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GPSolo eReport

GPSolo eReport April 2023

Using an iPad to Enhance Your Litigation and Presentation Skills

Jeffrey M Allen and Ashley Hallene


  • The iPad is a powerful tool to facilitate presenting your case in court. It offers an intuitive interface, many available applications, powerful processing capabilities, easy connectivity, and an easily handled form.
  • The following apps are indispensable for trial preparation and presentation: Keynote/Microsoft PowerPoint, Pages/Microsoft Word, TrialPad, and ExhibitView.
  • You will need to connect your iPad to a projection device in the courtroom. Wired connections generally work better and more reliably, but wireless connections allow unrestricted mobility.
  • Whenever you use technology in court, assume that it will fail during the presentation. Have a contingency plan ready to implement.
Using an iPad to Enhance Your Litigation and Presentation Skills
Guido Mieth via Getty Images

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The legal profession has experienced a technological revolution in recent years. Nowhere has that revolution had a greater impact than trial preparation and presentation. The iPad has emerged as a powerful tool to facilitate presenting your case in court. The current generation of iPads offers an intuitive interface, a vast number of available applications, powerful processing capabilities, and easy connectivity, in addition to a light and easily handled form. These factors combine to make the iPad a very useful, if not indispensable, tool for the litigator.

Tip 1. The Right Stuff: Hardware

To get started, you will need to acquire an iPad—note that we said iPad, not tablet. Not all tablets come off the assembly line equal. While other tablets may provide a variety of useful features and can prove helpful to you at trial, the iPad, in our opinion, stands well above the rest. We recommend that you get an iPad Pro. You can use an iPad Air effectively, but we think that you will benefit from the processing power and features of the Pro more and that the extra power and features outweigh the price differential. The Pro comes in an 11” or 12.9” display size. Other than size, weight, and price, they are pretty much the same device. Be sure to get the newest iteration, with Apple’s M2 processor. The M2 processor outperforms the M1 in the previous generation of the iPad Pro. Conversely, if you already have an M1 iPad, the differences do not compel upgrading to the M2 for most users.

The Pro models come in five memory sizes. We recommend that you get at least 512 GB. For most users we consider the 512 GB size adequate, the 1 TB size optimal, and the 2 TB size showing off. That said, we confess to getting the 2 TB size to ensure plenty of memory for audio and video files, the apps we use, and the myriad of apps we experiment with so that we can write about them, etc. Even so, we have not yet approached the full 2 TB capacity (we currently sit at a bit over 1 TB of used storage).

While in the Apple Store, we suggest that you also pick up a keyboard for the iPad, an Apple Pencil (2nd generation), HDMI and VGA adapters for connecting to external monitors, and an Apple TV. These additions (we hesitate to call them accessories) will facilitate your use of the iPad.

In picking a keyboard, you do not need to get one made by Apple (although Apple makes some excellent keyboards for the iPad). We opted for the Apple keyboard-case combinations. They have worked problem-free from the date of acquisition and pull power from the iPad, so you do not have to worry about charging them. They give the iPad the configuration of a laptop. If you want separation from the keyboard, you can detach the iPad and put it on a stand, but we found that a bit unwieldy. Any Bluetooth keyboard can work detached from the iPad; Apple’s own Bluetooth keyboard works quite well. Having a keyboard rather than just using the touch screen keyboard built into the iPad gives you a larger usable display and works better for notetaking or making changes to outlines and the like.

The Apple Pencil pairs with the iPad and functions as a stylus. You can use your finger to draw on the iPad, but you can do so more accurately and neatly with the Apple Pencil. We think the product looks more professional and strongly prefer it to the finger.

The Apple TV offers wireless connectivity between the iPad and a projector. Connecting the Apple TV to the projector with an HDMI or other appropriate cable allows the Apple TV to communicate between the iPad and the projector, transmitting images to the projector without tying the iPad to a cable. That gives you more freedom, greater portability, less hassle, and, to our eye, a more professional appearance.

