Electronic Exhibit Sticker

Featured

Preparing exhibits for trial or court hearings, though not glamorous, is an essential task in the practice of courtroom litigation. Depending on the volume and type of exhibits, this necessary task can quickly turn tedious if you must print each exhibit, affix a physical sticker, fill out the exhibit and case information by hand, then scan and submit the stickered exhibit. In the heat of trial where last minute changes take place frequently, it is easy to make mistakes. However, with the right type of technology, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro (or Standard), this process can be done more smoothly, help reduce opportunities for making errors, and done more quickly than the old school method of stickers and paper  If you have Adobe Acrobat*, we suggest considering using digital (electronic) exhibit stickers for your next case.

*Acrobat Standard or Pro, not the free “Reader” version.

This post will walk you through how you can create digital exhibits on your own, including the process of installing a sticker that takes the form of a custom Acrobat stamp. The stamp will allow you to quickly fill in the exhibit and case numbers for your case, and will automatically remember your previous entries the next time you use it.

First, follow the instructions below to install the electronic exhibit sticker.

Installation

  1. Download and copy the exhibit_stickers.pdf file to a location that is easily accessible, such as your Desktop. (NOTE: You can delete this PDF file once we are finished with the installation.)
  1. Open Acrobat and press CTRL-K to open the Preferences menu. Scroll down on the left to “Security (Enhanced)”. Click the “Add File” button, which will open a file explorer window.
  1. Type %appdata% into the address bar and press enter.
  1. This will open a new folder.  Open the “Adobe” folder, then the “Acrobat” folder. You may see folders for the different versions that have been installed like a “2017”, “2020” or a “DC” folder. Open the “DC” folder if you have that, or else the highest folder year you have. Open the “Stamps” folder. Find the “exhibit_stamps.pdf” file you saved and drag or copy and paste it into the Stamps folder. Select the file and click “Open.”
  1. This will take you back to the Preferences screen. Verify that exhibit_stamps.pdf is listed inside the box. If the file is there, click “OK”. Then close out of all Acrobat windows.

Usage

  1. Open the PDF that needs an exhibit sticker. Select the “Comment” tool from the list along the right side of the screen.
  1. This will open a new toolbar. Click on the Stamp tool icon, navigate to the “Exhibit Sticker” menu, then click on the Exhibit sticker image.
  1. The first time you use the sticker, it will pop up this window. Check “Don’t show again” and click “Complete.” There is no need to enter any information.
  1. Your cursor will now become a floating exhibit sticker. Click where you would like to place the sticker. Do not worry if the initial placement is not perfect; you can move the sticker to a different part of the page and even resize the sticker after you have placed it.
  1. When you click to place the stamp, a window will pop up asking you to enter an Exhibit Number. Enter the Exhibit number in the box and press OK.
  1. Next, a window will pop up asking you for a Case number. Enter the Case number and press OK.
  1. This will place an exhibit sticker on your PDF that contains the Exhibit Number and Case Number. You can move and resize the sticker if needed. If you need remove or change any of the information on the sticker, you can right click on the sticker, select “Delete” and create a new sticker.
  1. To permanently affix the sticker to the document, you will need to print the document to a new PDF. Go to the File menu and select Print. Now change your printer to “Adobe PDF”, change the “Comments & Forms” selection to “Document and Stamps”, then press print and save your new copy to the location of your choosing.
  1. That’s it. You will now have a permanently stamped PDF document. The next time you want to stamp a document, Acrobat will pre-fill your last enter Exhibit Number and Case Number, so it will be easier to keep track of your exhibits if you are marking multiple documents in one sitting, and you will not have to re-enter the case number each time.

If you need any assistance with installation, you can contact me at carl_adams@fd.org.

NLST webinar

The National Litigation Support Team (NLST) recently presented a national webinar entitled, “Managing and Reviewing Electronic Discovery for CJA Panel Attorneys.” This 90-minute webinar was recorded and is available on fd.org for your review. The recording provides an overview of technology, techniques and search strategies that can help CJA panel attorneys (and federal defender organization personnel) with your review and analysis of electronically stored information that is provided in discovery. We discussed resources that are available to you as a CJA panel attorney or federal defender employee, and questions to ask the next time you get a complex case. Topics covered include the importance of search and retrieval techniques, encryption, Box.com, Adobe Acrobat Pro, dtSearch, CaseMap, Casepoint, and new federal criminal Rule 16.1.

If you are interested in viewing the recording, please go to fd.org/program-materials-and-videos. (NOTE: To view the webinar, you will need to be either a CJA panel attorney who has registered with fd.org , or a member of a federal defender office. If you need assistance accessing the information, go to fd.org/login-help). If you have follow-up questions about any of the topics (as the presentation was meant as an overview), please email us.

