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42 Essential Apps for Trial Lawyers in 2016

For trial lawyers, the iPad is indispensable these days. It is used in trials and depositions to organize cases, present evidence, conduct research on the fly, pick jurors, and for a variety of other tasks.

In 2011 we reported on the emerging use of the iPad among litigators and we outlined the eight most popular apps for trial. In 2013, we updated that list to include 22 apps, and did so again last year (40 Essential Apps part one and part two).

Since then, some of the apps have been discontinued, some have changed names, and several new apps have been introduced. Here is our summary of the best.

Transcript Review Apps

AgileLaw (free). AgileLaw enables paperless depositions by allowing lawyers, witnesses and other participants to view and annotate documents. Although the app is free, using it requires a paid account with AgileLaw.com.

DepoPlus (free). This app makes your deposition interactive. Use it to instantly stream deposition videos and make video clips by simply highlighting transcript text.

DepoView (free). This app from inData Corporation allows attorneys to import and manage deposition transcripts along with corresponding video. It provides simple processes to organize depositions into individual cases, create focused clips from those depositions and export the clips to be used in TrialDirector for presentation.

Mobile Transcript (free). This app is optimized for reviewing and annotating transcripts on an iPhone, although it also works on an iPad and has versions for BlackBerry and Android phones. A paid version of the app, at $29 a month, lets you upload your own transcripts in either Amicus or Summation format.

TranscriptPad ($89.99). This full-featured app enables you to store, organize, review and annotate all your transcripts on your iPad. It lets you search across an entire case, a single witness, or a single deposition. Flag and highlight important sections and assign issue codes. It works only with ASCII files in .TXT format, which is the standard format for transcripts.

Westlaw Case Notebook Portable E-Transcript (free). This app lets you review, search and annotate transcripts in the E-Transcript .PTX format on iPads and iPhones. 

Legal Research Apps

Black's Law Dictionary ($54.99). Black's has long been recognized as the quintessential law dictionary. With this app for iPhone and iPad, you get mobile access to the ninth edition.

Bloomberg Law (free). For subscribers to Bloomberg Law, this app lets them view news and analysis targeted to their interests, receive the latest Bloomberg Law alerts for legal and news searches, access legal documents and news articles saved in their Queue, and track dockets, opinions or bills.

CourtroomEvidence ($1.99). This app underwent a name change, from TrialEvidence to CourtroomEvidence, but its functionality remains the same. It serves as a mobile reference guide for courtroom evidentiary foundations. Use it to review predicates commonly used to get evidence admitted by laying the proper foundation.

Fastcase (free). When you need to do some quick legal research on the road, there is no more convenient app than this. Research federal and state case law and statutes, directly on your iPad (or iPhone) and all for free.

Fed Courts ($2.99). This app provides the full text of the federal rules of procedure and the local rules for every federal court in the country, including district, bankruptcy and appellate courts. It also provides access to PACER and lists the address of every federal court.

Lexis Advance (free). This is the companion app to the Lexis Advance legal research service. To use it, a Lexis Advance subscription is required.

On the Go by Bloomberg BNA (free). Bloomberg BNA maintains a variety of subscription-based resource centers around a number of litigation- and transactional-related areas of law. This app provides mobile access to those resource centers, including practice tools, expert analysis, new and commentary, and other features. Although the app is free to download, using it requires a resource center subscription.

RuleBook (free). This app gives you mobile access to federal and state court rules and to The Bluebook for legal citation. Although the app is free, the various rule sets must be purchased separately from within the app. Most are just $2 or $3, but The Bluebook costs $39.99.

Westlaw (free). This is the companion app to Westlaw. Its name changed this year from WestlawNext to simply Westlaw after Thomson Reuters shut down the legacy Westlaw system and renamed WestlawNext as Westlaw. The app includes access to standard features including WestSearch, KeyCite, folders, history, document notes and highlighting.

Wolfram Lawyer's Professional Assistant ($4.99). From the folks who run the Wolfram|Alpha search engine comes this Swiss Army knife of an app containing a range of reference information and data for lawyers. It includes a dictionary of legal terms, statutes of limitations for every U.S. state, calendar computations, financial computations, crime rates, population and economic demographics, investigative information, and more. 

