Pat Hoover's Tech Talk
I just had lunch with an old friend and colleague of mine and of many others in our bar association, Richard Stolker. Richard and I discussed the recent milestone held less than one month ago by the Maryland State Bar Association‘s Consumer Bankruptcy Group. For the first time in MSBA history — to my knowledge — a statewide group of the Maryland State Bar Association held a closed, multi-office conference meeting that was privately broadcast over the Internet between two cities some distance apart. Richard’s monthly meeting was held simultaneously in both Rockville and Baltimore, Maryland, where several members of the group attended and participated fully by way of the high-speed Internet connection and equipment located at both places/conference rooms. This feat was brought about by much encouragement and urging over the years from Richard Stoker and by the outstanding work of the officers and staff at the Maryland State Bar Association. It was made possible through the contribution of a national court reporting firm with offices throughout Maryland, Merrill LADD. While a number of the members of the approximately 400-member group Richard helped to found assembled in the Baltimore office of the reporting firm, that group of attorneys, together with the attorney’s assembled in Rockville, viewed and participated fully in the real-time meeting.
Congratulations to the State Bar Association! Let’s hope this is but the beginning of things to come and this practice becomes frequent and widespread so that the various members of the State Bar can participate in common benefit through the various groups and committees available to all of us.
While certainly no great shakes in terms of what is after all, a not uncommon practice in the business community, or, indeed, anything very unusual when it comes to the federal bench and its frequent custom of online private broadcast Internet conferences; the fact remains that this is a big first step for our State Bar Association. In fact, Tom Murphy, recently trumpeted this noteworthy achievement at the monthly Bar Association luncheon here in Montgomery County when he pointed out that this accomplishment should quickly expand to many of the other standing committees and sections of the Bar and has already been tagged by one or more of the other, larger sections of the State Bar for its upcoming monthly meeting this month.
Speaking of the MSBA, Tom also pointed out that there is an app for that and it is available for free download to your mobile device, whether it be an iPhone or an Android device. The MSBA app provides easy access to certain of the Maryland Rules of Evidence, Professional Conduct and Code of Civility. If you just can’t wait to go online at your desktop you can also look through the rules on Attorney Trust Accounts and Ideals of Professionalism. The app, which does not utilize the high-definition and resolution of iPads and other tablet devices, also includes a button at the bottom which provides links to the MSBA Hotline, MSBA Ethics Opinions (accessible to members only) and Fastcase (accessible to members only).
I also want to share a mobile application for the Apple iPad known as Trial Pad. This software is specific to be Apple iPad and while not cheap at $100, I have it on good authority (a seasoned member of the Bar and experienced insurance defense attorney) that it really works and is well worth the money. But there’s more. The attorney I spoke with used this software in a recent civil jury trial to great success. She used the device and this specific litigation software package to great benefit in the examination of witnesses during the trial. The program allows for connection of the device to the courtroom projector and real-time manipulation of documents photos, videos and the like in examining witnesses. Apparently, the jury loved it, and so in fact did the judge in Superior Court, downtown. Instead of connecting my iPad2 up to the VGA connection cord, I hope to use this same software through Apple’s Airplay and do the same thing in court, wirelessly.
A version of this article will be featured in the March 2012 Maryland State Bar Association newsletter.