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.