How I Use My Android Tablet in Court

One of the best tools in my legal tech arsenal is my Viewsonic gTablet. While I’d love to upgrade, and I will, I am satisfied with its stability, performance and capacity. I carry my gTablet almost everywhere I go (I’ve left it home the past couple days because I haven’t had court). When I’m in court, the gTablet is to me what Linus’ blue blanket (it’s Christmas-time after all) is to him – a little piece of comfort.

The gTablet hasn’t always been a comfort blanket. In fact, when I first started implementing the tablet, I printed out copies of my “needed” documents, just in case. My irrational behavior mimicked my reluctance when I implemented a “paperless” office.

Gradually, I became more comfortable with relying more on my tablet and apps, than on my chicken-scratch set of “notes.” I developed a functional and efficient method for transforming digital information into meaningful arguments.

Now, I mostly use my tablet in 2 scenarios: depositions and hearings. Here’s my method:

  1. All documents become PDF copies with OCR performed using Adobe Acrobat (we have version 9 & 10).
  2. Documents get saved to a folder on the server using our practice management program.
  3. At the office, I use Acrobat to comment, arrange, crop, and edit the particular document.
  4. I save the document to a “working folder” for use at the deposition or hearing. Note: all documents are “working” copies of the original file.
  5. Before hearing or deposition preparation time (usually at home), I copy the client’s entire folder (or my working folder) from the server into my Dropbox folder. This keeps my original notes.
  6. At home or away from the office, I use RepliGo Reader to read, edit, comment, and  highlight the PDF document. I can add comments, bookmarks, etc.
  7. When finished, I save the document back into Dropbox.
  8. Prior to the hearing or deposition, I print out any exhibits I want to present. I also (if I haven’t already) copy the client’s entire folder to Dropbox for sync as I travel to the courthouse or deposition.
  9. At the deposition or hearing, I open my working copy, and commence the arguments. When necessary, I present the printed exhibits. With RepliGo Reader, I can open other documents referred to by counsel, search the document, and add comments regarding the argument. I may also opt to use a note-taking program like Evernote to scratch notes about the other party’s arguments.
The tablet has expanded my capacity to carry documents and information, and lessened the amount of excess documents I carry. Adjusting to using a tablet is slightly difficult, since a lot of people still focus on paper, but once you’re using it, the tablet works great. I love my Android tablet, and only wish I could find more ways to use it.

3 Responses to How I Use My Android Tablet in Court

  1. Terrific ideas! I’ve used a similar practice with my Motion 1700LE tablet PC. I love using Acrobat, as you do with your tablet. However, I’ve found that coupling a tablet PC with MS OneNote works great in depositions and motion/trial practice because of the ability to take handwritten notes on the tablet that are stored electronically and searchable.

  2. Just got into tablets and have “improvised” a process almost exactly like yours and have been wondering if I was crazy to do it that way. Glad to see it works well for somebody else. I use Clio (goclio.com) as a cloud practice managment solution which integrates with Dropbox and it all works together very well. My only problem now is my 7″ screen seems to small and I’m trying to decide if I want to swap to a 10″. Want to keep a 4:3 screen ration though so PDF pages are fullscreen (I hate the way 8-1/2 x 11 pages look on a 16:9 portrait display not to mention how the text is that much smaller). Because of this, the HP Touchpad may be the best option – it can be easily “hacked” to dual-boot to WebOS AND Android 4.0 and can be overclocked from 1.2 dual core to 1.5 dual core, so it’s looking like it might be the best choice for an “in-court” tablet at this time.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.