Third Party Vendors for Broken iPhone Glass


iPhones have a glass front that is easy to scratch. If you drop it, they break pretty easy.

Unfortunately, the glass front of the iPhone is not covered under warranty. Even if you get the Applecare Protection Plan, the broken glass is not covered under the warranty. Apple charges $299 for any out of warranty service. Ouch. That’s $299 to get the front glass repaired.

However, you can get a third party to repair the glass a lot cheaper. IpodJuice seems to be the best vendor out there. They’ll replace the glass and the digitizer (the part that makes the glass touch sensitive) for $139. That’s a lot bettter than $299.

IpodJuice will also replace batteries for any of the iPods or iPhones for a very reasonable price. They use all Apple parts, but of course having a third party make the repairs can potentially void the warranty. But by all accounts, they do a real good job.

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$15 iPhone Replacement

Go PhoneYes. You read that right. Fifteen dollars. I cracked the glass on the front of my iPhone and sent it in for a replacement. However, that means I will be without a phone for 2–3 days.

It turns out that Wal-Mart (of all places) sells a Go Phone. This is a pre-paid phone that allows you to get a cellphone without a contract or a credit check.

BUT, if you take the SIMM card out of your iPhone and place it in the Nokia 2610. It works perfectly. You can make and receive calls to your cellphone number without calling AT&T and changing, activating or calling AT &T.

You just charge up the phone, pop in the card and away you go. The Nokia has text messaging, e-mail, caller ID, call waiting and a lot of other features. In fact, they really try to upsell the games, ring tones and anything else they can sell you on. I ignore all of that and have an iPhone replacement for $15. They had a number of different Go Phone options, but I decided to go with inexpensive. I can live with the Nokia for the 2–3 days it takes to get a replacement iPhone.

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Top 5 iPhone G3 Applications for Lawyers

We have a guest post from Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of the colleges for criminal justice. I wasn’t familiar with their site before talking to Kelly, but she has a very comprehensive site for anyone wanting a criminal justice degree, regardless of where you live, or whether you want to be in a regular classroom, take classes by correspondence or take on-line courses. Now, if they would just do on-line law school, we’d be all set. Thanks for the post and take it away Kelly:

With the recent release of the iPhone G3 in July 2008, many people in the general public scrambled to get their hands on one of these innovative new devices. It boasts three features in one: G3 internet connectivity, cell phone, and iPod all in one small device.

Naturally, for gadget lovers out there, the ability to streamline your digital arsenal is an attractive benefit of the iPhone. However, there are many free or relatively inexpensive applications that you can run on the new iPhone that are very beneficial for lawyers. Here are five of the best of those applications—and the best part is that they’re all free.

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Should Lawyer's Use Facebook?

A friend recently asked with the advent of social networking, whether he should be on Facebook and what good is it? Here's an example of the power of social networking from Seth Godin's Blog.

The flipside? A friend got into college last week. The university gave her a list of the kids from our state who also got in. Within 24 hours, they were all friends. ALL of them! They knew who knew who, what they looked like, what their histories were. Facebook to the rescue. A new network built on the old network within minutes. By the time September rolls around, they won't need college, they'll need a reunion.

Neat stuff, but as Seth points out, the older generation doesn’t use the social networking to the same degree as the younger generation. So is it worth it to establish an acccount on Facebook? Probably, yes. Will you get the same out of it as a younger ‘tuned in’ attorney? Definitely not.

Sadly, even for a gadget freak like me, I’m part of the older generation that does not MySpace, Facebook or even text message (I send full e-mails). I’m part of the older generation.

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Using Multi-Media at Trial

Here is a guest post from Brian Ford.

As a Multimedia Trial Site Specialist, the general rule of thumb has always been that a "seamless" presentation plays best in front of a Jury. This means, in part, avoiding the use of on-screen toolbars and minimizing vocal communication between the presenting attorney and the tech specialist.

My experiences have proven otherwise, though: Jurors are (and should be) focused on the evidence, more than how seamlessly it is presented. While it is true that a well-oiled presentation certainly can't hurt, these factors are nowhere near as important as the overall quality of the evidence, and the care that has gone into designing demonstratives.

Assuming the latter, a slight lag or visual hiccup isn't going to mean much to a Jury dedicated to a contemplation of the facts and a fair interpretation of the available evidence.

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A Better Way to View Images on the Internet

PiclensThe picture doesn’t do justice to how cool PicLens actually is.

PicLens is a FireFox or Explorer add-on (yes, it also works with Safari) that allows you to scroll through pictures very quickly.

Install it, go to Google Images and type in ‘herniated disk’ then click on the little > Play icon, and you will see a wall of herniated disks. While Google Images lets you see just the pictures, you have to flip through a page at a time. With PicLens, you don’t have to worry about the pages, you can just scroll through all of the pictures.

Trust me, it works much better than I can describe it. Check out the demo and then add it as a plug-in. Have fun.

Hat tip to Matt Homann for the heads up on this.

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SmartAdvocate New Case Management System on the Block

Sample_case_screenI am very interested in SmartAdvocate. It’s a new case management system that’s coming out on the market.

It’s specifically geared towards, plaintiff’s personal injury work.

It is an off-shoot of the in-house program that Parker & Waichman has been using.

I heard about this system a few years ago and it looks great.

A few of the features that I like, when a case is set up, it sets up an extra-net or ‘mini-website’ for each client and case that allows them to see the accident reports, medical records or other information as it comes in.

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New Laptop Toshiba Portege R500

FolderComparisonI finally broke down and got a new laptop. For those who are long time readers, they know I’ve been searching for a laptop for awhile.

I dearly loved my Japanese Panasonic Y2 but after three and a half years, it was time for an upgrade. After the third system failure in nine months, it really was time to get a new one. About 6 months ago, when the laptop went down, I was going to get a new laptop, but they got the Panasonic up and running and I put the new laptop purchase off. A month ago, the Panasonic’s hard drive completely and totally went out again and it was time to upgrade. Here’s what I have on the Toshiba Portege R500:

  • Ultra-light – 1.72 pounds
  • Ultra-thin – .77 inches thick
  • Solid State Hard Drive – 64 gigabyte solid state drive
  • Windows XP – Some non-Vista operating system love.
  • Full size keyboard – I will have to double check, I think, there is a silght reduction in the size of keyboard (1mm – 2mm reduction), but it is a very nice full size keyboard that doesn’t take time to re-train your fingers to deal with.
  • 12.1” Wide screen monitor – I’m nearly 44 years old and my eysesight isn’t what it once was (macular degeneration). I was a bit concerned about bumping down from a 14.1” monitor to a 12.1” wide screen monitor. My previous laptop before the Panasonic was a 12” laptop and I really think that’s too small. The new Toshiba has a widescreen which means it is actually the same size width way as the 14.1” monitor, but it is just not as long.
  • Great LED display – Very crips display. Very nice look. It has an outdoor button to turn the backlighting off. The sunlight then bounces off the screen and brightens it. It actually does work. Neat stuff.
  • Lots of Ports – 3 USB ports, 1 PC Card port, VGA out, SD card slot, firewire.
  • Removeable battery – You can get a second battery for travelling, or a larger battery for when you want to be away from a power supply for an extended period of time.

So far, I’ve loaded up the software and am loving it. I’ll let you know more as I go along.

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Small, Lightweight VideoCamera that's EASY to Use

FlipFor years, I’ve bought computers with dvd-burners and looked at video editing software and have never been able to make anything work.

All I want to do is do a 5–10 minute interview with my client and then pull 15 second clips out of the full length video. I didn’t need a lot of editing, but just wanted to pull out some clips. I’ve tried high end professional packages and low end consumer software. Nothing seemed to work.

I bought a Sony videocamera that recorded straight to mini-dvd’s. That was relatively easy, but it was still a hassle getting everything onto the computer.

I’m sure if I spent an entire day learning the camera and the software I could have figured it out, but who wants to do that?

I recently bought a Flip videocamera and can’t be happier. It’s about the size of a pack of cigarettes and runs on two ‘AA’ batteries. There’s no AC power, plug-in cord or adapter. Just two ‘AA’ batteries. There’s an on/off switch a record and pause button and that’s about it.

There’s an arm that flips out (hence the name) and plugs into a USB port. The software for the camera is built in to the camera. You can download straight to the computer very easily or upload a file to Youtube easily. Here is the law firm Youtube link and the family Youtube link. is There are no tapes, disks or memory cards. It can record up to an hour (in a single or multiple clips) and that’s it.

The picture quality is good, but not perfect. The microphone is much better than I thought it would be. And the best part of it? It only costs $145.

It’s cheap enough and light enough that you can take it anywhere with you. I’m very impressed with the quality of sound and picture, the ease of use, the size and how easily I can get the movie clips onto the computer or the internet.

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Using iMacs to Build a Better Windows Network

20 Okay, this is going to sound a bit odd, but my tech guy is using Apple iMacs to build a more stable, easier to maintain Windows network.

About 2 years back, Apple started using the Intel processor in it’s computers, which is the same processor that Windows machines use. The benefit of that is that Macintoshes can now run Windows in ‘native mode’ and not through an emulation program. You can do this one of two ways. You can use Boot Camp and when you turn on your machine either boot into Windows or boot into Mac’s OS X. The other way is run a Macintosh program called Parallels. Both programs require you to purchase and run a full copy of Windows.

My tech guy is buying iMacs like the one pictured above to put in offices and using Parallels to run Windows. Most people will only see the OS X screen flash for a second and after that, they won’t even know they are working on a Mac box.

