Elizabeth “Lisa” Peck is the principal at PECK-LAW, Employment & Civil Rights, a plaintiff’s employment and civil rights firm based in California. To say that Lisa is a pioneer is a bit of an understatement, though. If you ever meet Lisa or work with her, you’ll recognize her as one of the very few people who win at nearly everything she puts her mind to. Lisa has that rare combination of talent, competitiveness, and work ethic that makes her as friendly and professional as she is formidable. To put it more directly, you want to be on her team.
For Lisa, 2011 was a pivotal year. Only a year before, the iPad had been released, cloud computing had finally come into its own in the legal field, and an ocean of new apps and services were being released to litigators across the globe. In retrospect, 2011 was the beginning of the great untethering, in which lawyers began to push away from their desks, and practice on the go. LIT SOFTWARE’s iPad apps were a part of the vanguard of software and services that made practice from anywhere a reality. There were a few people who had been waiting for that moment to come, and Lisa Peck, was one of them. So, in 2011, Lisa switched to an all-Mac practice, she converted everything to be cloud-based, and downloaded the LIT SOFTWARE apps to her iPad.
As a direct result of making those changes, when the pandemic forced everyone to back away from office space, work from home, and try to figure out Zoom hearings, depositions, and remote work in general, Lisa’s practice didn’t change much at all. She had been working mobile and remotely for ten years. In fact, being able to work mobile and remote has been a huge strength for Lisa’s practice. When other attorneys need to concentrate, they might grab a conference room, a few pots of coffee, and plan to stay late. Lisa is an avid outdoors person, and the last few big trials that required her to really concentrate, she simply packed her iPad and Mac with and went totally off grid. This allowed her to concentrate and prepare with all the same tools and technology that she uses in the office, and blocked out any and all potential distractions.
Outside of PECK-LAW, another part of Lisa’s time is dedicated to CLE and Zoom training. She is Co-Chair of the California Employment Lawyers Association’s Practice Management Committee and she is a trainer for the California Employment Lawyers Association’s annual Trial College. She is also a member of the Santa Clara County Bar Association Labor & Employment section’s Executive Committee, and of the Santa Cruz Trial Lawyer’s Association. As a part of her work for those organizations, Lisa acts as a regular trainer of trial technology, and she does a lot of research into the best ways to implement technology in a firm specializing in Plaintiff’s employment law.
THE LIT SUITE
Early on, Lisa recognized LIT SOFTWARE apps to be efficient, effective, and ahead of their time, plus as very cost-effective for any office on a limited budget. Now that LIT SOFTWARE apps have become the LIT SUITE subscription, she’s more engaged than ever. Lisa told us that she prefers the subscription model, especially with legal technology. It ensures she has the most up-to-the-minute software, without the bloat that comes with extra and barely-used features that may only have been added to drive sales. Lisa told us that “the initial app purchases and the new LIT SUITE subscription is the best money [she has] ever spent. It has paid for itself over and over.
All of PECK-LAW lawyers and staff are trained on the LIT SUITE. That means they are always on the same page and in constant collaboration no matter where they are working—in the office, in a courtroom, or at home. When she works with lawyers from other firms as co-counsel, she trains them on all the apps but insists that they work with TranscriptPad. She told us that “There is no more efficient way to review a transcript.”
Lisa told us she sees TranscriptPad as her “hero app” and it’s the tool she’s used to manage deposition and trial transcripts for a decade. In 2011, when Lisa found herself commuting between her then office in Utah and her new office in California and remotely transmitting Motions for Summary Judgment to a Federal Court, TranscriptPad saved her with searching across several depositions for factual references, and then allowing her to perform a massive summary report and export of those references - and, she’s never looked back. Now, as she uses TranscriptPad, she wonders to herself, “How did I ever do this before?”
TranscriptPad, more than anything is an enormous timesaver. The first pass through the transcript is very nitty-gritty and detailed. Lisa created a TranscriptPad template for use in almost every case. It has standard Issue Codes for “Evidence”, different “Causes of Action” and related elements, “Critical Stuff”, “Affirmative Defenses”, and “Damages”. She consistently uses the same colors for those Issue Codes. In addition, Lisa adds Flags with Notes, and she highlights important “Don’t Forget” portions. The Pink highlighting tool is her go-to for critical admissions.
