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Are you using your iPad in trial?
There are several iPad applications 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 masterfully demonstrated the persuasiveness of clear visual aids. (HT: Ernie the Attorney) Multimedia presentations matter for attorneys.
Here is a review of Exhibit A ($9.99), a trial presentation app for attorneys. What follows is the good, the bad, and the bottom line.
Exhibit A is a low-cost alternative to expensive jury presentation software such as Trial Director. It allows you to create client folders and save multiple file formats (.pdf, .jpeg, .mpeg, .mp3) within each case file. A sample case file might include deposition transcripts, medical records, audio recordings, and photographs.
Files are added through Dropbox. You can also email documents to your iPad and select “Open-in Exhibit A,” but connecting through the cloud is preferable and more secure because it is encrypted and password-protected.
The documents render beautifully on the screen. Simply plug your iPad into the courtroom with a VGA or HDMI connector and your document will display on the projector or screen. If you have an iPad 2, your documents will mirror wirelessly with an Apple TV and iOS 5 (available soon).
Exhibit A could use some improvements, which I describe below.
First, it is slow to display documents. I uploaded a hi-resolution photo and it took several seconds to display it on the screen. Hate awkward pauses during conversation? Imagine staring at the jury while Exhibit A slowly retrieves your photo exhibit. Not fun.
Second, it is difficult to organize case matters within the app. To create a case file, you first select the “+” sign to add a new project:
Within that project, you can create folders:
Within that folder, you can add exhibits:
Third, the buttons are different fonts and oddly oriented on the screen (sometimes in the middle, sometimes hidden in the corner). Does user interface matter? Yes, if you want to focus on the witness and the jury during trial, not the app and its shortcomings.
Fourth, the highlighter annotation tool – actually, all of the annotation tools – basically mimic Microsoft Paint, rather than highlight sentences or paragraphs in documents, as you can do with GoodReader and TrialPad.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Exhibit A provides similar features to other applications, but the app is slow and its file structure is cumbersome and time-consuming. Clicking in the wrong place during trial and displaying the wrong document is a real possibility. This could be a useful app whether you are a criminal defense lawyer in Salem VA, reckless driving lawyer in Roanoke VA, a divorce lawyer in Roanoke VA, or any other practice, with improvements. Apps should make life easier, so I would wait until the developers at Exhibit A update their product.
For questions, comments, or help using the Apple iPad at work, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming EventsRoanoke Valley Paralegals Association
May 9, 2013
Topic: "iPad Presentation at Trial: Presenting Your Case with TrialPad, Keynote, and Exhibit View"