So what is the advantage of running Windows on a Mac? A few:

  • Nice Hardware at a Reasonable Price – Chrome and glass, 20” monitor, memory, speed, decent memory all in one box. It works well and is attractive.
  • Less Desk Space – The Macs are an all in one and leave a small footprint on your desk. It’s just the monitor and the keyboard.
  • Ease of Maintenance – The entire Parallels Windows file is a single computer file. That’s huge. You can install Windows, tweak it to the way you want, install all of the programs that you want and then all of that information will be in a single Parallels file that can be copied and backed up. If your Windows goes down, you can just copy that file back to your iMac and you’re up and running. If your entire iMac goes down, you can copy that file to a different iMac and you’re up and running. No worrying about file registries, different hardware signatures. No fuss, no muss.
  • Portability – Once you have your Parallels backup file, you can copy that to another machine without any problems. You can’t do that (easily) with Windows, because of different hardware configurations and the Windows registry.
  • Ease of Installation – Once you have a specific set up that you want, for example, WordPerfect, TimeMatters, CaseMap, TimeMap, Sanction, MicroSoft Office, you can save this as a building block and as a base for every installation. Of course, you need to have a site license for each program. You will also have to switch license codes, but that’s a lot easier than starting each machine’s installation from scratch.

So oddly enough, the hoops that MicroSoft makes you jump through actually make it quicker and easier to run your Windows program on a Mac. Go figure. Plus you get a cool looking machine.

We’re going to start replacing one machine at a time, until we have a full Mac office.

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Sending Print Jobs to Kinko's Online

I have started to use Kinko’s online printing feature and it works like a charm. I upload a .pdf to them and then a secretary can pick up the job the next day.

It’s a lot more convenient than dropping the print job off in person and saves a lot of time.

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Don't Use FindLaw or Martindale-Hubbell if You Want an Internet Presence

IN a recent discussion, some lawyers wanted to know whether they should use Martindale-Hubbell’s or FindLaw. My personal opinion is that either is a huge waste of money. These are large law portals that are focused on building their brand and not on building your brand.

You need an independent website that it well optimized and does well on search engine searches. The top companies doing plaintiff’s firm websites are

My personal preference is towards Justia. Tim Stanley at Justia is one of the initial founders of FindLaw and really, really knows search engine optimization. I know people who’s opinion I really respect that prefer eJustice and Einstein Law is the preferred provider of AAJ.

I recently spoke with some people at The Attorney Store and was favorably impressed with their offerings and prices. I don’t know too much about them, but liked what I did hear about them.

Get a good URL (website address), get a good company to help you and get your own website. Don’t go with one of the large portals. If you follow the pack, you will be one of the pack and won’t differentiate yourself.


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Accessing Your Computer Remotely at a Fast Speed

I’ve been using some form of remote computing since 1989. First starting with PCAnywhere and then moving to GoToMyPC. PCAnywhere is a software based solution and GoToMyPC is a web based subscription solution. When PCAnywhere got bought out by Symantec, they started upgrading so frequently that I decided to go with GoToMyPC. A flate rate per year and no software to install or worry about whether you had the current version, plus it could be accessed from anywhere that had an internet connection.

Now, you can set up a virtual private network (VPN) without the use of either program (more about that later).

But in contacting our cable company to get a static IP address, they told me that I could have various speeds of accessing the internet, from a standard cable modem speed all the way up to the speed of a dedicated T1 line. Also, there were differences in speed in the ‘upload’ rates.

I was not familiar with what the upload speed rates were, but was told by my tech guy that it affected how fast I could access the office computers over the internet (e.g. remote computing). For a fairly small amount, I tripled the speed that we can access the office computers remotely.

The net effect is that I can be at home and working on my office machine and where there used to be a noticeable lag time, the remote access now is nearly at the same speed of sitting at the keyboard.

I had no idea and had never heard of increasing the upload time before. Check with your local internet provider and see what you can do to increase your upload time for faster remote access.

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Apple Comes Out with an iPhone without the Phone

Hero_overview_20070905I was really excited about the iPhone coming out. It looked like Apple spent a lot of time on the interface and worked to make it very simple to use.

Anyone that has seen a demonstration of the iPhone with expanding or collapsing text by taking two fingers on the screen and pulling them apart or pushing them together can’t help but be taken by the gadget.

What held me back was that the phone was locked into AT&T service and you have to sign up for two years. I really wasn’t thrilled about that prospect. Another concern was how well the iPhone would synch with my case management system and contacts. I have 1,500 names and 2,500 numbers on my computer and all of those names and numbers are on my Treo. I believe that I would be able to sync to the iPhone eventually, but it would be a convoluted process and not direct at all.

So what do we have that’s good with an iPhone without the phone? Apple calls it the iPod Touch.

  • Wi-Fi and Internet Surfing – the device works great with wi-fi, without 3G (which AT&T does not support) is painfully slow. This is a feature that the iPod Touch doesn’t have (the internet connection through the phone) and I won’t miss.
  • Great 3.5” Screen and Video – I have an iPod Nano and a Shuffle. I wanted to get a video iPod when they came out, but with the speed that Apple comes out with products decided to wait a generation or two until they got it down pat. The iPod touch has a great screen for both web browsing, pictures and video.
  • iPhone and iPod Interface – It’s got the great ‘mulit-touch’ interface as up above. It also has the iPod ‘cover flow’ interface where you can flip through songs like you are flipping through album covers.
  • Mac OS X Operating System – The iPod works on a variation of Mac OS X. That means that there will be a lot of programs, widgets and other things that will be able t run on the iPod.
  • 16 Gigs of Flash RAM – Flash RAM is great. It’s much faster than a hard drive and you don’t have to worry about access time or skipping. The drawback is that you don’t get as much memory. While you can’t hold your entire movie collection and every song you’ve ever heard, I don’t have any problems with 16 gigs of memory

Instead of an mp3 player with a pretty color screen, this is really a computer in a pocket. I’m looking forward to when these come out in a few weeks.


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Going with the Toshiba Laptop



After a lot of deliberation, I decided to go with the Toshiba R500.

General specs are 12” LED screen, 19mm pitch keyboard, 8.5” x 11” footprint, 2 gigabytes of RAM, 64 gig solid state drive, internal DVD burner that is only 7mm thick, About 3/4 inch thick and it only weighs 1.88 pounds. Yes, that’s right. Less than two pounds.

When checking out the reviews, I found something exciting. Toshiba is coming out with this model as the R1 in Japan, but it is bringing it to the States as the R500 at the same time. Normally, if the same model is sold in the United States (and it frequently isn’t) we tend to be about 6 months behind the Japanese release.

One of my concerns was the 12” screen. I’m used to the 14.1” monitor of the Panasonic Y2. I’m 43 years old and my eyesight is not as good as it was and don’t like the type too small. The 12” widescreen model is about the same as my 14.1” monitor, but not as tall. As long as I can read the text well, I don’t mind a little scrolling.

The model with the solid state drives has not been released yet (either here or in Japan), but it should be sometime in September. I’m looking forward to it.

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The Myrtle Beach Lawyer Goes Digital

After that great guest post on using an open source PBX system, I thought I would share what we’ve been working on. We’ve been working on taking the entire office electronic. It’s time to take the office digital. What does that mean?

  • Documents Will be Digital – Everything coming in or going out of the office will be scanned. There’s a number of options we could have gone with. I chose to put a scanner on everyone’s desk. The easier it is to use, the more likely it is to get used. My first choice was a Fujitsu Scan Snap, but that didn’t have a TWAIN or ISIS compliant driver to scan from within case management or document management programs. We decided to go with the Xerox Documate 250. All incoming mail will be scanned, all outgoing mail will be scanned. The entire file will be available on the computer as a pdf.
  • PDF’s Will be How We Like Them – Everyone gets a full version of Adobe Acrobat to combine pfs, rearrange pages, or set up chapters, bookmarks and hyperlinks. Picture writing a demand package that talks about medical treatment that has a link to the appropriate page of the medical records.
  • Faxes Will be Digital – We are installing a fax server so that anyone can send or receive a fax directly from their desk. I was looking at, but you have to use their number and can’t take the number with you if/when you leave. We’ll be setting up a separate fax server.
  • Bookkeeping will be Digital – I’m embarassed to admit this, but I’m still writing checks manually and entering the information on a 2002 version of QuickBooks for the accountant. We’ll now be writing the checks on the computer, downloading the monthly statements from the bank to automatically reconcile. We’ll also link the case management program and client expenses, operating account and trust account to automatically generate cost sheets, disbursement statements and preliminary disbursements for the trust account.
  • VPN Router to Allow Access to the Network – A Virtual Private Network (VPN). What’s that? It allows access to your local network even when you are not local. It’s similar to GoToMyPC or PCAnywhere and allows you to log on to your network from anywhere. When you’re out of town, you can log in and get your messages. You can work from your home office, your paralegal can work from home when their child is sick. Or….if everything is digital, then an employee can work without being in the office to work on the file.

Having the entire file in a digital format creates a lot of benefits. I’ve got a great staff and we’re ready to take this to the next level.

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Shopping for a New Laptop, Continued


Panasonic Y-7 – The Old Standby

This is Panasonic’s newer version of the Y-2. 14.1” screen, full 19mm pitch keyboard, built-in cd/dvd burner, lots of RAM, 160 gig hard-drive and Windows XP and weighing in at 3.3 pounds.

It even comes in colors now. The gun metal blue looks the coolest.



 Toshiba RX-1 Dynabook – The Foreign Competitor

 64 gig solid state hard drive, 2 gigs RAM, .77 inches thick. Built-in DVD burner that’s only 7 mm thick. 12.1” transflective LCD wide screen, full size 19mm keyboard (believe it or not) and an incredible 1.88 pounds.



