Yes, today’s Featured Pro is Lloyd Bell. You’ve probably already heard of him, and if you have, you’ve probably also already heard him talk about our apps. Lloyd was an early adopter of TrialPad, and has spoken at State and National seminars on exactly how to use the iPad, and our apps for your practice. So we’re really excited to share some tips from someone who has logged many hours in courtroom presentations, and in legal seminar presentations.
Lloyd is the founding member of the Bell Law Firm in Atlanta, Georgia and, has practiced law for over 25 years, focusing on medical malpractice and premises liability law. Like much of the rest of America, Atlanta has changed a lot in those 25 years, including, and importantly the juries that sit in the courtrooms and decide the cases. Lloyd told us that a lawyer simply “can’t sit still in practice, because juries change, and you have to change with them.” To help explain and illustrate his cases, Lloyd picked up TrialPad several years ago. Because it is a very fluid and flexible tool for trial presentation, he still hasn’t put it down.
As a plaintiff’s attorney, Lloyd believes that a jury trial can often start as an uphill battle. Often a jury will start off in favor of the defense, particularly in medical malpractice cases, as they may not wish to believe a medical professional would be negligent or worse, alter medical records to cover up negligence. For this reason, Lloyd believes that he needs an edge in the courtroom the minute he walks in. TrialPad is that edge. By the time Lloyd walks into a courtroom he has lived with his exhibits on his iPad for depositions, hearings, and other proceedings—in short, for the duration of the case. He knows the exhibits inside and out, he knows exactly where they are within TrialPad, and he’s already begun the process of organizing and annotating with trial in mind. More than that, TrialPad is deadly effective in court, allowing Lloyd speed and clarity as he works with exhibits in front of the jury. Working that efficiently with the documents can seem magical to the jury, but most importantly, his skill and efficiency makes him appear as the most competent and credible person in the courtroom, essential qualities to a successful outcome.
In a recent medical malpractice case in Georgia, Lloyd used TrialPad extensively to present medical records, deposition clips and demonstrative evidence. After a two-week trial, the jury returned a record verdict of $26,000,000.
Many times defense counsel in a case will hire a trial presentation company to sit with them for the duration of the trial, asking the company representative to bring up and annotate documents. Even if they don’t accidentally bring up the wrong exhibit, which happens not infrequently, Lloyd believes the defense case often suffers because the trial company has had such a minimal role in preparation that there is no way for them to know the documents as well as the presenting attorney. It is much more effective to know your documents inside and out, and know where they are for easy access. “This mastery of the exhibits empowers the lawyer to be truly spontaneous during a witness examination,” says Lloyd. Presentation with an intimate knowledge of your case and presentation program is much more effective, and “blows the other side away”.
The proof is in the pudding. Lloyd is a successful attorney, who has obtained eight, 7 and 8 figure verdicts over the past 5 years since using TrialPad, including a $15,000,000 medical malpractice verdict, and a $26,000,000 verdict, both in 2017. He hasn’t slowed down or looked back. Here are some tips Lloyd suggests for presenting with TrialPad:
Lloyd uses the newest Apple TV connected to a 55” flat screen “smart” TV on a movable stand to move it around the courtroom. He ensures his own closed network using Airport Express. This allows him to walk around the courtroom, and present as needed with a wireless connection while interacting with the witness and jury. [We recommend an Apple TV 4th generation (https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-tv/apple-tv/apple-tv-32gb) and using Peer-to-Peer AirPlay, a feature that eliminates the need for a Wi-Fi connection altogether and is very reliable (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204289). And this article shows how to require a password to prevent others from accessing your Apple TV: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202618]
Belts and Suspenders:
Lloyd does a backup of his iPad every night of trial, and performs a hard re-boot every morning. He also keeps a charger in the courtroom and makes sure the iPad stays fully charged throughout the trial day. Lastly, he brings a second iPad Pro to court with a mirror of his entire case.
