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Technology for Trial Lawyers

There’s an old saying, “you can build a house with a nail gun or a hammer”, and the same is true for the practice of law. It was not long ago when the fax machine first appeared on the legal scene. It was a huge advancement in productivity and yet the fax machine was also opposed at the time, by many old-school attorneys.

The biggest impediment to maximum productivity for attorneys is the failure to embrace technology because of the unknown. The “we have always done it this way” mentality seems to be the rule and not the exception within the practice of law.

Nevertheless, the advances in technology in the last five years have been overwhelming and also very much underutilized by attorneys. Some advances have substantially reduced the cost of litigation for attorneys. One of the areas that have shown great improvement is that of trial technology.

Today, an attorney can present an entire case on an iPad and do so very comfortable and with very little expense. Years ago, presenting evidence in the digital format required either an IT department or a paid IT professional to run the technology at trial. For as little as a hundred dollars attorneys can purchase very easy-to-use and powerful apps that can run their trial technology at the touch of a finger. An excellent choice for trial presentation is TrialPad.

Probably the greatest improvement in trial technology has been the learning curve which has been reduced from days to minutes in many cases. Almost anything an attorney wants to learn about the technology can learn from watching a YouTube video that is free and readily available to them.

PDF annotation tools available for both PCs and Macs can not only organize documents for trial but prepare them for presentation to the jury as needed. Scanners that once cost thousands of dollars now or are extremely inexpensive and should sit on most desks for maximum productivity. An excellent scanner for attorneys is the Scan Snap IX 1500 scanner that scans 25 pages per minute into email, word, or a file. This simple and inexpensive tool can reduce costs to clients and increase each individual attorney’s productivity.

Another source of presentations is a program called Prezi, which is an online program for presentations. The presentations can be downloaded to individual devices such as a laptop or an iPad or can be shown by an Internet connection. The power of the program is in the ease and simplicity of putting together a presentation.

Technology can remarkably enhance a trial practice and enable personal injury attorneys to do things that they could not do themselves in the past. In fact, the difference between a law firm that embraces technology and a law firm that doesn’t will be easily identified by clients.