Now you can put what you want exactly where you want it.”
Among many new features and improvements to TrialPad, the new annotation palettes were a standout for David, especially the new callouts with optional colored borders. Contrasting two sections of a document is just as easy as before in the new TrialPad, but now it can be much more impactful.
TranscriptPad has been “given a level up” and is required for all lawyers in David’s firm. There is simply no faster or easier way to review a transcript, as TranscriptPad has removed all complexities of transcript reviews and made summarizing, creating reports, and collaboration simpler than ever. And there’s no better tool for searching an entire trial record (during trial David brings all daily trial transcript into TranscriptPad) in the middle of a witness’s testimony or for creating detailed reports for closing argument.
Perhaps David was most impressed with the all new DocReviewPad. Previously, David had heavily relied on TrialPad as a way of organizing all his litigation documents, but the revamped DocReviewPad is now David’s repository of everything needed for an entire litigation area. The new export ensures that if he needs to find, access, or export anything for presentation, exactly what he wants will be at his fingertips in seconds, in the format and location he needs it. This means simply finding and reading all documents that have been produced in a matter is as easy as opening DocReviewPad. Exporting a set of relevant documents to TrialPad for a deposition, takes seconds. And producing his entire file, excluding privileged and confidential documents, and including a unique Bates number on every page is done in four simple taps. David said he had previously ignored DocReviewPad for the most part, but he is “now a true believer” and he’s addicted to DocReviewPad.
David expressed to us that though he loved the previous versions of our app, the LIT SUITE apps have been a paradigm shift. The LIT SUITE has changed the way he uses the iPad and LIT SOFTWARE apps in his practice!
Update from David:
When we spoke with David, he said he was hoping we could improve on the Bookmarks feature in DocReviewPad and TrialPad. We’d had requests for bookmark improvements in the past, and David laid out his argument to us just as well as he does in the courtroom. In the last couple of weeks, we were happy to announce that we had implemented the improvements he suggested, plus a few more, not only in DocReviewPad and TrialPad but also in TranscriptPad! Bookmarks now stay with your documents, whether they were assigned in DocReviewPad or TrialPad. Better still, if you import Adobe PDFs with bookmarks, they are imported into our apps as native Bookmarks, and if you share a document with Bookmarks from either TrialPad or DocReviewPad, the Bookmarks will appear as native Adobe Acrobat bookmarks in that file. In TranscriptPad, you can now easily bookmark pages of a transcript. This means that navigating through a day’s witnesses in a daily trial transcript will be much faster and easier. TranscriptPad also now includes bookmarks in certain reports and exports.
Another Update from David:
“These (multitasking and performance updates) are phenomenal upgrades!”