Lloyd organizes his cross examinations by witness folders he’s created on the iPad. He also exports Impeachment Reports from TranscriptPad (an app he uses regularly in his practice), and exports them into the witness folders to call out and highlight any time a witness answers differently than they did in deposition.
Sometimes spontaneity means diverging from your original examination outline, which is why knowing your documents so well is such a strength at trial. Sometimes it also means making a demonstrative on the fly. That can mean taking a photo with your iPad and importing it to brings it up before the jury, or even making a screen shot of a map to import and annotate a witness’s location. Both of those actions take mere seconds, and are easy to do with TrialPad. [Sneak Peek: Taking photos and creating maps are two features that will be built in to the next generation TrialPad!]
For a quick, clean, and effective presentation, pick up TrialPad today. If you have used TrialPad already, why not try some of Lloyd’s tips in your next trial?
Today’s Featured Pro, Ron Clark, happily spoke to us on the back of three defense verdicts in a row - all using TrialPad. Ron practices Insurance Defense in Texas, and frequently finds himself in front of a judge and jury in Central Texas. Ron’s recent hat trick involved three very different cases, of varying complexity, and varying presentation needs, but TrialPad fit the bill every time. Here’s a breakdown of each, and how Ron used TrialPad to present them:
Case One: Traumatic Brain Injury
This case involved a traumatic brain injury resulting from a crash in a school zone. It was important to Ron’s case to show the school zone itself, as well as the approach, and to hone in on testimony from witnesses, such as a police officer, as well as medical expert testimony. Photos and maps displayed through TrialPad were annotated in the courtroom, and saved for later use with other witnesses, and for closing. Video was also key, and Ron played video deposition excerpts of the plaintiff’s experts, then saved many of the same clips for his closing argument as well. During closing, he reviewed the court's charge with the jury and displayed clips of key testimony paired with the marked up images from witnesses. This had the effect of summarizing his case before the jury. For each new issue, he asked them to recall the testimony, then played it using TrialPad, and showed corresponding photos marked up by witnesses. Days of trial merged together coherently, and resulted in a clear presentation of his case and defense verdict.
Case Two: Cervical Spine Injury
Plaintiff claimed a severe neck injury in side swipe accident. Prior to trial, the plaintiff in the case had testified that he had no prior neck injury or pain. This particular plaintiff was well traveled, and in his video deposition told Ron that Ron would never find any record of prior neck pain or injury no matter where Ron would look - even in another country. In this case, video would again be important. While on the stand, Ron was able to impeach using TrialPad. He asked about prior records of neck injury or pain, then later played the witness’s challenge to the jury. He paused the video on screen, and brought up a record from one of plaintiff's prior treating physicians, whose office was a mere 20 blocks from the courtroom. The medical history read “chronic neck pain x10 years”. At that point, from Ron’s perspective, the case was over, the jury apparently agreed - another defense verdict.
Case Three: Cervical Spine Discectomy Procedure
In this case police reports, diagrams, and photos were front and center before the jury, all courtesy of TrialPad. Again, video excerpts from the cervical spine doctor were important and used during witness examination, and in closing. Ron shared a couple extra tips for success in the courtroom: presenting wirelessly, and using TranscriptPad to identify deposition designations, earning points with his official court reporter and video editor by simply exporting and emailing purpose-built TranscriptPad reports. Presenting wirelessly allows him to walk around the courtroom as he presents from his iPad. Using TranscriptPad saves him time, saves his video editor time, and also helps him summarize exactly what a case is about as he reviews depositions, creating issue codes for “damages”, “no evidence”, “causation”, “pain and suffering”, etc.
After recounting his three successes, a bit of his workflow, and how he presents in court, Ron had two more valuable things to add. All the equipment he needs to present and win at trial fits into a small backpack. It includes an iPad, Apple TV, and a power strip to stay charged all day. He’s been in front of judges for most of his career, and he knows what works, and what doesn’t, as well as what judges think. He said TrialPad is always smooth, and that judges like it “A LOT”. Perhaps best of all, TrialPad was quick to pick up and learn, and easier to use. Here’s to Ron Clark, and his hat trick in a backpack. May there be many more.
