Trial Guides is a simple ebook reader for trial related ebooks. Trial Guides is also a publishing company that publishes (surprise) books on trial practice and trial techniques. They have an excellent selection of popular titles for trial lawyers. The app itself is a no frills, basic e-reader. I suspect the entire reason to have a dedicated app is to maximize profitability by bypassing the need to share as much revenue with Amazon or Apple by selling a Kindle or iBook version.
The app itself is free. The books are not. In fact, the books are offered at basically no discount over the printed versions. For some people this would be outrageous. For me, if I really want to read the book, the ability to have it with me on my iPad is worth what is, in effect, a premium price for a book that doesn’t have to be printed and distributed.
Trial Guides’ selection of e-books includes some serious must-read tomes for trial lawyers: Rules of the Road, Polarizing the Case, David Ball on Damages 3,Twelve Heroes, One Voice, and several from the Moe Levine series. All are excellent resources. As of now, there are only 16 books available from the Trial Guides’ print catalog.
The User Interface
As I said, its simple. If you use iBooks or a Kindle app, you’ll recognize all aspects of the UI. Its basic. It offers the ability to highlight, enter notes and bookmark pages. That’s it. Really, iBooks and Kindle don’t offer anything more. That being said, I’d like to see more. The fact is, the content here is not a novel. I rarely use the comment features in the Kindle app because I most often find myself reading things for enjoyment. The material in the Trial Guides’ catalog of titles is different. This material that needs to be studied, outlined, and, in many cases, returned to again and again. I myself decided to by David Ball’s Damages 3 through Trial Guides mainly because I had physically worn out my copy of Damages 2.
Trial Guides could improve its app by tweaking the existing highlight and note features to lend themselves to creating a dynamic outline of the book. While you can view the highlighted sections as a pseudo outline, the app actively works to defeat that by breaking your highlights at the end of a page, rather than recognize that if the highlighting continues on to the next page, it is all part of one section. There is also no way to export the highlights as a .pdf or a simple text document. That would be extremely beneficial. And this material calls out for that kind of robust app. You aren’t reading Fifty Shades of Grey here.
Who Should Buy This?
Anyone who calls themselves a trial lawyer, or aspires to be a trial lawyer, should read many of the titles in Trial Guides’ catalog. As for the app? Well, if you want to read those books on an iPad, this is the only way to do it. And its free. I just hope they tweak around the edges. If they do, they may convert some folks who would otherwise buy “real” books.
Trial Guides for iPad
Reviewed by Todd Hendrickson on .
Summary: Trial Guides is an iPad eReader app dedicated to books for trial lawyers. Titles include Damages 3, Rules of the Road, Polarizing the Case and others. It is a simple eReader with few frills.
Overall score: 3.5 (out of 5)