Jurors want Atticus Finch, not Bill Gates. At trial, the evidence – not the gadgets – are the main attraction. However, jurors are also accustomed to obtaining information on television and online.


How can you balance juror expectations? Use technology sparingly. That’s why I like the iPad’s potential for presentations. It’s inconspicuous at counsel table, yet apps such as Keynote ($9.99), TrialPad ($89.99), and Exhibit A ($9.99) allow you to display exhibits during trial.


Here are five tips for presenting with Keynote.


Tip #1: Build a Presentation


Select a template:


Select a slide:

Insert text, photographs, or animation:



On your iPad, you can import a presentation by emailing it yourself or saving it to Dropbox, then selecting “Open-in Keynote.” You can import PowerPoint (.ppt), Keynote (.key), or PDF files, all of which display in Keynote.


As Utah attorney Peter Summerill demonstrates, you can upload .pdf files of your documents to store and display exhibits during testimony.


Tip #2: Headlines, Not Essays


It’s best not include more than 10-15 words on a PowerPoint/Keynote slide. Faced with blocks of information to read, jurors will (1) tune out, or (2) struggle mightily while ignoring whatever you or the witness is saying. Keynote lets you create bullet points and lists in its formatting options.


Tip #3: Plug-in


You will need an HDMI Adapter or VGA Adapter to connect to your courtroom’s display. Hopefully, your courtroom is equipped with a flat screen monitor or drop-down screen. If not, it is worth investing in an inexpensive flat-panel monitor, such as here or here.


When you plug-in, Keynote will recognize that it is connected to a device and will display your presentation.


Tip #4: Go Wireless


As I discussed here, you can wirelessly present exhibits in court via AirPlay, a technology that allows your iPad to transmit photographs or documents to an Apple TV that is connected to a projector or display monitor. Although Keynote does not support Airplay (yet), iPad 2 users can take advantage of mirroring via an HDMI cable or Apple TV with iOS 5. Until then, check out Air Presenter (Free) if you are interested in wirelessly presenting exhibits.


Tip #5: Use the Remote


As of two weeks ago, the Keynote Remote ($0.99) now allows you to use your iPhone or iPod Touch to control your Keynote presentation on your iPad during trial. It appears the pleas and protests of attorneys who carry an iPad but wanted a remote have finally been answered. This is a useful feature whether you are a criminal defense lawyer in Roanoke VA, a divorce lawyer in Roanoke VA, or any other trial practice.


On your iPhone or iPod Touch, download the Keynote Remote app and select Keynote Link. On your iPad, open your presentation and select Tools>Settings>Remote, and enable your remote. You will need to enter the four-digit password that was provided on your iPhone or iPod Touch.


For questions, comments, or help using the Apple iPad at work, please contact me at redean@gmail.com.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
About The Author

Rob Dean

Rob Dean is an lawyer in Roanoke, Virginia, where he concentrates his practice on employment law and personal injury litigation. For help using the iPad at work, email him at redean@gmail.com.

5 Responses to App Review: 5 Tips for Attorneys Using Keynote App at Trial

  1. John says:

    Great stuff, Rob. This is a very helpful and concise summary of apps and the necessary hardware.

  2. Rob – Helpful information. I definitely will be following the links and learning more about the ideas you’ve shared. Thanks for sharing.

    However, I respectively disagree with having as many as 10 – 15 words on a single slide.

    Research on multimedia by Richard Mayer out of the University of California in Santa Barbara indicates that learners retain information better when the media show pictures and two or three words per slide than if they either have no words or contain everything that the speaker is saying. I think the same assumptions can be extrapolated to any presentation, including those done for juries, for the very reasons you mention in Tip #2.

    I believe your jurors will process the information better by shooting for one point per slide with two or three words (rather than just trying to keep it to under 15 words).

    Thanks again for sharing!


  3. Rob Dean says:

    @John Thank you for the kind comments.

    @Kelly I think we agree about keeping slides concise; the shorter, the better. Great idea to include photos to help jurors remember your presentation during deliberations.

  4. […] to show exhibits on courtroom projectors or flat-screen televisions. See my earlier reviews of Keynote and TrialPad. Take it from Steve Jobs, whose recent presentation to the Cupertino City Council […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *