Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Deposition Rocket Science

I came across an ad for LiveNote, a suite of products to help manage deposition transcripts, exhibits, and so on.

There are some interesting possibilities. For instance, one system feeds the court reporter's transcript into the lawyer's laptop. Even with the laptop's screen folded down (to avoid distraction), the lawyer can mark key passages by pressing the spacebar or a number.

Another system can connect the lawyer taking a deposition with colleagues, even in another office or city. Seeing the real-time transcript and a video image of the deponent, they can then use an instant message system to suggest lines of questioning or comment on what was just said. (This might feel familiar to students who IM during class.)

I'm sure there are other products out there. This one just happens to be one whose ad I saw. (LiveNote is owned by Thomson West, and I'm on West mailing lists.)

Technology certainly makes a lot possible. I wonder how much it's used and in what sorts of practice. Complex cases worth millions of dollars would justify investment in equipment, software, and training, but there are no doubt cases that can be handled just as well with the very simplest of technologies (legal pads, trial notebooks, and so on).

Is this an area with a big firm/small firm split? Or are there some solo practitioners who run high-tech practices and some big firm (or big government) lawyers who are less wired?

How much of trial practice is rocket science?

Photo (liftoff of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing mission) courtesy NASA.

1 comment:

Kathleen Hunt said...

As a solo and later small-firm employment lawyer, I used LiveNote CONSTANTLY! It gave me a leg up on most large law firms, and was extremely useful in summary judgment. As I recall, it was quite inexpensive - small firms should automate anything they can...trial presentations, database management, billing -- it permits you to level the playing field, and actually compete.