If you are involved in litigation or you interact with witnesses, then it is more than likely that you are familiar with depositions and transcripts. You are also acutely aware of all of the legal pads, sticky notes and highlighted text passages that accompany transcript review, that is until now. Depositions have become so routine and common-place that you many not associate the ordinary but critically important proceeding and its associated transcripts with cutting-edge technology. However, using tablets and apps today’s lawyers and paralegals can shrink down all those documents, transcripts and exhibits into a format that you can easily take with you anywhere.
TechnoLawyer released a survey in May 2014 which revealed that 74% of American lawyers use tablet computers. And this is for good reason. Tablets are small, portable and can connect to the internet anywhere over either a Wi-Fi signal or a cell carrier network. Because of the pervasiveness of tablets among legal professionals, developers have released an ever-growing number of apps specifically dedicated to depositions and transcripts. Also, there are many other apps that were developed for broader use but work nicely when applied to depositions. Today we will focus on a few of the deposition-specific apps.
TranscriptPad: TranscriptPad is a tool for reviewing, annotating, and digesting deposition (or hearing/trial) transcripts. The app allows you to quickly and easily read transcripts, create designations, assign issue codes and print or email reports. You can open your attached transcript from an email or import it from DropBox. Some of the app’s great features include: automatic entry of dates and deponent information, hands-free reading (like a teleprompter) and customized reporting. The app lets type-As annotate depositions down to the last detail. Users can identify blocks of text by line number and then associate a label that pertains to your case issues as well as a color code. You can flag text as well. The app can then create an index based on this information so you can see all of your annotations by label, color and line numbers. You can also export the index and annotations. Unfortunately for Android users, TranscriptPad is only available for iPad at the cost of $89.95.
Mobile Transcript: If you aren’t an iOS user, and you like the idea of being able to work with transcripts on your tablet, you may want to look at this app that is available for both iPad and Android tablets. Mobile Transcript is versatile, letting you annotate by highlighting text and email a log of those highlights in page and line number format. Or you can share the entire transcript in PDF or Excel with the highlights showing. You also can log billable time and later export that as well. There are various price points for this app ranging from free to several hundred dollars per month, but for $29 per month an individual attorney can use the full set of features on up to 50 transcripts.
Portable E-Transcript by Thomson Reuters Westlaw: Brought to you by the leading legal research provider, Westlaw, this app is the most basic of the three mentioned in this article but is also the only one with that is completely free with full features. It works with PTX file formats sent via email, Dropbox or iTunes. Besides its free cost, this app stands out for its ability to link you to specific annotations or passages through a menu and its Word Index that lists every word used within the transcript along with frequency of use and links to each specific use. If you use Westlaw’s Case Notebook suite, Portable E-Transcript will allow you to share annotations and transcripts between the two platforms, and you can update the transcript in the desktop version of Westlaw Case Notebook including the highlighting and notes you added in the app. As with TranscriptPad, this app is only available for iOS devices.