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The Frugal Litigator: DIY Trials

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The Frugal Litigator: DIY Trials

You can purchase expensive trial software and other technology or DIY – Do It Yourself. In many cases, the injuries and damages do not justify using pricey software and hiring outside consultants. But just because the case is smaller doesn’t mean that lawyers cannot provide a high quality professional presentation at a reasonable cost. In this program, attendees will discover how to use inexpensive trial technology they have in their office, including products such as Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Acrobat, and more. They will also learn about products that work on mobile devices, gaining practical, hands-on advice from an attorney who has used this technology to level the playing field against well-funded opponents.

Transcript

- Hello, and welcome to the program, The Frugal Litigator DIY Trials. I'm your presenter, I'm Attorney Daniel J. Siegel. And I'm here today to explain to you ways to present your case to a jury, to a judge, to a mediator, an arbitrator, without necessarily using all of the ultra expensive tools that you might use on a larger case. I come to you with a background that can help you understand this. I wear a couple of hats. I'm a technology and workflow consultant for Integrated Technology Services, where we assist attorneys to prepare for trial and everything from pre-trial stages to litigating cases. I'm also a full-time practicing attorney with my own firm. And over the years in my practice, I have handled everything from small claims matters to mediations, arbitrations, AAA type cases, to handling sitting in first or second chair at multimillion dollar class action and mass tort cases. And the techniques and the tools that you use in one case will differ from those that you use in another case. And that's why we're here today to talk about DIY, do it yourself trials. Just as at home when you're repairing your house or making changes there's certain things you're gonna do yourself. There's certainly certain things when you try cases that you may do yourself depending on the type of case you have. And that's important because we all have the reality of clients budgets and everything else. So when we talk about DIY trials, why are we even here? Well, we're here because everyone knows that not every case is a zillion dollar piece of litigation. Not every case requires the use of complex and expensive trial presentation software. And sometimes even large cases don't because simplicity is better, but there are times when you need specific types of software, specific types of items to make sure that your presentation is effective, that your audience, whether you're talking to a judge, whether you're talking to a jury, whether you're presenting in a mediation or an arbitration, you have to know your audience. You have to know what you're trying to explain or present so that you provide that audience with the information they need in a way that is appropriate and cost effective. We know that most cases that go to trial, aren't the ones that have the big headlines. They aren't the ones where you see the zillion dollar multimillion dollar verdicts and awards. They're smaller. Most of us are handling cases that could be, as I said, you know, a small claims court matter, could be a soft tissue auto case, could be some other kind of commercial matter, but they're all different types of cases. And many simply don't justify the expense and the manpower needed to effectively use more expensive tools. Yes. When you try a case that has lots of witnesses and has millions of dollars at stake, you're likely going to bring in a trial consultant or a trial assistant who will run the technology, who will have all different types of things ready to go. But that cost which is justified in those types of cases could end up being more than the recovery in a lot of smaller cases. And no one is going to spend $50 in order to recover 20. So that's why we're here. Yes, you can buy expensive trial technology and sometimes you can buy it and you can adapt it to use in your smaller cases. And if that works for you and you have that ability, that's great. But you also have to factor in the reality that not every case needs that, or you can do as most lawyers prefer, which is to do it yourself. And that's what we're here for today. So let's talk about this. You're gonna learn from a fellow litigator how to use tools that either you have, or you have access to. We're not gonna be talking about ultra expensive tools. We are gonna be talking about tools that you either have, or can purchase at a reasonable cost and use over and over again. And that's the goal, to educate you. We're gonna talk about a lot of specific products, but a lot of those products, even where I talk about a specific product there are classes of other products within that grouping of whatever product I talk about that can likely accomplish the same results. And that's the nice part about DIY trials. There are a lot of different things out there and you might use for example, WordPerfect instead of Microsoft Word. And that's fine if that works for you, it can accomplish a lot of the same things that we're gonna talk about that Word does. And there are various PDF annotation products, for example. So although I'm gonna focus on Adobe Acrobat, that doesn't mean that you couldn't use another type of product, there's Foxit and many others. And that's the point. These are items you should be using in your office in one variation or another. What we are not talking about though, is doing it in a sloppy way or a way that would appear to whomever your audience is, that you have no