Yesterday, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) put on a Building Trial Skills program at Nova Southeastern University's Shepard Broad College of Law. Like many of NITA's programs, this was an opportunity for lawyers from across the country to receive hands-on trial skills training in a courtroom setting. Among other things, the program focuses on case analysis, witness control, direct and cross examinations, and introduction of exhibits.
Attendees were also given the opportunity to learn and use presentation technology, now commonplace in today's courtrooms, and expected by judges and juries alike. To accomplish this important piece of the program, NITA selected TrialPad, giving the attendees purpose-loaded iPads to be used with the skill building case studies, and then invited LIT SOFTWARE to attend, give a quick tutorial, and answer questions.
Why TrialPad? There's no better tool for instant-use purposes than TrialPad. Presentation with paper and posters alone isn't the reality in courtrooms anymore. Bringing laptops and all the necessary peripherals to a podium to question a witness and present documents is as clumsy as the costly presentation programs that run on them. TrialPad is quick and easy to learn, and portable enough to stand up, connect, ask a couple questions, and introduce a few exhibits, making it a great addition to any trial skills workshop (connecting TrialPad to an Apple TV can also allow attendees to walk around the courtroom while presenting evidence, and further honing their trial skills). With increasing speed, well-known organizations like NITA, as well as undergraduate schools and law schools across the country, pick up TrialPad, plug in, and present.
You can pick up TrialPad too. Tap here.
If you are in employment law, there’s a good chance you already know who Bert Braud is. Bert is a partner at Popham Law in Kansas City, and has been active in the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), most recently presenting on trial technology to the hundreds of lawyers that attend NELA’s Annual Trial Boot Camps in Chicago. Bert will be presenting at the full NELA convention in June, which you can sign up for now.
Mr. Braud has been using legal technology for a long time. He was a dedicated Summation user, got the training, and used it for case preparation and presentation for years. As an employment lawyer in a firm that goes to trial five or six times a year, he found keeping up with software complexities, even after training, was frustrating and labor intensive. Even three-day seminars in Orlando didn’t help with the difficulties involved in actually loading documents, and making sure that they were stored in the right location on his laptop so that he could find and present them later. Bert also tried to go as paperless as possible, adding TextMap and CaseMap to his trial software arsenal in the office. But all that meant he that was stuck to his desk, and needed even more training.
When the iPad came out Bert realized how portable his cases could be, and asked a couple big legal software companies if they had any plans for the iPad. Their response was that there was “no future in (the iPad).” Then, he found LIT SOFTWARE. TrialPad and TranscriptPad offered the portability he was looking for and both apps were intuitive and easy to use. In fact, Bert hasn’t needed any training at all, and he’s now a pro.
Bert brings his iPad to mediation and presents wirelessly at trial. He has shown his paralegals how to use TrialPad and TranscriptPad, and he hasn’t looked back at that old desktop software he used to try to rely on. Here are a couple workflow and presentation tips Bert shared with us:
Use TranscriptPad to prepare for trial: You can create a summary report of your deposition review to build your direct and cross examination outlines. The report numbers each question and answer so it is easy to reference in your examination outline for impeachment purposes. Name any video clips the same way to easily play back the deposition if the witness answer is different from previous testimony.
Use the Apple Pencil: Bert finds using the Apple Pencil is a great way to make sure that all his callouts, highlights, and any drawing he does is more precise. It is the same as walking around the courtroom with a notepad and pencil, just a lot more powerful. Speaking of walking around...
Use the Apple TV: Bringing an Apple TV to court allows you to present “untethered”. You can walk around the courtroom if necessary, and engage better with the jury. The focus stays on you and on the presentation screen, and makes you look professional, knowledgeable, and prepared.
