If you’ve ever been selected for a jury for a longer case, you may have had to view documents through something akin to an overhead projector so you can read what is going on. Trial lawyers have to rely on technology to keep jurors informed about their arguments and to keep their own records straight. But now that we have cool mobile devices, is the courtroom catching up to more modern technologies?
The answer is yes. David McKenzie, a criminal defense lawyer in Pennsylvania, has recommended some apps for lawyers who want to get an edge in the courtroom or just need to organize their cases a bit better.
Many lawyers already use Dropbox or similar services to organize documents, but getting those documents to their devices in the courtroom isn’t always so simple. Relying on the stability of courtroom wifi for your case can be risky. GoodReader allows lawyers to sync their devices with a cloud folder so all of the relevant documents are on the device.
TrialPad is an iPad presentation software designed for presenting evidence in courtrooms. It was designed by lawyers for lawyers. While having similar features to GoodReader, it also offers video playback and editing, on-the-fly annotation, side-by-side document comparison of documents, and display hookups for courtroom presentation among other features. It’s one of the highest-rated legal apps in the App Store and for good reason.
Lawyers need access to a lot of specialized software that might not have a mobile equivalent. LogMeIn allows lawyers to log in remotely to their office computers to access documents and run software that can’t be run natively on a mobile device. This can make it easy to access, say, a firm’s time management system so lawyers don’t have to keep track of two timesheets.
If you are a member of a bar association, you likely already know about FastCase. FastCase is a mobile law library research app. Membership in many bar associations gives you free access to this software. Its search features and citation analysis features put FastCase in the top of the class. A similar application is dLaw, which lets you view and search law codes offline on your mobile device.
Sometimes a lawyer needs a signature to proceed. Instead of printing, signing, scanning, and uploading a document, SignMyPad allows lawyers to have clients sign directly on a mobile device to put their signatures on legal documents. It will automatically upload the signed document to wherever you need it to go. It’s quite a time saver.
There’s no reason for lawyers to be stuck in the past. Mobile technologies simplify many of the more onerous tasks lawyers have had to do in the courtroom, like setting up evidence presentations. This is just the tip of the iceberg for legal apps. There are some very specialized apps out there for certain types of lawyers that could make your practice much more efficient and effective. There are even apps to help aid with jury selection! Search the app repository for your device and you’ll see for yourself.