A few weeks ago an attorney complained about how time consuming it was to find specific deposition testimony in a huge transcript. He still does it by hand with the transcript and word index.

There are two easy software solutions to this problem. One is optional for attorneys. One is a must that many attorneys already have.

The optional product is Textmap. With Textmap, you load all your transcripts from a case and can search them all simultaneously. I don’t know how helpful this sounds. But it is very helpful.

To make it work you need non-pdf formats from the court reporter, such as Ascii. Court reporters will email a transcript in this format to you if it did not come with the deposition.

Searching in Textmap is fast because you can read just the portion with your keyword instead of having to review the actual transcript. In particular, Textmap saves a lot of time when writing briefs.

The mandatory product is Adobe Acrobat, or a similar pdf tool. I prefer the Pro version, but perhaps standard has all you need. I don’t think Reader does much of what I discuss below.

With Acrobat, you can OCF documents to make them searchable. Say you don’t have Textmap or even if you do, you only have a pdf of a deposition. Acrobat lets you search the transcript. It doesn’t work quiet as well as Textmap, but it beats searching by hand.

Acrobat’s search function is great for all documents–not just depositions. I know many lawyers know and use this. But I also know that a surprising number don’t.

Acrobat also lets you bates number and add text to a document. What text might you want to add? How about “Ex. 1”? I am not sure if you can do this with the standard version. I use Acrobat Pro. It makes labeling exhibits and documents for production a breeze.

Another great Acrobat function is ‘Extract.’ Say have you a 100 page pdf containing multiple documents. Extract allows you to pull out specific pages and save as a separate document. If you aren’t doing this already, you waste a lot of time looking for particular pages in a pdf. Or worse, you still print your favorite pages.

Often people looking for new software just need to learn more about the software they have. I do not exclude myself from this. I need to learn more about Word and Acrobat.