Simplify a tedious deposition review with technology
Handling a litigation case from start to finish is no easy task. This is because litigation matters are typically complex and document-intensive. Because of this, as part of the pretrial process, attorneys face the daunting task of gaining a mastery of complicated fact patterns, obtaining and chronicling evidence, and reviewing and analyzing deposition testimony.
Because pretrial practice is so document-heavy and fact-laden, it’s an area of legal practice that is ripe for technological innovation. It’s no surprise that in recent years, legal software tools have emerged that facilitate pretrial analysis and collaboration.
In a recent column, I covered litigation fact management software. This software is used by litigation teams—including lawyers, paralegals and administrative assistants—to easily collaborate and share notes about case-related evidence and documents.
Another technology tool designed to streamline the litigation process is deposition review software, which assists lawyers with the typically tedious process of reading, reviewing and annotating deposition transcripts during the pretrial process. These programs enable paperless depositions by storing digital transcripts in the cloud, which are then accessible from any compatible device.
Using this software, lawyers can read, highlight and share deposition and trial transcripts. It facilitates the analysis and review of deposition transcripts, and typically includes features that allow lawyers to highlight text with color-coded designations, search for specific phrases, flag important sections, generate reports and share the reports or flagged portions of the transcript.
With this type of software, you have a few options available to you. Because my goal with this series of columns is to educate solo, small and midsized-firm lawyers about their software choices, I’ll be focusing on cloud-based software and apps. I do this because they are more affordable and require no IT investment or assistance in order to use the software, thus making them more attractive to firms without huge IT budgets.
So here are a few of the deposition review tools available to you. (Note: This is not an all-inclusive list.):
First, there’s TranscriptPad. This is an iPad app that is arguably one of the most well-known of the cloud-based deposition review tools. It is from Lit Software, the makers of TrialPad (an iPad app for trial preparation) and DocReviewPad (an iPad app for document review). Two things that sets TranscriptPad apart are its robust feature set and its longevity; since TranscriptPad was released, most similar iPad apps have appeared—and disappeared or been abandoned by their developers. In comparison, TranscriptPad has been around since 2012. One notable limitation is that it can only be used on iPads. And you pay a price for its stability and frequent updates: It costs $89.99. But compared to the cost of similar, more traditional premise-based software, it’s a bargain.
Another option to consider is WarRoom. Unlike TrialPad, it’s not a mobile app. Instead, it’s a cloud-based software program that is accessible from all internet-enabled devices. This means that it is platform-agnostic, and you’ll be able to use it no matter what type of PC or mobile device that you work from. It offers a free 7-day trial, and the cost is $29/user/month.
Finally, another app for mobile devices that you might want to consider is Mobile Transcript. It offers apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices. The free version is only available to participating court reporters, but lawyers can upgrade to a paid account that permits them to upload transcripts. Also important to note is that unlike other similar apps, aside from highlighting, you’re unable to annotate or otherwise mark up transcripts using this app. The cost for individual lawyers is $29/month for up to 50 uploads per month. For law firms, monthly tiered pricing is available: 1-50 uploads per month costs $39; 1-200 uploads is $69; 1-500 uploads is $99; 1-1,000 uploads is $129; and 1-2,000 uploads is $159.
So if you’re seeking to work more efficiently during the pretrial process, using one of these deposition transcript review software programs is a great option. Because they’re cloud-based, you’ll be able to review, analyze and mark up deposition transcripts from anywhere using compatible internet-enabled devices. The bottom line: These tools are convenient, affordable, and they help you stay on top of your busy litigation caseload. What more could you ask for?
Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York, attorney, author, journalist and the legal technology evangelist at MyCase, legal practice management software for solo and small-firm lawyers. She is the nationally recognized author of Cloud Computing for Lawyers, and she co-authored Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier. She also co-authored Criminal Law in New York, a Thomson West treatise. She writes regular columns for ABAJournal.com, The Daily Record, Above the Law and Legal IT Pros, has authored hundreds of articles and regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law, mobile and cloud computing, and internet-based technology. Follow her on Twitter @nikiblack, or she can be reached at [email protected].