The U.S. military talks a lot about “force multipliers”, usually referring to technologies (but sometimes human elements or intelligence) that allows a unit to have the combat power of what would traditionally be a much larger unit. Technology can be a real force multiplier for the savvy defense lawyer, especially against government attorneys who are hamstrung by using dated technology (sometimes 15 years old!) and supported by IT staffs that know nothing of trial work or what a lawyer needs.
When I take on a new case the very first thing I do is read the initial case file from the government. (Although usually this is pre-referral and the formal discovery process, the documents “accompanying the charge sheet” usually contain the CID/OSI/NCIS case file to that point.) Then I OCR it (I OCR all discovery received throughout the case along with any documents generated on the defense side).
Then, I create a project in OmniFocus for the entire case off my trial template (you can easily do this in Things or 2DO or even TaskPaper or Apple Notes or EverNote). I sometimes start a mind-map at this stage but it depends upon how clear the course of the case is at this point. Either way, I have my initial tasks ready from my OmniFocus project (discovery requests, case investigation, impeachment of the complaining witness etc.).
As I receive discovery and OCR it, I import it into LiquidText for review….an absolutely amazing application. Then as I develop notes and highlights…it all goes into TrialPad for use at trial. Ditto for videos and audio recordings. Meanwhile, I’ve started working on voir dire and the opening argument (attorneys who say that they begin with preparing the closing must all be government types who don’t understand how trials work) in Ulysses. If it’s a case with voluminous discovery, then I’ll Bates stamp the documents as they’re received.
Motions are drafted in Ulysses (if original) and then sent to Pages for final formatting and then sent as PDFs (and exported to Word if necessary for the court). If I have a motion on point in my motions library, then I’ll just edit it in Pages as appropriate.
When we get close to trial I prepare a full mind-map of the trial, also serving as my game plan. Opening and voir dire are finalized. Any visual exhibits are worked up with the appropriate presentation software and I prepare files for every witness in LiquidText and export them to TrialPad.
At trial, everything revolves around TrialPad. And then we kick ass.