money and you're just trying to get something done. So I remember trying a case where the other side wanted to save money, so they printed their exhibits on the back of copy paper. Well, that doesn't look good. The jury certainly took note of it. And the result partly reflected the jury's disdain we think for the attorney who was so frugal, that he wouldn't use clean pieces of paper. Doing it sloppy doesn't help. You can look as professional using basic tools as you can using the fancy trial presentations software, and you can do it yourself and you can do it well. And that's the point. You always want to have the most professional appearing presentation you can. Yes you may not have every bell and whistle. Certain trial presentation software may want you to barcode and do all kinds of things that you're not able to do particularly if you're a one man or one woman show, which is typical of these smaller cases. In those circumstances, you are happily able to do it yourself with some modifications. So what do I mean by a DIY or do it yourself trial? I define a DIY trial as a trial in which an attorney and when possible, perhaps a second chair, a paralegal or other staff member, can use the technology that your office already owns or should own, or can easily and cost effectively obtain to effectively present the case to the jury or the judge in a bench trial, or to a mediator or to whomever your audience is. You can use these tools if you're doing a settlement presentation to an adjuster, or if you're in a commercial setting to establish the parameters of a contract or an agreement or whatever you need. These tools, yes are litigation tools, but they apply to all types of cases. And we're gonna help you understand those tools that you have access to. As I said before, some products are free, free is always nice, but sometimes you're gonna have to make that financial investment and buy them, that's okay but what you want to do is investigate and make the appropriate investment and obtain the relevant products that are gonna allow you to handle a DIY trial in an effective way. So our first and our main learning objective for this, is highlighting why this isn't that hard, it isn't as complicated as many people think. I've had people over the years say to me and other attorneys, well, how can you possibly handle the trial if in fact you're running the technology? Well, if I were running complex trial software, that would be a problem. But fortunately you can make things a lot more user friendly, or if you combine your results into one tool, ALA, a PowerPoint or an Adobe Acrobat presentation, then really all you're running during your case is a PDF or a PowerPoint or a Word document, and you're not using these trial programs that have lots of features and literally require the owner's manual to be open while you're using them, that's not the goal today. I'm gonna be discussing a number of the tools that work best in trials and litigation. Explain in many cases where to find them and explain how to use them in a very basic way. And one of the great things that I love about technology and software and all these tools is that I may use a particular product in a certain way, you may discover that it has a whole different way of helping you, and that's the nice part. So don't be confined by what I'm talking about to the contrary what you wanna do is open up and explore. The first thing I always do with new software is to go through sort of, if you're looking at a windows program, the file, the edit menus, and I go through all those tabs. Why? Not because I'm gonna learn all of that now, but to get acquainted with different products. So for example, if you use the Adobe Acrobat creative cloud, which is a product that offers you the potential to have lots of different products from Adobe, you will discover that there are different features and different programs or apps that may help you so that you may wanna purchase one of those apps or licenses rather than all, but discover that because it's part of an integrated product, just like Microsoft Office 365 is part of a Suite as is the Corel WordPerfect Suite. That a lot of times you can really obtain a lot of good products in a very effective way. And that's what we're gonna be showing you and talking about. So let's talk about some of the products that you already really should have. And I'm gonna focus today at the start on two different products. One is Microsoft Office 365, which is commonly known now as Microsoft 365, but for many of us, we will always call it Office 365. And that is a suite of products, that is a broad range suite of products that covers far more than just Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Sway, but I'm gonna focus on those aspects of the products. But if you are like the majority of law firms nowadays using Office 365 or Microsoft 365 in a subscription in cloud-based version, you will discover very quickly by going to your dashboard online, that you have access to a wide range of tools. I'm also gonna be focusing on Adobe Acrobat professional DC, not the free reader and not the standard reader either. Why? Because that is the most commonly used PDF product. And you can easily, in most cases turn most of what you create for trial into PDFs. And if you do, you can either have one PDF as a global presentation, or you can have multiple that can be smaller sort of sub components of your larger presentation. That's up to you. That's the nice part. And that's what we're gonna focus on that aspect. Another area where you likely will need other products is dealing with image display and editing software, in other words, products that show pictures. And we need pictures because you may wanna have a copy just of an agreement to show where John Smith agreed