The following Guest Post is from noted Nashville trial attorney, Eddie Davidson, in which he explains his thoughts on a some of the benefits of having a Mac-driven practice – especially the flexibility of his MacBook Pro.
I handle catastrophic injury cases. My case volume is low, but each case demands a lot of attention and detail work. Every deposition I take is a video deposition. Video depos are an indispensible tool throughout the litigation process as I am continually re-framing my case in anticipation of trial. I am fortunate to have an outstanding videographer, Lisa Williams, who works with me. She is Mac-based. About five years ago she inspired me to take the leap from PC to Mac, and I am forever grateful. I am now all Mac all the time.
I offer here a specific instance in which the MacBook Pro (MBP) helped turn a difficult case into a complete success. But before I get to the details of that case, I should point out that in my pre-Mac days, I would hire local video studios to edit my video depos – and it cost me a FORTUNE!!! I paid out tens of thousands of dollars over the years for others to do what I can now do – from start to finish – on my MBP. I am a Mac evangelist.
The case involved a tragic intersection collision in which my client, a 17-year passenger in a Honda Civic, incurred fatal injuries upon being ejected from the Civic when it collided with a Heavy Duty GMC truck owned by a regional corporation and driven by an entrusted employee. The young plaintiff never went home. He died in his hospital bed 31 days after the wreck. The accident report placed all blame on the driver of the Civic – who had minimal coverage limits.
I was retained several months after the collision. I looked at the photos, the news clip and talked to a police officer that worked the scene. The accident report notwithstanding, my review of the photos convinced me that the GMC truck was traveling at an excessive speed – far above the posted 45 mph limit. I brought in a top-notch PE PhD engineering expert – one that I have trusted many times before – who concurred. I filed suit and requested the EDR. Click here and you will see for yourself whether our hunch was correct.
THE ROLE OF THE MBP
The MBP played a huge role in this case. As always, I used it to edit the many video depos. I also used Garage Band to record a few witness statements. But hands down, the most effective use of the MBP was using Photo Booth to take video statements of witnesses. In the video clip you will see two Photo Booth generated excerpts, one of a retired judge (he was in no way associated with the instant case) and the other of an on-site witness. They both contradicted the defendant driver of the GMC. Their video statements literally turned the case around.
As mentioned today over at my South Carolina Family Law Blog, Google has just added video and voice chat capability to Gmail, making a great product that much better. Now, anyone with a Gmail account can chat with virtually anyone else — for free. Of course, Mac users have had the benefit of iChat for quite some time, but Google has really opened the floodgates with this technology to bring it to the masses.
This technology can make it easier for more attorneys to communicate with each other and also for tech-savvy clients can also utilize this technology to have face-to-face meetings with their attorneys from their homes or offices. The process is literally as simple as setting up a (free) Gmail account, clicking on the Chat drop-down list, and then selecting who you want to talk to.
If you want to learn more about Google's video and voice chats, you can read more in the following articles:
I am pleased to present the following Guest Post from Blake Boyd, who is one of the premier Trial Technologists and Legal Presentation Specialists in America:
Since the advent and rise in popularity of the internet, the general public has changed the way we all gather our news, research and general information. This electronic age has trickled it's way into the courtroom. Many major cities in the United States are adding courtroom A/V expenses into their budgets. Newly constructed courthouses are almost guaranteed to at least include a projector, screen, and sometimes individual monitors for the Judge and Jury to view. Have you found yourself wondering how you can take advantage of these visual tools?
As the technology has become more popular so has the usage of Trial Technologists. When I started helping present evidence in trial 8 years ago, the major fear of most attorneys was they would look "too flashy". Other attorneys in the courtroom would joke saying, "Are you going to show us movies? Do we get to watch you play games? What is all of this for?" I would sit back and smile as they didn't understand how powerful it is to explain the issues of a case visually to the Jury. Now those same attorneys are trying their hardest to incorporate audio visual presentations into their case.
I talk to many attorneys that are having trouble justifying the added expense of hiring a Trial Technologist, and while I'm an strong advocate of the usage of technology in the courtroom, some cases do, and some don't, justify that expense. When trying to help them answer this question I tell them to think about these different options, each has their pro's and con's:
After listening to many people, including my friends and tech gurus Kevin O'Keefe and Grant Griffith, preach the virtues of Twitter for a long, long time, I finally decided to open an account for myself to see what the buzz is all about. My username is @TheMacLawyer (fittingly enough), and you can follow me at twitter.com/themaclawyer.
Twitter is one of those things that is a little hard to describe to others. The short definition is that it is a micro-blogging service, but that doesn't tell you much. Twitter describes itself as "a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate
and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to
one simple question: What are you doing?"
To this point, I am still experimenting with how to best utilize Twitter, and the jury is still out. I have posted some personal views/opinions there, and I will post some blog/tech related items in the future. If any of my readers are on Twitter, please let me know and we can "follow" each other (in Twiiter-speak). I'll try to post here from time to time to let you know what I think about Twitter going forward.
Update 11-9-08: In the three or so days that I've been on Twitter, I've managed to pick up almost a hundred followers. So far, I think Twitter is pretty cool, and I'm enjoying the connections and interactions that I am having with everyone there. If you haven't done so, check me out HERE.