 Dell XPS M1330 – Surprising Challenger

Dell, home of klunky generic boxes has come out with an intriguing and sexy laptop design. Who’d have thunk it?

32 gig solid state drive, 13.3 inch LED backlit screen with VGA camera (2 megapixel with the LCD screen, 2 gigs RAM, built in DVD burner, great design comes in three colors (I would probably choose the piano black) and I do not know the size of keyboard yet. Regardless of which one I choose, this looks like a high performer, with good design and Dell will have a big hit on their hands.


  Asus U3 – Dark Horse Candidate

 Thanks to Engadget for this catch. It has a 13.3” screen and specs that include integrated GPS, HDMI and S-Video outs, eSATA, USB, and Firewire ports; SD and ExpressCard 54 slots; and an NVIDIA 8400M graphics chipset -- which can be switched off via hardware for power. I don’t know the price or other detials (like weight, solid state hard drive…). It should be coming out in September, which is about the time that the other models will be available with the solid state drives.

It looks like there’s a lot of good ultra-lights out with a lot of power and it doesn’t appear that there are any ‘wrong’ choices. It should be interesting.

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Shopping for a New Laptop

Time for a new laptop. What features am I looking for?

  • Weight Under 4 Pounds – This is a definite requirement. The lighter the better. I take my laptop with me everywhere that I would take a pad of paper. It needs to be in the 3 pound (or lighter) range. There needs to be a serious reason to bump up into the 4.1 or 4.3 pound range.
  • Keyboard – This is a bit of a surprise for me. In dealing with ultralights, or any laptop for that matter, there are certain tradeoffs and the keyboard is typically one of them. After a few weeks, your fingers get used to a different keyboard configuration for the laptop, and get used to a cramped keyboard layout. My Panasonic had a full size 19mm keyboard and I really enjoyed not having to switch keyboard sizes between my main computer and laptop. So, I’m putting a lot more emphasis on the keyboard than I used to.
  • Screen – Preferably an backlit LED, as opposed to an LCD screen, something that looks sharp, but I don’t need a tremendously high resolution as I’m over 40 and my eyesight is not what it used to be. I need something at least 12.1 inches. I’ve seen 10” screens and they’re too small for me. If I’m looking at a laptop and not a toy, the ultraportables with 7” or 8” screens aren’t even an option. I love the size, but not the crispness of the 14.1” Panasonic that I have now. A 13.3” is probably optimal.
  • Hard Drive – I would prefer a solid state drive. They come in 32gig and 64 gig models. Solid state drives are faster, lighter, use less power, are more reliable (and more expensive). I have a desktop computer and a home computer, so the size of the hard drive isn’t important. I just need the hard drive large enough to carry video depositions in Sanction for trial. If the laptop doesn’t have a solid state drive, it needs to be at least 7,200 rpms. There’s nothing worse than slow hard drive speed.
  • Ports – The only port that is criticial to me is a VGA monitor port. I speak in enough places where I have had problems with cable hookups for an S-Video or HDMI ports. Give me a standard monitor port anyday of the week. Built in wireless of course. An SD card reader would be handy, but is not a requirement. Other than that, lots of USB ports, and a biometric reader, expresscard (instead of PCMCIA) would be nice. None of them are dealbreakers.
  • Coolness/Fashion sense – Yes. I hate to admit this, but I want a laptop that looks good, that draws some attention and is fun to own. Think “sports car” or “convertible” for laptops.
  • Operating System – I would seriously prefer Windows XP instead of Windows Vista. I want to stay away from Windows Vista as long as possible. (Although, I don’t know if it will be possible).
  • Speed – I don’t really care about speed. I primarily do word processing, e-mail and research on the internet. The case management software is straightforward calendaring and contact management database software. Even the videos for mediations and trial presentation don’t take up that much processing power. Any of the computers currently out will be more than fast enough for me.
  • Optical Drive – This is not an important factor. It used to be, but not anymore. In my last laptop, I said “I want an internal cd/dvd player, so that way I don’t have to tote an extarnal player, plus I don’t want to be caught without help on that. It turns out that in three years, I have only used the player a handful of times. A nice feature, but not critical or a dealbreaker.
  • Price – Sadly, this is not important. This is my personal laptop that I will take everywhere with me and will hopefully have for three years. The difference in price between the cheapest laptop on the market and the most expensive one is not that large that price is the primary factor in deciding. And when I am looking at a 2–3 pound laptop, with a solid state hard drive, lots of memory, a good keyboard and a nice screen, those specs don’t come cheap.

Next up. I’ll preview the three laptops that I am considering.

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Remote Mail Service

I’m working on a project that requires people to be able to work remotely. That means everything has to be digital and scanned into the computer. Most of the information already is scanned, but what do we do about the things that aren’t digital?

I just found out about Remote Control Mail from Mark Zamora of A GeorgiaLawyer. What does it do? You have your mail sent to a P.O. Box in any of 20 diifferent cities and then they will send you an e-mail that looks like this:  


Remote Control Mail will then give you the choice of recycling, shredding, scanning and then shredding, forwarding the hard copy to your office, or storing the hard copy at your office. They’re used to handling high volume for coprorate consumers and fees are very low.

You can handle your e-mail and regular mail at the same time and with the same ease, forwarding documents or replying to them quickly and easily.

We’re going to use it initially for our medical records. Neat stuff.

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Good Laptop Repair Center

I think my 3 year old Panasonic is giving up the ghost. I love this ultra-light. I have had laptops since 1989 and have never had a laptop for three years. They usually last a year. I am going to reinstall Windows and see if that works, if not, it’s off to the service center. Lapfix has gotten good reviews from a few people I know. From their websit:

We are sure no one wants to suffer for lack of reliable laptop repair services. That’s what Lapfix are here for, No Frustration. Now you won't be troubled by questions like “How to repair a laptop?” or “Who can repair my laptop?” call the most respectful Laptop repair business, call LapFix today! All our technicians are Manufacturer Certified to work on your laptop repair or notebook repair, any kind of laptop repair.

Hopefully, it won’t come to that.

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One Book to Go Please!


What is that contraption? Would you believe a mobile library? An instant book printer with a hard drive containing over 200,000 books. It will crank out a brand new book, complete with binding in about 10 minutes. The finished product will be professionally bound and is supposed to be indistinguishable from a ‘regular’ book.

Right now the bulk of the books are public domain books. But over 200,000 books available just for the asking. This will bring an extrensive library to small towns and rural areas.

If technology can change the library and publishing field so drastically, what can it do for the law? What effect will technology have on the law? How will the practice of law change in ways that we can’t even foresee now? How will technology open up new areas of practice and new ways to practice? 

I love gadgets, but sometimes new technology opens up that turns things upside down and really changes how things function. I think the internet combined with broadband capabilities and cheap hard drive space have changed the way the world works and created a lot of different capabilities for us and we need to see how the pieces fit together.

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Why is The iPhone Locked Up?

Index_hero_20070611Apple is releasing it’s new iPhone on June 29 at 6:00 p.m. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s really pretty neat. What is it?

Take a video iPod with a good widescreen and put the Mac operating system on it, then give it connectivity which means internet and phone access.

Apple then put a motion sensor in iPhone, so it will orient itself depending on which way the iPhone is being held (up and down or longways).

They also put a lot of time and effort into the interface, so that when you’re browsing the internet, you can expand and collapse information by touching the screen and pulling your fingers apart or pushing them together. Pretty neat stuff. All in all, a very impressive package. The one thing I like is the effort put into the interface and to actually make the gadget useable. But……there’s a very strong but. They locked it up and made it proprietary.

  • Will Only Run on One Network – Apple cut a deal with AT&T / Cingular and if you want an iPhone, you’re going to have to switch to Cingular. What about the other phone companies? Well, you’re out of luck. The official reason for this is technology. But that’s bull, they could have done a phased rollout of the major carriers and let the other carriers handle it a few months behind Cingular.
  • No Replaceable Battery – Like an iPod, the battery is sealed inside the device. You can’t buy an extra battery for when you’re travelling and if it goes bad, you can’t replace it. You’ll have to take it to a service center. Of course, in a year when the battery goes bad or becomes very short lived, rather than get a new battery, Apple is hoping people get the latest and greatest iPhone.
  • No Upgradeable Memory – You can get a 4gb or an 8gb model and that’s it. There’s no SD card slot to upgrade or improve the memory. The tv commercials show a crystal clear movie running on the iPhone. This also shows a planned obsolesence / forced (or at least pushy) upgrade plan by Applea.
  • No Third Party Software – This one flabbergasts me. Apple has the iPhone locked up so that noone other than Apple can write software for it. Yesterday at WWDC, the Apple developer conference, Steve Jobs said that others will be able to write for the iPhone using Web 2.0 applications. That’s an impressive piece of doublespeak. Let me translate that for those who aren’t techminded “Programmers can write programs on the internet. The iPhone accesses the internet. Programmers can’t write programs on the iPhone. Only Apple can do that. If you want to use an ‘iPhone’ program that is on the internet, your iPhone will have to be connected to the internet the entire time you use the program, because the program can’t be downloaded to your iPhone’. Wow. Just wow. Officially the reason given was security reasons, but please.

So we have a very cool and innovative product, with limited memory, running only on a single network with a limited life battery that can only be changed out by a service center that is locked down so that noone else can write software for it.