Settlement Apps

Picture It Settled (free). Most cases never make it to trial, of course. If you are trying to reach a settlement but unable to come to terms, this app might help. The app helps litigants analyze their positions and develop a successful negotiation strategy. Using data harvested from thousands of cases, it predicts when you will be able to settle and for what amount. 

Date Calculator Apps

Court Days Pro ($2.99). This is a legal calendaring app for iPad and iPhone. It gives you the ability to calculate dates and deadlines based on a customizable database of court rules and statutes. Once you set a trigger event, the app displays a list of corresponding dates and deadlines. Dates appear within the app and can also be added to your device's native calendar app.

DocketLaw (free). This app lets you calculate event dates and deadlines for free based on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For additional monthly fees, you can add subscriptions to rules-based calendars for specific state and federal courts. The cost varies by state and court. By way of example, you can add all New York courts for a monthly fee of $49.95. 

Docket Apps

PacerMonitor (free). This is the companion app to PacerMonitor.com, a service for searching and tracking cases in the federal courts’ PACER system.  The app can be used at no additional cost by linking your own PACER credentials, or by signing up for a paid subscription to the service with per-document charges. 

Trial Presentation Apps

ExhibitView ($89.99). This app lets you organize and annotate exhibits and then present them wirelessly. Presentation tools include call-out features, highlight, freehand pen tool, a laser pointer tool and complete control of your output to a TV or projection device. Additional features include screenshot saving, creating alias names, and importing and exporting projects. For more functionality, there is a PC version of ExhibitView ($498, which includes the iPad app) where you can prepare your exhibits and then transfer them to your iPad.

Keynote (Apple; $9.99). Although not designed specifically for trials, Apple's Keynote is a popular presentation app among lawyers in the courtroom and elsewhere. You can use it to view, edit and present presentations created in either Keynote '09 or Microsoft PowerPoint. It allows video mirroring so that you can present on an HDTV while seeing a presenter view on your iPad that shows your slides and notes.

Lora Courtroom ($99.99). As are many of these apps, this one was created by a trial lawyer to use for evidence presentation. Create folders for each witness or case and then use it to highlight, interact with, zoom in on, or outline the specific portions of each piece of evidence that you need to emphasize. An upgraded version was released in February 2016.

Timeline 3D ($9.99). Timelines can be effective aids for helping a jury understand a case. This app lets you create a list of events, add media, and then turn it all into a visual timeline. Timelines can be presented full screen and with 3D perspective, and can be exported to PowerPoint and Keynote.

TrialDirector (free). This app enables you to create case folders on your iPad and then add exhibits, including video, through a Dropbox or iTunes account. Once added, you can use the app to annotate and present the exhibits. If you have the TrialDirector 6 desktop application, which sells for an annual license of $695, you can prepare exhibits there and then export them to this app for presentation at trial.

TrialPad ($129.99). TrialPad is generally considered the leader among trial presentation apps. Last year, at $89.99, it was already one of the priciest of these apps, and this year the price has shot up to $129.99. Still, it is comparable in its capabilities to far more expensive desktop applications. With TrialPad, you can highlight, annotate, redact and zoom in on documents as you present them; view and compare documents side-by-side; view and edit video; mark up an exhibit with annotations and call-outs and then save the mark-ups for your closing; and project wirelessly.

TrialTouch (free). TrialTouch provides on-the-go access to case materials, including photographs, illustrations, 3D animations, medical imagery, video and documents. It requires an account with the trial-graphics company DK Global. 

Jury Selection and Monitoring Apps

iJuror ($14.99). This is the only app we review that went down in price – from $29.99 last year to $14.99 now. The app lets you record information about jurors, assign scores to jurors, assign color codes to jurors for visual reference, view juror demographics, and configure seating charts to match the courtroom. Information can be shared among multiple devices by exporting and importing via Dropbox. Information can also be shared via Bluetooth with someone else using iJuror.

iJury ($19.99). This app rose slightly in price – from $14.99 last year to $19.99 now. It uses jurors' responses to voir dire questions to assign them a score as negative or positive for your case. You start by creating a case profile and adding members of the jury pool. As they respond to the jury questionnaire, you tap a button to indicate whether each response is positive or negative to your case. The app records these responses and creates an overall grade.

