The legal profession is widely noted as being one of traditional decorum, stoic judges in cold courtrooms and complete with technology bordering on basic-slide Power Point. However, many advancements have been made in law firm and courtroom technology. Gadgets that will help litigants display evidence easier and software that assists large firms in payroll and billing with ease and accuracy. If you’ve ever wondered if technology and the law will ever collide, this article highlights some of the latest trends in legal technology.
It first must be noted that many judges are uncomfortable with the notion of technological updates done to the courtrooms and parties brining in elaborate displays. Judges have allowed litigants to use Power Point in their closing and opening arguments, but in many courtrooms the tech privileges end there. The risk of delay and jury confusion can be great with certain devices and judges may be right to limit their introduction. However, many of the latest models actually promote efficiency and productivity in a way never seen before.
Some courtrooms have opted to install a Digital Evidence Presentation System (DEPS) for easier evidence display. This system allows parties to switch back and forth between real-time transcripts, evidentiary documents and video or any other type of multimedia presentation by just hitting a single button.
Another key piece of courtroom technology is the latest advancement in tools for the court reporter. As the reporter transcribes the trial or hearing, real-time copies of the transcripts are available on screens provided to both the jury and the judge. Counsel can elect for copies to be sent in real time to their laptops as well.
Counsel tables now come equipped with the latest technology has to offer as well. In some jurisdictions, counsel tables are supplied with quick-connect capability for data, voice and real-time transcription, as well as video. Fully-integrated video conferencing systems are available in some courtrooms for assistance with in-camera or remote witness testimony.
One of the most interesting technological advancements, entitled the TrialPad, is an application available for the iPad that allows litigants to import documents from multiple sources into a folder format which can then be presented on a projector in the courtroom with the aid of a VGA adapter.