Dine Law’s Favorite Things (Part 2)

In the first installment of Dine Law’s* favorite technological things, Jet, Heather and Logan explained why the 1) the Mobile Phone; 2) The Cloud; and 3) the Left Handed Mouse keep them motivated and engaged. In this second installment, Erika, Sierra and Diane share three more technologies that you may want to add to your holiday wish list!

Most Addictive Personal Gadget: Mobile Phone

Most Effective for Work-Life Balance: The Cloud

Favorite Tool for Lefty’s in a Right-Handed World: Left-Handed Mouse

Best Litigation Apps: TranscriptPad and TrialPad

Best Organizational Tool: Dual Monitors

Most Eco-Friendly Hardware: Fujitsu ScanSnap Scanner

Best Litigation Apps

Our award for Best Litigation Apps goes to Transcript Pad and Trial Pad. Although Erika Dine* has experienced roadblocks introducing the judiciary to the Trial Pad app, the Transcript Pad app has become an integral part of her deposition and hearing preparation.

In a world of instant informational access, the demand on a lawyer to relay information and exhibits to the trier of fact in a way a juror or judge understands easily is paramount. And it doesn’t help that jurors’ expectations are extremely high after watching TV shows depicting suspenseful courtroom drama. Even my 89 year old Nana, in her thick Albanian accent, would be asking for the DNA evidence in a case over a stolen Hershey bar.

In document intensive cases, I find myself even more concerned about managing flow of information. I have seen very few attorneys who make the production of documents seamless to opposing counsel and to the Court.  In the summer of 2012, Sierra and I were preparing for a major hearing with a mountain of documents when I began researching apps that might help us manage the paper in our case more efficiently.  That search lead me to Trial Pad, an app designed by Lit Software. Once I downloaded the app to my iPad, I was able to create “case folders” and store documents and other media in the relevant folder. I was able to annotate documents using highlighting and marking options, and I prepared our documents for the hearing using this app.

Trial Pad was the answer to letting go of the paper in the courtroom…. or so I thought! On the day of our scheduled hearing, we were so excited to utilize this innovative tool.    We contacted the Judicial Assistant prior to the hearing, met with the IT department and practiced using the projector right before the hearing.    Even the Bailiff could not wait to see how the app would work.   Unfortunately, the Judge started the hearing but wanted nothing to do with our app.  He wanted the paper in his hands and did not want to even have the projector on.  We thankfully had the paper!

 Although I was not able to use Trialpad that day, I was not discouraged. One evening I was raving about the app when Brett Burney of Burney Consultants asked me whether I was also a fan of Transcriptpad, which is also made by Lit Software.  I had not used it yet, but I soon became addicted.  The characteristic I love most about Transcriptpad is how easy it is to carry my information. I need ONLY my iPad and can forgo all those reams of paper if I had printed the deposition transcripts.  Now I can have 30 deposition transcripts along with exhibits accessible to me on demand.  The search feature alone on this app is amazing.  I no longer have to search an index and go back and forth through the pages of a deposition transcript.  I merely type in the word and every page the word is listed on appears on a tool bar to the left of the screen.  I can also highlight my transcript, create an index of codes that allows me to issue spot throughout the deposition, write notes as I read, and print a report on my notes after I am done. In my opinion, this app is the super hero of litigation apps, and it has been instrumental in accomplishing my goals as a litigator.  I actually feel I have an advantage in litigation with this app.  For example, when I am at a hearing and a witness is on the stand, I can immediately access prior testimony on a subject just by looking a word up in the search tool.

Best Organizational Tool

Dual Monitors take home the Dine Law award for the Best Organizational Tool. With the introduction of cloud-based document management and time-keeping, Sierra Pino* was running out of screen space to view information simultaneously . . . until she was introduced to dual monitors.

When I joined Dine Law in February of 2012, Heather and Erika set me up with a computer. It was great. I was plugging away, doing my research, editing pleadings, emailing, time-capturing, etc. But there came a day when I was feeling inefficient.  I didn’t want to print a PDF and email which contained information that I needed to use for a pleading I was composing. However, I needed to keep the PDF and email in my eyesight as I was drafting the pleading to constantly refer to and pull information from. Toggling back and forth between the windows on my computer screen was costing me time and there simply wasn’t enough real estate on my screen for all the things I wanted to do. 

