It is hard to believe that the iPad has only been around for three and a half years. In that short period it has revolutionized the way in which many industries do business. And it has changed the way I practice law, and particularly the way I try cases.
TrialPad is a trial presentation application. Lit Software, TrialPad’s designer, describes the app as a “powerful legal document management and presentation tool developed for the legal profession for use in a trial, hearing, or ADR setting.” The app most definitely meets that definition. I would add “easy to use.” I had the privilege of trying four cases in 2013 – and I used TrialPad exclusively in all of them. Three cases were document intensive and one had a lot of photographs and videos. Two cases were tried in new courtrooms with all the latest technology, two in old courtrooms with no technology. TrialPad performed great in all settings.
TrialPad organizes your entire case into folders. The folders in my recent trial included, for example, Opening Statement, Exhibits, Jury Instructions, Videos, Demonstrative Exhibits, and Deposition Transcripts. The folders are easy to navigate and the TrialPad organization structure is the format I use to start organizing for trial. TrialPad allows the user to present documents, images, and videos. All of the necessary presentation tools are easy to use from within TrialPad – highlight, zoom, side-by-side, laser pointer, writing tool, etc… Images can be pre-created and saved to any folder without having to zoom in and highlight on the fly.
Just plug your iPad into the court’s technology and present away. If the court is not so equipped, I use Apple TV in the courtroom and present from my iPad wirelessly. I have used TrialPad myself while giving an opening statement or examining a witness, and I have had someone else operate the iPad while I am on my feet. Either way works great.
I always have a back-up. For example, I have a laptop with the entire case uploaded into Sanction in case of emergency. To date, I have never had to use the laptop. Does TrialPad have its glitches? Of course it does. For example, I have had the app close down during trial. All I have ever had to do is re-open it, select the folder from my list of cases, and I am right back to all my case specific folders.
The more I use TrialPad the more I find myself creating cases in TrialPad during the discovery process. The app helps me to better prepare for trial throughout the discovery process because of the way I organize the file in Trial Pad. Before trial, however, I always have the entire case loaded into DropBox. I can then import any and all trial files into TrialPad from DropBox.
TrialPad is intuitive, easy to use, and reliable. I have made folders on the fly during trial depending on the presentation of evidence that I then use with a witness or during an argument to the court, or during close. I strongly endorse and recommend TrialPad. But don’t take it from me: the opposing attorneys in two out of my last four trials asked me what I was using and indicated they too were going to download the app to use in their practices.