Using an iPad for trial presentation is not only more efficient and economical than traditional presentations, it is also drop-dead easy to set up. Each and every piece of evidence is just a tap away, which means no more lugging around blown-up foam board exhibits or fiddling with unreliable overhead projectors. Gone are the last minute phone calls to expensive print shops or the hiring of $1,200 a day litigation technology specialists.
As for setting up and presenting on an Apple TV, this article will teach you everything you need to know.
Although there are a countless number of reasons why you should use an iPad for trial presentation, simplicity is at the top. iPad trial presentation needs only three pieces of equipment: an iPad, an Apple TV, and an Adapter/Cable.
I recommend purchasing the iPad Air 2 for your trial presentation. It is fast, light, and extremely reliable. As for storage, you will want to shy away from the 16GB models and go with a more robust 64GB or 128GB. You do not want to run out of storage in the middle of preparing for trial.
Please note, however, that these are just recommendations. The first time I tried a case with an iPad, it was an iPad 2 with 16GB, and it worked just fine.
For a long time, the biggest impediment to using an Apple TV was a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Practically, this meant bringing in your own hotspot (and hoping for a strong signal) or relying on the court’s public and unsecured network — neither of which are ideal. Apple solved this problem with its most recent Apple TV (Model A1469) release by including Peer-to-Peer Airplay: a feature that eliminates the need for a Wi-Fi connection.
If you have an Apple TV and don’t know whether it will support Peer-to-Peer Airplay, the model number is located on the bottom. Of course, all hope is not lost if you have an Apple TV and it doesn’t support Peer-to-Peer Airplay; you will just have to make certain that you have access to a stable Wi-Fi network.
The Adapter/Cable is the one piece of equipment that may differ depending on the courtroom AV system. One end of the Adapter will plug into the back of the Apple TV and the other end will connect with the courtroom AV system, so knowing what is available in the courtroom is crucial.
The most prevalent connection in courtrooms across the country is the VGA connector. Based upon experience, VGA connection cables are generally located at each counsel table, the lectern, or at the clerk’s desk.
Alternatively, if you are in a more up-to-date courtroom, you may plug directly into an HDMI port.
Once you know what input the courtroom uses, you will be able to purchase the correct Adapter/Cable. If the court has a VGA connector, you will need to purchase an Adapter similar to this HDMI to VGA:
If you are plugging into an HDMI connection, all that you will need is a HDMI cable.
In the event your courtroom has some other less common type of connector, just search the internet for an “HDMI to [unknown] adapter.” You will undoubtedly find what you need.
Next is the equipment setup. This is where most lawyers get uncomfortable, and that is why this process should be done days or weeks in advance of walking into the courtroom. Use your office or home television to set everything up for the first time. If you want to go one step further, use the iPad and Apple TV to prep your witnesses so that both of you are comfortable with what to expect. Then, a day or so before trial opens, get access to the courtroom, so that you can setup and test your equipment; most judges appreciate this because it is one less headache to deal with on an already hectic day.
The first step in setting up your Apple TV is to plug the Adapter into the HDMI port on the back of the Apple TV.
Here is what it will look like attached:
After attaching the Adapter to the Apple TV, you will need to connect the court’s VGA connector to the Adapter.
Of course, if all you need is an HDMI cable to plug into the court’s AV system, plug it directly into the HDMI on the back of the Apple TV.
Once the Apple TV is plugged into the court AV system, you will see the following Apple TV screen. This screen is different from the usual screen because there is no Wi-Fi connection.
Similarly, your iPad should not be connected to a Wi-Fi network; if it happens to find a Wi-Fi network that you have used in the past, go into Settings–>Wi-Fi and touch the active connection; the next screen will give you the option to Forget This Network, which is what you will select. Similarly, if you have an LTE enabled iPad, turn off the LTE. It is important to note that, even though your iPad is not connected to a Wi-Fi network, you do not want to disable Wi-Fi.
At this point, with the Apple TV Home screen showing on the monitor and the iPad disconnected from all Wi-Fi connections, you will be able to enable AirPlay by swiping up to reveal Control Center and selecting AirPlay.
If you have an older Apple TV and can’t use Peer-to-Peer mode, all hope is not lost. You can still use an iPad and Apple TV for trial presentation. You just need to make certain that you have access to a reliable, secure Wi-Fi network, or a rock-stable Mi-Fi device. If this is the route for you, you simply have to make sure that you connect the Apple TV to the same network as your iPad. Once the Apple TV and iPad are on the same network, you will enable the Apple TV display in the same way as above.
Now, with your iPad connected to the Apple TV, you are ready to proceed with your presentation.
Choosing the right app for trial presentation is as important as getting the setup right. If you don’t know how to use the app or access the data efficiently, you will lose the benefit of this setup and return to using “ole reliable.” There are three products in the App Store that merit consideration:
TrialPad is the trial presentation app that all other trial presentation apps are measured. It has been on the market the longest and likely has the greatest number of users. In addition to the most basic features such as Callout, Highlight, Redact and Laser Pointer, TrialPad allows the user to label evidence with exhibit stickers, clip videos, and present evidence in dual screen mode. This app is fantastic and should be at the top of your list.
ExhibitView 5 is a very good product that has many of the same features included with TrialPad. Perhaps one of its best features of ExhibitView 5 is the “last item used” indicator. In the long list of exhibits, ExhibitView 5 keeps the last item used highlighted, providing clear context to the user.
TrialDirector is also a compelling product, particularly since it is free. Although TrialDirector does not provide the user with as many tools and features as TrialPad or ExhibitView, this is a quality app to use in order to get comfortable with this new presentation system.
As for data transfer, all of these apps allow you to import your data through Dropbox and iTunes. Importing the data through Dropbox is drop-dead easy and allows for transfer without ever connecting a cable. Consistent with Apple’s design language, Airplay is enabled in these apps by pressing the familiar Airplay button and selecting Apple TV.
From preparation to presentation, the benefits of using an iPad and Apple TV for trial presentation are plenty. You can prep on the go because you can load all of your evidence on the iPad well in advance of announcing “Ready.” You have every exhibit available at the touch of your finger, thereby eliminating time spent searching for evidence stashed in a box, folder, or on the opposing counsel’s table. You can zoom-in, highlight, callout, or markup evidence in ways that have never before been available at the podium. You will be perceived by the jury as prepared, efficient, and knowledgable. If all that wasn’t enough, you will also save your client money.