By: BridgeTower Media Newswires//February 4, 2011
By: BridgeTower Media Newswires//February 4, 2011//
Now that lawyers are increasingly using tablet computers in and out of the courtroom, here’s a look at some new applications that can benefit practitioners:
TrialPad and Evidence
TrialPad promises to “Turn your iPad into a powerful courtroom ally,” and is intended to allow electronic evidence to be presented in an affordable way.
The app allows lawyers to organize various types of documents as exhibits for trial, as well as annotate, highlight or redact relevant portions. Each case receives its own folder, which contains a document list on the left and a preview window on the right. Documents can be imported through e-mail or iTunes, although TrialPad works exclusively with Adobe Acrobat files.
Switching the output setting to “on” readies TrialPad for trial presentation, and users can select a background color (black, white or gradient). The features of the iPad itself — touch-screen capability and great graphics — help make this app work well in the courtroom. While presenting a document, for example, tapping the screen allows you to zoom in on an image, and touching and expanding can make the image larger.
The annotation tools allow a user to highlight or “write” with a pen — circle a phrase, for example — or redact information. Once connected to a projector, lawyers can play documents like a slideshow or even pause and search for another document.
TrialPad is available at iTunes for $89.99.
Another recently launched image presentation app, Evidence, costs only $9.99, significantly less than TrialPad. But it requires the most recent software for the iPad and cannot be downloaded otherwise. Evidence is intended for relatively small cases with 200 or less documents, but can support up to 2 gigabytes of documents and images.
Unlike TrialPad, Evidence supports other types of files, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint; files are imported using iTunes, and then synching to the iPad. Evidence offers similar annotation tools, including zooming in and panning out, rotating documents, highlighting and drawing. Presentation in Evidence uses a “publish” button, which must be pressed for each and every change during the presentation — once to clear the current image and a second time to bring up the next image.
Esq Apps says iPleading is the first mobile legal template generator designed to follow the rules of both state and federal courts. The $3.99 app permits lawyers to create litigation documents on an iPhone, iPad or iTouch. The app also touts the fact that no confidential information is stored on the mobile device used by the attorney.
To use iPleading, an attorney fills out his or her publicly available information in the top left corner of the document (name, bar number, address, phone and fax) and selects from optional fields such a second attorney’s name or the name of the court. Once the format is created, a user hits “create and send,” and then receives an e-mail that contains two templates from iPleading — one for the first page of the pleading, and the second for the remaining pages.
The lawyer fills in the pleading as usual. Users have the option of creating a sidebar (a bordered, vertical box midway down the left margin of the document) that includes a lawyer’s name or a firm name.
New York rules
In New York, practitioners can take advantage of the Civil Practice Law and Rules app, which contains the full text of all the state’s rules.
James B. Reed, a partner at Ziff Law in Elmira, N.Y., said he “can’t live” without the app.
“The best part is that I can find anything I need on the app a whole lot faster than I could ever do it either in the book or through Westlaw or Lexis,” he said.
The NY Civil Practice app is available at iTunes for $9.99.
Solos and small firm lawyers often drive for business, whether to visit clients or potential witnesses, or for everyday trips to the courthouse, the office supply store or the post office.
Those miles can add up and can be used as business miles for a tax deduction. The IRS recently announced that the 2011 mileage rate is 51 cents per mile (a one-cent increase over 2010).
To keep track of mileage, try the Tap2Track Mileage app, which can automatically calculate mileage using a GPS system. Lawyers can also manually enter or adjust trip mileage, and the app allow you to copy prior trips, so that repeat drives to the local courthouse can be entered efficiently.
The app provides a mileage log in the format required by the IRS, and is compatible with TurboTax (it was developed by the makers of TurboTax, QuickBooks and Quicken).
Tap2Track Mileage costs $3.99 and can be found at Apple’s App Store.