Will I get one? I don’t know. It’s a hard call to make. They did so many things right, but then worked hard to really sock it to the customer. On one hand I find that reprehensible and a slap in the face to the customer. On the other hand, the digital rights management hasn’t hurt them with iTunes and the iPod. I think that is because they made it so easy to use, that people don’t worry about the problems with DRM. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Posted inTech Trends, Technology |Comments (3) |Permalink

Web 2.0 Comes to Myrtle Beach

New technology gives greater access. I’ve been reading articles where undercover cops arrest college kids at rave parties and the college kids take pictures and videos of the arrests with their cellphonesm. The college kids then post the pictures of the arrests and the undercover policemen on a community board. I do injury cases for a living. How does that effect me? How about if car wrecks are posted online?

I have a case where someone was videotaping events at Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach where there was a crash and posted a clip of the video to YouTube.

In fact, here is a second video of the crash:

If you want to talk punitive damages….A hotrodder leaving a car show with a clear road ahead of him, a clear road behind him, then while showing off for the crowd loses control of his car an t-bones a car on the other side of the median. Wow.

For plaintiff’s attorneys it doesn’t get any easier than that. And in case anyone is wondering, the video clips are safely downloaded and converted. Sometimes I really like the new technology.

Posted inTech Trends, Technology |Comments (2) |Permalink

I Accidentally Deleted My Inbox...and I Feel Fine

While working on Friday, I accidentally deleted my entire Inbox. I meant to delete an entire directory of spam, but I made a mistake.

I probably had about 750 e-mails in my inbox of things I needed to sort, return messages to, put in various folders (civil procedure, damages, evidence, experts, tort reform…). That’s far too many too keep up with. And the number kept growing…….and growing……and growing.

Now it’s gone. And I’m okay with that. While I try to weed through them in random moments of the day, like when I’m waiting on hold, it had really gotten out of hand. And really, if I was waiting to respond to an e-mail from last July, it’s probably just easier to say “I didn’t do it” as opposed to thinking I would get to it soon.

I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I get to start fresh. In reality I could call my tech guy and have him pull the e-mails from Thursday night’s backup, but I’m not going to do that.


Posted inPractice Management, Tech Trends, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Give Your Computer a Facelift

Dreamflow800If you want a great looking desktop, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can get a stack of free desktops from WinCustomize.

The desktops are located here. If you want to jazz up your whole operating system, you can go to StarDock, where you can get a dock, like the Mac, various skins for Windows, Widgets and other things to update your system.

It doesn’t have anything to do with the practice of law, but it makes your computer look more fun.

My third monitor is a gold framed 42” Panasonc plasma tv. I use the different backgrounds as a picture when I’m not using the monitor to show staff or clients pictures, documents or other things.

Posted inTech Trends, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Tech Gadgets Keep Improving

B000JLP5UK.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_I had a new client come in today that took pictures of his damaged car on his phone. I was somewhat skeptical because I’m used to cellphones only having a VGA camera and up maybe a 1.2 megapixel camera. He had a 3.2 megapixel camera. On his phone.

He transferred the pictures by a 2.0 gigabyte micro-SD card. I have an SD card reader slot on my laptop, so this was no problem. I knew the micro SD card was smaller than the SD card, but it’s 15 mm x 11 mm x 1 mm. Wow. That’s small. And the cost is only $31 from Amazon.

I have to admit. This is one of the few times when I was blown away by someone else’s technology. Things are getting smaller and faster all of the time.

Posted inTech Trends, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Making Transcripts of Client and Witness Interviews

When putting together mediation packages, I had been using the following method for obtaining transcripts of witness statements:

1. Have Investigator Call Witness and Create a Recorded Statement in Digital Format.

2. Investigator sends Digital Statement to My Office using

3. Transcribe Digital Statement by sending it to

Today, I had an even better idea.

1. Call the witness on the phone.

2. Using conference calling, add as a "third" caller.

What does this do?

You question the witness and at the end of the call hang up. Between 15-30 minutes later, you'll have a transcript of the interview e-mailed to you along with a digital recording of the conversation. You get the automatic recording and the transcript in one fell swoop.

By setting up a conference call with Speak-Write, you eliminate the need to for having the equipment to digitally record the conversation yourself and you eliminate the need to hiring your investigator to take the statement. You also eliminate the cost of the investigator.

You can also use this to take a recorded statement from your client. You can put the phone on speaker and call Speak-Write. You will get a transcribed copy of the interview and also the digital recording in the client's own voice.

Once you have the digital recording, you can use clips of that in your mediation package, to refresh the witness's memory or other uses. Neat stuff.

Posted inSettlement, Tech Trends, Technology, Trial Techniques |Comments (2) |Permalink

Why Case Management Matters

I was at the Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorney's program on Technology: Learn How It Can Help You Be A Better Trial Lawyer. I gave a presentation on weblogs and what they mean for trial lawyers. Why you should write one, why you should read them and why they are changing the face of the internet.

I also listened to other great presentations at the program. I especially enjoyed Mike Burman from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Mike gave a presentation on case management, a subject near and dear to my heart. Mike is using Needles and has it integrated with ecopy, a scanning networked copy machine. It looked like a slick operation.

In addition to what you can do with good case management, Mike talked about WHY you would want case management. Answer? It gives you more time to talk to your client. It allows you more time to think about the case. It allows you to be more organized and deal with problems before they occur.

Sounds good to me. I always say, it is important for the lawyer to manage his cases, or the cases manage him. Thanks for the input Mike.

Posted inOffice Technology, Practice Management, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Free Message Transcription for Lawyers

I just learned about Jott. It will transcribe your phone messages and send them to your e-mail address.

What's cool about Jott is that there are no passwords or codes or numbers to punch in. You call the 1-800 number, it recognizes your cell phone number and knows who you are and knows your e-mail address.

The other thing Jott can do is send a message to someone who you have pre-defined. You can press 2 to 'Jottcast' and send a message that will be sent as an e-mail to your paralegal or secretary.

It's a free service with a 15 second maximum on the message. I've found it to be somewhat erratic on the transcription, but you can click on a link and hear the actual message. It's handy and it's free. What more could you want?

Posted inTech Trends, Technology |Permalink

Cisco Uses Blogs to Get It's Opinion Out

Mark Chandler, a senior vice president and general counsel for Cisco has written a blog post on  Cisco's iPhone Trademark lawsuit with Apple:

Today’s announcement from Cisco regarding our suit with Apple over our iPhone trademark has spurred a lot of interesting questions. Most importantly, this is not a suit against Apple’s innovation, their modern design, or their cool phone. It is not a suit about money or royalties. This is a suit about trademark infringement.

That’s pretty unusual to have general counsel to publicly post information about pending litigation. It’s an effort to get out ahead of public opinion on the matter and explain what Cisco’s position is. Maybe weblogs are chaning how companies operate after all. Thanks to Robert Scoble and Kevin O’Keefe for the heads up on this.

Posted inTech Trends, Technology, Things to Know About Writing a Weblog |Comments (1) |Permalink

Programs to Help Lawyers be More Productive

Yesterday I gave a presentation on blogging for a law firm that I really respect in Columbia. They told me what programs they were using and I was asked what they could do to increase the productivity or effectiveness of their lawyers. They do trial work, but have a number of practice areas. This is my response to them.


  • Speak-Write – It used to be CyberSecretaries and then YouDictate, but is now known by Speak-Write. They will transcribe anything you have. You can dictate over the phone, you can send them transcription files, mp3 files, wma files, or you can even fax it to them and get the information typed up for 1 1/2 cents a word. The responses tend to come back in 15–30 minutes depending on the size of the file. I like to dictate my To Do’s for the day while I’m on the way to the office and then they’re in an e-mail all typed up by the time I get there. Neat stuff and easy to use.
  • TimeMap – This is a great, great program for creating timelines. It can do a timeline over a period of years, or a second by second timelilne that might cover only a few minutes. The program will automatically scale the timeline for your period of coverage. It’s really as easy as hitting insert, typing in the date and a description of the text for the box. And of course, you can drag your events above or below the timeline. One of my favorite things to do is to put the defendant’s version of the facts above the timeline and put the actual facts below the timeline. It’s so simple that you can use timelines for motion hearings to clarify dates and events, or to show the efforts you put in to get information from the defense counsel and what their responses have been. You can also add phone or document icons to spiff up your timeline. This is easy to use because it’s a standalone product, you can use it no matter what other software you are using. Continue Reading Posted inOffice Technology, Technology, Trial Technology |Comments (6) |Permalink

Moving Case Management System to TrialWorks

Well, I finally made the jump. I’ve been using TimeMatters for nearly ten years. We’ve also used Out of the Box, a great add-in product for TimeMatters for about two years. TimeMatters is a good product and I admire their open architecture, where there is the flexibility to customize the program and hook up third party products to it. TimeMatters has by far the largest market share of case management software. The last time I checked it had about 40% of the case management market.

We are leaving TimeMatters and moving to TrialWorks. I made the decision because TrialWorks is specifically designed for litigation. I don’t think there is anything that TrialWorks does that TimeMatters can’t do, but TrialWorks is specifically set up for litigation.

In my evaluation, Needles and TrialWorks were the top contenders. Needles has a larger installed base, regional user groups and one of the best customer support services around. TrialWorks had more modern technology and a much better interface. What I liked most about TrialWorks is the ease of use in scanning in documents (correspondence, medical records, pleadings…) and their document generation.

This may sound silly, but I also liked their filtering in creating documents. If I’m going to send a letter and click on a button, I only want to see the possible letters that we have. I don’t need to see every complaint, cover sheet, motion, proposed order that could be sent. Just show me the letters. TrialWorks does this well.

Those are my pro’s for TrialWorks. The con’s (at least for me) are their over reliance on MicroSoft. They use MicroSoft Outlook for their calendaring system. I realize the MicroSoft battle was lost over fifteen years ago, but I stil use WordPerfect, FireFox and Opera instead of Word and Internet Explorer. I do however use Access, Excel and PowerPoint so I guess I’m not too anti-MicroSoft.

