The Hytech Lawyer Review and Video Demo of Leap Motion Controller


For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know I’ve been anxiously awaiting the Leap Motion Controller (“Leap”). The promise of the Leap is the ability to control your computer by simply moving your hands, without touching a mouse or the screen itself– like Tom Cruise did in 2001 movie “The Minority Report.” I had visions of waving my hands in court during a presentation and making magic occur for the judge and jury– I’m still waiting.

As you will see from my video review, the Leap is in fact quite amazing. However, that does not yet translate into the Leap being a practical tool for use by lawyers in their work. For now, it is simply much more efficient to control your computer using a mouse or touch screen than using the Leap and currently available software. No doubt that will change as clever developers and the Leap Team continue to refine what is now still a beta quality device.

The Lawyer’s Toolbox: One Hand iPad Presenter’s Case (with video)


When using the iPad for presentation purposes, if appropriate, I like to walk around the room presenting my slides and any other media wirelessly using Apple TV or the Reflector App.  The challenge is that the iPad takes two hands to hold and operate. One solution is my favorite presentation case.  It is from  New Trent and called the “Grabbit.” The price is  $34.95 from Amazon, which is about 1/2 the original retail price.


I have prepared a video demonstrating the case and its functionality.  The case works with iPad generations 2, 3 and 4.  RECOMMENDED.

The Lawyer’s Toolbox: How to Make a Wireless Presentation with an iPad using Apple TV (HDMI) with a VGA Projector, Monitor, or Smartboard

I am frequently asked how to make a wireless presentation over Wi-Fi using the iPad and the Apple TV (HDMI output), when the projector, monitor, or SmartBoard display to be used has only an “old” style VGA input:


To do this, an HDMI digital to VGA analog converter is required [just using adapters without an electronic converter will not work]. There are a number of converters available on the market. The Linksys system that I use has been discontinued.


The alternative I now recommend is the Kanex ATVPRO  ($43.00 Amazon).  A third-party video review and demonstration of the Kanex converter can be found at This Link.


This converter has received good reviews and is sold by Apple in  its own stores for $16.00 more.





Set-Up Steps:

1.  Plug VGA cable into projector and turn projector on.

2. Plug other end of VGA cable into Converter box.  If you are going to be using audio, plug mini plug audio cable into converter and the other end into speaker input.

3. Plug HDMI Cable from converter into Apple TV. Turn on Apple TV.  Connect Apple TV to Wi-Fi Network

4.  Turn on iPad.  Select the same Wi-Fi network as you set for Apple TV

5.  Push the iPad Home button twice– slide over to volume control where you should see the “Mirror” symbol. Turn Mirror “on” and your iPad should be Mirrored on the Projector.


photoHelpful Hints:

  • Test the setup on your home Wi-Fi system before relying upon it in public.
  • Many computer monitors still have VGA inputs and you can use one to simulate a VGA projector for test purposes.
  • Keep in mind, that for the wireless system to work, the Apple TV and the iPad must be on the same Wi-Fi network .
  • Many networks have security features that will block the Airplay functionality of the Apple TV. To work around this, I always bring my own Wi-Fi to presentations- either using the hotspot on my iPhone or my MiFi card as the Wi-Fi source for the iPad and Apple TV.  This way, I know the setup works and there are no surprises.

If you have questions regarding using the iPad for presentations, please comment publicly below , or send me an email at   If your question is of general interest I may answer in a post, or if not will try to respond individually .

The Hytech Lawyer and Kids Have Fun with Green Screen Effects on iPad

IMG_1475 Lest you think that being the Hytech Lawyer means all work and no play, here is a little window into the recreational part of my world.  In this video, my “hytech” kids and I play around with the green screen functionality of a neat iPad app named VideoFX Live.  Green screen technology also known as Chromakey, is how your local TV weather person appears to stand in front of a moving weather map, when in actuality, he or she is standing in front of a solid green screen. The green (and just the green) is replaced electronically with another image, such as a weather map or anything else you can imagine.  When used with a good quality green screen, the VideoFX Live green screen app on the iPad gives results close to professional grade. The creative possibilities are endless and can make the production of a family video an entertaining and interactive family activity.

The green screen effects are just a few of the many available for this app. The basic App is free, but the really cool effects require an in app purchase.  We spent about $12 to buy all the effects that looked interesting.

We also purchased a large green screen (10 x 7) with stands for about $ 90.00.  The assembled unit is huge, but packs away nicely.  Other green colored material can work, but having a good screen makes a big difference.

We would love to hear about your favorite fun apps—leave a comment below if you are so inclined.

Technology Blunders by Lawyers in Zimmerman Trial Limit Effectiveness of Prosecution

If you have followed the second degree murder trial of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin, you may have seen the two major technological blunders made by the prosecution.  These two incidents involving Twitter and Skype, are prime examples of why the ABA was correct in revising the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to require that attorneys keep current on new technology.