with Mary Jones to do certain things as the basis for your contract case, or you could have photographs of your client and their vehicle or those types of things. And this is one of the great areas for lawyers, whether you're using desktop products, which are my preference even when trying a case, I prefer and recommend using a laptop rather than an iPad or an Android tablet, but you can use either. But for the cost and the convenience and the power, a small tablet that is windows based is often going to give you a greater range of compatibility than you'll find on an iPad with the iOS operating system or an Android with the Android operating system. And when it comes to images, there are so many products out there. You have Microsoft Photos, you have the ACDSee range of products. Adobe has Lightroom and Photoshop. Corel has pain shop pro there's GIMP. And there are so many more, but you're going to need one of those to be able to take pictures, perhaps crop them, perhaps annotate them, whatever you're going to need. And the nice part is that there is such a wide range of these products, and you can find the one that you like that you wanna use both on your desktop and the trial, or you can of course, obtain one of those products in an Android or an iOS focus. Another area where you're going to likely need, not for every case but for some, software or an app is for video presentation and editing so that you may have a video that shows the actual incident. So for example, in a recent case that I was working on with another law firm, the law firm was able to obtain footage from a nearby pharmacy from its exterior cameras that showed the intersection and the accident that happened to their client. But then they needed to be able to edit that because the footage that they obtained was for a lengthy period of time, and obviously you don't want your jury or your judge or whomever to be staring at a video for 10 minutes waiting for that moment. You need to be able to edit it. You may need to bring in something that allows you to focus and bring out a particular area and enlarge it. All of those are potential options and there's video editing software. So we have Microsoft Photos. CyberLink is one of the companies that makes a large number of these products. Apple has iMovie. There are other generic type products, such as VLC movie player. There is also GOM, G-O-M, there's Blender and there are so many more, but again, you may have one you use, maybe the one you did for your family wedding pictures, whatever you're using is likely to be adaptable when it comes to video for these other purposes and that's the nice part. And then besides sort of those generic broad categories of products, and we're gonna talk about them in more detail as we move on, I wanna highlight some other areas where there are products that you can use or adapt to really make you a better trial advocate. So you want tools that will allow you to analyze your case, to analyze the chronology and the timeline to do document review. And for some people who like this and are really into it, shall we say there are mind mapping tools as well. So we're gonna talk about those types of things. But we all know that every case has a chronology, after all the best trial lawyers are storytellers. So you need to be able to create your story and to make certain that it conveys what you want to tell to your audience. And a timeline helps because certainly if you wanna tell what happened in a dispute, and for example, I had a small construction dispute and we created a timeline of when the contract was signed, it was a visual timeline, very simple graph type line, and we highlighted that. And then we showed each segment where my client had done work, and it showed each of those segments along the timeline. And then in bright red, we showed where the first complaint was of inadequate work, et cetera, cetera. Well, that complaint didn't appear on the timeline because the timeline showed what happened until after my client had completed everything he was obligated to do on the contract. So we had worked months, you see this lengthy timeline, and then finally at the end, you see that the person didn't complain until everything was done. And that timeline helped convey to the arbitrator that in fact, the complaint wasn't because of the work, but it was someone at the end trying to, at that time pay less money than under the contract. But the visual, the graphic made an enormous difference. And it told the story that we told in words, but as you know, a picture can be worth a thousand words and that one was. So you need those types of timeline tools. You're also likely if they're going to be depositions in your case or trial transcripts, you're gonna need something to help you annotate those transcripts. One, to take notes, two, to be able to highlight key portions of testimony, and you can do that using transcript management tools, you can do that using potentially a Word document, potentially a PDF, but you need tools to do that. Also, since you're likely to not be sitting in your office when you're trying a case, there are file management tools because you're gonna need to be able to access documents. And depending on the extensiveness of the documents you're gonna have to determine whether those are tools you carry locally, perhaps in a small, external hard drive or on a flash drive or something you have to obtain offsite and store in the cloud, which simply means not on your local device. You may wanna use a trial management tool. And of course you may have to perform legal research. All of these are parts of the focus. We'll also talk about a bit on Android and iPad tools that you can use and how they can play a role as well. But as I said, there's a cost to these tools and