iPad App for Depositions

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01Oct2011

iPad App for Depositions

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By Michael Berman, Rifkin Livingston Levitan & Silver

Joshua Gilliland, author of the Bow Tie blog and Bow Tie Law blog, and president of Majority Opinion, LLC, was kind enough to provide me with a complimentary copy of his new iPad App, called The Deponent App. Deponent marries document assembly principles with a database of stock deposition questions that can be tailored by the user and assembled into an outline for questioning during the deposition.

Each question contains a text box and, for those fluent with virtual or accessory keyboards, a deponent’s answers can be entered as the deposition progresses. Each question also contains a “flag” and the product ships with four stock flags so that a question may be marked, for example, as “finished” or “go back.” The flags can be tailored to suit the user’s needs. For example, you might want to flag questions with “objections,” or “instructed not to answer,” and Deponent permits re-naming up to four flags. The program also permits PDF or TIFF files to be imported via iTunes or Dropbox and attached to the relevant question.

Let’s take a look at how the App might be tailored to a specific use. Under the settings option, there is a “questions” button. The questions are sorted by category and the stock options include categories for the “accident,” witnesses’ “assumptions,” the “basis of opinion,” etc. After filtering by category, each relevant question can be checked off to enter it into the deposition outline. There, it can be re-ordered and individually edited to meet the needs of the deposition. The program also permits the user to add new questions to each pre-defined category.

More significantly, the category selection lets the user create new categories. Because I am a commercial litigator and rarely deal with an “accident,” I might want, for example, a category called “contract formation,” and a category titled “accounting issues.” I can then create my own stock questions for those categories.

Once created, I can go to the “questions” button and add stock questions, choosing from my new categories and tailored questions. Then, by checking the questions, they will be added to an outline tailored to the case.

Currently, the program does not permit filtering by flags, and that would be a welcome added feature. Nevertheless, it is easy to use and has an intuitive interface.

The iPad has been described by Webomatica as a device for consuming, but not creating, content, a view that I have generally shared.

Deponent, however, does the latter. Deponent was recently described by Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., on her highly-regarded feedblitz blog.

Michael Berman is Counsel at Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver in Towson, Maryland.

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