Bert also points out another benefit of using TrialPad and TranscriptPad is the cost. His “bare bones” setup of an iPad and TrialPad will have you presenting in court for under $500. But even the “fully equipped” setup he uses comes in under $1,000.
Since TrialPad first came out, today’s Featured Pro, Tom Vidal, has used it for jury trials at both State and Federal levels. The first time he pulled his iPad out in a courtroom, his opponent was using an Elmo document viewer connected to the court’s audiovisual system. Tom connected his Apple TV to the same courtroom audiovisual system, and the stage was set. Using the iPad and TrialPad was a first for him that day. He had practiced, tested ahead of time, and was prepared, but with a judge and jury in the room, there would be a moment of truth. And when that moment of truth had gone, Tom told us that it “could not have gone better as a communication and presentation tool.” The presentation had been seamless, and Tom was hooked. Meanwhile, the “failproof” Elmo wouldn’t focus on the documents properly, and Tom’s opponent was even criticized by the judge because of it.
That trial set the stage for many more to come, and for a shift in the way Tom prepared his cases for trial as well. Here are a couple of ways Tom uses LIT SOFTWARE apps to organize, prepare, and present his cases:
Organizing in TrialPad: To begin with, he puts every potential piece of evidence in TrialPad. Then, he creates folders in KeyDocs for each witness, and starts to add documents as he creates his witness examination outlines. He told us that our apps have “revolutionized the ability to get things done, and have enabled (him) to easily find an access all key case documents and materials.”
Wireless presentation: As much as he can, Tom presents wirelessly because “One of the places where there is no contest between iPad and a laptop is communicating and interacting with others. To keep focus and eye contact, I’d prefer to have a 3-ring binder over a laptop at the lectern. Having an iPad in your hands is like holding an unobtrusive notebook, and you can walk around the courtroom, all the while maintaining eye contact with the jurors.”
Be your own presentation professional: In a more recent trial in Federal Court, Tom’s opponent did not use an ELMO, but an entire trial team with presentation professionals, lots of extra monitors, and complicated looking programs. The trial team would call out a document to be shown, then call out an action like “highlight paragraph two” or “underline the second sentence.” When Tom’s turn came, he did all the same things, but with out any calling back and forth. He said, “The interface is so easy. You pick a document, zoom, highlight if you want, and you keep the jury focused on you and the document, not on a person at a desk on the other side of the room. The presentation is clean, buttoned up, and all at your fingertips.” In that trial, his opponent’s trial presentation team didn’t know the documents in the case as well as the lawyers presenting them. After all, there were hundreds of them, and the lawyers had been working with those documents for months or years prior to trial. This led to some miscommunication between the trial team and the presentation professional, and eventually lead to Tom’s opponent asking Tom to bring up a few documents for the jury.
Use TranscriptPad for more: While Tom is a dedicated TrialPad user, he shared with us that TranscriptPad is also one of the workhorses of his practice, and stressed that TranscriptPad is not just to digest transcripts. While he does assign Issue Codes for case issues, and creates corresponding helpful reports, he also assigns Issue Codes for chronology using terms like “Scene 1” “Scene 2.” Then, he creates reports that will put the testimony in the order that it played out in real life, as opposed to the order it came out in deposition. Creating reports by scene also allows Tom to create a comparative chronology to drill down into the disputed facts, which is a life-saver when preparing for trials or motions for summary judgment.
Mobility can be a time gift: Tom values his time, and will take a car hire service like Uber to a meeting or deposition so that he can prepare on the way, reviewing any key transcripts and documents all on his iPad. TrialPad and TranscriptPad make that kind of quick review, fast, easy, and immanently more portable than paper or a laptop. “I realized that I finally had mission-critical software that works.”
Managing exhibits in DocReviewPad: One of Tom’s most powerful case management tools is a simple exhibit list. It contains each document or physical exhibits, plus some other info, and Tom takes it with him everywhere: interviews; hearings; depositions; and of course, trial. Now, instead of just a list, Tom also has the documents with him in DocReviewPad. He can consult the list to see if a document has been used as a exhibit in a deposition, for example, review the contents, and even make notes.