I mentioned the concept of dual monitors but no one else seemed to nibble on the bait. I was going to have to make my case. What I could have done was draft a memo to everyone citing the research on dual monitor productivity. For example, a 2003 study conducted at the University of Utah compared the productivity and accuracy of individuals while performing editing tasks on single monitors versus multiple monitors.  Productivity was higher in multiple monitor configurations than single monitor configurations, leading the researchers to recommend a multiple monitor configuration for use in any situation where multiple screens of information are an ordinary part of the work.

What I did instead was implement a test period with dual-monitors for Erika and myself. Diane and a friend were kind enough to personally loan me extra monitors they were not using which we set up over the weekend. When Erika came to work on a Monday morning, she had dual monitor configuration at her desk. I taught her the basics and opened a web browser with our time-management software which she kept open on one screen. She responded to emails on the other screen and captured her time quickly as she was working. It was a success!  Dual monitors are now on the list of firm technology upgrades for anyone who wants them!

Most Eco-Friendly Hardware

Imagine our surprise when our technology consultant, Adrianna Linares of Law Tech Partners, stopped by for a visit in the fall of 2012 to take stock of our current technologies and praised us for already having Fujitsu Scan Snap Scanners at each of our workstations! Over the last year we have saved countless trees and significantly increased productivity, making the Fujitsu Scan Snap Scanner the Most Eco-friendly Hardware used by Dine Law.

dine-ft1 If you’re new to reading our blog, Welcome!  To those of you who have been following our blog, you know that “most” of us in my office are tech savvy.  I’m not quite there yet, but for purposes of this blog, I’d like to think I can add something and shed some light on my favorite piece of office technology. 

Fujitsu ScanSnap would have to be at the top of my list. 

Here’s a snap shot my Fujitsu Scan Snap that Erika and Sierra have affectionately named “Snappy.”

Snappy is compact and literally sits on my desk at arms-length away from me. It’s only about 1 foot wide and 6” deep when all folded up.  You can feed Snappy up to 50 pages at a time and away it goes and only takes a couple of minutes.   This small piece of technology has become so important in our office.  All of us in the office have our own scanners I can’t imagine a work day without Snappy.  With all the technology changes in the Court system these days like only accepting documents filed electronically, this piece of machinery helps our office keep up with the changing times.  

Here’s how quick and simple it works…

Once your document is scanned, a window pops up asking where you want the document(s) saved.  As you can see from the first image below, they offer 12 different options of where you can save the document/picture/business card.  In the second image, if you’re simply saving the document to a folder, you would then give it a name and specify the destination folder and click the save button.  VOILA!

It’s fast and easy and I love my Fujitsu ScanSnap. 

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Thanks for reading and we wish you all the best of luck with your holiday shopping!

*Dine Law, P.L. is a small law firm providing Elder Law services in Manatee & Sarasota Counties, and in October 2012, the members of the firm embarked on quite a journey together as we moved our entire practice (server, telephones, time-keeping and document management systems) into the cloud. Bios for each member of the firm can be found here, but if you’re short on time, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Dine Law is writing this blog as a group because it believes all members’ opinions are valuable. Each blog post will cover a different topic involving technology and this post’s topic is OUR FAVORITE TECHOLOGIES.
  2. Erika Dine is the founding attorney and has been a practicing lawyer for 10 years. Logan Elliott and Sierra Pino are associates and have been practicing for 3 and 6 years, respectively. Heather Muncy is a paralegal and office manager with 10 years experience in the legal field. Diane Roy is a full time paralegal and Jet Stewart is a part-time paralegal. Together they have 60 years of combined experience!
  3. DISCLAIMER: We often refer to the specific programs and products we are using because we took the time to research them and they are a good fit for Dine Law. There are many technology choices and options available to you, and we just want you to use something to help make your life a little easier!