In the first incident, the prosecution attempted to show that it’s own witness Jenna Lauer was biased in favor of Zimmerman by trying to get Lauer to admit on the stand that she “followed”  Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman, Jr., on Twitter.    [For those not familiar with Twitter, if you follow someone, you  receive their messages posted on Twitter].  Lauer placed the 911 call on which screams for help could be heard.  In response to the prosecutor’s questioning, Lauer claimed she did not understand how Twitter works and denied following Zimmerman–  which it appears now was not true. See

Viewing the prosecutor’s examination, the one thing that was abundantly clear was neither witness, nor the prosecutor had a good understanding of how Twitter works.   Perhaps the witness can be excused for this ignorance, however, the prosecutor cannot.   The result was this line of questioning, which had the potential to show real bias and call into question witness credibility, had to be abandoned by the prosecutor because he had not done his homework and could not conduct an effective cross-examination on a social media technology he did not understand.

The second prosecution technological fiasco was the attempt to present a witness via Skype. Skype is a video teleconference service.  As reported by Vishal Persaud with Washington NBC affiliate channel 4:

“Scott Pleasants, a criminal justice professor at Seminole State College had been called to testify about Zimmerman taking an online criminal justice course in 2011. About one minute into Pleasants’ testimony, delivered from Colorado, an onslaught of incoming Skype calls began to pop-up on the television screen in the courtroom, which interfered with the testimony.

Apparently, Pleasants’ Skype username was visible on the television screen in the Sanford, Fla., courtroom, as well as to everyone watching the trial across the country, prompting the slew of prank Skype phone calls accompanied by the service’s trademark “ping” sounds.

Towards the end of the prosecutor’s examination, the calls had become so numerous that the judge had to intervene and order Pleasants to end the Skype call.”

I have written about Skype for the presentation of witnesses and the problem of pop-ups. Had someone in the courtroom been familiar with Skype, the program settings could have been adjusted to prevent access by the pranksters.

See Below [limit IM messages to contacts]:

Skype Popup options


Because the prosecutor and/or his staff did not know how to properly use Skype in this situation, the impact of this witness’ testimony was diminished.  The lesson— know your presentation technology and try it out before using it in a nationally televised murder trial.

Recognizing the importance of attorneys staying technologically current, in August of 2012, the ABA’s House of Delegates voted to amend the comment to Model Rule of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.1.   The Rule itself remains unchanged and states: “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.”

The revised comments to the rule, which are to be used to interpret and provide guidance for construction of the Rule, add the following italicized language: “To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.”  While the ABA Model Rules are not themselves binding on lawyers, they serve as a model for ethics rules in most jurisdictions.

So the lesson here for lawyers young and not so young–  take the time to familiarize yourself with the lastest technology– especially before attempting to use it at a nationally televised trial.


The Lawyer’s Toolbox: How to Convert PowerPoint Presentations to Keynote and Transfer to the iPad (Video)

Keynote imageKeynote  ($9.99 The App Store) for the iPad is a powerful presentation App created by Apple and similar to Microsoft’s PowerPoint.  I use both Keynote and PowerPoint frequently for meetings and general presentations and prefer Keynote becasue of its graphic look and effects.  However, many iPad Lawyer’s do not have a sufficient comfort level with Keynote to use it to create presentations and/or have extensive libraries of PowerPoint presentations that need conversion to Keynote for the iPad.  In the attached video, I demonstrate how to convert a PC PowerPoint presentation to Keynote for use on the iPad, as well as how to transfer the presentation to the iPad via email, SpiderOak Hive and Dropbox.   I also demonstrate the creation of basic slides, graphs and effects:  VIDEO

If you have questions, please leave them as comments and we (myself and my network of experts) will do our best to answer them.

Responding to a Data Breach— Best to Have Your Plan in the Can

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReports that there has been yet another data breach or malicious hacking attack targeting the personal and financial information of thousands or even millions of consumers have become so common they barely constitute news.  For most companies and yes, law firms, the question is not if a significant data breach or hacking attack is in their future, but instead when.   Is your company or law firm ready?

In an informative article in Law Technology News entitled, What to do about high data breach costs, Judy Selby writes about the importance of being proactive to minimize the risk of a serious security breach in the first place, and to mitigate the damages if a breach should occur.  Among her suggestions are an annual review by a data security and policy compliance consultant (If a recommendation is needed let me know), developing a comprehensive incident response plan, employee education and working with vendors to ensure they are complying with company data security policies and the law.  This is the best practice and what we recommend to our clients; however, a recent study indicates that many companies are woefully unprepared or underprepared to respond to a significant data breach.   See Is Your Company Ready for a Big Data Breach?

Assume for the sake of argument your company has not been proactive and does not have a comprehensive data breach response plan in place. Further suppose an employee [or perish the thought an attorney] leaves a laptop containing personal identifying (names, birth dates, social security numbers) and credit card information of thousands of company customers on an airplane.  The computer cannot be located, and the presumption is the confidential data is in jeopardy.  You are the General Counsel for the company. What now?