I don’t mind the use of MicroSoft that much, but would be happier if I knew that there was a possible Linux or Mac version down the road. TrialWorks does have a web-based thinclient, which I would imagine could be used on a Mac or with a different operating system. Ah well.

John Day, John Romano and Gary Pillersdorf all have TrialWorks and they love it. I have a number of other friends that also have TrialWorks and they really enjoy it. Todd O’Malley, Larry Levin and Mark Joye have Needles and they’re very happy with it. I compared Needles and TrialWorks back and forth a number of times. I reviewed them screen by screen and feature by feature (believe me, the salespeople are probably very happy that I’ve now made a decision) and really think that TrialWorks provides a better interface and solution than Needles. I did have one friend that had a bad experience with TrialWorks, but he was also in a billable environment and I believe his staff told him that he had to stop using WordPerfect during the conversion. I believe that the conversion will go smoothly 92.8% of the time (which translates to very well, but not perfect).

I’ll keep you posted as they convert our data and how the installation, conversion and set up goes. My firm will have to give a lot of guidance on exactly how we want the master calendar set up and what documents we want generated. The more time and effort we put in now, the more it will pay off in the long run.

I had to do an attitude adjustment for this conversion. It took me awhile to learn that the case mangement software companies are experts at case management software, not case management. There’s a difference. Conversations would go like this:

  • Software Company – We have ‘Management Reports’.
  • Me – Great!  I want to manage my firm better. What do you have?
  • Software Company – Whatever you want.
  • Me – Ahhh…..But I’m not certain what I want. You guys go into thoursands of law firms across the country, don’t you have a best of list?
  • Software Company – Every firm is different. We’ll do whatever you want.
  • Me – I’m looking for some guidance here and thought you guys could help.

The answer is that they are in the software and database management business and no matter how good their software and company is, they really don’t know much about practice management. That’s not a gig on TrialWorks. I found that to be true to all of the companies until I realized the fundamental difference between what I was asking for and what they were providing. Live and learn.

I’ll keep everyone posted on how the conversion goes and how we like TrialWorks as we get it up and running. I believe it will probably be a 2–3 month process.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (2) |Permalink

New Group Trial Lawyer Blog - Trial Lawyer Resource Center

Mark Zamora, of A Georgia Lawyer  and I have been working on a group blog for nearly a year and went live yesterday. It’s called the Trial Lawyer Resource Center with a shorter URL of Alphabetically, we have the following contributors:
John Day (Nashville, TN)
Matt Garretson (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Gary Gober (Nashville, TN)
Jay Harris (Toledo, OH)
Tom Kline (Philadelphia, PA)
Rick Kuykendall (Mobile, Alabama)
Todd O'Malley (Scranton, PA)
Ronald Miller (Baltimore, MD)
John Romano (West Palm Beach, FL)
Randy Scarlett (San Francisco, CA)
Karen Shelton (Charleston, SC) [lifecare planner / nurse case manager]
David Swanner (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Mark Zamora (Atlanta, GA)
In that group there are 5 past state TLA Presidents, 3 past Presidents of the Melvin Belli Society, 2 past Presidents of the Southern Trial Lawyers, the current President of Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group, plus the incoming President of the Inner Circle of Advocates. In addition to those lawyers, there's a lot of talent there.
Mark and I started the blog because we wanted to bring all of the great information we were seeing at ATLA and Southern Trial Lawyer’s Conventions to the internet and put the blog together. You can read more about the blog at this interview with Evan Schaeffer of Legal Underground, or just go and read the blog.
We’ve got a great group. I’m personally looking forward to seeing what all of the contributing lawyers have to say.
Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

Website of the Week: MyTrialBlog

Mitch Jackson of Laguna Hills, California has started a new trial blog, MyTrialBlog. Here’s a sample on direct examination:

4. Practice Your Direct and Video Tape Clients- For clients, setup a video camera in your office and conduct a short 15 minute direct examination. Stop and watch the video together. Next instruct your client to sit up with her hand crossed in front of her. Instruct her to look at you and the jury (tell her where they will be sitting) while answering questions. Ask the same questions again and video tape. Now watch the video. Your client will see herself come across 100% better just by the short exercise. You may also want to explain your approach to direct examination so that the two of you are on the same page with respect to your overall presentation. Yes its important to go over this with your client and yes, you are preparing your client for trial. This is what you’re getting paid to do so take the time to do it right. Always tell your client to tell the truth while on the stand. No exceptions.

5. Use Short Descriptive Introductions- Start off each section of your direct, with a short descriptive introduction. This helps the judge and jury stay focused on your presentation of the evidence. For example, in the above case involving a truck which ran the red light, when questioning a paramedic who treated your client, set the stage as follows: Q- Good morning Mr. Jones. Why don’t we start out with what you observed when you first arrived at the scene of this collision. What did you see? And towards the end of his testimony maybe ask like this Q- It’s my understanding that you transported Susan (use first names once in a while to personalize your client and also refer to the defendant as “defendant” or “corporation”) to Good Hope Hospital. Before wheeling her into the emergency room, did she complain of any pain or discomfort?

All good points and the whole post is worth a read. I have had mixed results with videotaping witness examinations. Sometimes people are much more concerned about how they look and how their voice sounds, more than paying attention to how they are coming across and the videotape review becomes counterproductive. I agree with all of the other stuff, though.

Mitch looks like he’s doing a great job with his new blog. I’ve put him in my daily reads and wish him the best.

Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (1) |Permalink

Going to a Paperless Law Office

In a recent discussion on scanning and going paperless, John Powers of Powers & Santola in Albany, had such terrific input that I had to share it. Take it away, John:

We’ve been paperless for nearly three years, using TrialWorks as our case management system.  The keys to going paperless are having a dependable HIGH SPEED scanner and a plan to make certain that everything gets scanned before it gets into the hands of a lawyer.

With 7 lawyers in the firm we are using the Canon 9080C scanner, which has color capability and scans at 90 pages per minute (180 pages per minute in duplex) in black and white and 50 pages per minute (100 ppm in duplex) in color.  We started with one scanner and subsequently added a second 9080C scanner to alleviate the frustration that occasionally arose when someone was “waiting for the scanner to be free”.  We also have three Canon 2080C portable scanners for use in court, at depositions or for gathering records outside of the office. Continue Reading Posted inOffice Technology, Practice Management, Technology |Comments (6) |Permalink

Should You Build Your Own Case Management Software from Scratch?

I occasionally see lawyers who have spent a lot of time and effort building their own case management systems. With the tools available today, it’s easier and cheaper than ever. Should you do this for yourself?

As an ex-programmer, I have NOT written my own software because I don't want the primary expertise/ knowledge base for our computer system to be with me. I want to spend my time being a trial lawyer. My primary objections to ‘rolling your own’ are not technical.

  1. Upgrading and maintenance – It's one thing to block out the time and put together a system. But as things change, versions of word processing software gets upgraded, links have to change. As new technology comes out and gets integrated into the system, it becomes work keeping everything current and up to date. I paid LexBlog to set up my blog and do it the right way. I willingly pay LexBlog too much money for the amount of work done. I pay them too much money not to do the work, but to stay up to date on the technology and keep my blog up to date on what needs to be done. They do a fabulous job of it and I am very happy to use the best in the country instead of worrying about that myself.
  2. The amount of time it takes me away from legal work –  The older I get, the more I realize that I only have so many 'clock cycles' in my head. If I fill my head up with worrying about computer stuff, it takes away time from thinking of legal matters. I used to be a programmer for a living. I love computers. I love logic. I love making the computer do what I want. My question to myself is “Where do I want to put my limited time and resources?” Personally, I'd rather take the time and effort to be a better trial lawyer and run a better trial practice than diving into the nitty-gritty of building a case management system from scratch.

My opinion is that if someone wants to set up a case management system from scratch, then that's fine as long as they realize it's like a hobby and an extra-curricular activity as opposed to one of the main things that helps them practice law. If they want to set a system up from scratch and realize that they're not being the most productive with their time, but they enjoy the computer work and want to do it anyways, I don't have a problem with it. But at that point, it’s a personal decision and not a business decision.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (2) |Permalink

New Release of Trial Director - Trial Presentation Software

Last week Indata came out with a new release of TrialDirector (version 5).  The outgoing version 4.5 became a standard for trial presentation and constantly goes head-to-head with Sanction for the "Best Trial Presentation Software" title.
The new version boasts an entirely new interface and breaks away from the old Deposition Director/Document Director combo by integrating the programs together.  Additionally the program adds extended coding features, improved integration with other programs and several new video editing capabilities. 
Rosen LTC will be testing the new version over the next few weeks to determine if it is stable, consistent and easy enough to use in the courtroom. They’ll be turning in a full featured review in the coming months. I’m a big fan of Sanction, but Alex Rosen is a big fan of Trial Director. I’ll be interested to see what he has to say about the new version.
Posted inTechnology, Trial Technology |Comments (3) |Permalink

PowerPoint Disks are On Their Way

We’ve been a bit behind on sending out the PowerPoint disks, but will be sending out about 95 disks this week and that will get us current. We’re into our second printing now and have distributed over 1,500 PowerPoint disks. There are a lot of examples on this disk. If you can’t find some great ideas from looking at these, then you’re just not trying hard enough.

The disks are a collaborative effort. Everyone is pitching in an example. I’m not charging for the disks, but requesting a sample PowerPoint in return. It could be a mediation, a motion presentation, opening statement or closing argument. It doesn’t matter what it is, just that it’s a real example. If you haven’t used PowerPoint in the past, then all you have to do is promise to send one when you get the chance.