it's nominal compared with the cost which can often be thousands of dollars for trial software, which also often requires a dedicated person to run it. But a frugal litigator doesn't mean free. You do have to spend some money. You just have to do it in a prudent way. The other area that you need to think about is that if you're gonna be using technology at trial and not just walk in there with the traditional paper documents the way I was taught to try a case, 'cause when I graduated law school we didn't have all of these fancy tools. What did we have? We had, you know, regular copies, we didn't have computers that would be able to do these presentations. I graduated law school when we still were using carbon paper and things like that. So you need to be aware of the logistics that you need. You need to have checklists for every single thing that you are going to take with or use at trial because no judge is going to be receptive to the fact well, judge could we have a break I actually left my hard drive at the office and I need to go back and get it, otherwise I can't show the witness anything. That's not going to go over well. And then of course you need the gadgets. And all I will say now is if you don't know what a dongle is, if you're going to try a case, you better know what a dongle is. And that's because that's one of those geeky terms that if you don't know and you go to a courtroom, you're going to need to know quickly. And what is a dongle? It is an adapter or a connector that adapts a device to connect to a different type of item. And you're gonna need a dongle for example, if you have an iPad to connect it to a courtrooms video system and there are lots of different dongles and connectors and all of those things, and it's your obligation to have those items when you go to trial, that's why it's also your obligation to have things like extension cords. And that may not just be an electric extension cord. If the courtroom has a traditional HDMI display but it's across the room, you're going to need a long HDMI cable to be able to connect because the court may not let you move your device right up there. You also need to prepare, and you need to prepare sometimes more than you would've traditionally prepared and even more. And then you have to test every single thing that you are using and test it again, because if something doesn't work in your office it sure isn't gonna work at another location. And if you haven't tested it first, it probably won't work or if it does, it may not work the way you thought it would, and the last thing you wanna do is be doing a DIY trial where you are learning on the job. So think about those things. The other thing as we move into sort of the second phase of the program, where I talk about specific programs and how to use them or apps, is to understand that things change. While I'm recording this program, and I can talk about the technology that exists today. We all know that technology changes, programs change, apps change, so you always have to be aware that sometimes programs or apps are taken off the market. Sometimes they're changed. Sometimes they become paid products. Sometimes they add features and sometimes they remove features and sometimes they do you name it. We've all seen that, you know, with most of us in our smartphones. But the underlying recommendations that you leave this program with, aren't going to change. In other words, whether, you know, PowerPoint works the way you want or whether you're gonna need a different product, you're still going to need something to help you present your information to the jury. So let's talk about some of the tools and what they do. We're gonna start with Microsoft Office. And I'm gonna focus on four of the tools, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Sway. And you probably are familiar with three of those, but not so much with Sway. And Sway is one of these sort of underutilized products that I like. With word though, let's start with the basic Word Processor. We all know it can do word processing, but it can do more. You can create charts with Word because all you have to do is go into insert and table and you'll be able to create a table that you can format, in many cases like you would a table or a graphic in Microsoft Excel. You can also import through insert photo or other things images you can put in links to videos. You can hyperlink items in your document so that if you create a document that shows a picture, you could put in a hyperlink to it, and it could link to a video file or some website, all of these things from a very simple, basic word file. Another thing that you can do that is often very effective for juries is you can create a bulleted presentation. Sometimes we'd call it a checklist. Where you are telling the jury, let's say, you're doing your closing argument and you have an automobile accident case. Well to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I want to show you, and here is a list of the types of damages that the judge is going to charge you on that you can award to our client. And the first is going to be, let's say, past wage losses or earnings that the client lost as a result of the accident. The second checkbox could be, past medical expenses that are owed. Then you could have future wage losses. Future medical expenses, and possibly loss of earning capacity. There could be property damage, and of course there's pain and suffering. Well, if you give them that as a nice graphic with check boxes, you could be checking it often having the words appear very easily on your screen in a Word document or a PowerPoint, whatever you prefer. But the idea is that Word can be used for far more things than simply creating a text document. But on the other hand, if you have a page of