8 Essential iPad Apps for Depositions

Although trials are where a litigator’s talents and skills are most visible to the public, any litigator worth their salt knows that cases are won and lost in deposition (and they tend to happen a LOT more often than trials). Yet, in spite of this fact, most of the attention given to mobile apps for attorneys discusses how useful those apps will be at trial. When I looked for opinions about the essential iPad apps for depositions, it was pretty slim pickings. As a litigator, I know that even though I absolutely love trying cases to a jury, most of my time will be spent preparing for, and taking, depositions. With that in mind, I give you my list of 8 essential iPad apps for depositions: #1. iAnnotate PDF (Branchfire, $9.99) Without question, iAnnotate PDF is the center of any deposition I take. With a deposition outline converted to PDF, and usually imported into my iPad through Dropbox or email, iAnnotate PDF allows me to take notes right on my outline without worrying about cluttering the page with handwritten notes, and without having to flip back and forth through a 17 page outline. The annotation features allow me to enter notes quickly into one category, then minimize those notes into a small icon on the page. Different options for the annotations allow me to distinguish between responses that I felt were sufficient and those that were either incomplete or raised new issues I had not anticipated. Bookmarks allow me to quickly navigate to different sections of my outline (for those rare occasions when the witness decides they want to... read more

BYOD: Five Steps to Protect Your Clients and Save Money!

Everyone in business looks for that little tactical advantage, that one way to save money that has no impact on the quality of work. For most companies nowadays, overhead and employee perks have been one of the most popular places that companies have been seeking that edge – cutting back on company cars, health insurance plans, expensive office services. But that one perfect way to save, it turns out, didn’t happen through a cost-cutting analysis, but when the guy in the office next door began accessing his company email with his iPhone. In the fall of 2008, I offered to gather some information for my firm about a proposal to purchase Blackberrys for all of the attorneys in the office (at the time, of the 12 attorneys, only the five partners had firm-provided phones). It was the height of Blackberry dominance in the corporate business world, and many seemed to look at Blackberry as the only sensible option at the time. I prepared a full report to the associates about which line of phones and plans we should request, but to my shock, the plan to request the phones was voted down. I purchased my first iPhone shortly thereafter, and used its email system to connect to the firm’s Exchange server. Little did I know that instead of participating in the end of the glory days of Blackberry, I was part of a new trend in technology: “Bring Your Own Device,” or BYOD. Businesses everywhere have come to the realization that they can save a TON of money simply by allowing their employees to bring their devices with them... read more

Being Social: Lawyers Prefer LinkedIn

According to the American Bar Association’s 2013 Legal Technology Survey, the percentage of lawyers and law firms utilizing social media is on the rise, and by a considerable margin, lawyers prefer LinkedIn over Facebook and Twitter. The ABA reports that 56% of law firms and 98% of lawyers have a presence on LinkedIn, up from 37% and 62%, respectively, just two years ago. Why do lawyers prefer LinkedIn over Facebook (35% of law firms and 33% of lawyers) and Twitter (19% of law firms and 14% of lawyers), and what else does this report tell us about how lawyers can and should utilize social media going forward? It should come as no surprise to anyone that social media platforms are playing an increasingly important role in our business and personal lives. For proof, one needs only look at how the New York Times responded to their own website being unavailable for several hours yesterday: they began posting their digital articles on Facebook until the site was back up! However, like every other technological innovation, lawyers have been slow to adopt social media. Even the ABA’s report indicates that although attorney use of social media is on the rise, the rate of increased use of social media among lawyers continues to be lower than the general public. The one major exception is LinkedIn. Don’t believe me? Well, based on the past two weeks, if you’re reading this page via social media, there’s over 90% likelihood that it’s through LinkedIn. So what is it that LinkedIn offers attorneys that they cannot find in other social media.  Well, several things, really. Professionalism “Professionalism”... read more