If you haven’t ordered one, but would like one, you can order a disk here.

Posted inPowerPoint / Presentation, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

New Palm Treo 700p is Out

Palm has just announced the Treo 700p. The p means that it based on the Palm OS, rather than Windows CE. I never upgraded to the 650, because I had a Treo 600. I loved the 600 so much, that there just wasn’t enough goodness (other than the bluetooth) to convince me to upgrade. But……now my Treo 600 has some miles on it and has been beat up. I’m ready to make the jump.

Engadget has the announcement and specs:

The latest step in unifying the Treo family as a hardware platform, the 700p (like the 700w) features EV-DO, 312MHz Xscale CPU, 128MB flash memory (60MB usable), 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and SDIO. Unlike the 700w, however, it works it with the same 320 x 320 resolution screen as the 650

PalmInfoCenter has a preview:

The Palm Treo 700p is a further refinement of what made the Treo 650 a productive and intuitive smartphone. It features a slightly refined hardware design and a large number of software, multimedia and usability improvements. The 700p is also the first Palm OS based smartphone to take advantage of high speed EVDO wireless networks.

Palm has the official announcement:

The Palm® Treo™ 700p smartphone delivers everything you need in one go-anywhere, Palm OS® device. It combines a smarter phone with wireless email and messaging, built-in web browser, and rich media capabilities — all at blazing fast broadband-like speeds…

Enjoy the gadgety goodness.


Posted inTech Trends, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

New Personal Injury Blog: Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers

Ron Miller,  of Miller and Zois a plaintiff’s personal injury firm, has just started the Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog. Ron has been writing blog posts for awhile now as part of their website. However his blog didn’t have an RSS feed. He’s now separated the blog with it’s URL and RSS feed. He’s started off with some good material, such as posts on Independent Medical Exams, a  great article from a Maryland judge, titled Alice in Discovery Land, and Trucking Accident Verdict Data.

If Ron’s name is familiar to you, that’s because he does the excellent Maryland Attorney Help Center that includes sample pleadings, discovery requests, motions, examinations for trial and lots of other goodies. I first wrote about their Attorney Help Center here. He’s doing good stuff and I’ve put them in my daily reads.

Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (3) |Permalink

Use Google Mini to Find Your Documents

Google has come out with the Google Mini. It’s a box that you plug in to your server and indexes all of the documents on your server. That includes, word processing documents, .pdfs, spreadsheets, databases, e-mail …. Why would you want to buy a Google Mini, instead of a software management solution? Because it takes the time and processing power off the server. You can use the Mini to index your website(s) and/or to index your internal network.

According to Google, you can use it to:

* Increase sales by enabling prospects to quickly find what they’re looking for on your public website
* Find critical information on your corporate network with just a Google search

Another quote from Google’s site:

"Our attorneys are continually searching for information. The Google Mini helps them find exactly what they need, when they need it, using an interface they’re already familiar with."

I  know that I want one, but I’m not certain it’s cost effective, or that I should spend the money at this time. I’ll let you know if I do get one how it works and whether I’m happy with it.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (1) |Permalink

Blawg Review #49 - Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog

 Jim Calloway has the new Blawg Review #49 up. Jim has worked the carnival theme with his Oklahoma background into more of a rodeo. In addition to the great work he did on the Blawg Review, Jim’s regular blog postings at  Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog have some of the best practice management tips on the internet.

Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

Search Engine Use On the Rise

Kevin O’Keefe from LexBlog highlights an article from Online Media Daily that search engine use continues to grow:

Web users conducted a record 5.7 billion searches in January, marking a 39 percent increase from last January's 4.1 billion, according to new data from Nielsen//NetRatings. Search activity in January also increased by about 12 percent from December, when users conducted about 5.1 billion search queries.

People are using the internet to check movie times, weather and travel information. Don’t think they’re not looking for lawyers as well.

Posted inTech Trends, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Adobe Acrobat for Lawyers

If you’re not as up on Adobe Acrobat and .pdf’s as you should be (and I’m not). It’s time to learn. Pdf has been a standard format in the ‘real world’ for a long time and the local Federal Court now requires all of the filings to be in .pdf format, so it’s time to learn. Dennis Kennedy points to the Acrobat for Legal Professionals Blog written by Adobe themselves.  PDF for Lawyers blog written by Dave Fishel and Ernest Svenson is also a great resource for learning more about Adobe Acrobat.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (2) |Permalink

Best of 2006 CES 2006 - New Gadgets to Lust After

In case you haven’t been keeping up on all of the gadgety goodness on Engadget’s coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show, here’s a recap of their Best of Show. This isn’t a comprehensive listing of the very best products out there, but the ones they’re still talking about after seeing thousands and thousands of toys. Which ones do I lust after the most?

  • Toshiba Gigabeat S Series – Portable Media Center. Portable video players are a dime-a-dozen these days, but the new Gigabeat looks like it'll have the skills to take on the iPod: a sleek, thin, light brushed aluminum casing, a crisp, bright QVGA display, and -- and here's the really important part -- it offers full integration with Vongo, that new online video download subscription service from Starz that'll let you download as many movies as you want from their catalog and watch them on your portable device.
  • Dell 3007WFP 30-inch LCD monitor – Michael Dell stressed that this isn't a living room television (they already sell those). It's a supersize PC monitor for IT admins, graphic designers, and multitasking gadget bloggers (and lawyers [emphasis added])who surf, post, email, IM, watch Galactica and submit CES expense reports all at the very same time. Instead of upgrading your clock speed, try spreading out with more screen space. As those moronic Jaguar ads say, gorgeous pays for itself.

Wow. Those look like fun. Can you imagine, double 30” monitors? 60 inches of cases, research, e-mail, internet browsers, word processors and images on the screen at once? Hmmmm…. All of a sudden I feel like Homer Simpson. “Ummm……..monitors.”  Click on the link to see all of their favorites.

Posted inTech Trends, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Getting to Basics with Case Management

I was starting to get bogged down in the minutiae on getting a case management program running so I decided to step back, take a deep breath and see where things where going. What’s even the purpose of having one and what did I want it to accomplish?

Basic Goals: To have a smooth running, efficient office. I want to help people, do quality legal work and also be profitable. I would like the computer to help me with that.

Okay. So far so good. That’s some fine goal making, but what does that mean? Here’s some processes that should be streamlined: Continue Reading Posted inOffice Technology, Practice Management, Technology |Comments (1) |Permalink

Choosing a Case Management System for a Law Firm

We’re about to put in a new computer system. I’ve had TimeMatters for 8 years and really like it alot. However, for whatever reason we’ve never got the full use out of it. Some of it might be our fault, but we’ve got lots of use out of it, but haven’t been able to use it to it’s full capacity. Since we first bought TimeMatters, we’ve gone from a general practice to a straight trial practice and it’s time to put in litigation specific software. Although, I’m not opposed to looking to others, the leading candidates are TrialWorks and Needles. Needles has always been considered the high end in litigation software. In the past 5 plus years, TrialWorks has been coming on strong and while has a smaller market share, has really taken a sizeable portion of the market in a relatively short period of time.

After spending more than 30 hours with each of the programs exploring the nooks and crannies, I think they are both fabulous programs. My impressions in a nutshell are that TrialWorks looks like it was built with all of the functionality of Needles, but with all of the technology that was available 5 years later. Needles on the other hand, has made customer service it’s number one priority, has a number of local and regional user groups and tours and TrialWorks hasn’t had the time to catch up with the customer support and large installed user based of Needles yet.

This is some of the things that I’m looking for in a case management program: Continue Reading Posted inOffice Technology, Practice Management, Technology |Comments (9) |Permalink

South Carolina Appellate Law Blog - A New South Carolina Blog

Welcome  Bill Watkins, Jr. of Womble Carlyle and his South Carolina Appellate Law Blog to the blogosphere. Bill’s tagline is “Following the opinions of the South Carolina appellate courts, the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.”

Bill’s had 50 Essays and reviews published in national magazines, newspapers and journals. Including: The South Carolina Law Review, The Independent Review, The Washington Times, America's Civil War, and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He also wrote a book Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy (Palgrave MacMillan, 2004).

According to the firm site that Bill works for, Womble Carlyle was established in Winston-Salem in 1876, the firm now comprises more than 500 lawyers and 1200 staff in nine offices, including Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Greensboro, Research Triangle Park and Raleigh, NC; and Atlanta; Greenville, SC; and Tysons Corner, Va; and Washington, DC. Continue Reading Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (1) |Permalink

Advertising Coming to Legal Blogging

In an interview at LawFirmBlogging,  Burkey Belser states:  “Here’s a gospel we preach to our clients every day: ‘Don’t advertise, contribute to the conversation.’ When there is good conversation, there are good feelings all around, mutual respect and pleasure in the activity.”

I think that’s exactly right. One of the appeals of blogs is that it is a conversation. The great thing is that with his news aggregator, the reader gets to pick who he listens to and who joins his personal conversation. But of course it couldn’t last forever. I’m starting to see attorneys using blogs for search engine placement and straight out advertising instead of adding to the conversation. Here’s a few:

  • Boating Safety Law and News blog. It posts about 10 stories from news feeds and 5 nautical pics automatically. The attorneys appear to write a few posts a month. Pics and news clippings are fine, but they don’t add to the conversation and don’t tell a potential client or referring attorney anything about the lawyer.
  • The Injury Law Blog appears to be run by a Dallas lawyer. The posts of his weblog, look to be pages of text from his website. Granted, he looks to be quite an internet marketer, by having a different domain name for every area of his practice.  and a different front page for every one of the domains. I’m not faulting him for that, but his weblog doesn’t provide any information. On the other hand, Bob Kraft is a Dallas attorney that gets blogs.
  • Atticus Media is a legal marketing company that does weblog development. In their blog development page they state “Blogs provide touch-marketing at its best. Legal Blogs will elevate your reputation as a reliable authority in your area of the law.” And to establish someone in their field, the marketers at Atticus have pre-built a very nice website and weblog for a Special Needs Lawyer that wants an internet presence. Hmmm… I guess the marketers provide the reliable authority and just drop in the appropriate attorney who is willing to pony up the bucks.
  • Atticus Media also has a domain Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer that looks to be a site designed for optimal search engine rankings on a national level and then lawyers purchase an exclusive right to get case referrals for a particular state. They seem to have 4–5 states taken so far.