a transcript, perhaps you want that page in Word where you can then go and highlight or make it larger for the screen for a witness to be able to see. Similarly, Microsoft Excel, the spreadsheet product that we use also is an organizational tool. You could have a spreadsheet that lists all of the documents that are going to be marked as exhibits by both parties, and when they're marked or what they show. You could also use it as an e-discovery tool to create logs of files that may be you are declining to produce because of privilege or something, or where there is a question. You can track exhibits in a spreadsheet. You can track witnesses. And some of these items may not be things that you see on a screen or display to a jury, but they're information you need. And the nice part is if you're tracking it in a spreadsheet, it can synchronize if you're using something like OneDrive or Dropbox for business or those products, it could synchronize offsite to someone else. And if you're able to type it is far easier to read what you type than to read at least for me, the gibberish that sometimes comes out of my pen when I'm writing in a hurry. You can also create visuals using these products. Excel, you know, makes tables, it makes graphs, it makes charts, it makes pie charts. It'll create round circles that show portions of things and percentages and all of that. So you have these products already there. You can also make visuals. You can actually make timelines in Excel if you're good at creating the boxes and the borders and the different colors. So that there are lots of ways to use that as an effective trial presentation product. Then we come to Microsoft PowerPoint, which allows you to make presentations, we all know that. But you need to think about what else you can do. And one of the things is design view. If you want to create a consistent appearing document that you're gonna display to people perhaps to go along with an opening or a closing, you can, if you are using the 365 version that is coming from the cloud and regularly updates, there is a right hand box that's called design view. And when you do that, it will prepare potential design options to make things look nice. And while you have to still have your substance, sometimes the appearance can make an enormous difference. With PowerPoint it is very easy to use and embed a link to show sound or video. We do a presentation here where we show a mock opening statement that links to a TV video that happens to show a tragically terrible car accident. But imagine the impact of showing that during your opening statement, as opposed to saying, "Well, Mary was in a terrible car accident "and she was hit by a truck, her car was smashed". As opposed to here is the truck smashing into Mary's car and you click a button on your PowerPoint remote, and it begins to display that video on a large screen for the jury. So you can do that with PowerPoint. You make sure very easily that your graphics, your design themes are consistent. You can create animations where needed. You wanna avoid the overkill of animations. And you can certainly put in pictures of pieces of a transcript with highlights. You can do a lot of different things. Another Office 365 product that also performs in a similar way is Microsoft Sway. And many of us haven't really used or taken advantage of Sway but it is a versatile product that also fits into your office 365 usage and as part of your suite. And it creates interactive reports, and stories and presentations, so you're able to do things that you might not have thought about being able to do with your office products. And the office line of products is not an expensive item, and it's the most commonly used. You can add text and pictures to your programs, your reports, you can search and import content into it. So if you need a particular graphic to show something and Sway we'll do the rest. It's like having your own designer there, just like the design view I mentioned in PowerPoint. And with Sway you're not limited to pre-designed templates, you don't need to be a designer it does it for you. And if you have a Microsoft account, which you would with Office 365, you can really do more sophisticated sways. And if we had time, I could show you all these different types of items, but the reality is you wanna go out and look and play with Sway, S-W-A-Y. Another absolutely essential product for trial is the Adobe Acrobat DC professional version. And why do I say you wanna use the professional version? First, you don't wanna use the free reader because the free reader does not give you the ability to edit or annotate. You could use the free reader at trial if all you're gonna do is be displaying PDFs, but to create the effective presentations you want the professional, for no other reason than, professional and standard both allow you to annotate images, to highlight things, to create links to video and other things. But professional also gives you the ability to redact, which means that if you have images that have distracting things around them, you can redact and make that area clear. Redact means to wipe it away and make it clear. And that can be by itself an enormous benefit, and for a nominal price difference between standard and professional, I suggest strongly getting the professional version just for that. You can also, of course, with Adobe Acrobat DC make presentations, and you don't need any other software. Every product has the ability to create or convert its results into a PDF. It might be that you create a presentation in PowerPoint and make it a PDF. You may have images that you're using in ACDSee and convert them into a PDF. But if you simply convert everything to PDFs and potentially combine them depending on how you're gonna work, then you