I’m a huge fan of both TrialPad and TranscriptPad made by Lit Software. They are both really easy to use and work really well. If you do any sort of litigation at all, both of these apps are a must for you.
TrialPad works not just at trials, but also at meditations, arbitrations, contested hearings, depositions, and client meetings. And TranscriptPad is my absolute favorite transcript management resource. I use it all of the time and have found that it makes reviewing and annotating transcripts a breeze. I also really like the reports that I can export from TranscriptPad.
These programs normally cost $90 each. I received an email from Lit Software today, however, that tells me that starting today through Friday, March 6, you can purchase both apps in their Ultimate Litigation Bundle, for $140. This is a great deal. If you do not have these apps, I urge you to go check them out and pick them up before Friday.
The Ultimate Litigation Bundle is available directly from the app store here.
One of the problems that most people run into is that they have never been properly trained on the software that they use. Proper training is typically expensive in terms of both time and costs. Based on a comment in a Technolawyer newsletter, I learned of the HP Learning Center. The center includes training videos on a variety of software programs as well as other skills (such as photography and marketing). Best of all, most o the videos are short (5 minutes or less) and they are free.
Now, you won’t be able to solve all of your software training issues with this site. However, you will likely learn a few things if you watch the videos on the programs that you use. For example, I watched the video on the special features in Word 2007 and learned of some changes that I did not know had been made.
Anyway, check out the site for more info.
Every so often I read something and I say to myself, I wish I had written that. I had that experience recently when I read a post on PDF for Lawyers.
In the post, Ernie explains:
Remember this joke? Guy goes into see the doctor, and the doc asks “what seems to be the problem?” The guy says “Doc, it’s my arm. It hurts when I do this.” And then the doctor says “well, then don’t DO that!”
I mention this joke because it’s basically what happens when people fail to make any attempt to set the preferences for their applications. Technology trainers are constantly hearing lawyers complain that Word wants to auto-correct certain words. In the attorneys’ view the problem is irresolvable; it’s a bug in the program that simply can’t be fixed.
He then notes:
Computers seem to make people dumb. Imagine picking anyone out of a crowd and telling them that they’d get to live in a mansion with a butler for a week. The first time the butler does something that is annoying or not to their liking, do you think they’d be at a loss as to how to fix the problem? No, they’d pipe right up and command the butler to do what they want. Even if they never had a butler before.
But these same people when they get a new program seem to think that the designers of the program have configured it just for them. And so therefore they should expect it to work perfectly in the way that’s most natural for them. If it doesn’t then they curse the program.
I run into this problem all of the time. For example, I will ask someone why they didn’t use the automatic paragraph numbering feature in Word. They’re response is typically something along the lines of “I don’t like how Word does it.”
Not liking Word’s default formating for automatically numbering paragraphs is a reasonable position to take. Rejecting automatic numbering as a result is not. If you don’t like how a program does something, change it. Don’t suffer in silence. Every program out there has some options for you to change the default settings. Most of the time you can change the program to work as you desire.
Admittedly, there are some things that you can’t change about how a program works. If that is the case, I urge you to not simply throw up your hands in frustration and curse the programmers. If there is a feature you want, or a setting you want the ability to change, you should contact the publisher of the program. I can’t guarantee that the publisher will listen to you. However, I bet that you will find that most companies are more receptive to user suggestions than you would expect. Certainly you are more likely to get your issues addressed with a smaller company rather than a large company.
However, if you have an issue with a piece of software, do not suffer in silence. If no on ever complains, chances are, the problem will never be fixed.
If you are interested in learning how to customize the features in Acrobat, check out the rest of Ernie’s post. If you want to learn how to control what your information in Word looks like, check out my series of posts on formatting in Microsoft Word. If you want to control whether a PDF opens in your web browser of Acrobat, see my post here.
Recently, Dumb Little Man posted 21 Excellent Web Apps for College Students. The list included some obvious choices such as Wikipedia, Gmail, Zoho, Google Docs, and Google Calendar. It also included other suggestions such as Remember the Milk, Bookfinder, Drop.io, and Flowchart.com.
You should review the entire list. Although written for college students, there is almost certainly something on the list the you can find useful. For example, although I have no need to Rate My Professor, I was able to use the website to track down a college professor that I had lost track of and, over the last several years, had been casually searching for. The instacalc is also quite useful, especially for the math challenged attorneys that I often run into.
I am a big fan of Log Me In. I use it to access my home computer remotely. In fact, my ancient monitor on my home desktop (which I use mostly as a server type machine) recently died and I have just been using Log Me In to control it rather than replacing the monitor right now. Because I use Log Me In, I receive emails from them periodically, The last one I received, I thought it was great marketing.
The email started by emphasizing that you can use Log Me In to access your computer while you are traveling, it then went right for those of use who serve as tech support for our friends and family:
If you’re spending time with your parents during the holidays, be sure to install LogMeIn Pro on their PCs so you can help them out remotely next time they call with a computer problem.
I thought that this was a great point. In fact, I have recently installed Log Me In on a couple of computers that I support and it works great to to fix simple problems from my home or office.
If you have never tried Log Me In, give it a whirl. Also, during the holidays, they are selling Log Me In Pro at a 50% discount ($34.95 per year).
I know that GoToMyPC is the popular remote access solution. I have heard many stories about how much people like GoToMyPC. I prefer LogMeIn because it works well for me and it is less expensive than GoToMyPC. Additonally, Log Me In offers a free solution that allows you to remotely control your computer. Log Me In Pro includes more features and I use it for my main computer. However, it is great to be able to install the free version and gain remote access to a computer that you need to work on.
Lexbe.com has unvieled a new website called litiReviews. LitiReviews describes itsself as having:
the largest collection of free legal and litigation software reviews on the web. All reviews (100+) are full-text, and have been published in legal magazines, journals, websites and blogs. LitiReview links to copies of reviews available on the internet, or hosted by us at the author’s request.
I haven’t yet had the chance to fully explore this site, however, I like the concept of a central location to search for reviews of legal software.
The site appears to collect reviews that are otherwise available on the internet and gather them together in a searchable format. The search function appears to work well and, on the reviews I tested, clicking on the review title either took me to the website where the review was originally published or downloaed a PDF of the original review.
This site may not answer all of the questions that you have about a particular piece of software. However, it does look like a good place to start your research on legal software.