So we’re starting to see legal blogs used specifically for higher search engine placement or advertising without adding to the conversation. Without the attorneys giving their input and sharing their thoughts. Without talking to their colleagues, clients or the public. They’re allowed to do that. But, I think they’re missing out on the greatest value of blogs. (Of course, there's always the possibility that they're new to the blogosphere and don't get blogging yet, but I don't think that's the case)./p> Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (2) |Permalink

Add-Ins to Make TimeMatters More Useable

With Karl’s post of his efforts with TimeMatters, it reminded me to write about some add-ins that can help increase the functionality of TimeMatters

I have personal familiarity with Out of the Box and Premier Software. They are both excellent. We have had a lot of success with the Out of the Box add-on. It’s actually improved our workflow and helped get things done.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (1) |Permalink

Wireless Travel Router to Help on Those Out of Town Trips

I travel frequently for work. When I go to a hotel, they will normally have broadband internet access. Interestingly enough, the nicer hotels in the larger cities charge for the internet access. The standard chain hotels in smaller cities provide the access free of charge. But regardless of the price, most of them require a wired access and you can’t use your wireless card on your laptop.

I found a tip for a Wireless Pocket Router  by D-Link. What it does is connect up to the hotel network point and allows you to be wireless. It has three different modes to work in almost any situation (Access Point (AP) mode to create a wireless connection; Router mode to share an Internet connection; and Wireless Client mode to connect to an existing wireless network). Not a bad deal for less than $55.

Thanks to Tom Collins of More Partner Income for the tip.

[Update]: I bought one of these from Amazon. The router comes in a nice little case that’s portable (which is good, because that’s it’s job). I plugged it in the wired hotel connection in my room and it worked like a champ. I love technology that works. I also love being wireless with my laptop. This will definitely be staying in my travel bag.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (3) |Permalink

BlawgWorld 2006: New E-Book of Legal Weblogs

Neil Squillante and Sara Skiff of TechnoLawyer have put together a great e-book of 51 legal blogs. They did a fabulous job of pulling it together and editing it and the book is free. You can get a copy of it here at BlawgWorld. They talk about their book here:

According to various studies, approximately 80,000 new blogs launch every day, including dozens of blawgs. No one knows how many blawgs exist, but whatever the number, monitoring them — even with an RSS Newsreader — would amount to a full-time job. You probably don’t have that kind of time yet you probably do want to tap into the blog phenomenon.

This conundrum explains why we created this TechnoLawyer eBook. In it you’ll find thought-provoking essays from the most influential blawgs — 51 essays from 51 blawgs to be precise. The essays were handpicked by each respective blogger as most representative of their blawg. As a result, you will likely find several blawgs worthy of your continued attention. When you do, just click on the blawg’s screenshot to visit its home page. Or just search for the name of the blawg in Google.

It’s a great introduction to a number of legal blogs and it’s free. Check it out.

Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (0) |Permalink

Best Treo 650 Tips and Tricks and Programs

Engadget is starting a new feature with the best helpful hints for gadgets. First up is the Treo 650. All of the tips are in an unmoderated Comments section, so you have to wade through a bit of chatter, but there’s some real good ideas there, including:

  • Opera Mini Web Browser
  • PDANet –  to turn your Treo 650 into a wireless internet access for your laptop
  • Chatter E-Mail – Push e-mail technology like Blackberry
  • VoiceDialIt – Add Voice dialing to your Treo

Some of my favorites are:

  • Silver Screen – Extends the functionality of the Palm OS
  • SnapperMail – Better e-mail client than comes with the Treo
  • Insaniquarium – Very entertaining fish feeding arcade game (it’s better than it sounds)
  • AcidSolitaire – The best solitaire game on the market.
  • PocketTunes – MP3 player for the Treo
Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (4) |Permalink

Great Interview on E-Discovery

Dennis Kennedy, Tom Mighell and Evan Schaeffer have a group interview on e-discovery. In the personal injury field, it has been slower to reach us than the commercial litigation field. Evan lays out the basics:

Basic electronic discovery-e.g., a set of written discovery and a deposition to discover the scope of an opposing party's electronic information-should be done in almost every case in which the opposing party creates and stores relevant information electronically. These days, wouldn't that describe most litigated cases?

I think that Evan’s right. It’ getting to the point where we can’t ignore it any longer. More and more files are being kept digitally. If you’re not doing e-discovery, what are you missing out on?

Posted inTechnology, Trial Technology |Comments (1) |Permalink

Use the Right Codes to Help Your Word Processing Documents

I rarely get involved in coding documents anymore, but there are two very helpful codes that most people don’t know about or use.

Hard advances – When you have a document with blanks to fill in for name and the name is too many characters, it can go past a tab stop and push the words out of alignment. Select Menu [Format] [Typesetting] [Advance…]  You can choose a horizontal advance (where the words will be on the page from left to right) or a vertical advance (where the words are from the last word or the top of the page). You can also choose a specific advance from the insertion point or from the edge of the page. If you want the words to appear in the same place all of the time, choose the advance from the left edge of the page. By using a hard advance instead of a tab, you won’t have to keep taking out the extra tabs in your documents.

Tab Settings – Most people know how to change their tab settings, but don’t take full advantage of the different kinds of tabs.  You can use decimal tabs to align rows of numbers and right tabs for table of contents. You can also use any of the tabs with dot leaders, which are exactly what they sound like. When you’re setting up a table of numbers, a table of contents or index… you can have WordPerfect automatically put in the line of  dots (eg …….) with dot leader tabs.

I’m sure Word has the same codes, but perhaps with different naming conventions I just don’t use Word.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

BlawgThink 2005 a Conference for Legal Bloggers and Learning About Blogging

It’s always interesting to see what Matt Homann of the [non]billable hour and Dennis Kennedy are up to. A lot of interesting ideas were generated at their LexThink program in the Spring. Now, they’re putting together a conference of legal bloggers called BlawgThink. It’s a 2 day conference with the first day including presentations on blogging basics, marketing and client development, podcasting, and other subjects. They plan on having three different tracks. Matt talks about the BlawgThink here. The second day will be unplanned small group discussions.

I think Matt and Dennis always do great stuff, but I wasn’t going to go to this for a few reasons. First, I’m already blogging. Second, while I’m a big evangelist for blogging and RSS, I primarily see myself as a trial attorney who has a blog, rather than a blogger that is a trial attorney. While BlawgThink looks like a lot of fun, I’m a member of 3 trial lawyer associations, give a number of presentations and develop other classes. All this while being a sole practitioner.

But…… They’ve got such a great group of people that are going to be there, I’m thinking of popping in for Saturday and the small group discussions. The caliber of talent is such that it really makes it hard to stay away. If you want to learn more about legal blogging, or would like to meet many of the top legal bloggers, contact Matt Homann for an invite, and I’ll see you there.

Posted inTech Trends, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Picking the Right Case Management Program

The right case management system can make a huge difference in your practice. But how do you know which one to go with? I have a simple rule of thumb. Go with the best or the most popular.

With most software, I’m not tremendously particular. I do some research and then try the program. If I like it, fine. If not, I’ll try something else. But with case management software, my entire professional practice is going to be on the program. All of my information about every one of my cases. All of my correspondence, pleadings and other documents will be on there. If I’m scanning information, then all of my case information will be on there too.

I’m not going to trust my professional life to just anyone. I don’t care how insanely great there software might be. I won’t go with a small programming company. I don’t want to have my entire livelihood on a software program and then find out the company went out of business. Or that their main programmer left for somewhere else and they can’t find a good replacement for them; or that the owner had a tragic accident and the company is no longer in business.

So what is the best? The top of the line case management programs for litigation are Needles, TrialWorks and ProLaw. The most popular programs are TimeMatters and Amicus Attorney. Before reviewing any of the features, I would start looking at one of these programs. More to follow…

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (1) |Permalink

USB Hard Drive with Fingerprint Security - No Software Installation Needed

I’m a big fan of USB 2.0 hard drives. I have one where there’s no power supply and no software drivers. You just plug it in to a USB port and your computer recognizes it as a spare hard drive. Neat stuff. La Cie has just introduced a USB hard drive with fingerprint security.

Engadget has the details. They will come in 40 and 80gb models. The nice thing is, even with biometric security measures, no software to install and no drivers. Cool stuff.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Sub $100 Printer - Dell LP 1100

CNet brings tells us about the new news of the Dell LP 1100, a laser printer retailing for $99. It’s a 600 dpi, 15 ppm printer. They’re also aggressively pricing the toner cartridge at $65, that will print 2,000 copies. That’s cheap enough to drop one on everyone’s desk.

It sounds like a good deal and I’ll have to check it out. However, at one point I had 4 laser printers in my office, all with different toner cartridges. Now, every single laser printer I have uses the same cartridge. I know it’s a bit excessive. But when we reorder we always make certain we have 2 in stock and reorder when we get down to one. If we miss the reorder, we can always grab a cartridge out of one of the other printers for the day or two it takes Office Depot to deliver. It beats stocking 4 different sets of cartridges. 