For every matter Tom works on, he has everything with him at all times — and his briefcase is only two and half inches wide.
Tom Vidal is a Partner at Pryor Cashman, in Los Angeles, CA. He focuses his practice on Litigation, Media and Entertainment, Intellectual Property and Technology.
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Last summer, Louisiana Advocates Magazine published an article “DIY Courtroom Tech for the Trial Lawyer” by today’s Featured Pro, trial lawyer, David Pitre. We saw it (you can read it here), and had to talk to David, ask him about how he uses TrialPad, and get a few additional tips and tricks for our readers like you. Here are three standouts from David’s article, and our conversation:
When we spoke with David, one of his keys to an excellent DIY presentation is the DIY aspect itself. When a lawyer can present the case for themselves, they are fully in control, whereas there is an inherent delay in asking someone else to bring up a particular page, and then tell them to either go to the next page, highlight a paragraph, etc. David knows this from experience - both his own previous experience in electronic trials, and his more recent experience watching various opposing counsels’ presentation delays. DIY helps David present evidence smoothly and seamlessly as he talks to witnesses, judges, and juries.
David chooses to use TrialPad because it lets him hold his entire case on a device the size of a legal pad, and gives him the power to put up a document, zoom, callout or annotate it as he discusses it. He also chooses TrialPad because it is straightforward, and easy to use. In fact, David says using TrialPad is “effortless”.
Because David brings his own equipment to the courtroom, and uses it to practice in the office beforehand, he avoids the possible pitfall of being unfamiliar with the physical presentation equipment. Bringing his own equipment means scheduling a setup time in advance, taking a look at the courtroom he’ll be in, finding the outlets, and testing the equipment. Some courts have equipment installed already, and plugging in and testing ahead of time is a good idea for those courtrooms too. Even still, David also also always has a backup plan. Should a cable go bad, he has another. By being prepared, David can be assured that when it is trial time, he can focus on the art of the trial itself, with little concern for the technology.
While presenting your case well is an achievement, sometimes the best parts of a trial come at the end. In David’s case the best parts include more than the verdict he hoped for. On many occasions judges, juries, and even opposing counsel have complimented David’s presentation style, and the seamless use of technology to present his case. Preparation, and the right tools are some of the keys to his success. Take a look at his article, and download TrialPad today.
David is a partner with Silbert, Garon, Pitre & Friedman, and practices exclusively in the area of personal injury and wrongful death for accident victims and their families throughout the Gulf-South region. David is based in Gulfport, Mississippi.
iTunes is not just for music! iTunes has a File Sharing feature that allows you to quickly and easily transfer files back and forth between your computer and our apps on your iPad. Read on, and see the screenshots below!
On your desktop computer, launch iTunes, and connect your iPad to the computer using the Lightning to USB cable that you use to charge your iPad. Once connected, a small iPad icon will appear in the top left of the iTunes screen. Click on this icon to see various information about your iPad, then click on File Sharing under the Settings section to see a list of apps that can transfer files between your iPad and computer. Click on the name of the app on the left side to reveal the [AppName] Documents area on the right side.
To copy files from your computer to the selected app on your iPad: Drag your files from your computer into the [AppName] Documents window. You can drag individual files, a group of selected files, or a folder of files. (Please refer to the app's User Guide for details on the supported file types.)
To copy files from the selected app to your computer: Drag your files from the [AppName] Documents window to the desktop of the computer. (Windows users need to select the files, then click on the “Save to…” button to move files to their computer.)
If you’re copying a lot of documents you’ll see a progress bar showing the files being copied. Allow the transfer to complete, then disconnect your iPad from the computer.
If you transferred files from your computer to the iPad, the next time you launch any of our apps you’ll see the New Files (X) indicator in the top left of the main Cases Screen. Tap on this New Files button to select the documents, then choose a Case Folder to import them into.
