March 30, 2016 Articles

Tips for Using Technology Inside and Outside the Courtroom

By Jonathan W. Lounsberry

My introduction to family court litigation occurred during my junior year in college. That fall, I took a job as a file clerk and runner with McLaren & Lee, a small firm in Columbia, South Carolina, specializing in family court litigation. On my first day at work, I noticed a certain gleam in the eyes of paralegals and attorneys when they realized I drove an SUV. Their delight over the size of my car left me at a loss. Without further thought on the subject, I spent the rest of my first week helping prepare for a weeklong trial. When I arrived at the office the following Monday morning, I understood why my car attracted such attention. Without it, I could not have taken the 20-plus bankers boxes to the courthouse in a single trip. Right then and there, I learned how document intensive the practice of family court litigation could be.

In 2011, I returned to work at McLaren & Lee. One year prior to my return, the release of the first-generation iPad caused a sea change in trial preparation and presentation. As a result, the firm endeavored to learn how to leverage this new technology in the litigation process. As a result, the more we integrated this new technology, the fewer bankers boxes we required for deposition or trial. Oral arguments and presentations of evidence became crisp and clear. The technology did not change the way the firm practiced—it changed the way information was digested, distributed, and presented.

The following is based on what I have learned from integrating technology into a family law practice and how it can streamline the litigation process and increase the impact of evidence. My insights are not platform specific. I have used PCs, Macs, and other Apple products during all phases of the litigation process. The technological platform you use is not important. Neither is the size of the firm nor the complexity of your case—technology is equally advantageous in complex matters, as it is in small, “routine” cases. The uses of technology in litigation are limited only by your imagination; and incorporating it during all stages of the process can allow for laser-focused preparation and presentation.

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