Upon learning of a potential breach, inside counsel in this situation should stop kicking themselves for not being proactive, take a deep breath—and then promptly make a call to retain outside counsel knowledgeable in responding to data breach emergencies.  It is important the counsel (“breach counsel”) retained be able to drop everything and respond to the emergency promptly. Ideally the breach investigation will be conducted by breach counsel and subject to the attorney-client privilege.  Under these circumstances, breach counsel should come into the engagement with an outline of an action plan ready to be implemented by the company, subject to adjustments based upon the actual reality on the ground.  The first order of business is to close the leak and to secure any data that has not yet been compromised.   Breach counsel will need to be able to “talk the talk” with IT personnel.   An immediate investigation should be commenced to determine the cause and extent of the breach, the nature of the data compromised, and whether there are indications the data is likely to be used in a criminal or unauthorized manner in the short term.   In many cases, computer forensics specialists should be retained to assess the damage.  The complete investigation should be thoroughly documented in writing, noting the details of the breach including when it occurred, when it was discovered, etc..   Again, in our view this investigation should be conducted by breach counsel to maintain the privilege.

There are a myriad of complex legal issues that arise when a data breach has occurred.   Besides the requirements of federal law if applicable,  e.g., those pertaining to medical information under HIPPA and the HITECH Act, forty-six states have enacted their own data breach notification laws requiring consumer notification when there is a data breach involving personal information such as names coupled with social security numbers, birth dates, financial information, etc..   The terms of these laws vary, and are often inconsistent or even contradictory.  See Interactive Map of State Data Breach Data Breach Notification Statutes, resources and related information.  In many states, safeguards such as encryption and/or the partial redaction of the exposed data may limit state law statutory exposure and avoid notification requirements.  Not so in other states.  Since customer notification requirements vary significantly between states, most clients with a national customer base will need experienced legal assistance if they are to adequately assess and meet their compliance requirements.  Failure to meet the state reporting requirements and deadlines can result not only in civil liability, but in some cases significant per record fines and assessments.

As one of the first orders of business. breach counsel is likely to advise the client to put together an emergency response team including key executive decision-makers, in-house counsel, IT/security managers, customer relations executives and potentially public relations personnel, among others.  The point is to have all the key players and decisions makers involved and informed.  Depending upon circumstances, law enforcement personnel may also need to be brought in, and regulators may need to be notified.  All of this activity should be pursued with a sense of urgency, as many states require consumer notification in the most “expedient time possible without unreasonable delay.”  See e.g.,  S.C. Code Ann. § 39-1-90 (“The disclosure must be made in the most expedient time possible without unreasonable delay….”).

If counsel determines that a significant data breach requiring reporting has occurred, he or she may also recommend the engagement of one of the major credit reporting services that has extensive experience in credit report monitoring in data breach situations.   Offering customers credit monitoring services is expensive, but often eliminates or significantly mitigates significantly greater liability exposure going forward.  See e.g., Hammond v. The Bank of New York Mellon Corp., No. 08-Civ-6060, 2010 WL 2643307, at *7 (S.D.N.Y. June 25, 2010) (claims stemming from accidental loss of back-up computer tapes containing personal information, no allegations of loss or actual damages—two years of credit monitoring service provided by bank precluded a claim for monitoring services).  These companies also typically offer notification administrative, call center and related services.

In summary, there is much to do in responding to a data breach event.  The response requires quick and decisive action under pressure– not the ideal time to be learning the rules of the road or setting up a response team.   As in most things in life, the more thought given to a response plan in advance the fewer mistakes will be made when the storm hits.  Don’t wait until a breach occurs—prepare today!

Bill Latham  a/k/a the  hytech lawyer ( )

New SpiderOak Hive Works Like Dropbox and is a Better Ethical Choice for Lawyers


Lawyers have an ethical obligation to take reasonable steps to protect their clients’ confidential information.   This has become a significant challenge in light of daily revelations of data breaches and cyber attacks by individuals and criminal rings, hacking by foreign governments, and now news that the United States Government is collecting massive amounts of data from a wide variety of internet providers.  Lawyers must be more aware than ever of the risks and of the defensive technologies available to them.

The hytech lawyer has long been a fan of the SpiderOak cloud-based back-up storage service because of its zealous emphasis on security, its “zero knowledge” encryption (see below), and its privacy favorable terms of service.  Until recently SpiderOak was not as user friendly and intuitive as Dropbox, which many lawyers persist in using for transmitting and storing confidential client information despite security and terms of service concerns.

SpiderOak Hive (“Hive”) is a new Dropbox like feature offered by SpiderOak with the same “zero knowledge” encryption of the legacy SpiderOak service.   Like Dropbox, Hive allows the user to transfer files from one of their computer/mobile devices to all of their other computer/mobile devices on which Hive is installed by simply dragging and dropping the file into the Hive folder on one of the devices. For example, a lawyer could have Hive installed upon their desktop PC at home, their Mac, their work PC laptop, their iPad, and their iPhone. If the lawyer moves a file, such as document, into the Hive folder on any of these devices, the file is replicated in the Hive folders on all of their devices. Hive is available for Windows, OS (Mac), iOS (iphone/ipad) and Android devices.

So why the preference for SpiderOak Hive?  Most online storage systems, including Dropbox, only encrypt user data during transmission, meaning anyone with physical access to the servers the data is stored on (such as the company’s staff) could have access to it. Or, even if the data is encrypted during storage, the user’s password (or set of encryption keys) is often stored along with the data, thus making it’s easily decoded by anyone with local access to those servers.

