Your iPad is more than a toy: it’s a valuable tool that a growing number of attorneys are using during litigation to make their presentations more mobile, efficient, and effective. And why not? A recent Washington State Supreme Court decision (In re Glassman, Wash. Supreme Court, 8447-5, Oct. 18, 2012; Chambers, J., concurring) states that “lawyers may and should use technology to advance advocacy and judges should permit and even encourage new techniques.”
Your iPad allows you to easily and quickly store and share documents on a portable device with a super-long battery life, conduct keyword searches, access files instantly instead of wading through reams of paper and sticky notes, and present information in a more engaging, portable, and interesting way than via either your laptop or paper files. Your iPad will also enhance your presentation by allowing you to make use of literally dozens of trial-worthy apps. Here’s a quick look at some of the most useful apps for litigation.
Sugarsync and Dropbox are securely backed up file-sharing systems that allow you to synchronize files across multiple computers, including your iPad and iPhone, and access these files in “the cloud” efficiently and effectively. Being able to access photographs, deposition transcripts, exhibits, and other files instantly and electronically saves you and your staff the time and hassle of having to riffle through voluminous amounts of printed material. Use document viewer apps, such as GoodReader or ReaddleDocs, in conjunction with SugarSync or Dropbox to maximize effectiveness. See this Sugarsync/Dropbox attribute comparison chart.
Fastcase, the largest free law library available on the iPad or iPhone, allows you to look up a case on demand, which can come in handy during trial. You must register, but the app is free.
Jury Tracker and iJuror allow you to keep track of potential jurors during voir dire in an organized manner. Jury Tracker and iJuror allow trial staff to sync their observations and notes instantly, and access these shared observations in real time on multiple devices. Jury Tracker and iJuror allow your trial team to simultaneously input and access juror demographics (such as marital status, employment, or prior experiences), “flag” undesirable jurors, and keep track of challenges.
Leave the banker boxes in the office. These affordable apps allow you to bring your entire case file to court electronically. While opposing counsel is tearing through a small forest’s worth of paper documents or tethered to their laptop, you’ll enjoy the freedom to move around the courtroom while presenting electronic documents on your iPad in a compelling and engaging manner. These apps have search functions that allow you or your expert to pinpoint documents, make annotations, display and manipulate images and exhibits, make side-by-side comparisons, zoom in and out, redact or highlight, assign exhibits to witnesses, show videos, and interact with your documents from the palm of your hand.
Visible Body is especially useful for personal injury attorneys. It allows you and your experts to manipulate and interact with 3D images of over 2,500 highly detailed structures of the human body, add or remove layers, hide or make body parts transparent, and view from various angles. With this app, you can hand your iPad over to your expert and let her present the information to the jury.
Your iPad will enhance your in-court presentation by allowing you to more efficiently and effectively access, share, and present information and documents. Most of the apps are relatively affordable and are compatible with technology that is already available at most courts.
One word of caution: make sure you have court approval before attempting to use your iPad in court, always thoroughly test court electronic capabilities and compatibility, and make sure you practice using and are comfortable with your apps before using them in court.