And thanks to Engadget for the pointer to CNet and the Dell LP 1100.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Why I went with LexBlog

A trial lawyer friend of mine started a blog the other day, but is not a techie like me. He wanted to know why I hired LexBlog to do my weblog hosting. Instead of sending an e-mail, I decided it would make a good post.

  1. Professional Design – In the blogosphere, content is King. It doesn’t matter what your site looks like, it matters how you write. True, true. However, many people are not of the blogosphere. I get a few thousand hits a month off Google searches. It’s the people’s first time on the site. First impressions are lasting impressions. If a site is going to reflect my practice, I want it to look good. (In my case, I went beyond the LexBlog design and had the logo professionally designed).
  2. Top Level Domain Names –  If I’m going to be on the internet, I want a top level domain name. (e.g. and not something like or I want people to be able to remember the name and get to it easy. The easier I make for them to get to the blog, the more people will visit/read. I know registering a domain and then linking or forwarding a site to that domain name is not that difficult, but I want to spend my time learning how to be a better lawyer, not be a better tech guy. Continue Reading Posted inTechnology, Websites/Weblogs |Comments (3) |Permalink

Roundup of Backup Drives and Software

PC World has a roundup of external hard drives, network drives and backup software. A timely reminder of easy ways to backup. There’s also a review of online data backup services.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

What is Your Data Recovery Plan?

In this day and age, I know that everyone has at least some backup plan. But what is your plan to restore your backups? It sounds like the same question, but it’s not.

I just had a hard drive failure on my server at the office. No problem. We have a 3 disk RAID 5 array on our server where we can lose a drive without losing a beat. You replace the drive, the system rebuilds and away you go. We did this and were fine.

My tech guy suggested putting all of the system files on a separate physical drive and then imaging an exact copy of the system drive, so that if our server went down we could swap drives and bring the server up lickety split. Sounded like a good idea to me so we went ahead with it. Continue Reading Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (6) |Permalink

Averatec 4200 Widescreen Laptop Looks Good

Engadget points to the new Averatec 4200 widescreen laptop.

At 4.7 pounds, Averatec’s 4200 laptop may not be the lightest notebook around, but for the features it offers — which include a 13.3 inch widescreen display, Pentium M 730, 512MB RAM standard, 80GB HDD, WiFi, flash reader and a DVD burner — it’s pretty light on the wallet at $1,199. And, oh yeah, it comes in a half-dozen different colors.

While, I like to keep my laptops under 4 pounds, this definitely looks like a laptop I would consider buying. I’ve been impressed with the features that Averatec offers for their price tag.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Palm's LifeDrive - PDA with Hard Drive that Surfs the Net

I’m a big fan of the Palm Treo 650. But if you like your PDA separate from your phone, Palm has come out with the LifeDrive. Engadget has a roundup of reviews. What is special about the LifeDrive? It has a 4 gig hard drive to hold all of your data, photos and music. It also has Wi-Fi, which means you can surf the internet on it. You can also send and receive information from your desktop computer wirelessly on it.

If you’re interested, click on the link. Engadget has reviews from DavesPDA, BargainPDA, Nexave , MobileTechReview,  MSNBC,  PocketFactory,  CNET,  PC Magazine,  The Gadgeteer  and CanalPDA. That should be enough reviews for anyone.

Posted inTech Trends, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Easy Backup Means Security Risk

With the advent of USB flash drives and USB hard drives making backups as easy as drag and drop, that creates a security nightmare for lawyers and network administrators.

Picture this, a visiting attorney comes to your office for a deposition. He asks to use the phone and you put him in an office with a phone on the desk. While he’s in there, he can slip a keychain USB flash drive in the computer and downloads half your computer network in about 2 minutes. Unethical? Yes. Scary? Definitely.  Easy to do? Absolutely.

Engadget has a story on this and shows how using an iPod or ‘Podslurping’ can be a security risk.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Smart Boards Replacing Chalk Boards

While we lawyers have been slow to adopt smart boards, smart boards have been replacing chalk boards in the classroom:

Wired News reports on the rapid growth of interactive, computer-driven whiteboards in classrooms…smart boards are being used in more than 150,000 classrooms in the U.S, with even more being put to use in 75 other countries. The boards let teachers and students share assignments, surf the web and even edit video using their fingers as pens. And, by all indications, the market for the devices is booming, with more than a dozen manufacturers in the field, although one company, Smart Technologies, has a 60-percent market share.

It looks like we need to start catching up to the schools. I’ve had been using a projector and multi-media for 5 years, but don’t have a smart board yet. It looks like that just jumped up my tech priority.

Posted inPowerPoint / Presentation, Presentation, Technology, Trial Techniques, Trial Technology |Comments (2) |Permalink

Defusing a Powerful Animation: Using Your Opponents Exhibit Against Them

I found this Law Technology News article on Defusing Powerful Animation (free registration required) from  Monica Bay’s blog, The Common Scold. It talks about a pedestrian / car case in California where the pedestrian suffered brain damage and the plaintiff’s attorney did a video animation / simulation.

King used PC Crash software, which helps users create 3-D collision simulations and reconstructions. His animation was used as the cornerstone of the plaintiff's case, Skrzypek explained, and was based almost completely on defendant Dillon's deposition answers.

It was clear that the plaintiff's side thought the recreation would be very damaging to her credibility, he said.

But the defense team managed to defuse the impact of the animation. Langley played the animation in slow motion throughout his cross of the reconstructionist. He also played it during his closing argument, stopping it at key points to question the assumptions the plaintiff used creating it.

"His ability to replay the animation and put our side's spin on it undercut the plaintiff's representation that the animation represented how the accident truly happened," said Skrzypek.

Use your opponent’s evidence against him. That’s the what they teach in jujitsu. It works in the law, too.

Posted inTechnology, Trial Techniques, Trial Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Ultralight Laptop Roundup

No surprise, but the laptops keep getting faster, smaller and lighter. I tote my laptop everywhere with me, so I like them light. I hate to say that I’m spoiled, but my maximum weight limit is 4 pounds. Any weight over 3 pounds becomes a negative. Over the past few weeks, manufacturers have been dropping a number of great ultralights on us.

  • Acer TravelMate 3000  12 inch screen, lots and lots of goodies, including built-in card reader and 3.1 pounds for $1,399. The main drawback is an external CD/DVD drive.
  • Averatec 1000 Series  3.6 pounds, 80 gig hard drive, and a built-in DVD/CD-RW drive and other fun stuff for $1,380. The drawback? The screen is 10.6”.
  • Fujitsu new LifeBook B6000 line of TFT notebooks This one has a touch screen, 3.3 pounds and a 12.1 inch monitor along with other fun stuff for $1649. The touch screen increases the cost some.
  • ThinkPad X41 3.2 pounds, 40 gig hard drive, 12 inch screen and external DVD/CD-RW drive for $1,899. Engadget points to the PC Magazine review.

The Fujitsu Lifebooks and Sharp Actius laptops are always good choices. Of the bunch, the Acer looks like the most fun, but I still like my optical drives built in. I have a Japanese Panasonic Y-2 which has the same weight as the Acer, but also has a 14 inch screen and a built in DVD-RW/CD-RW burner and a gig of RAM. I love it. Thanks to Engadget for the roundup of these new laptops.

Posted inOffice Technology, Technology |Comments (1) |Permalink

Why Trial Lawyers Need to Know About Mind Mapping Software

Mind mapping software. Hmmm…. is that like a Vulcan Mind Meld? Nope. It’s actually quite simple. Think of an outline, only less structured. Picture this. You have a new case with a lot of possibilities. You sit on the floor and write down ideas on 3 x 5 cards. One idea to a card and spread the cards around you. Writing as fast as you can, you fill up as many cards as you can. Okay, this part is called brainstorming. Then, when you’ve finished and are surrounded by cards, you start sorting. This card generally covers the same material as that card. That card can be put over here, and you start grouping things. I’m sure we’ve all done something similar at one point or another. Now do this electronically with software and you have mind mapping software.

Mind mapping software allows for a graphic representation to visually express complex relationships in an easy to understand manner. Sounds like a good trial exhibit to me. The New York Times recently had a good article on mind mapping software:

"For me, there is a big difference between laying out ideas in this kind of map" and just writing them in a list, says Michael Jetter, Mindjet's co-founder. "It's like when you look at ads. The white space can be as important as the words. I find when I am able to space out the ideas in a certain way, somehow I can move around them easily rather than starting from the top. It's the same information, but you look at it differently."

Continue Reading Posted inOffice Technology, Technology, Trial Technology |Comments (3) |Permalink

WordPerfect Resources and Links

It’s great to see WordPerfect making a resurgence. It was almost on life support, but lately I’ve been hearing more and more people switching back to WP. Ben Rondeau gives us a lot of WordPerfect resources to help us use the program better. Each of these sites has tons of information and links to other WordPerfect sites.

I knew of a few of these, but most were new to me. Thanks for the tip, Ben.

Posted inOffice Technology, Resources, Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink

Twelve Ways Technology Can Make You a Better Trial Lawyer, Continued

Wow. What a response to my guest post on Evan Schaeffer’s Notes from the (Legal) Underground. There’s been a good discussion in the comments section, plus a host of weblogs linked to it:

Matt Homann and Matt Buchanan noticed that 5 of the 12 ways to use technology to be a better trial lawyer were in the use of weblogs. I hadn’t noticed that, but I guess they’re right.

Continue Reading Posted inOffice Technology, Technology, Trial Technology |Comments (0) |Permalink