Acrobat DC New Features

All of you use Adobe Acrobat on a daily basis.  Whether it is Adobe Acrobat Reader, Standard or Pro, it is an excellent tool for legal professionals for everything from saving pleadings to file with the court’s case management/electronic case file system to reviewing discovery.  Some of you have been using Acrobat for a while and know that Adobe comes out with new versions every couple of years.  The latest version of Acrobat stopped using the number of release to distinguish a new version (like Adobe Acrobat XI), but now calls itself DC, which stands for Document Cloud, and labels the version by the year of the release (Adobe Acrobat DC 2016 the most recent version).  Like many other software companies, Adobe is moving to a cloud based service giving users the option of working on multiple devices seamlessly if they choose to store their files online.  Though designed for cloud use, users do not have to store their documents remotely, and they can continue using Acrobat DC as a desktop program as they always have.

Acrobat DC has a new look compared to previous versions, has been designed to be tablet and cell phone friendly, and gives users the ability to work on a document from different devices seamlessly. The addition of a user friendly tabbed tool bar makes switching from one document to another that much easier.

The “Home” tab shows the most recent files you have worked with.  You can also search for a file in the search bar, open a file by navigating to it by clicking on “My Computer” or going to the File Menu and selecting → Open.

9-20-2016 1-29-00 PM.jpg

Once you open a document, the “Document” tab appears at the top of the screen, allowing you to easily navigate from the Document to the Tool Center to the Home page.

9-20-2016 1-31-49 PM.jpg

The “Tools” tab, otherwise known as the DC Tool Center centralizes all the features of Acrobat in one place for easy access. Now you can quickly find the tool you need without having to remember which  menu in the tools section to navigate to.

9-20-2016 1-44-24 PM.jpg

The “Search Tools” option in DC is intuitive and easy to use. If you want to OCR a document, type OCR in the “Search Tools” section of the Tool Center and all the toolsets related to recognizing text will appear.

9-20-2016 1-45-13 PM.jpg

The tool pane that users see when looking at a document can be customized. You can add a tool to the tool pane by selecting “Add Shortcut” from the Tool Center or by right-clicking in the Tool Pane when searching for a tool and adding it there.

image5

When Tool Groups are opened, they are automatically pinned to the top of the screen. The Tool Group stays open until you close it or open another tool.

9-20-2016 1-47-39 PM.jpg

DC gives you multiple ways of accessing the tools you are looking for and then quickly going back to working with your documents.

image8.png

The new tabbed tool bar is just one feature of Acrobat DC that makes upgrading worthwhile.  More features will be highlighted in upcoming posts so stay tuned.

CJA Panel Attorney Software Discounts

There are several vendors who offer discounted rates to CJA panel attorneys for their litigation support software.  Currently, there are discounted rates being offered on:

  • CaseMap Bundle (CaseMap/TimeMap/DocManager)
  • dtSearch
  • TrialDirector

We hope to continue the national contracts which encourage these deals to be offered to the CJA panel, but considering the ongoing budget limitations all deals are subject to change.

Note: Like many litigation software programs, these programs are developed for Windows based operating systems and do not work with Macintosh operating systems.

Below is a brief description of the software and the current pricing information for these programs:


CaseMap Bundle (CaseMap/TimeMap/DocManager)

CaseMap and TimeMap are two of the most popular litigation support software programs for FDOs and CJA panel attorneys. CaseMap is a fact management application used to organize, manage, and connect case facts, legal issues, key players, and documents. Because it is a single database, it allows team members to work collaboratively and store important case information in specialized relational spreadsheets for ready access and analysis. Through flexible filtering, CaseMap enables end-users to see how any person, fact, document, or issue relates to other elements in a case. TimeMap is a graphing software used to create visual timelines of case events, assisting judges and jurors in their understanding of the sequence of key events in a case. TimeMap integrates with CaseMap, allowing any record in CaseMap that has a date associated with it to be sent to TimeMap instantly.  DocManager is a CaseMap plug-in that allows users to view highlighted search hits in DocManager’s near-native viewer, and bulk import and view many file formats while still providing Adobe Acrobat integration and functionality that users are accustomed to.

For inquiries contact Kelly Scribner. Due to the ongoing popularity and interest of federal public/community defender offices and the CJA panel in these software programs, LexisNexis has agreed to extend the offer of the CaseMap / DocManager / TimeMap bundle to defender offices and CJA panel attorneys at a special reduced price of $815.00. Besides the significantly reduced price, defender offices and CJA panel attorneys will not have to pay annual maintenance or subscription fees to receive technical support and to obtain upgrades of the CaseMap software for as long as we can continue the national maintenance agreement with LexisNexis..


dtSearch

dtSearch is a popular search and retrieval program, and it is the search engine utilized in well known computer programs such as Forensic Tool Kit (FTK, a computer forensic tool), CaseMap and Adobe Acrobat Pro. This type of program is a useful tool to assist legal teams in searching discovery, creating brief banks, and viewing different file types (including non-PDF files) even if you don’t have the associated application. We have a limited number of licenses available for CJA panel attorneys to use for free (a $200 value).

