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How trial lawyers can use the iPad in new ways

How trial lawyers can use the iPad in new ways

Trial lawyers keep finding new ways, some expected and others surprising, to put the iPad to work in all aspects of litigation.

Personal injury attorney James R. Moncus won a $37.5 million jury verdict using an iPad in a three-day dram shop trial in 2011.

Moncus, an attorney at Hare Wynn Newell & Newton in Birmingham, Ala., represented the family of an officer shot by a drunk restaurant manager when police responded to a dispute between the manager and his wife.

The case involved fewer than 50 documents, making it a good candidate for using an iPad for two reasons: loading the documents yourself can be time-consuming and fewer documents makes it easier to know where to find each one. (One drawback to using an iPad at trial, Moncus said, is that if other lawyers are working with you they all must use the iPad, too.)

Using the TrialPad app, a projector and screen, an adapter and a VGA (video graphics array) cable to connect them, Moncus showed the jury diagrams of the parking lot where the officer was shot, medical records and depositions – all via the iPad.

“I just put my finger on it and it’s there. It feels like I’m a little bit more in control and it’s more seamless,” said Moncus.

The iPad not only helped him win, it also saved him money.

At $90, TrialPad saved him from having to spend of hundreds if not thousands of dollars on traditional trial software like TrialDirector.

In addition, Moncus said, “Most lawyers don’t have a staff of people [to manage TrialDirector software]. It can cost $1,000-1,500 per day.”

The iPad isn’t just useful at trial. Personal injury plaintiffs’ attorneys James Goodnow and Marc H. Lamber of Fennemore Craig in Phoenix have replaced written settlement packages they send to opposing counsel with an iPad.

They film their clients, their expert witnesses and themselves spelling out their case at an in-house studio, then load it onto an iPad, delete all other apps and ship it to opposing counsel.

The lawyers say they have settled several catastrophic injury cases this way.

They also send an iPad to select clients who are catastrophically injured or have limited ability to communicate with them.

The lawyers load a client’s entire file on the iPad and enable Google Voice, Skype and the video camera so a client can always reach them.

To address security concerns, they use a cloud-based service and provide a password for clients to log on to view their files on a secure site.

Dan Friedlander, a real estate litigator, has used the iPad in court on the fly.

During oral arguments in an unlawful detainer case, the other side cited a case Friedlander had not read.

Equipped with his iPad, 3G network and WestlawNext app, Friedlander asked to review the case on the spot while the judge waited.

“I read the case – it was not a long case – and within five minutes I was able to address opposing counsel’s arguments,” said Friedlander of Klein Friedlander in Westlake Village, Calif., who won the motion.


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