NOTE: The same iTunes File Sharing process can be used to copy an Archive of an entire Case Folder, complete with its organizational structure and document annotations, from your iPad to a desktop computer. This is useful to create a backup of a Case Folder, or to duplicate a Case Folder on another iPad.
LIT SOFTWARE has always been committed to creating great software that allows our users to do more with less. In creating great software, we've never seen ourselves as merely selling apps, but instead as providing solutions to problems, and streamlining difficult tasks, with a better user experience than currently exists on any platform. Our maintenance and support has always been included, and we have some of the best documentation available for any app. We've also constantly and continually updated our apps to add new features and improvements based on our users' suggestions. We plan to continue that well into the future.
The only way any development company can competently make plans for future development is to have a business plan with a clear path forward. Many software companies have turned to subscriptions to give them the capital needed to continue to develop, and to continue to exist. But as Lee Rosen points out so well, while subscriptions are good for the developer, they are equally, if not more beneficial to the consumer. And for that reason, just like winter, subscriptions are coming.
With the (rapidly obsolescent) traditional software purchasing model the consumer buys a piece of software, installs and uses it until they choose to buy an updated version, or until it no longer works on their hardware and they are forced to abandon it or buy again. Depending on the category of user, a new version is released for sale every year or two, and the developer uses sales revenue to continue to work on compatibility updates, bug fixes, and new features and capabilities.
At first blush, this model works well for the consumer. But time and technology has changed the relevancy of the old model so that today there are several drawbacks for both the consumer and the developer. Subscriptions seem to be the answer to most of the drawbacks, and that's why they're imminent.
Problems with the old model include slower development timetables, compatibility issues, and inevitable product bloat. Developers in the traditional model often felt it appropriate to hold new features or capabilities "hostage" for the next version to justify charging an upgrade fee. Holding back features for a big update gave them something to market, and encouraged year-over-year income for their business. New features and upgrades were offered yearly (or more), and required another purchase.
Asking users to pay again often had the effect of users sticking with the old software until they felt they had to update it. But, if users waited too long to upgrade, or upgraded only their hardware, it could mean lost data and loss of work, or even a non-functional piece of software. Developers found themselves supporting multiple versions on multiple platforms — a support nightmare that also required extra work in compatibility patches. So, they started charging yearly maintenance fees on top of the cost of the software. Users paid again and still felt the frustration of software bugs, and not being able to use something that was supposed to make life easier.
The problem compounded when developers continued to add lots of new features to the same software. Doing this created software that was no longer feature rich, but bloated and confusing. Everyone has seen this kind of software. It has tools that no one uses, multiple confusing drop down menus, and resultantly requires training — another source of revenue to the developer and a software training cottage industry.
The end result of the traditional software model was often bloated, expensive software, with yearly maintenance fees, per seat costs, associated hardware like servers, and a need for training. All of that became so expensive that many solo law firms couldn't contemplate the privilege of dealing with all that complication because of the high cost.
Subscriptions fix both the software and cost issues. They allow developers to add features that users actually want, and delete the features that are no longer used. This is good for the consumer because it means leaving behind ugly, complicated, applications and replacing them with clean and nimble apps that you'll actually use. Subscriptions allow users to budget on a consistent basis, and guarantee the latest version all the time, rather than having to decide between paying a big upfront cost to upgrade or just stick with the old version every year. There's no reason for yearly required maintenance anymore, and good developers can make sure that their software stays feature rich without requiring extensive training. If the consumer stops using the app they don't pay for it, and if they decide to use it again at a later date it will be compatible with the latest hardware and OS, and will still be eligible to get the frequent updates.