I posted a few weeks ago about an attorney who uses his Mac to create online videos to attract clients. After reading that post, one of my readers, noted Nashville trial lawyer Eddie Davidson, sent me a link to his website to show me how he used his Mac to create a video to help explain his trial philosophy, "Trial As Story." What I found unique was how he was able to integrate actual courtroom video in with his Mac-generated video to communicate his message. I urge you to take a few minutes to click HERE to view Eddie's video, which runs less than three minutes.
Once upon a time back in the late summer of 2007, there was a Mac-using attorney was preparing to make a big presentation to a statewide legal association. Everything was going well, until his hard drive spontaneously committed suicide only days before his presentation. To make matters worse, this lawyer didn’t have a recent backup of his hard drive.
After talking with the folks at AppleCare and visiting a Genius at his local Apple Store, this poor soul faced the sad reality that it seemed as though all of his data was lost. Then, he learned about DriveSavers, and after discussing his situation with them, he decided to give them a try. The ailing hard drive was shipped to California for diagnosis and testing, and after a few days, some of the once-lost data was recovered and returned to the lawyer.
There are many morals to this story:
- Backup all of your critical data, and do it regularly. There are several excellent backup programs, but I prefer SuperDuper! because it is very easy to use and it makes bootable copies of your hard drive.
- Have a second alternative to your backups, such as OS X’s built-in Time Machine. Trust me, you can never be too safe with your data, and this second method is quick, easy, and invisible.
- If you are faced with data loss, despite the two recommendations above, utlize a top-notch data recovery service, like DriveSavers. They are not inexpensive by any means, but how much is your data worth to you?
- Never admit that you were dumb enough to not have a backup of your data, even if it’s blatantly obvious that your blog post was about yourself…
If you are interested in learning more about what goes into a data recovery company, you should read Macworld’s interesting profile of DriveSavers, which was published last week. It closely examines all aspects of the company, from its roots to its newest complex, and it features its use of Macs throughout its history.
The New York State Board of Law Examiners recently announced that it will not allow its examinees to take the bar exam on their Macs. Apparently, the
exam software is designed to only run on Windows systems, and the board included this clause in its laptop policy, warning in capital
letters: “We do not support Apple products in any form including
Intel-based laptops running Boot Camp — no exceptions.” As if it’s not stressful enough taking the bar exam, in my opinion, being forced to do so on a Windows PC should be considered "cruel and unusual punishment."
Sorry that this post is a little late, but I want to cover the three big announcements from last week’s WWDC. I have had several projects going on at work, which I will discuss in subsequent posts later this week. Of course, the 3G iPhone was formally announced, as widely expected. It not only includes 3G capability, but it also has GPS built-in and will support Microsoft Exchange ActiveSynch. It will be available on July 11th in over 70 countries. Best of all, Apple has reduced the price to $199 for the 8 GB model and $16 GB model.
Apple also announced its MobileMe service, which is a repackaged and improved version of .Mac. This new service, described as "Exchange for the rest of us," uses "push" technology to give users the ability to synchronize their email, calendar, and contacts across multiple computers. It also makes that information available via a web interface, and it provides a large iDisk online storage area too. MobileMe will be available in early July and will cost $99 per year for a single user or $149 per year for a five user family pack.
Finally, Apple provided developers with information about Mac OS X 10.6, called "Snow Leopard." Instead of an overhaul, this release is expected to focus on performance rather than new features. Expected to ship sometime in late 2009, Snow Leopard aims to deliver "a new generation of core software technologies that will streamline Mac OS X, enhance its performance, and set new standards for quality. Snow Leopard dramatically reduces the footprint of Mac OS X, making it even more efficient for users, and giving them back valuable hard drive space for their music and photos."
Source: "WWDC 2008 Keynote: iPhone 3G, 2.0 Firmware, SDK, MobileMe, 10.6 Hints" published at MacRumors.com
As everyone knows, Apple’s WWDC begins tomorrow in San Francisco. There have been many rumors circulating about what will / won’t be announced at this conference. Steve Jobs will deliver the keynote speech at 10:00 a.m. (PDT), so in less than 24 hours we’ll know for sure. In the meantime, here are some of the most popular rumors from around the ‘net:
- 3G iPhone Release :: It is widely expected to finally be released at the WWDC. AT&T has completed their 3G rollout, and it has prohibited its employees from taking a vacation between June 15th and July 12th in preparation for an "exciting Summer Promotional Launch".
- New iPhone Features :: Most experts believe that it will have true GPS functionality. Some sources report that the phone will be slightly thicker than the existing model, while others claim it will thinner. It’s possible that the new model will offer video conferencing, though this is far from confirmed. Some claim that the new iPhone will be lower in price, while others claim it may be higher.
- .Mac, Me, Mobile Me :: It is possible that .Mac might be revamped and possibly renamed to Me or Mobile Me. The rumored new functions could include over the air synching, synching with Windows, and "push" email.
- Mac OS X 10.6 :: Steve Jobs said some time ago that Apple plans to update OS X every 12 to 18 months. Within the last few weeks, rumors have surfaced that OS X 10.6, code named "Snow Leopard", might be previewed at WWDC. Instead of a complete overhaul, this update is expected to be more of a tweak that focuses on security, stability, and performance.
- Tablet Computer :: Rumors have persisted for quite some time that Apple is working on a tablet computer. However, it is not expected that any such device will be revealed at the WWDC.
Source: "Worldwide Developers Conference 2008 Rumor Roundup" published at MacRumors.com.