have the easy ability to have one presentation tool and it could be the free reader. And while I strongly recommend using the more versatile standard or professional that you pay for at trial, in a pinch, the free reader will work. Also, if you use standard or professional, if you have multiple documents that you have imported either into one document and created bookmarks for, or you've created a portfolio where they are separate, you can actually code and track that information by using the tab on the left for the document information. So you can actually mark how to do these things simply by coding the document. And one of the books I've written is called, "Adobe Acrobat DC The Ultimate Guide". And in that book we explain and show you that just by using the left hand document panel, you can create your own custom coding so you can mark down what's privilege, what's discoverable, what document's been noted as, and you can use Acrobat with your PDFs as sort of the index of all of your discovery. So you want Acrobat. Another feature that we use it for all the time is to take documents and images, and then annotate them with call outs, text boxes, graphics, links, arrows showing key items. So you can take a photograph of an accident scene and then using arrows and highlights and things, actually show where the incident occurred and how to deal with it that way. So it does a lot. You can also, as I mentioned earlier, use the image display in editing software, those types of products to make and create your evidence and your exhibits and all of your graphics and your timelines and aids for witnesses. But remember, when you're creating different items to be used at your trial, you want to make certain that whatever the format is that they are being saved as, so are they being saved as JPEG's, TIFs PDFs, Word document, DOCX, Excel spreadsheet, that if you're taking those items from a desktop computer in your office and gonna open them on another PC or on an iPad or a tablet, you need to make certain that the device that you are using for trial has the ability to open those types of files. Because certain types of files aren't going to be opened unless there is an app or a program for it. That's why PDFs are nice, because a PDF with the free reader, any PDF can be opened and you don't have to worry, and that's part of my preference for using PDFs. You can also with video editing software code your evidence, embed videos that you wanna show. So you could actually, you know, combine them into one long video where you have a string, you have a stop, and then you can start again for the next video. So if you're going to show videos in a particular order, video editing allows you to sort of put those items together in an easy and good way. Now, of course, if you're preparing for trial, and one of the things you need to look at is outlook files, where the files are stored as they commonly are in PST version. There are viewers out there to be able to allow you to do that, and then to export and use those emails in other formats. One of my preferred is called GoldFynch PST Viewer, and that's G-O-L-D-F-Y-N-C-H. But you wanna be able to think about what if I get native documents in Microsoft Outlook for. Returning to one of the themes of any trial, which is chronologies and case analysis. There are chronology and case analysis tools. Sometimes they're mis numbered or misnamed as case management, but they bring together the facts, the people, the issues, key pieces of evidence. And while some products actually call themselves case management tools, those are in fact case analysis tools. You can use Word and Excel. When I started practicing, I had all my chronologies and all of that in WordPerfect. And then migrated over in time. And those products still work and you can use them and have them ready, but there are other products. Perhaps one of the best remains CaseMap, which is now CaseMap Cloud, which is sort of the grandfather of all case analysis tools, which allows you to put the people, the organizations, the documents, the issues all together and analyze cases in ways that often are not as easy in other ways. You can also evaluate the strength and weaknesses of evidence and witnesses. And this is a LexisNexis product that is available by subscription. So depending on your subscriptions, the cost may or may not be significant. It's sold only on the cloud, and remains a versatile and reliable tool, and still the number one tool in my toolbox. But if you choose to use other products that do similar items there, for example, is a product called CaseFleet, F-L-E-E-T, which is also versatile and reliable. So you have to be looking for these types of tools. And sometimes you're gonna find the tools that you use and modify yourself, ALA, Excel and word, still can accomplish what you need, but sometimes there's something that's better. When you're looking at e-discovery, I've already talked about how you can code documents in Adobe Acrobat to be able to see whether they have discoverable privileged information, et cetera, et cetera, but you can do the same thing with Microsoft Excel. And there are other more versatile tools that you may wanna add to your arsenal, one of which is called Everlaw, which is far more versatile than some of the other tools, but there is a cost involved. Now I'm gonna talk about mind mapping because part of the key to preparing and trying a case is to be able to think about the global picture, to talk about themes, to talk about all of the aspects of a case, because if you're not able to tell a story or create a theme, you're probably not going to be as effective as you desire. Mind mapping tools allow you to work and create a central thing, and then think about the ideas that radiate out from the center. And I