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Whenever a litigator asks me to recommend useful iPad apps, one of my first recommendations is TranscriptPad. If you own an iPad and you work with depositions, you will love this app. And if you don’t have it yet, I encourage you to buy it immediately before the price goes up, as noted below.
First, a little background on what this app does. As I explained in my January 2012 review, TranscriptPad imports the text versions of depositions provided by a court reporter and organizes them into cases. [UPDATE: If you need to work with .ptx files, read the very helpful comments to this post that discuss strategies for doing so.] You can then use the app to read and annotate the deposition. And instead of simply marking all of the important stuff with a yellow highlighter (although you can do that too), TranscriptPad lets you add issue codes as you review a deposition. So if a Question and Answer are relevant to damages in a case, you can select those lines and apply the “Damages” issue code (or whatever other issue codes you want to create). When you are finished reviewing the deposition, the app creates a handy report organized by issue code so that you can, for example, see all of the key “Damages” testimony at one time, all of the key “Comparative Fault” testimony at one time, etc. I’ve used TranscriptPad extensively in my own practice for the last 18 months and the app has been very helpful for many of my cases.
Last night, the app was updated to version 1.6.9. Several new features were added, but by far the most important addition was a vast improvement to the reporting feature. The best addition is the ability to run a report across several transcripts. For example, if a deposition of a plaintiff is in three different volumes, you can now run a single report on all three volumes. Or even more useful, you can now run a report across an entire case. Thus, you can easily see the most important testimony of every single witness that was deposed on the issue of damages or comparative fault or whatever in a single report.
To run these new reports, first navigate to the level on which you want to run a report. In the following example, I have navigated to the top case level where I have all depositions in the case. In this example, I have depositions from Joe Plaintiff and Polly Plaintiff. Simply tap the Reports button at the bottom of the left column.
Tapping that button brings up the new and improved Report dialog box:
To prepare a report that shows you the actual transcript testimony (the report that I find most useful) select “Detail” type of report under PDF Reports on the left. You can then decide what to include in the report. By default, every annotation will be included and every issue code, but you can turn off particular types of annotations. For example, if you are only interested in Damages, you can just run a report on the issue code of damages.
Once your report is prepared, it is displayed on the right so that you can preview it.
If you like what you see, then tap the export button at the top right of the screen. That gives you the option to email the PDF report, print the document to an AirPrint printer, send the document to your Dropbox, or open the PDF file in another app. In the following example, I chose to open the file in iAnnotate PDF, another app that I am currently evaluating for an upcoming review. As you can see, the PDF reports are easy to read with the page and line numbers and the full testimony.
These reports are incredibly useful to me because with the passage of time, I often forget all of the important testimony from a deposition. A TranscriptPad report allows me to quickly see all of the key testimony in a case, organized by topic. After spending a few minutes reviewing a report, I am once again up-to-speed on what is good for my client (or sometimes, not so good) about the testimony of a witness.
Note that the text of the report is in black and white. If you chose to highlight or underline text (instead of applying an issue code) as you were reading, that is simply treated as another type of annotation. So just as you might have a report on the “Damages” issue code, the app creates a report of all testimony that you highlighted in yellow, all testimony that you underlined in blue, etc.
The Detail PDF Report is the most useful report for me, but you can create other types of reports. The Summary PDF Report will give you the page and line designations but not the actual testimony. The Annotated (Full) and Annotated (Mini) reports prepare a PDF version of the entire deposition with your annotations included. You can also create reports in .txt format (useful if you want to work with the file in Microsoft Word), Excel format, Sanction format and TrialDirector format.
The ability to create reports across several depositions is a key feature for me, but there are lots of other useful improvements in version 1.6.9. For example, you can now create a mini report with four transcript pages on each page, useful if you are printing out the annotated transcript and you want something that doesn’t take up much space in your briefcase. There are also improvements in the ways that issue codes are handled across a case, including the ability to hide issue codes that are not used in the particular deposition that you are reviewing. The full list of improvements in this update is as follows:
What’s New in Version 1.6.9
- New and updated report options, including new “Annotated (Mini)” report.
- Reports of Flags and Notes are now included in all reports, and can have unlimited text.
- Create reports at any level of your organizational structure: at the transcript level, the folder level, or even across a whole case.
- Highlights and Underlines can now be included in reports.
- Create report as an Excel file with Issue Codes, Flags, and other annotations in separate Sheets.
- Easily show/hide Issue Codes used in other transcripts, e.g. only have medical Issue Codes show in a doctor’s deposition.
- Added Copy Text option to Create Designation dialog, and pasted text will include the sources page and line information.
- Double-tapping a page/line designation jumps to that area of transcript and brings up the Create Designation dialog.
- Search field now also finds exhibit, file, and folder names, in addition to text in transcripts.
- Now supports 4 character page numbers for large depositions (current page indicator, page number on slider, page number in transcript, and search result hits).
- Added Recent button to allow you to easily and quickly jump back and forth between different transcripts.
- Enhanced transcript import to handle additional formatting scenarios.
- Rename dialog now updates immediately.
- Search results now sorted alphabetically.
- Renamed “Pack Case and Send” to more intuitive “Email Case”.
- Various minor bug fixes and improvements.
If you haven’t purchased TranscriptPad yet, I encourage you to do so today because the price is about to increase. Ever since the app was first released, it has cost $49.99, but because Apple doesn’t allow developers to charge for app updates, the developer told me that he is raising the price of the app to $89.99 to cover the future cost of development. I believe that the price increase will occur on Monday, July 29, 2013. Even $89.99 is a great price for useful litigation software, but if you don’t have TranscriptPad yet and you want to save $40, you have a few days left. Whatever price you pay, you’ll find that TranscriptPad transforms your iPad into a sophisticated tool for reading and annotating transcripts.
About the Author
iPhone J.D. is a site for lawyers using iPhones and iPads, published by Jeff Richardson, an attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana. This site does not provide legal advice, and any opinions expressed on this site are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Jeff’s law firm, Adams and Reese LLP. iPhone J.D. is not associated with Apple, Inc.