TranscriptPad: A Must Have iPad App for Mobile Attorneys

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TranscriptPad, a new app for the iPad, is a must–have for any attorney reviewing transcripts on the go. The app is fast and powerful, with a strong emphasis on mobility. You can import transcripts and exhibits in .txt and .PDF form via iTunes, e-mail, or Dropbox. That means it will work great with your paperless office. But even if you’re just tired of schlepping transcripts around, you should give TranscriptPad a try.

Flags and Issue Codes: Never Use a Sticky Note Again

As a law clerk I only transcripts for writing opinions. I usually read the transcript straight through at least once and flag the testimony I think will be relevant. That means by the time I actually sit down to write an opinion I’ve got at least a dozen sticky notes in the transcript alerting me to relevant testimony. But with TranscriptPad my sticky note days are in the past.

The app allows you to highlight portions of the transcript and either mark them with flags or ‘issue codes.’ The issue codes can be whatever you want, and you can have an unlimited number. Unfortunately there are only six color code options, but unless you’re really a stickler for organization I can’t imagine that would be an issue.

For example, I used TranscriptPad to review a homicide case. One issue on appeal was whether the prosecution met its burden in proving a specific intent to kill. While reading the transcript I marked any applicable section with the issue code ‘Intent.’ Then, when I was done I could click my issue code and find all of the relevant testimony easily.

Share the Transcript However You Want

Unlike some software, nothing you load into TranscriptPad is trapped there, thanks to the app’s strong export features. You can easily e-mail an entire transcript whenever you want. But more importantly, you can e-mail reports with only sections of the transcript. For example, if you’ve created an issue code for all of the testimony dealing with injuries, you can send an e-mail isolating that issue code. The e-mail can either contain just references to the transcript (a silly option in my opinion) or the actual text of the transcript, with citations. The same is true of any portion that you flagged.

Limitations

TranscriptPad does have some limitations, although I don’t think they’re deal breakers. First of all, the app costs $49.99. That is steep. Normally I balk at any app over $1.99, but for those attorneys that have to review transcripts regularly, I think TranscriptPad is worth the price.

Also, there is no copy and paste feature. I would like to be able to just select lines of text and copy them right into an e-mail or even a text document without getting involved with flags or issue codes. Unfortunately the app does not support this.

Finally, I found the app slightly confusing the first time I opened it. I can’t tell you the last time I had to read a user’s guide. But I could not figure TranscriptPad out without looking at the guide. The browsing in the app is all very straightforward. But when it comes to actually highlighting and flagging text, I was completely lost. Luckily I can save all of you that trouble. The trick is to click the first line you want to select and then the last line. That will select all of the text.

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  • As much as I love technology, very little of it is truly “must have.” A computer, a web browser, an email client, some word processing software, and a printer are all you can really call mandatory.

    Beyond that, it’s all optional. An iPad app? That’s several steps away from “must have.”

    • I agree that one doesn’t need a lot in the way of technology in order to run a competent law firm.

      What I’m saying here is that if someone is a mobile attorney that already relies on their iPad and uses it to read transcripts, then TranscriptPad is the way to go. I’m not saying that people should ditch their current systems and go buy an iPad and this app just to keep the lights on.

    • I would add phone. And, I know this is pushing it, a cell phone.

      • My bias is showing. If I could destroy my phone, I would.

        • So this isn’t in your future?

        • Because of the interruptions or because of the phone itself? I thought you had one of those sweet new Google phones. I bet if you drop it from, say 1-2 stories, that ought to do the job…

          • Oh, I like the gadget, although I don’t love carrying it around. But for me it’s the interruptions and voicemail. Especially unhelpful messages like “please call me back.” Although those are slightly better than “please call me” emails.

            Maybe I can figure out a way to leave my own message, but turn off voicemail, so I can say something like “please email me instead of leaving a message.”

  • $49.99 is absurd. I have two similar apps, one was $10 and the other was free, that offer very similar functionality. This is a good idea, with marginally better features, but it’s not worth the increased price over iAnnotate or PDF Pen.

    You’re welcome for the free market research.

    • Thanks for the input Adam. As I noted, I think the price point is definitely high on this app. Do iAnnotate and/or PDF Pen allow you to search within the transcript for specific words or phrases? I haven’t used either app yet.

    • TranscriptPad is a very different tool that is laser focused on the transcript reading and review needs of a lawyer or expert witness.

      TranscriptPad uses the raw data in TXT files to create designations based on specific page/line information, assign Issue Codes, and then create reports that can be emailed or printed. Other general apps will not allow that granular type of workflow.

      Also, because TranscriptPad was developed specifically for the purpose of transcript review, we’ve added details that are important to a reviewers needs, but that aren’t included in general apps. Just to name a few:
      – TranscriptPad has hands free reading with adjustable speed.
      – The ability to search across an entire case (without first recreating one enormous “search” file each time a transcript is added).
      – The ability to create and assign specific issue codes on the fly.
      – Highlighting a line or paragraph is as simple as 2 taps as opposed to holding your finger on a word and dragging to expand the selection bars.
      – After making a selection you can easily Email or Flag the selection, or assign one or many Issue Codes.
      – Create reports covering all Issue Codes, or just a select few.

  • Hi Josh,

    Thanks for your review of TranscriptPad! I would like to expand on a couple of good points you raised:

    (1) “The e-mail can either contain just references to the transcript (a silly option in my opinion) or the actual text of the transcript, with citations.”
    The reason that I incorporated the option to just send page/line designations (without the text of the transcript) was from a request from a lawyer to whom I showed a pre-release version. He wanted the option to send opposing counsel just the page/line designations and have them look it up in their own paper transcript! Maybe unsportsmanlike, but it was an easy request to fill.

    (2) “Also, there is no copy and paste feature. I would like to be able to just select lines of text and copy them right into an e-mail or even a text document without getting involved with flags or issue codes.”
    You can in fact email a selection very easily. Just tap the start line and end line, then tap the Email button. The selected text is automatically copied and pasted into the body of an email for you, including the page and line where it came from. It will even pre-populate the subject line of the email with the name of the deponent, the date of the depo, volume number, and the from/to of the pages/lines.

    (3) “I found the app slightly confusing the first time I opened it. I can’t tell you the last time I had to read a user’s guide.”
    We have created video tutorials available on our website (www.transcriptpad.com) that can quickly get you up to speed if a user in not inclined to read the Quick Start Guide.

    (4) “But when it comes to actually highlighting and flagging text, I was completely lost. Luckily I can save all of you that trouble. The trick is to click the first line you want to select and then the last line. That will select all of the text.”
    This was intentional to allow the user to flick up and down in the body of the transcript and not accidentally select text. The solution was to have an “active” area that just requires two taps to select a section of text instead of using the traditional (and tedious) press and hold on a word and then moving both the grab handles to the in and out point of a selection.

    Thanks again, and your users can feel free to email any questions to support@ litsoftware.com.

    Kind regards,

    Ian

    Ian O’Flaherty
    ian@litsoftware.com
    Lit Software, LLC
    Developer of TrialPad and TranscriptPad