encourage you to go online and look at different mind mapping tools and websites, so you can understand what these products are and why they're effective for litigators, particularly on a plaintiff side where you need to be thinking sometimes a little out of the box in order to create just the right focus for your client. So you use these tools, you can focus on key ideas that you've written down in your own words, and then you look for connections and map your knowledge so that you can understand and retain information. And while it sounds a little unusual, once you see if you're like me in your visual and you go and -see these tools, then you'll say, aha, I see how this can be really helpful. Among the tools that are out there that are very good is one called MindNode, N-O-D-E, another is toketaWare, T-O-K-E-T-A-W-A-R-E, and an iPad one that's called iThoughts. They all work well. Another area where we need to be thinking about presentations and I gave you the example earlier is the timeline, and there are some great timeline tools. PowerPoint can do it. TimeMap, which works as part of the CaseMap suite of products is still superb. And then there are other products, but one of the tricks when it comes to timelines are to find tools that teachers use or the teachers have their students use, because teachers always want the students to be able to tell stories. And some of those products are remarkably simple, inexpensive, and very effective at creating graphics that tell the same story that you or I do in words. But if you think about it, when you see pictures, it is often much easier to relate to the pictures and to have those pictures relate to a jury. Of course, you're gonna have transcripts, and transcripts need to be annotated as well. And you need to do that for one, to be able to prepare for cross examination. Another is to prepare for trial of your own witness with strengths and weaknesses of your own witnesses, but others are to be able to use call outs and different aspects of these items for cross examination, for direct examination, to highlight testimony. The products that are out there include, LexisNexis TextMap, which is again, part of that CaseMap suite. You can also annotate in Adobe Acrobat and in a product called CaseFleet, but there are also other transcript management tools, including LiveNote Stream, which allows you to have real time transcripts, there's RealLegal, Everchron, Case Notebook, e-transcript, which that like LiveNote or Thompson West products. But those items all allow you to annotate transcripts, see things in real time if you're doing live deposition. And for many of us real time is a desire, but doesn't always work well for one user. But if you're gonna try a case and have depositions with multiple people with you, or at least doing the discovery, there's nothing that can be better than having a realtime transcript where someone can be annotating that for follow up questions, for issues, for concerns, et cetera. If not the transcript management tools, highlight issues, et cetera. I have used TextMap now for roughly 20 years, and it's been my go-to product, but there are others as well. As you are preparing for your trial, you need to be thinking about how to manage the files. We've now talked about videos. We've talked about all different types of files. This program being recorded on an audio file, but audio files get large too. And so where are you going to be working from? Where are the files going to be located? Will they be local? In other words, do you have a setup where they're either on the same device you're using or a nearby external hard drive or flash drive? These are important considerations because you have to make certain how you're going to connect your presentation device with your files. All part of the aspects of working locally or from the cloud. And there have been horror stories where lawyers go to try a case and they have all of their documents and exhibits stored in the cloud, but the internet connection doesn't exist or is very poor quality wifi at a courthouse. You need to know this well before you get to the courthouse and you need to be sure what's the best way to work. If you're gonna have it local, then that's terrific. I always suggest a backup, but local is best. But if you can't do it, then are you gonna use Dropbox for business. You want something that maintains the confidentiality, or you going to use OneDrive which is part of the Office 365 suite, a product like ShareFile or something else. There are literally an infinite number of these tools out there, but you need to have thought about this before you walk into a courtroom. You also need to be able to think about what do you do in terms of legal research. And while it's easy to assume what you're going to do in terms of legal research from your office, whatever the tools are that you have, you need to also consider what to do and what will happen when you are at the trial, the hearing, the mediation, and some legal questioner issue comes up, or you need to see dockets, whatever the case may be. And of course we know there is LexisNexis, there's Westlaw, but sometimes you're either not a subscriber, you want something more quickly available, you want something that's more mobile friendly than some of these products, so you have to think about it. For just federal court dockets and records you can use Pacer, there's PacerPro, which is a separate service that wraps around it. There are court websites as well. And a lot of times there are legal research offerings from your local or your state bar associations. But among the tools that I will use and would recommend when you are working, you know, mobilely and you don't have, or you may not have your preferred tool include Fastcase, which is a legal