Tip 2. The Right Stuff: Software

You have an amazing number of apps that work with the iPad. You can get them at Apple’s App Store for prices ranging from free to significantly more. For trial preparation and presentation, we think you need (or will want), at a minimum, the following apps:

  1. Keynote/Microsoft PowerPoint. Apple provides Keynote with the iPad at no cost. Microsoft rents PowerPoint to you as part of its 365 suite. Both work well. Keynote has a bit more power, but PowerPoint has wider acceptance.
  2. Pages/Microsoft Word. Apple provides Pages with the iPad at no cost. Microsoft rents Word to you as part of its 365 suite. Both work well. Microsoft Word has larger acceptance, and it has become our standard for notes and for more formal writing. As Pages has some features that Word lacks and it costs nothing to acquire, we keep both on our iPad.
  3. TrialPad. TrialPad is the presentation piece of the LIT SUITE. We recommend getting the entire suite (it comes as a package for an annual subscription price). We have found it easy to use, impressively featured, and extremely helpful. If you have not tried it, you should. We suspect that if you do, you will use it regularly. We have shifted to using TrialPad as our primary presentation app.
  4. ExhibitView. ExhibitView is another well-regarded presentation app that allows you to manage, organize, and display evidence using your iPad.

Tip 3. Preparation and Practice

Good presentations do not just happen. They result from pre-hearing preparation and practice. Start by learning the app(s) you have decided to use. You want to feel very comfortable using them and engaging the features that they offer to enhance your presentation.

Once you learn the apps and their features, create your presentation. You will likely want to organize files so that you group different types of documents into folders. For example, documents in one folder, videos in a second, audio files in a third, images in a fourth, and demonstratives in a fifth. You want all data files stored on your iPad. When creating a demonstrative, use care to ensure that your text looks appealing and that the judge/jury can easily read it. Keep it simple, use easily read fonts in a reasonably large size, and go light on the number of words per slide. You should also use visuals such as images, charts, and graphs to illustrate points and help your audience better understand the information you present and the point you seek to make.

Check and double-check your links to ensure they work as planned and that you can access each of the files you plan to present quickly and smoothly; ensure that all files perform as planned. Once you have tested each element, practice the presentation. You do not want to go through it for the first time in the trial and hope for the best.

If you plan on marking up a document in real time during the hearing, you will want to familiarize yourself with the Apple Pencil and use it for that purpose. Yes, a finger might work, but it generally does not work as well or provide as neat a final product as the Apple Pencil. Additionally, the Apple Pencil offers some features that don’t work as well with your finger.

Know whether you will need to provide your own projection system or if you will use the court’s system. Make sure you know the operations of whatever projection system you will use. If you will use an unfamiliar court-controlled system, try to arrange access to it as part of your preparation to ensure that your equipment works with it and that you have the right connectivity equipment.

Tip 4. The Projection Connection

Ultimately, you will need to connect your iPad to a projection device to share the information with others in the courtroom. You can opt to connect using a wired or a wireless connection. Wired connections generally work better, faster, and more reliably than wireless connections. On the other hand, wired connections tie you down and restrict the free and easy mobility the iPad otherwise offers. Wireless connections continue to improve, and, in most situations, we have found them to be satisfactory and the unrestricted mobility to be enough of an advantage that we generally opt for a wireless connection.

To use a wired connection, you will need an Apple Digital AV Adapter or an Apple VGA Adapter, depending on the projection system (HDMI or VGA, respectively). You should have both in your toolkit. If you don’t want to get the Apple devices, you can get a less expensive third-party work-alike; we have settled on the Apple devices and have found them completely satisfactory. You will also need the required connecting cables.

For a wireless connection, you will need a projector that has wireless connectivity built in, or you will need an Apple TV (see discussion above in Tip 1).

Tip 5. The Actual Presentation

Don’t forget basic presentation skills. Remember to pace your presentation and make and maintain eye contact. Too often, the use of technology in court results in the attorney focusing on the iPad and not the judge or the jury. If you do not pay attention, you might find yourself reading what you wrote to the jury, probably at a too-rapid pace. Remember that the tools you use should enhance your work. You control the tools! Do not fall into the muck and mire of letting the tools control the presentation.

Most presentation apps have a presenter mode. When you connect to the projection system and use the app, use the presenter mode. Presentation modes generally let you see your slides and notes you have made respecting a slide while showing only the slide to the audience.

Tip 6. Anticipate Disaster

Whenever you use technology in court, assume that it will fail during the presentation. Have a contingency plan ready to implement if it does. For example, if wireless connectivity does not work well, you can connect using a wired connection. A second iPad already loaded with your apps and data files can substitute for a malfunctioning iPad almost instantly. A backup projector can substitute for a primary projection system that develops problems. A cellular WiFi hotspot can substitute for the court’s WiFi should that system go down.


The iPad has evolved into a valuable tool for litigators, enabling them to present evidence in a compelling, organized, and visually appealing manner. By selecting the right apps, preparing carefully, and using appropriate projection equipment, you can harness the power of the iPad to make a lasting impression.