And speaking of frequent updates, on the developer side, subscriptions provide a constant and predictable revenue stream so that they can keep up with the lightning speed of modern hardware and OS development. When the traditional software model was taking form, it didn't have to contemplate rapid changes in hardware development, or constant and free operating system upgrades that are commonplace today. Users could, and did, hold onto old operating systems and computers for years at a time. With the iPad, the hardware and the iOS are overhauled every year. Additional new and significant iOS features are also released throughout the year. Developers must keep pace with that development speed, or their apps potentially die.
If a developer isn't able to keep up, and the app dies, that's disappointing when the app in question is a game, but it is potentially devastating if the app is a key part of your practice. With the advent of iOS 11, many apps created and sold on the App Store will cease to work without a significant update as they were initially created as 32-bit apps, and iOS 11 requires 64-bit apps. iPad users are not going to hold off on hardware and software updates so that their favorite apps will continue to work on their devices, nor should they. Instead app development needs to keep up the rapid pace that makes apps so nimble in the first place.
As iPads become commonplace to lawyers, our users have gotten much more sophisticated, asking for features and capabilities that require significant development effort and resources. Many of the features and capabilities we are working on now have taken months, even years to develop. Our users deserve to have software that is cutting edge, that works when and how they need it, and they need our company to consistently deliver that high-quality software into the foreseeable future.
We plan to continue adding new features and improvements to our apps, and developing new apps. To do that effectively we may need to change our pricing model in order to stay current, competitive, and profitable. Many developers are moving to subscriptions, not just for themselves, but to better serve their users. As we plan for the future, we may go the subscription route as well. Just like winter, subscriptions are coming.
Ian Unsworth, Queen’s Counsel, has been at the Bar for 25 years, and has been a Silk for 7. His practice is mostly prosecution work for the Crown, but also includes defense work. In his many years at the Bar, Mr. Unsworth has handled some of the most complex trials in England, from murder to bank robbery. The trials usually involve enormous volumes of evidentiary data, including documents and photos, as well as CCTV footage. Of late, he’s depended on TrialPad to present it all.
Mr. Unsworth spoke with us a few weeks ago to discuss his recent experiences with TrialPad, and started with some interesting background information. Several years ago, the Crown Courts of England and Wales began a Criminal Justice Service Efficiency Programme, which is an effort to add technology at every step of the legal process in the hope of also adding significant efficiency. Part of the program is called the Crown In Court Presentation Project, which worked to make every courtroom in the Crown Courts System a place where evidence could be presented electronically from a laptop or tablet. As a result, every courtroom has a dedicated WiFi network to which barristers are given access, as well as a system which wirelessly connects barristers’ devices to screens throughout the courtroom to display digital evidence including CCTV footage, digital images, audio recordings, and documents.
Lawyers in the Crown Courts System are encouraged to work from their laptops or tablets, and many have chosen iPads as they are light, portable, and reliable. Outside the courtroom all documents in the Crown Court Digital Case System, the official evidence database, are electronic and available to view or download by barristers involved in the matter, virtually eliminating paper throughout the legal process. This has increased efficiency within the Courts, and also pushed barristers toward using laptops or tablets as a regular part of their practices. Inside the courtroom, barristers typically use the built-in wireless presentation system to share their computer screens, but zooming in or highlighting documents is limited to the abilities of the PDF program they are running, and callouts or comparing two documents side by side is not possible. Enter Mr. Unsworth and TrialPad.
Mr. Unsworth’s first use of TrialPad was for a large and complex criminal trial. The case involved six defendants and a lot of evidence, including many documents and photos, secret recordings and their associated transcripts, and closed circuit footage of the defendants blowing up banks (yes, literally). During what would be a four month trial, Mr Unsworth relied on TrialPad to display all of that evidence through the Court’s wireless system. He described TrialPad’s performance during that time as flawless. The ability to not only display documents, but to quickly call them up, then highlight and callout portions where focus or emphasis was needed made his presentation much faster and more effective, resulting in Mr. Unsworth’s opposing QC downloading TrialPad a few days into the trial. Later, the presiding Judge even remarked that every trial ought to operate the way Mr. Unsworth conducted his presentation of evidence. There have been several trials since then, and Mr. Unsworth has brought TrialPad to every one.