research service that is often provided by bar associations, Google Scholar, which is scholar.google.com, which can provide you with access to cases and statutes and state or federal law, and is a very good resource particularly if you know citations and things. There is LawStack, there is an app called Rulebook, and then there are all of the other possible resources. You also may, depending on what's being produced and when, wanna consider where you're going to do any document review in storage. There are a wide range of products that can help you with that. GoldFynch that I mentioned earlier and Everlaw, there is Lexbe, L-E-X-B-E, Nextpoint and Logik L-O-G-I-K, cull, C-U-L-L, and ediscovery Point all of these work. And they can work in conjunction with other legal research tools, like FindLaw and Justia and Casetext, some of which use artificial intelligence to assist you. And then finally, as we're move toward the end of the program, you need to be thinking about what are your presentation tools going to be? If you're working from a Windows based device, a laptop, or a surface or something you may wanna still use PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat, there are the more expensive products, trial director and sanction. But then for mobile devices, TranscriptPad and iTrial are among the most commonly used iPad products that are out there. And of course you need to be thinking about how you're going to advance the items. And I can't speak more positively about a device called the Logitech Spotlight Presentation Remote, which is the Logitech version of the PowerPoint clicker, but it does so much more than just move slides and have a little light. It can highlight text. It can be used to click on links, but the way it can highlight, the way it can take and magnify something on your screen is remarkable and unlike any other remote it also, if you highlight and magnify text or an area of your screen on your laptop, it will show on all the other devices where that is being broadcast, which is very different from most remotes. We're also gonna talk about some other tools for using iPads and other items. When you need iPad tools one of the things I strongly recommend is going to a website called Apps in Law, A-P-P-S-I-N-L-A-W.com run by Brett Burney, B-U-R-N-E-Y. Brett is literally Mr. iPad and Apple tools, and he will review and display a large number of products that can help you, and he is always on top of things. One of the products that he recommends for timelines for example, is Beedocs, B-E-E-D-O-C-S. He talks about how to take text messages and put them together into a coherent appearance with something called stitch it. He'll show you how to use Keynote, a long time product that works on iPads for presentations and things like timeline 3D. One of the areas where I get a lot of questions is mobile tools on an Android device because I'm an Android focused person. Well, what you're going to discover is that while there are lots of, for lawyer tools on iPads, you won't find as many for lawyer tools on Androids, because Androids come and work on a variety of devices as opposed to just an iPad, so developers don't develop as many for lawyer tools. But everything that you want to do or need to do on an iPad, if you're gonna use an iPad or an Android, you can do one an Android, but a lot of the times they aren't called "For lawyers". There are presentation products, all of the Microsoft office products work on iPads and Androids. There are timeline, and there are presentation, there are great screen countdown tools that are terrific for timing, opening and closing statements for example, things like that. So you wanna be able to use those. Probably the best video editor I have used for either a mobile device or for a computer is something called Androvid, A-N-D-R-O-V-I-D, probably the best video editor around and you don't get anything simpler. As I mentioned earlier, there are a couple of other things you should do. You need to have a checklist of every item you're gonna need. I'm the author of the book "Checklist for Lawyers" and it's available from the American Bar Association. We talk about how to present and create checklists. But you need lists and you need to double check them before you go to trial and you need to be prepared for the logistics. Is it going to be a wired connection? Is it going to be wireless? Are you working from the cloud? Are you working locally? You need to answer all of those questions well before you go to trial. You need to know what a dongle is, and you need to make sure you call the court and be confident that you know what you need and that you have what you need. You need to bring all the adapters. You need to have all the backup. And if you're not going to be wired, you need a control center or some app or program that will make certain that you can access everything you need. And don't forget, do you need speakers, because after all, if you're going to do audio and the courtroom doesn't have them, you need them. Remember to turn on, do not disturb before you begin so that your phone doesn't ring. And that you have everything. And wherever possible, even if you're storing data offsite on the cloud, make certain that if possible, you've copied as much as you can to your local devices, so that in a worst case scenario, you are ready. And of course you need to prepare. You need to prepare as much as you can, and then prepare even more. And then test everything again, and again, and again. I'm Attorney Dan Siegel, and I wanna thank you for attending this presentation of the Frugal Litigator DIY Trials. Thank you again for listening.

Presenter(s)

Daniel Siegel
Attorney
Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LL

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