As explained by SpiderOak:

With SpiderOak, you create your password on your own computer — not on a web form received by SpiderOak servers. Once created, a strong key derivation function is used to generate encryption keys using that password, and no trace of your original password is ever uploaded to SpiderOak with your stored data.

SpiderOak’s encryption is comprehensive — even with physical access to the storage servers, SpiderOak staff cannot know even the names of your files and folders. On the server side, all that SpiderOak staff can see, are sequentially numbered containers of encrypted data.

This means that you alone have responsibility for remembering your password or ‘Password Hint’ (which you can create to help you remember) allowing SpiderOak to create a true ‘zero-knowledge environment’ – keeping your data as safe and secure as it can possibly be.

This also means that SpiderOak cannot unencrypt the data even if ordered to do so.  Therefore, if SpiderOak is ordered to produce a lawyer’s confidential client data by a secret court or even more troubling by a civil lawsuit subpoena, the data produced will be encrypted and presumably unusable.  Likewise, if SpiderOak is hacked, the data stolen will be encrypted and unusable.

The Ethics Issue

When you move a file into a Dropbox or Hive folder, it is automatically uploaded via the Internet to a remote server maintained by Dropbox or SpiderOak. Copies of this data are then downloaded to any Dropbox or SpiderOak folders you may have installed on your other devices. This data resides on your individual devices and on the Dropbox/SpiderOak servers. Because the data on these servers is now in the hands of a third party (Dropbox or SpiderOak) and maintained in remote servers out of the control of the lawyer, the lawyer must have an understanding of how the cloud service provider, Dropbox or SpiderOak in this example, will treat the data entrusted to it.

Think about it in more conventional terms— would an ethically responsible lawyer send a confidential client file out to a copy service for reproduction without having in place a written confidentiality agreement with the copy service, or at the least a clear understanding that the client’s documents be safeguarded, kept confidential and reasonably protected from disclosure? Likewise, what responsible attorney would hand a confidential client file to a well dressed stranger on the street and ask them to deliver it, for free, to someone at another location without knowing something about the stranger’s background and without at least having an understanding with the stranger that the information will be maintained confidential and secure?

Compare these last two analogies with cloud service providers such as Dropbox, whose service is at its most basic level offered free and where there is no agreement between Dropbox and the attorney other than the unilaterally imposed terms of service required by Dropbox to access the service. If the attorney uses Dropbox without a commitment or agreement with Dropbox that reasonable precautions will be taken to protect the client’s data, then is the attorney acting with reasonable care? Recent ethics opinions from 15 states suggest the answer is no.

The ethics opinions addressing whether it is acceptable for an attorney to use cloud computing and online document storage for the transmission, storage or processing of client information and files have uniformly opined that an attorney must use “reasonable care” when selecting a cloud or Internet service or product. The American Bar Association has compiled a very helpful map and summary of 14 of the 15 state bar ethics opinions on the topic as of the time of publication.

The most recent cloud services opinions is Proposed Advisory Opinion 12–03, issued by the Professional Ethics Committee of the Florida Bar. The Committee opined:

This Committee agrees with the opinions issued by the states that have addressed the issue. Cloud computing is permissible as long as the lawyer adequately addresses the potential risks associated with it. As indicated by other states that have addressed the issue, lawyers must perform due diligence in researching the outside service provider(s) to ensure that adequate safeguards exist to protect information stored by the service provider(s). New York State Bar Ethics Opinion 842 suggests the following steps involve the appropriate due diligence:

    • Ensuring the online data storage provider has an enforceable obligation to preserve confidentiality and security, and that the provider will notify the lawyer if served with process requiring the production of client information
    • Investigating the online data storage provider’s security measures, policies, recoverability methods, and other procedures to determine if they are adequate under the circumstances;
    • Employing available technology to guard against reasonably foreseeable attempts to infiltrate the data stored.

Id. (emphasis added).

Citing an Iowa ethics opinion, the Florida Advisory Committee provided the following additional guidance as to what a lawyer should look for in a cloud provider:

[L]awyers must be able to access the lawyer’s own information without limit, others should not be able to access the information, but lawyers must be able to provide limited access to third parties to specific information, yet must be able to restrict their access to only that information. [The Lawyer should also consider] the reputation of the service provider to be used, its location, its user agreement and whether it chooses the law or forum in which any dispute will be decided, whether it limits the service provider’s liability, whether the service provider retains the information in the event the lawyer terminates the relationship with the service provider, what access the lawyer has to the data on termination of the relationship with the service provider, and whether the agreement creates “any proprietary or user rights’ over the data the lawyer stores with the service provider.


Given this guidance, let’s look compare the provisions of the Dropbox and SpiderOak security provisions, terms of service and privacy policies.

