We’re back from the ABA TechShow. We learned quite a lot in just a few short days.
The presentations offered great tech advice (and lots of great apps). The sessions were divided into tracks featuring topics like The Mac Lawyer, Social Media, and E-Discovery. The Litigation Track presentations were some of my favorites. I hadn’t realized how handy an Apple TV can be for displaying iPads and Apple laptops in courtrooms, that a $3 app – BeeDocs Timeline 3D —can be used to create professional-looking timelines for trials, or that there are now iPad apps for jury selection, such as JuryPad.
Mobile technologies were popular, particularly the iPad (it seemed that 90% of the attendees had one). Presenters recommended their favorite iPad cases, accessories, and apps. There was also a lot of information about Android devices and Windows 8. Most lawyers now use a smartphone and/or tablet because it’s now possible to handle most legal practice tasks on the go – from legal research, to case management, to billing hours, to reviewing transcripts, to creating briefs. There are even apps for mediation such as “Picture It Settled.”
The TechShow vendors featured all kinds of legal technologies (not to mention a lot of pens they gave away). Some of the more interesting technologies included:
- Transporter ($299)- DropBox is a great solution for storing documents in the cloud, but some attorneys would prefer additional security and control over their files. Transporter is a hard drive which you set up and connect to the internet yourself – you control the files and never pay any service fees.
- WordRake ($99/year) – a Microsoft Word plugin that can help to simplify legal writing by suggesting text that can be removed or clarified.
- The Form Tool ($89.00)- another Word plugin that helps to automate creating form-based legal documents.
- TrialPad ($89.99) – use your iPad to present evidence at trial easily and seamlessly.
- Ruby Receptionists ($229-$769/months) – if you are a solo practitioner, you may not want to hire your own receptionist. Ruby provides live receptionists for small businesses, including law offices.
- FastCase – a legal research alternative to the more expensive Lexis and Westlaw databases. Many bar associations offer FastCase for free (and it’s also available to Chicago-Kent students and faculty).
- Logikull – a cloud-based tool for managing discovery documents. Users can upload documents quickly and search them from anywhere – including mobile devices. They can also quickly separate (or “cull”) documents that are not relevant.
You can find out more about the other vendors here. Most vendors offer free trials if you’d like to experiment with legal technologies yourself.
Technology is changing the way lawyers practice, and much of this change has only just begun. Until recently, litigation documents were reviewed by attorneys. In the next few years, look for increasingly sophisticated systems that will review documents automatically (but lawyers will still need to tell the systems what to review). Lawyers will discover evidence posted on social networks and hidden in smart phones. Clients will work with lawyers predominantly through websites. The TechShow helps lawyers and law students stay on top of these changes. Also- you can get CLE credit.
By Debbie Ginsberg