Paul Motz is a trial lawyer. His practice focuses on complex commercial and tort litigation disputes, trying large-scale matters involving product liability, catastrophic personal injury, medical malpractice, professional negligence, transportation, and construction defect. Based in the Chicago office of Segal McCambridge, Paul is called in, often on the eve of trial, on very large cases in jurisdictions around the country. More often than not, Paul doesn’t have the months or years of experience most lawyers have with a case before going to trial. In most cases, his practice involves digesting huge volumes of information, forming a strategy around it, and presenting the case, the argument, and all its components in the courtroom.
To manage and process the firehose of information he is presented with, Paul has a team and the LIT SUITE. Paul told us, “The LIT SUITE has revolutionized the way I do my work.” The LIT SUITE has streamlined his trial prep, modernized his depositions and trial presentations, and overhauled the way he trains his associates. Here’s how it works for him:
The Start - Do Not Use Technology That Slows You Down
As an early iPad adopter, Paul learned the benefits of iPad mobility earlier than many and made it a mainstay of his practice. As a part of a large firm, it is no surprise that his office is Windows based. But with a document management system and time tracking software in the cloud, and email on Outlook, Paul finds there is no longer much need to open his Windows computer. Paul told us that a Windows environment is standard for large firm practice, but he doesn’t see the point of using any technology that slows him down, and that is what his traditional Windows desktop does. Paul told us that it is also important to “use technology that you can trust”.
Depending on the task, Paul instead works between his Mac and his iPad. For PDF documents, the Mac is intuitive and much faster than Windows. Paul simply uses the spacebar and arrow tools to rip through all the PDFs he needs to access, rather than having to individually open and close each document. The iPad has the benefit of being mobile, and Paul finds that the there are also benefits in increased retention and recall when reviewing transcripts on a touchscreen with TranscriptPad as opposed to a PDF reader or paper. For presentations, Paul presents wirelessly from his iPad in remote proceedings and in-person in courtrooms across the country. The iPad itself has been so instrumental to his practice that Paul budgets for a new iPad every 12 to 18 months, ensuring he always has the latest hardware and best possible performance.
The Prep - How to Drink From a Firehose
For excess complex injury defense work, Paul usually comes in an the last minute, and "drinks from a firehose of information.” For digesting everything that has happened so far in the case, his go-to is TranscriptPad. In one particular case, he was brought in as first chair on February 14th knowing that the jury was to be picked on the first of March. There were 30 witnesses, complex information, and trade secrets to understand. One key to preparing for that trial was using his team effectively to digest and strategize.
Working a complex case means you have to have better recall and better organization than your opponent. Each member of Paul’s team uses the LIT SUITE to read and review the testimony to date and access the evidence in the case. Then the team meets to review everything by topic and prepare for trial. In Paul’s experience, three or four lawyers around a table who have read and can access the same information inevitably leads to valuable internal discovery. Not only does the team find things one or the other might have missed, but the entire team approach allows for different perspectives on various topics based on their individual understanding of the evidence. And, with the LIT SUITE it takes only seconds to share a transcript or entire case file with another team member for a fresh look.
Using TranscriptPad, the trial team reviews depositions multiple times, allowing them to know and easily find proofs of fact on any issue in the testimony, or find what anyone has said on a given topic at any time in the matter.
Paul told us, “I don’t know of any other program as robust and easy to use as TranscriptPad. It is my go-to, and the most used on my iPad.”
They also use the LIT SUITE for witness prep. In the office, all conference rooms are set up with an Apple TV, making document display and deposition or trial testimony run-throughs easy to set up, and very realistic from the perspective of the witness and the examiner. Using TrialPad, TranscriptPad, and the AppleTV prepares everyone for the in-courtroom experience, including navigating the documents and testimony as well as rehearsing the presentation.
Paul encourages his associates to join in on witness prep and remotely present as they examine the witness. He finds that this type of prep is especially valuable when preparing for a hostile witness. Having associates present wirelessly while examining a witness helps them to hone their craft as an examiner and become accustomed to the technology and the choreography needed for the courtroom.
Paul said that often in the courtroom when someone thinks they have a great nugget of impeachment testimony, they may be asked for context. The Impeachment Slides in TranscriptPad can include the question. With both the question and the answer on the slide, there’s no question as to what was asked to get a particular response, and the answer is clear. Once again, this is an excellent tool for training associates. They have the exact question to ask to get the impeachment. They can say it word for word, and there’s no argument about the nuance of the question.
For in-person depositions Paul also uses the LIT SUITE. While all his conference rooms have the Apple TV setup, he chooses to instead use TrialPad on his Mac, and using Screen Mirroring to his iPad it becomes an external monitor propped up right in front of the witness. With that setup he controls when and what the witness sees,, whether in his own office building or in a different setting. Plus, he finds it is easy to assign exhibit stickers and send the exhibits to the court reporter during the course of the deposition, or at the conclusion, and maintain a record of them all in TrialPad for himself.
The Show - Control is Everything
In early 2015, when Paul saw his opposing counsel presenting wirelessly in the courtroom, he had to find out how it was possible. The attorney showed him that he was using TrialPad to present to an Apple TV, and it changed Paul’s practice.