System Security


In a “security overview” on its website, Dropbox states it:

  • Encrypts the user files stored on Dropbox using the AES-256 standard, which is the same encryption standard used by banks to secure customer data. Encryption for storage is applied after files are uploaded, and Dropbox manages the encryption keys.
  • Uses Amazon S3 for data storage. Amazon stores data over several large-scale data centers. According to Amazon, they use military grade perimeter control berms, video surveillance, and professional security staff to keep their data centers physically secure.
  • User files are sent between Dropbox’s desktop clients and its servers over a secure channel using 256-bit SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption, the standard for secure Internet network connections.
  • User files are sent between Dropbox’s mobile apps and its servers over a secure channel using 256-bit SSL encryption where supported.
  • Dropbox and Amazon keep redundant backups of all data over multiple locations to prevent the remote possibility of data loss. In the unlikely event that this redundancy were to fail, Dropbox folders linked to a desktop computer client will still contain copies of your files (except files you’ve chosen not to sync using Selective Sync).
  • “We guard your privacy to the best of our ability and work hard to protect your information from unauthorized access.”
  • “Dropbox employees are prohibited from viewing the content of files you store in your Dropbox account, and are only permitted to view file metadata (e.g., file names and locations). Like most online services, we have a small number of employees who must be able to access user data for the reasons stated in our privacy policy (e.g., when legally required to do so). But that’s the rare exception, not the rule. We have strict policy and technical access controls that prohibit employee access except in these rare circumstances. In addition, we employ a number of physical and electronic security measures to protect user information from unauthorized access.

Based upon these representations, Dropbox appears to be reasonably secure from a technical perspective. However, as we will see, the same cannot be said when it comes to the adequacy of its privacy policy.

Terms of Service

The terms of service contain the following pertinent provisions:

To be clear, aside from the rare exceptions we identify in our Privacy Policy, no matter how the Services change, we won’t share your content with others, including law enforcement, for any purpose unless you direct us to. How we collect and use your information generally is also explained in our Privacy Policy.

So far so good– now to the Privacy Policy:

Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy contains the following pertinent provisions:

Compliance with Laws and Law Enforcement Requests; Protection of Dropbox’s Rights. We may disclose to parties outside Dropbox files stored in your Dropbox and information about you that we collect when we have a good faith belief that disclosure is reasonably necessary to (a) comply with a law, regulation or compulsory legal request; (b) protect the safety of any person from death or serious bodily injury; (c) prevent fraud or abuse of Dropbox or its users; or (d) to protect Dropbox’s property rights. If we provide your Dropbox files to a law enforcement agency as set forth above, we will remove Dropbox’s encryption from the files before providing them to law enforcement. However, Dropbox will not be able to decrypt any files that you encrypted prior to storing them on Dropbox.


The glaring absence of any commitment by Dropbox to notify the user if Dropbox needs to protect its “property rights” or if legal process is served upon it purporting to require the production of the user’s information is troubling. The absence of a policy of notification prior to disclosure is one reason I do not use Dropbox for storage or transfer of confidential documents, for fear that an errant subpoena could cause protected documents to be disclosed without the opportunity for a challenge.

Let’s compare Dropbox’s policies with the privacy policy of SpiderOak. As previously noted, I have long been an advocate for the SpiderOak cloud-based storage service because of its emphasis on security. As an initial line of defense, all data on SpiderOak is encrypted but the key to the encryption resides on the user’s machine. SpiderOak does not have access to the key and cannot un-encrypt the data. This is called “zero knowledge” which means third parties not have access to the contents of the client files even if they acquire the actual data. Second, SpiderOak has a policy not to produce user data to third parties without prior notification to the user, unless such notification is prohibited by law.

The SpiderOak privacy policy expressly states in pertinent part: “SpiderOak’s policy is to notify a user of a request for their personal data stored on our servers prior to disclosure unless prohibited from doing so by statute or court order [e.g. 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b)].” See SpiderOak Privacy Policy at DISCLOSURE.

SpiderOak has further explained the privacy policy on its Blog site:

Posted by Linzi Oliver at Jun 27, 2012 8:54 AM.

Judging by the popularity of criminal investigation and justice TV shows, it’s safe to say our society loves courtroom drama. In real life, although rare, we do receive a request from a law enforcement agency asking us to supply them details about a users. We publish the number of times this happens along with more information in our transparency report. Most of the time, the request isn’t even accompanied by a subpoena. The truth is, some companies immediately give the agents whatever they are requesting without making them go through due process. At SpiderOak however, when we get a request like this, we always tell them we only give user data in response to a subpoena from a court with proper jurisdiction. We also inform them of our Zero-Knowledge Privacy Policy which means our users’ data is encrypted such that we can’t decrypt it. Furthermore, unless they have the user’s encryption keys, they won’t be able to either. To date, this has always concluded the inquiry. In the event we need to comply with a subpoena we would notify the user prior to disclosure unless prohibited from doing so by statute or court order. To make this step more official we recently added this clause to our privacy policy. While the inside of a courtroom looks exciting on a late-night episode of Law & Order, we have yet to make any appearances.”

