The iPad Lawyer – Real Secrets To Presenting With Your iPad In Court
Scott Grossberg, Esq.
How would your trial, arbitration, and mediation appearances be different if you could present everything directly from your iPad? Now imagine you are able to walk about the courtroom or conference room, hand your iPad to experts and witnesses, and even show items during a sidebar without any wires. This is the type of freedom you crave! And it looks almost magical.
Recently, I was presenting in a courtroom. I used my own projector, accessories, and WIFI setup in order to handle the iPad wirelessly from anywhere in the department. When I was finished, the judge asked me to walk him through my configuration and equipment so that he could see if his courtroom was technologically outfitted to accommodate anyone who might show up for Trial with an iPad. When you’re wielding such magical storytelling tools, this is not an unusual inquiry. While this particular trial department was well-equipped with its own screen, projector, and visual capture device, it did not have its own secure WIFI network nor was it Apple TV capable, yet. (Although, I did hear the judge exclaim as I strode out of sight, “I will talk to the techies and get this done right.” – okay, it’s the holiday season, I couldn’t resist!)
Whether you are presenting for a judge, jury, mediator, or arbitrator, you will want to be prepared for any type of setting, configuration, and technology limits you encounter. Naturally, as I travel about presenting my iPad Lawyer seminar to groups in various places, I run into all types of location-specific technology capabilities and shortcomings. It really doesn’t serve me well to show up to a venue only to find that I can’t show off the spectacular applications that are available for attorneys. So, after receiving many requests, here are my secrets for being able to give a stellar presentation nearly anytime and anywhere.
LOOK, MA, NO WIRES (well, almost)
As I wrote, nothing looks more wondrous than using your iPad to show off exhibits, video, slides, etc., without it being “hooked up” to anything. Obviously, this is my preferred way of presenting.
If you’re using an iPad 2 or later version and running at least iOS 5, here are the techniques and tools I currently use to create my wireless storytelling. I say currently because technology is always changing and I am an early adopter of anything that will make me more productive.
1. Verizon MIFI Hotspot/iPhone Personal Hotspot
Nowadays, public WIFI is prevalent. My experience, however, is that it can be painfully slow. More troubling is the fact that it might not be too secure. As lawyers, oath-driven and entrusted with our clients’ secrets, we have an obligation to be reasonable in the use of public WIFI settings. If there have been claims of concern about sitting in a coffee house and doing mighty lawyerly things over that public WIFI network, I am certainly not sold on using even the court’s public trusty WIFI for trial work.
By bringing my own hotspot to a venue, I have a reasonable assurance of sustained stability, a reasonable expectation of privacy, and lickety-split connectivity.
Once at your location, turn on your password-protected hotspot. Presuming you have practiced with your iPad and presentation equipment beforehand, your iPad will have remembered your hotspot’s password so you should not have to worry about login protocols.
Now let me digress for a moment. I have been asked by a judge, “Mr. Grossberg, how do you plan to share this technology with the other side? You do have a duty to do so.” My response is simply, “Your honor – with all due respect – I have no challenge with letting my friendly adversary use my projector, but I cannot share my hotspot technology with them. While they are free to hook up to the projector, I have confidential information that is being passed through my hotspot and if I allow them access to the hotspot, they can kick me off during my presentation at any time.” That argument seems to do the trick.
2. Apple TV and AirPlay
In order to use this pack-of-cards-sized awe-maker, you will be enabling AirPlay. The Apple TV will be wirelessly accessing your mobile hotspot because the Apple TV and your iPad must be operating on the same WIFI network. Apple TV will also be connected to your projector by means of an HDMI cable.
Once hooked up, you will enable Airplay mirroring on your iPad. You can do this easily by pressing the iPad’s home button (the depressed round button at the bottom of your iPad device) twice. Once the menu appears at the bottom of the screen, slide the menu all the way to the right. You will see the AirPlay option button. Tap that button, then tap the name of the device you are using for mirroring (in my case Apple TV), and set Mirroring to On.
I have been using the Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD Projector for quite some time and I love it! I wouldn’t travel the airways with it, however, as it is quite heavy at just over 8.5 pounds. That being said, this powerhouse boasts 720p of resolution and 2800 lumens of brightness (I have used this from counsel table on a very large screen and the projected image was large enough to be seen from around the courtroom). And . . . the projector has two built-in 10-watt speakers (very important when you’re playing back a videotaped deposition or accident reenactment) and a mic input.
In addition to the iPad/iPhone dock, my projector has HDMI, component, and composite video inputs, so you can connect in any way that you might need.
Voila! You can now dazzle people!
THE HARDWIRED OPTION (for those times when you’ve been grounded)
When you don’t have access to a projector that has an HDMI connection or when your hotspot signal just isn’t stable or readily accessible, you can still be ready to easily impress. The only difference will be that you are tethered, thereby cutting back on your ability to freely walk around the room.
The following discussion is applicable to versions 2 through 4 of the iPad. Please note that if you use the iPad (4th generation), you will have to take into account the new lightning connection port as opposed to the 10-pin connection port found on earlier models.
I carry a connection toolkit with me at all times. Among other accessories, it includes:
A. Apple Digital AV Adapter (for devices with HDMI inputs)
B. Apple VGA Adapter (for devices with VGA inputs)
I don’t use any other type of connector. For the sake of completeness, however, you should be aware that there are the lesser resolution providing Apple Component AV and Apple Composite AV cables.
I mentioned earlier that I use the Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD Projector because of its connection versatility. If you are not going to present wirelessly using Apple TV (or a similar configuration), you don’t need such a projector. In fact, you can use any device that will take either of the two adapters listed above.
AND IN CONCLUSION
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you really can tell the difference between a VGA and an HDMI connection. In my opinion, it is well worth the added effort to go the HDMI route whenever possible.
Finally, for you overachievers who want even more options, check out these two desktop/laptop applications that run on both the PC and Mac:
Both of these programs allow you to mirror your iPad to your desktop or laptop PC or Mac. With either program running, you use AirPlay on your iPad just as you would with the Apple TV. As long as you have a connection between your desktop or laptop and a projector, you’re in business. I have tried both programs and, for the moment, have chosen to go with AirServer.
Happy presenting in court . . . and beyond!
If you enjoyed this, I’d be grateful if you share this with others. That’s right, go ahead and help spread this information by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. And, if you’re interested in finding out how I can make a presentation to your law firm, please contact me at 909-483-1850 or email me at email@example.com.
© 2012 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.
Mr. Grossberg is a founding partner of the Southern California law firm of Cihigoyenetche, Grossberg & Clouse. He is a featured speaker and published author on numerous topics including media relations, social media, technology, public speaking, memory, and various other cutting edge concepts. Mr. Grossberg’s “iPad Lawyer” seminars provide legal professionals with the ability to truly harness the potential of Apple’s tablet. He is regularly called upon to address the impact of emerging technology and social media, suggest policies and procedures that should be in place, and to discuss liability exposure for this new way of doing business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.