Jury Analyst ($74.99). This is the “lite” companion app to a jury-selection product developed by a trial attorney who says he has won 97 percent of his cases that have gone to trial and has earned multi-billion-dollar verdicts for his clients. This lite version provides access to some basic questionnaires.

JuryDuty ($39.99). Similar to other jury-selection apps, JuryDuty lets you add information and notes about each juror, prepare topics and questions for voir dire, creating seating charts, and share information among members of your trial team via Bluetooth.

Jury in a Hurry ($49.99). This app was developed by a trial attorney who believes that the key to selection of a quality jury is the speed with which a lawyer can input and then access data on each juror. The app gives you information at a glance about jurors’ sex, age, race, marital status, education and other details. It also has a variety of features for creating and organizing questions and notes.

Jury Notepad ($4.99). From the same company that developed iJuror, Jury Notepad is designed specifically for creating, keeping and organizing notes about jurors. It has a simpler interface that makes it easier to use on iPhones, but it can also be used on an iPad.

JuryStar ($39.99). Developed by a trial lawyer for use in selecting juries, JuryStar lets you enter and record voir dire questions and juror responses and demographic information. It uses color codes to help you rate jurors and make decisions about which jurors to strike.

Second Chair Mobile Jury ($24.99). A distinguishing feature of this app is that it lets you handwrite or type juror notes. It is also lets you use drag and drop to move jurors in the jury box, excuse jurors or seat alternates. It includes customizable juror questions. 

Trial Preparation Apps

Courtroom Objections ($2.99). This app is a quick, simple guide to common courtroom objections and responses.

Lexcity (free). This app was formerly named eDepoze, which is the name of the company that produced it. The app’s new name reflects the company’s new product, Lexcity. Previously, the app’s primary purpose was for presenting deposition exhibits. Now, the company markets it as a platform to handle electronic documents in all litigation events subsequent to e-discovery – witness prep, depositions, hearings, mediation, and trial or arbitration. Have your witnesses review documents online, then use your iPad to mark, distribute and present your exhibits.

iTestimony ($9.99). Use this app to keep track of witness information and notes before and during trial and depositions. Assign avatars to each witness for easier identification. Information about witnesses can be shared with others by email.

TrialWorks App (free). This app is a companion to the TrialWorks case management software. It provides on-the-go access to all matter-related documents, notes, calendar dates and contacts. Use of the app requires a license to the TrialWorks software. 

E-Discovery Apps

DocReviewPad ($89.99). This e-discovery app comes from the same company that developed the popular apps TrialPad and TranscriptPad. It lets you import, organize and review documents, search documents, annotate documents, create production sets, and add custom Bates numbers.

eDiscovery Assistant ($29.99). This app is intended to provide access to key e-discovery information. As purchased, it includes access to the FRCP for e-discovery, pilot projects, key case digests identified by the editors, sample checklists and templates, a resources database and a glossary of terms. For an additional monthly subscription of $15.99, you can also get access to all state and U.S. district court e-discovery rules, more than 3,000 digests of e-discovery decisions, and more than 50 checklists and templates.

E-Discovery Project Calculator (free). This free app lets you calculate and estimate the size of your e-discovery project. This tool will estimate document and page count based on size of the job. It will also calculate time and cost required to complete the project.

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About this Author

Robert Ambrogi Esq, IMS, Expert Services, Mergers Acquisitions, alternative dispute resolution

Robert J. Ambrogi is a news media veteran and the only person ever to hold the top editorial positions at the two leading national U.S. legal newspapers, the National Law Journal and Lawyers Weekly USA. He is currently a Massachusetts lawyer who represents clients at the intersection of law, media and technology. He is also internationally known for his writing and blogging about the Internet and technology.

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