Google: Email Users Have No Expectation of Privacy

So I read the headline of an article this morning that read: “Google Filing Says Gmail Users Have No Expectation of Privacy,” and I was a little amazed that Google would be so brazen.  Sure, as a user of Gmail, Google’s industry-leading email platform, I am aware that they scan the emails I send out (see my earlier post about being a little creeped out when talking about Sherlock Holmes in an email led to Sherlock Holmes ads appearing on my Gmail page) and that privacy advocates and Google’s competitors have been shouting from the rooftops about Google invading people’s privacy.  Still, I found it hard to believe that the headline of that article was accurate, so I dug deeper.  As it turns out, Google is actually asserting that it’s not just Gmail users, but anyone who uses email at all that has no expectation of privacy regarding their emails. I tend to be the type of attorney who reads what non-lawyers write about lawsuits in general, and specific legal argument and contentions in particular, with a grain of salt.  As a litigator, I’m very familiar with the concept of things that seem illogical, such as pleading in the alternative, but are a part of regular legal practice, and serve important goals.  A party, at the beginning of litigation, should be allowed to plead in the alternative, because it is highly likely that not all the necessary facts and information are readily available prior to discovery (or even after discovery, if the proposed amendments to the federal discovery rules are adopted, but I digress). So what is the case,... read more

Google AdWords: Too Clever For Your Own Good

You know those ads that appear on the right side of a Google search that seem eerily geared to what you just typed in? Those are intelligent advertisements generated by Google AdWords, and by now we’re all familiar with them to a certain degree. My first experience was actually when Gmail had an ad in my account for something related to Sherlock Holmes, which confused me greatly, until I realized that I had mentioned Sherlock in the body of an email I’d just sent. Then I was just creeped out. For most of us, the creeped-out feeling regarding intelligent advertising has faded, so now it’s time to find out how we can use them… Recently, one of my absolute favorite sources of information regarding legal tech, TechnoLawyer.com, sent me a newsletter detailing 10 Steps for success with Google AdWords. For those of you who don’t know, Google AdWords is an advertising service: you create an ad to appear on someone’s screen accompanying results from a Google search. The ad is linked to some part of your website, and you provide Google with a set of Keywords that will trigger your ad when someone uses those words in a search. Yeah, but does it work? Google charges you every time someone clicks on your ad, and last year Google’s ad-related revenue exceeded $50 billion. So yes, it works. [poll id=”5″]TechnoLawyer provided several excellent pieces of advice, including: Carefully select and optimize your keywords Understand the auction process behind how Google decides what ads go where Don’t trust Google to understand your market … and several self-evident suggestions, including: Understand your... read more

Is Your Android Device Secure? New Vulnerabilities Raise Serious Concerns (Part 3)

Ever heard of the “Master Key,” or know how your “weblogin Token” can be stolen? Both are serious issues that demand the question: “Is your Android device secure?” As an attorney, it’s likely that you use your phone or tablet to conduct business, including storing or discussing confidential client information. If any of the devices you use operate on the Android OS, you had better have the security of that information in mind, and know how to minimize your risks. In this three-part article, I hope to help you do just that. Finally, the story of the HTC One S and how you can protect yourself and your clients… (In Part 1, I will discuss the “Master Key” vulnerability, in Part 2, I will discuss the recently revealed security problem with Google’s “weblogin Token,” and in Part 3, I will talk about how Google’s piecemeal update system makes these vulnerabilities particularly worrisome, and what attorneys can do to protect themselves and their clients’ confidential information.) The final section of this article deals primarily with how attorneys can protect themselves and their clients from attacks through these particular vulnerabilities. Some of you may be saying to yourselves: “As long as I pay close attention to what I put on my Android device, I should be just fine.” To those of you who say that, I give you this: The HTC One S Recently, phone manufacturer HTC announced that they would no longer provide any updates for the HTC One S, a smartphone that operates on Google’s Android OS. The announcement serves as the perfect example of how Android’s manufacturer-based update system... read more

Review: PDF Software for Attorneys

The Wisconsin State Bar recently published an impressive comparison chart reviewing PDF Software for attorneys. Four packages, Adobe Acrobat, Nitro Pro 8, PDF Converter Enterprise 8, and pdfDOCS, were reviewed in great detail. The analysis looks at each software with an eye towards what attorneys need from their PDF-creation software. Core requirements include creating searchable PDFs, adding comments, adding Bates stamp numbers, high-level image and text redaction, and the ability to remove metadata from the document. As far as comparison charts go, I’m quite impressed. They cover everything from word processor compatibility (including both Word and WordPerfect), other compatibility (Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), conversion capabilities (to and from various document types, including TXT, RTF, and image files), and compatibility with other software and apps commonly used by lawyers, like Evernote. The packages were also evaluated for Ease of Use, Feature Set, Value for Cost, and Manual/Help/Online Resources, on a scale of 1-10 for each category. So what is the best PDF software for attorneys? (Also, check out reviews of other PDF software packages in our Review Catalog) Adobe Acrobat XI: Professional Among Acrobat’s best features is the ability to directly edit a PDF document without having to locate the original hard copy. As most of us have experienced, too frequently when a change needed to be made, you would have to go find the original document, make any changes you wanted, re-scan or convert the document, and replace the existing PDF with your new, modified version. Acrobat dramatically reduces that need by providing the ability to edit directly. Acrobat also allows direct connection to web-based document storage such as Evernote... read more