SpiderOak June 2012 Newsletter

So compare and contrast: SpiderOak gives customers notice of any attempt to compel production of their data [unless prohibited by law], and even on the rare occasion where the data is produced, it remains encrypted. SpiderOak cannot decrypt the data it even if legally ordered to do so. Dropbox’s Privacy Policy does not indicate it requires notice to its customers of requests for production and acknowledges data is produced decrypted.

While Dropbox was the example discussed here, the same analysis should apply to other cloud based services before lawyers use these services to store, transfer or process confidential information. Even where the terms of service and privacy policy do not meet the confidentiality standards, this does not preclude using the service altogether since much of the typical client file is not truly confidential (e.g. pleadings, some exhibits, public documents, etc.). The challenge for law firms that allow their attorneys to use Dropbox and other similar cloud based services is one of education so they are sensitive to the ethical issues.

The Hytech Lawyer Recommends Thirty-One Great Apps for Lawyers – SUMMER 2013

Here it is– the latest, greatest list of iPad Apps recommended for lawyer use by the hytech lawyer. They are grouped by category.  These are my favorites,and I have left out some perfectly acceptable alternatives to keep the list manageable.

Document Editing and Management

1.    Goodreader  ($4.99 App Store) 


One of the all time best selling non-Apple apps for iPad.  This App allows you read and in most cases mark-up PDFs and many other varieties of documents.  Also has a well designed document management system which permits multi-level document files (i.e., organizing documents by case/matter).  Integrates well with Dropbox, email and many other applications. Aggressive development team constantly refines and updates the application.  A must have for the serious iPad lawyer.


2.    Documents To Go Premium  ($ 16.99  App Store)

DocsAnother must have application for the serious iPad lawyer.  Allows you to open, edit, save, email and create documents in the most popular word processing and spreadsheet applications to include MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and WordPerfect.  The “Swiss Army Knife” of iPad document apps.



3.    Pages ($9.99 App Store)



Apple’s proprietary word processing program.  Most robust word processing App for the iPad.  Converts Word documents for editing and then can convert them back to Word or PDF.  Documents created in Pages can be converted to MSWord or PDF and shared by various means. If you plan to draft documents on the iPad, you will want this App.



4.    SpiderOak  (Free up to 2 GB App Store)




SpiderOak does everything that Dropbox does, and more (allows cloud storage and sharing files between computers, smart phones, iPads, etc.), but is much more secure.  Your files are encrypted and SpiderOak does not have a key. SO DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSWORD.  To start out, you install the desktop app and select folders you want to backup. Once backed up, you can sync them to other computers/devices or create “Share Rooms” to share files with other users.   Use SpiderOak for cloud storage (after 2 GB charges based on storage size), file transfers and collaboration with others. SpiderOak recently introduced SpiderOak Hive that works just like Dropbox—only much more secure.  In my opinion,  a “must have” App.

5.  Dropbox (Free up to 2 GB  APP Store)—NON-CONFIDENTIAL FILE USE ONLY



In some respects, Dropbox is a fantastic App.   It allows cloud storage and sharing of files between computers, smart phones, iPads, you name it.  With this App,  you can make a file available to all your devices by moving it to the Dropbox on any of your other computers/devices.  Incredibly easy to use.   The problem—there are serious questions about the security of files stored in Dropbox and access to them.   Further, the terms of service are such that Dropbox can pretty much do what it wants to with your files.  In my opinion Dropbox is not suitable for storing or transferring confidential and/or privileged materials.  However, it is probably true that using Dropbox to simply transfer files, and then deleting the files from Dropbox post transfer presents minimal risk.  I use it frequently for transferring nonconfidential files because many applications are designed with Dropbox capability.


6.  UPAD (4.99 App Store) (most natural handwriting and note taking)


UPAD allows you to use your iPad as a notepad for handwritten notes.  I use it every day (with a stylus) in place of my yellow legal pad (although UPAD has yellow legal pad templates for those who wish to honor tradition).  I have tested most of the popular handwriting Application (Penultimate (old #1 choice), Note Taker HD, Noteability, PaperDesk, PhatPad 7Notes HD Premium) and have found UPAD to be the easiest to use with the best file storage functionality and most natural writing feel.

7.    Audio Note ($ 4.99 The App Store) (syncs audio with your handwritten or typed notes)



This is a particularly useful app that allows you to take handwritten or typed notes and audio record at the same time.  The recording is synced with your notes.  On playback select a word from your notes and the audio occurring at the time the note was taken is played back, with the corresponding text being highlighted. Great for witness interviews, depositions, meetings and classes.  Caution:—remember the ethical issues related to recording others without their knowledge.

8.    Smart Writing Tool- 7Notes HD Premium  (App Store 9.99) (Best handwriting to text conversion)

7Notes7Notes is reasonably capable at converting handwriting to text.  This App has been updated multiple times and has evolved into a practical note-taking tool.  My handwriting is horrific, yet 7Notes converts almost every word correctly.  It does this by using a predictive language engine, which while generally accurate, struggles with proper names.

You have the option of having your text converted as you write, making corrections along the way, or converting to text later. In our testing, the text conversion was much more accurate in the “convert as you go” mode as compared to using the “convert later” feature.