While part of his presentation success is found in his significant experience at the Bar, part is also now due to TrialPad working seamlessly with technology that is built into every courtroom in England and Wales. Because the same exact setup is found in every courtroom, the technology portion of legal presentation is simplified and streamlined to great effect. Mr. Unsworth can be confident that the only equipment he needs to present in any courtroom throughout the entire system is his iPad and TrialPad. He merely has to turn up and plug in. One cannot present more efficiently than that.
A side note for US Lawyers: If we in the United States are honest with ourselves, we know that our Federal Court System has made somewhat of an effort in allowing electronic presentation of evidence. But, we have 50 states, and a few territories, all with tens, sometimes hundreds of counties, each with very disparate capabilities. Unlike in the Crown Courts System, walking into a courtroom is a mystery in terms of the technology in place, and often the technology the judge will allow to be brought in. The resulting legal expenses incurred by lawyers and their clients because of this inefficiency, coupled with necessary equipment purchases, rentals or vendor costs, is incalculable.
In England and Wales the Crown Courts System expects lawyers to use technology for the efficiency it brings, and supports them by providing it in a uniform and consistent way. As a result, a barrister can walk into any court in England or Wales, confident in what equipment he or she will find there, and with the knowledge, ability, and expectation that they will use it to the benefit of their client or the Crown. When will lawyers in the United States be able to expect the same?
After reading an excellent article in the October 2017 issue of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice’s Trial Briefs magazine, LIT SOFTWARE decided to feature the author, Joseph P. Tunstall, Esq. as our latest Featured Pro!
Mr. Tunstall, of O'Malley, Tunstall in Raleigh, North Carolina, started using TrialPad after his laptop froze during a trial back in 2010. He had heard about other people using only their iPads to try cases. Within the next year he saw a presentation from an attorney who used only an iPad and Apple TV and was hooked. Mr. tunstall has now tried over 20 cases using only his iPad. He told us, "I’ve used a TV and I’ve used a projector, but I will always use TrialPad."
TOP TIP: "Put EVERY document that you may think you may want to use into the system, because you can then find and use it VERY quickly during trial."
Chase Ware is the owner of The Trial Group based in Arlington, TX. Though he is based in Texas, his firm does trial support work all over the country. Most of the trials he handles are asbestos cases involving huge document productions and several weeks of trial at a time.
He has personally been in courtrooms in Boston, Chicago, Iowa and beyond. In his travels, Chase often finds himself in a courtroom with other trial presentation companies that are typically using older PC-based trial presentation programs.
Chase has been doing trial presentation for many years and can instantly recognize which software the opposing counsel’s company is using. In fact, he owns and can use that software himself. Still he chooses TrialPad for his clients. Why?
One: Pre-trial preparation is streamlined. Part of this is just the way Chase runs his company. He preps all documents and graphics with the attorney on the front end. Instead of dumping them into a program, they are properly named for easy organization within TrialPad, making finding an exhibit or creating an exhibit sticker and applying it to a document a very simple proposition.
Two: The entire courtroom presentation is smoother with TrialPad. With other programs, there are interruptions from barcode scanning or the occasional spinning circle on screen while the entire courtroom waits for a document to load.
Three: The physical technology part is also easier to setup and lighter to transport. While PC software is ideally used with an extended monitor as well as a presentation screen, TrialPad is plug and play. The annotation tools in TrialPad are easier to find and use, and without a mouse and other necessary peripherals, the presentation kit itself is considerably smaller. Multiply that presentation kit times two (because every good trial presentation company will have a backup of everything), and there are significant savings in pre-trial setup time and cross-country equipment shipping costs.
Easy to use technology works well for presentation professionals and legal practitioners alike. No matter your case or level of technology experience, you can use TrialPad for your next trial presentation. Download it now - or hire a pro like Chase at The Trial Group to present it for you.
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