Is Your Android Device Secure? New Vulnerabilities Raise Serious Questions (Part 2)

Ever heard of the “Master Key,” or know how your “weblogin Token” can be stolen? Both are serious issues that demand the question: “Is your Android device secure?” As an attorney, it’s likely that you use your phone or tablet to conduct business, including storing or discussing confidential client information. If any of the devices you use operate on the Android OS, you had better have the security of that information in mind, and know how to minimize your risks. In this three-part article, I hope to help you do just that. Next, what is the “weblogin Token,” and how does it affect my security… (In Part 1, I discussed the “Master Key” vulnerability, in Part 2, I will discuss the recently revealed security problem with Google’s “weblogin Token,” and in Part 3, I will talk about how Google’s piecemeal update system makes these vulnerabilities particularly worrisome, and what attorneys can do to protect themselves and their clients’ confidential information.) If you have an Android device, odds are you use that device to log in to a Google account somewhere.  Be it Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, or even Google Apps for Business, you probably log in using your Android device. For good reason: Google offers you an easy way to log in to all of your Google sites through your Android device through their “weblogin” program. The weblogin program works by creating a unique “token” on your device when you sync it up with your Google accounts. Any time you access those Google accounts from your Android device once the token is set up, you are automatically authenticated... read more

This Is The Future of Courtroom Tech, and I Love It!

So I read this article yesterday from the ABA’s Law Technology Today about the future of courtroom tech, and I couldn’t help but be a little giddy. Trying to explain it to my girlfriend, my “nerd” was on full display. (Not that I really work too hard to conceal it, anyway… for my recent birthday I made her watch the entire original Star Wars trilogy. In my own defense, it WAS my birthday, and she’d never seen it.  I KNOW, right?) This courtroom, located in Louisville, Kentucky, is the future of courtroom tech, and it is sweet! As a brief introduction, this courtroom was set up based on finding a single solution to two separate issues: 1) how can lawyers adapt their courtroom presentation skills, particularly those that involve demonstrative exhibits and other visual aids, to a generation used to rapid access to information, and 2) how can lawyers best take advantage of information gained in recent studies that actually indicate that people learn better when exposed to multiple visual inputs at one time. (Specifically, the study demonstrated a 14-15% improvement in test scores when students were exposed to multiple simultaneous presentations, rather than watching one single presentation, a finding generally unsurprising for anyone from the ADD Generation). So what was that conclusion? A courtroom that has three independent video output devices, and an independent audio output device as well, for the attorneys to use during the presentation! Specifically, the courtroom is equipped with two large projection screens and a portable 55″ flat-panel monitor, all of which can be running independent content. As an example of how the technology... read more

Is Your Android Device Secure? New Vulnerabilities Raise Serious Questions (Part 1)

**UPDATED** as of 5:18 pm EDT Ever heard of the “Master Key,” or know how your “weblogin Token” can be stolen? Both are serious issues that demand the question: “Is your Android device secure?” As an attorney, it’s likely that you use your phone or tablet to conduct business, including storing or discussing confidential client information. If any of the devices you use operate on the Android OS, you had better have the security of that information in mind, and know how to minimize your risks. In this three-part article, I hope to help you do just that. First, what is the “Master Key,” and how does it affect my security… (In Part 1, I will discuss the “Master Key” vulnerability, in Part 2, I will discuss the recently revealed security problem with Google’s “weblogin Token,” and in Part 3, I will talk about how Google’s piecemeal update system makes these vulnerabilities particularly worrisome, and what attorneys can do to protect themselves and their clients’ confidential information.) A recent analysis revealed a new, disturbing vulnerability in the Android OS, ominously referred to as the “Master Key.” How disturbing? Apparently 99% of Android devices are susceptible. This vulnerability could potentially allow hackers to convert any app into a malicious Trojan without setting off the security system that Google uses to prevent apps from being modified, called the “cryptographic signature.” Specifically, each Google app has the “cryptographic signature” safety feature which acts essentially like a seal to indicate when an app has been tampered with (akin to the safety seal on a bottle of aspirin). Google’s system is set up to... read more
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