7Notes allows for the exporting of documents by Email, DropBox (under the print function) or direct upload to Twitter or Facebook.  Right now the export is in text, image, or PDF  file formats,  but the developer is reportedly working on an export to Word feature that could be useful.  The App also integrates with Evernote with in App purchase.  This integration was not tested.

Audio Recorder

9. Twisted Wave  ($ 9.99 The App Store) (Best pure audio recorder)


Twisted wave is a professional quality audio recorder app that provides surprisingly clear sound recordings.  It has an intuitive interface, which is easy to use and full of powerful exporting and editing features. Caution:—remember the ethical issues related to recording others without their knowledge.




PC to iPad Extended or Mirrored Screen

10. Air Display ($9.99 App Store)


In my office, I have a dual monitor set-up I find to be very useful. You purchase the iPad App and download the PC host software for free.  When on the road, I carry my laptop PC and an iPad2.  Air Display allows me to use my iPad as a dual monitor for my laptop over a common WiFi network or via an ad hoc network. You can have an extended screen (screen view) or a duplicate screen.  The iPad functions as a touch screen for your Windows PC.   This gives you the option of using your iPad as a remote control for your PC or vice versa.

The duplicate screen mode could be also be used to display documents to a witness in deposition prep. The Lawyer on the PC and the witness with the iPad.


Meeting And hearing Presentation Application

11.  Keynote  ($ 9.99  The App Store)

Apple’s answer to PowerPoint for the iPad.  You can create presentations on the iPad, but I have found it more practical to prepare presentations in PowerPoint and then email them to my iPad.  Keynote will convert PowerPoint presentations to Keynote.  As you might expect from Apple, Keynote has some neat effects for transitions, etc.

 Trial Presentation Application

12. Trialpad  ($89.99 The App Store)

In my opinion, Trialpad is the best trial presentation application available for the iPad. It is also the most expensive (although cheap compared to the cost of preparing even one foam board exhibit). Trialpad allows you to organize documents and display them via a projector or monitor system. You can highlight, redact, mark, and enlarge documents on the fly.  It also has the capability to organize and share video and has a whiteboard feature.  Documents are transferred to the iPad via Dropbox, e-mail, or iTunes sync.  Trialpad is intuitively designed and easy to use.

13.  Exhibit A ($14.99  The App Store)

Exhibit A has been improved over the years.  It has the basic trial presentation functions (callout, highlight, marker and laser pointer).  If you are not willing to shell out the dollars for top in class TrialPad, then Exhibit A is distant second choice trial presentation App for the iPad.

14.  Explain Everything  ($ 2.99 The App Store)

Originally designed for educators, “Explain Everything”  is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere.

Create slides, draw in any color, add shapes, add text, and use a laser pointer. Rotate, move, scale, copy, paste, clone, and lock any object added to the stage.  Add new or existing photos and videos. Import PDF, PPT, DOC, XLS, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and RTF files from Evernote, Dropbox, Box, GDrive, WebDAV, Email, iTunes, and any app that allows you to open these files types using “Open In…”. Export MP4 movies, PDF documents, PNG images, or XPL project files directly from your iPad.

Explain Everything records on-screen drawing, annotation, object movement and captures audio via the iPad microphone. Import Photos, PDF, PPT, and Keynote from Dropbox, Evernote, Email, iPad photo roll and camera. Export MP4 movie files, PNG image files and share the .XPL project file with others for collaboration.

The potential uses for this app are only limited by your imagination. You can create an animation showing the direction of travel of automobile involved in an accident. You can import and crop photographs, add graphics such as arrows, shapes, etc. You can also introduce typewritten text or handwriting. In a nutshell, with the app, you can put most anything on the screen and manipulate it in real-time, while the same time recording it for later presentation in movie format. The animations can be displayed from the app or uploaded into Keynote or PowerPoint.

Best Timeline App for iPad

15.  Timeline 3D ($10.99  App Store)


When it comes time present a time line or chronology, creating a compelling and comprehensible exhibit can be a challenge. Recently, I was consulted on a high dollar commercial dispute submitted to binding arbitration. The lawyers, being cutting edge types, wanted to use iPads in their presentation. There were about 200 key documents, and key dates were critical to the disputed issues. I recommended they use the Timeline 3D App for iPad to display their key dates and documents.



Timeline 3D (App Store $7.99) is a stunning timeline presentation tool that provides both a 2D and 3D perspective. Seeing is believing. What follows are stills and video from a Demo presentation that took me only 25 minutes to prepare, all on the iPad:


photo (2) (1280x960)



Presenter’s Screen:





2D view







3D view

But still pictures do not do the App justice. Take a gander at Timeline 3D in action in a recorded presentation. LINK

For those true MacLawyers, the $65 Mac Version allows you to create a timeline and then integrate it with iPad Keynote so only your imagination is the limit on what you can put on each slide.  The 3D animation effects are preserved as you move from slide to slide, and you still have the full capabilities of Keynote to add any other content or media to the presentation. Amazing!


16.  Fastcase HD  (Free. The App Store)

Fastcase HD is a free legal research application, putting the American law library in the palm of your hand. Fastcase contains cases and statutes from all 50 states and from the federal government. You can search by citation, keyword (in Boolean or natural language), or browse statute collections.  You cannot print or copy in this free version, but great for on the fly research.