To obtain the software, please fill out a dtSearch Request Form located at: http://nlsblog.org/2014/03/25/dtsearch-desktop


TrialDirector

TrialDirector 360 is a courtroom presentation tool that allows users the ability to present documents, pictures and videos in hearings and trials. Users can prepare exhibits in advance, or instantly display exhibits to jurors and judges. Additionally, attorneys can direct jurors’ attention to the most important parts of exhibits by doing call-outs, zoom-ins, mark-ups, highlights, and side-by-side comparisons of documents. During the examination of a witness, it is easy to do a screen capture of information that has been displayed to the jury for later use in the trial, and the software works well when used along with PowerPoint. TrialDirector has been successfully used for many years by FDOs and CJA panel attorneys representing clients and has been a staple of the Law and Technology workshop training series for close to 20 years.

CJA panel attorneys can purchase TrialDirector 360 at a discounted price of $556.50 per year (approximately 40% off the retail price). This price is for a subscription, so you must pay this amount each year to continue using the software.

If you are a CJA panel attorney and are interested in purchasing TrialDirector 360 contact Kelly Scribner. If you have any questions regarding the utilization of TrialDirector 360 for your office, please contact the National Litigation Support Team (NLST): Kelly Scribner or Alex Roberts.

Additional TrialDirector program information and resources are available on the IPRO TrialDirector 360 help center.


If you have any questions regarding the utilization of any of these litigation support software programs in your office, please contact either Alex Roberts or Kelly Scribner of the National Litigation Support Team.

What is a “Load File”?

A “load file” is a special kind of file that you may encounter in sets of case related materials.  While there are many different flavors of load files they all serve the same general purpose: they can be used by litigation support software to import (i.e. “load”) information about case related documents. 

Document information may include:

  • Name and locations of image files (typically scanned paper files).
  • Document unitization information (i.e. document breaks).
  • OCR (searchable text) file names and locations.
  • Electronic document (ESI) file names and locations.
  • Extracted metadata information.
  • Other fielded document information.

Load files can play an import role in assisting with the setup of a case document database.  When properly used, they can make the process of importing documents into litigation support applications faster and more efficient.  Some programs that support the importing of load files include evidence review programs (like Summation, Concordance and IPRO) and trial presentation programs (like TrialDirector and Sanction). 

Load files have different file extensions depending on the program they are designed to work with.  When talking with litigation support vendors, or discussing the format of discovery with opposing counsel.  It is important to recognize which load file formats work with your litigation support programs.

Some common file extensions of load files that you might encounter are:

  • .DII      designed to work with AD Summation
  • .OPT   designed to work with Concordance 
  • .LFP    designed to work with IPRO products
  • .OLL    designed to work with TrialDirector
  • .SDT   designed to work with Sanction
  • .DAT   generic document information load file   
  • .CSV   generic document information load file
  • .XML   new “EDRM” style load file format that works with many platforms 

Many load files contain the path of image files associated with a record.  They may also contain meaningful additional information about the documents.  For scanned documents, this may include a bates or control number, coded document information (like document type, date, title, etc…) and information about OCR (searchable text) files that might be associated with the document.   Load files for electronic documents (ESI) may also include extracted metadata (associated information about the files such as author, date created, file size, etc…).   

Most load files are simple lines of text that can be read by litigation support programs.  When viewed in a text program like Wordpad or MS Word we can see what the lines contain.  Here is an excerpt from a sample .LFP load file (as seen in in Wordpad):

IM,D0022,D,0,@DISK001;DATA\IMAGES00;D0022.TIF;2,0
IM,D0023,D,0,@DISK001;DATA\IMAGES00;D0023.TIF;2,0
IM,D0024, ,0,@DISK001;DATA\IMAGES00;D0024.TIF;2,0
IM,D0025,D,0,@DISK001;DATA\IMAGES00;D0025.TIF;2,0

This particular load file contains information about document images.  Litigation support software programs can read this file and know:

  1. the record identifier (usually the bates number) of a document
  2. where one document ends and another begins
  3. where to find the scanned paper .TIF files associated with a document

There may be times when you will receive multiple types of load files within the same set of documents.  Some of the files may contain the same information, but are designed to work with different database programs.  When working with vendors, let them know what litigation support database programs you intend to use so that they give you compatible load files. 

In the event you receive load files that are not designed for your database program, you may need to convert the file to make it compatible.  Fortunately there are a few free load file conversion programs available.  Two such programs are: 

    1. ReadyConvert from Compiled Services (compiledservices.com)
    2. iConvert+ from IPRO Tech (iprotech.com)

    To find out more about how load files can best be used interact with your existing litigation support applications refer to the help and support documents of the program.  Quite often, these are the best resource for describing how load files interact with the case database and will often demonstrate the load file import process.