Most importantly, using TrialPad means he no longer has to rely on anyone else in the courtroom for presentations. Paul told us, “As a trial lawyer, I like control.” With Windows laptop based programs, it is necessary to have someone else in the room to present for you.
In the past, Paul has had some good experiences with hot seaters, but mostly his experience has been the opposite. No matter how prepared or professional, a trial tech cannot possibly know the documents the way the arguing attorney does, and the trial tech definitely is not familiar with the deposition testimony and hearing transcripts. Paul has had hot seaters that were way too slow, or that couldn’t find the specific exhibit, page, or paragraph he wanted to show. Still others put up a document too late, or pulled it down too early. The end result is a slower trial, well out of the pacing he is trying to orchestrate in the courtroom.
With TrialPad, Paul sets the pace depending on the witness. Sometimes you need to have a rapid-fire examination, other times you need a document to be displayed for a long time so that it will properly impact the judge and jury. Having a well-paced conversation with the witness, in view of the judge and jury feels interrupted if you bring in a third party who is sitting at the back of the room.
Paul told us, “Windows laptop programs have stability issues, and the trial techs know that, so they always have two computers running. In every hot-seater trial, there is a table with two laptops running and a host of wires coming out of the tech’s table to various places around the courtroom. It looks complicated and messy, and it is both.”
There is no need to run two huge laptops, even with a very large case. Paul pushes the limits of the iPad and TrialPad, and routinely has extremely large cases loaded for presentation. He also knows that if for some reason he isn’t getting the performance he expects, closing other apps on the iPad or restarting TrialPad takes less than 5 seconds. TrialPad is the only way to present wirelessly. It is clean, simple, and “the LIT SUITE just works.”
While he’s heard some attorneys concerns that an electronic presentation may appear slick, Paul finds that it is expected. Paul told us that juries simply expect more nowadays, including that you respect their time. Because of TrialPad, he has enjoyed compliments from judges, juries, and experts on presenting as he is walking around, and he knows that his presentation makes him appear comfortable, straightforward, and prepared. He told us, “There’s a big backlog of cases, and you can do yourself and your jurisdiction a favor by being efficient in your presentation.”
Paul’s trial kit includes a projector, an Apple TV and an iPad, and uses that combination to present anywhere. He always presents wirelessly, and finds that the iPad’s touch screen is easy to use while he is examining a witness. Equally, TranscriptPad is a swipe away, and searching to bring up testimony to show the judge can be done as needed during examination or in sidebar.
In one recent case, Paul’s opposing counsel was “liberal” in their interpretation of testimony. With a couple taps in TranscriptPad, Paul could put in front of the judge exactly what was actually said every time counsel editorialized testimony. Paul said, “That ability gives me a huge evidentiary advantage under fire in trial”. He calls it a “tapdance” - searching and finding exact testimony in sidebar as he talks to the judge, then turning the iPad around to show it. Paul says that usually happens once in a trial and it gives him clear evidentiary advantage over his opponent, and respect from judge about his knowledge of the evidence. And, in Illinois it is especially helpful in fighting 213 objections.
Additionally, Paul told us, “Impeachment Slides in TranscriptPad are not just for impeachment. Create Impeachments Slides to print and read them off in court. Or, use them as attached exhibits to motions as they are perfectly laid out for judge to review.”
The LIT SUITE is designed to carry you from file to trial, whether you are beginning a year before the case resolves, or a week. Paul said, “There are a lot of different tools available in the LIT SUITE. It is important to know what each tool does, and then leverage it to do exactly what you need. If you need to Bates stamp a document, that’s what DocReviewPad is for, if you need to apply an Exhibit Sticker, you can do that in TrialPad, need to find testimony, it will be in TranscriptPad.” Paul said that it is important to him to use the entire LIT SUITE to prep, and use the entire LIT SUITE in the courtroom. If you have 15,000 potential exhibits in your case, you can put them all in DocReviewPad, and keep the most probable top 500 exhibits in TrialPad. All the testimony in the case is in TranscriptPad, which means you can access it at any point during the trial. Paul has used the LIT SUITE to present two cases so far this year, and will use it in at least three more that have been set for trial in 2023. Paul said that, “At the end of the day your case may come down to the presentation. If it does, you need to know how to use TrialPad.”
In Conclusion - Get the LIT SUITE
Paul said, “First and foremost, the LIT SUITE just helps you carry less stuff around. And you know you have everything with you, and you’re never going to lose it. All your work product is safe and saved."
Other reasons Paul advocates for using the LIT SUITE are that “The LIT SUITE democratizes litigation. Budget is not an issue and size is not an issue. In cases with a value of less that $100K there is no wiggle room in the budget to have a person in the courtroom to run exhibits. Learn to use the LIT SUITE, and you’ll use it for cases that have two commas in their number.”
Anytime Paul presents and other lawyers see it, they ask him what he is using and then they download the LIT SUITE. Paul believes that the LIT SUITE helps litigators revolutionize what they do. “No matter what side of a case you are on, the LIT SUITE will be a positive benefit to your business and will get you better results for you and your client.”
More About Paul Motz, Esq.:
Firm website: https://www.segalmccambridge.com/attorneys/paul-d-motz/