TRANSCRIPTPAD IN TRIAL
In trial, that system once “saved her bacon”. It was a month-long trial and the judge had kept a very tight schedule, with briefings each weekend, trial from 8:30AM to 5:00PM each day, and midweek evening briefings. On one such midweek evening briefing, there had been no confirmation of the order of witnesses on the following day due to scheduling issues. The judge instructed the attorneys to be ready for any potential order, and so all the potential witness examinations had to be ready by morning. Lisa was trying not to panic. She pulled up TranscriptPad and did a quick report for each witness on “Critical Stuff”, “Damages”, and “Don’t Forget” highlights (especially including the pink!). From the TranscriptPad Report, she organized a witness exam folder with any corresponding documents in TrialPad, and by 4AM she had every exam for all the witnesses in any possible order.
In another trial, Lisa used TranscriptPad to bring up the daily trial record when arguing for certain special jury instructions. She was able to show the judge the testimony at issue, which resulted in her getting an important jury instruction.
Lisa also uses TranscriptPad to cite the record in appellate briefs, for Motion in Limine work, Motion for New Trial, and Jury Instruction argument. In the Ninth Circuit, they now require excerpts from the record instead of an appendix, and TranscriptPad is perfect for making those excerpts.
TRIALPAD FOR PRESENTATION
For presentations, Lisa has been using TrialPad for years and has now become accustomed to using TrialPad with Zoom in almost every Zoom deposition. Her familiarity with using TrialPad for presentation makes the deposition smooth, and allows the witness to follow along as she questions them on various documents. Controlling all the exhibits during depo also helps with witnesses who might not want to comment without first seeing another document. She told us that while most depo companies want the exhibits provided to them ahead of time, a witness demanding a document that wasn’t pre-circulated could cause the deposition to be paused so the additional documents could be circulated to everyone. This would waste valuable time, and could interrupt the cadence of the questioning, especially if there are multiple requests. With TrialPad, Lisa emails what she plans to show to the witness on the fly from within the app, and has it up on the screen in an instant. Her examination doesn’t miss a beat. Another benefit is that during the deposition she marks the documents with exhibit stickers in TrialPad, and then drops the marked exhibit into the Zoom chat or emails them to the court reporter after the depo. Being able to run her depositions and exhibits through TrialPad has streamlined her trial preparation even more, because following each deposition, she now marks certain exhibits as Key Documents as they are presented in depositions which makes deciding upon her ultimate exhibit list for trial that much more efficient.
Like TranscriptPad, Lisa created a template for TrialPad, which now has a new category: “Depos.” In it, she has folders for each deponent, anticipated exhibits and the depo notice itself. She also creates a folder of exhibits “marked & used,” and one for exhibits “to be used.” TrialPad’s exhibit sorting feature has been invaluable to her as she can sort, on the fly, by exhibit number (once marked), or by name (to be marked).
When in trial, Lisa told us that her small shop uses TrialPad to “present like a big firm should.” Every judge she’s been in front of has found TrialPad to be useful and dynamic, opposing counsel has wanted to download TrialPad for themselves, and a few have even requested a quick lesson on how to use it.
In a recent trial, TrialPad helped Lisa win a seven-figure verdict for her client, and she and her team were given compliments on their presentation by the jury. In that trial, she used TrialPad’s side-by-side tool to great effect. During the course of trial she compared two employment reviews side by side, and for each difference asked, “What changed?” At the end of trial she used TrialPad to fill out the verdict form side by side with the jury instructions, walking through each instruction to visually make the connection between the instruction and the verdict.
Lisa told us that with TrialPad, “you don't have to outsource your presentation, nor should you want to hand it off. A successful jury trial means having tip-of-the tongue familiarity with your case. No other program is as versatile on the fly. TrialPad is not a steep learning curve. TrialPad has immediate functionality.”
Lisa has never had issues with TrialPad’s performance, and has sometimes had to pull up documents for the other side in the midst of trial. Part of her assuredness on the solid nature of TrialPad is ensuring that any hardware in the courtroom works first. Lisa always goes to court ahead of trial to make sure all the built-in equipment works. Lisa said, “Even if you are in Federal Court, don’t just trust the courtroom technology will work, go first, bring connectors, bring your Apple TV, plug everything in and test.” Even if the court has its own system, she still brings a backup projector, screen, and AppleTV - just in case.
Lisa can’t wait to get back into the courtroom for a jury trial. She’s been using TrialPad and Zoom for mediation, hearing, and depositions, but she is excited to present to a judge and jury in person again. And, she’s excited to get the chance to send documents and videos back to the jury with the all new ExhibitsPad!
Update from Lisa:
Lisa attended our LIT SUITE for MacOS Launch Webinar and sent us this email: “RE: Mac app Inspires — ‘After the webinar, the day I’d been putting off came to pass. Ordered a new MacBookPro JUST so I could get the new Mac apps! My trusty iMac 27 won’t support Monterey. Finally just became obsolete… and I NEED those LIT SUITE apps.’”