17. WestlawNext  (Free, but need a WestlawNext account. The App Store)

Access WestlawNext features including, WestSearch™, KeyCite™, Folders, History, document notes and highlighting, browse database content and more — all redesigned for the iPad multi-touch screen.

18. LawStack  (Free. The App Store)

LawStack is a portable rules library.  It comes preloaded with :

  • US Constitution
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
  • Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
  • Federal Rules of Evidence
  • Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure

You can buy additional references for a fee, e.g., USC Code.

19. FedCtRecords ($9.99 The App. Store)

This application that allows you to easily navigate the Federal Court Pacer system on your iPad.   The application allows you to select the court you are interested in from a menu.  All you need is your Pacer ID and either the case name or civil action number.  You can pull up all general Pacer information and filed documents.  Documents can be viewed and emailed from the Application.  Once entered a case can be stored for future menu shortcut access.  This App is easy to use and well designed.

Document Scanning

20. DocScanner 5.0  ($4.99.  The App. Store)

With DocScanner, you can turn any document into a PDF by snapping a photo. The App can also accurately convert typed documents to text. I have found this “portable copier/scanner” to be very useful.


21. Skype for iPad (Free. The App Store)

The new iPad App for use with the popular video calling service Skype.  Call, video call, or instant message anyone on Skype for free. Plus, you can purchase Skype Credit enabling you to call landlines and mobiles at really low rates.

22. GoToMeeting (Free App iPad Store—requires subscription)

This is my favorite iPad application for video teleconferences.  This is a subscription based service from Citrix.  Very intuitive.  Allows for control of the meeting to be transferred among the participants.  Now possible to host a meeting from an iPad.


23. Teleprompt+ ($14.99.  The App Store)

Teleprompt+ is a simple yet powerful professional grade teleprompter for the iPad.  Perfect for speeches and presentations where you have a fixed script.  You control the speed of the scrolling.  I love this App but have only had occasion to use it three times in the year I have owned it.


24. TripIt  (Free.  The App Store)

Allows you to manage and share your travel itineraries.  Upgrade available by subscription that provides real time flight change, travel advisory and gate information.  However, the free version is very useful.

 Photography, Video and Creativity Apps

Whether for fun or for work, there are several iPad applications that allow the creative minded attorney to produce high quality photographs, videos, audio, slide presentations and art work that a few years ago would have required sophisticated equipment and help from experienced engineers and/or graphic artists.  Here are a number of my current favorites I have used and can wholeheartedly recommend:

25. Haiku Deck (App Store-Free with optional in app purchases) – This App allows you to create stunning slide-show presentations similar to PowerPoint and Keynote without all the frills.  What makes Haiku Deck special is its ability to retrieve beautiful high resolution images based upon the key words in your slides.  The App by its nature does not allow lots of bullet points or excessive text, so it forces the user to conform to what are considered slide presentation best practices.  See  demo video.

26.  Video Downloader Pro (App Store- $ 3.99)  –  Allows you to capture download videos from the web and save in your iPad or iPhone photos folder.  Once downloaded the video files can be edited in iMovie or Pinnacle Studio.  I use the App to download copies of offending advertisements in my false advertising practice.

27.  360 Panorama (App Store $ .99)—

This App is incredible– allows you to create an interactive 360 degree photograph with your iPhone or iPad.  This could be an invaluable tool for mapping out an accident site or crime scene.  You can see an example photograph of the cul-de-sac in front of my house I created in about five minutes using my iPhone. These images can be shared, flattened, etc.

28.  Snapseed (App. Store $ 4.99) – My favorite photo editing suite for iPhone and iPad.  Allows the basic editing and enhancement of photographs and applying limited  special effects.  Easy to use and great for basic photo touch-up.

29.  Lapse It (App Store – Free) –  “Lapse It” is an award-winning full featured app for capturing amazing time lapse and stop motion videos (Available for iPhone, iPad and Android). It is easy, fast and intuitive.   I have had lots of fun with this App, capturing cloud movements, traffic patterns, an ice cube melting, etc.  Could be useful for a litigator seeking to demonstrate movement patterns over time.

30.  Slo-Pro  (App Store – Free) –

SloPro captures footage at 720p 60fps, giving you twice as many HD frames to work with. You can toggle slow motion on and off while shooting for engaging fast/slow effects. You can also edit the fast/slow points after shooting.  The app allows sharing directly to Facebook and YouTube. Upgrade to export to your camera roll and email. Pro users can also export raw 60fps footage via iTunes.  This is great for capturing sporting events, analyzing golf swings and studying batting posture.

31. Pinnacle Studio (App Store– $12.99) –

Pinnacle Studio is an intuitive video/audio App for the iPad.  The app allows editing of audio and sound, transitions, titles and special effects.  You can share your completed project directly to YouTube, Facebook and Dropbox.  For video editing two separate audio tracks are available allowing for a music track and a voiceover track.  I have used the App in my litigation practice to create quick and dirty deposition highlight reels.