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June 2000

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Re: April 2000, Second Opinions: "How Can A Litigator Go From the Dark Ages to Enlightenment in One Quick Step?" by Tom O'Connor and John Tredennick.


I read both Second Opinions articles in the April, 2000 issue with interest and was educated. However, something was missing: Macintosh.

Ms. Freedman prefaces her question to the authors: "A commercial litigator, who currently utilizes no technology (doesn't even own a computer) wants to know . . . ."

Both of your authors went on to competently answer the direct question, while largely ignoring the underlying premise: This person doesn't even have a computer, yet.

Most of your readers will simply assume that the litigator should run out and buy the currently hottest Windows-based laptop. However, in this situation, the litigator would have been well advised to consider an Apple Macintosh, before making a decision to buy a computer.

This for two reasons. First, as a neophyte technologist, the simpler and more straightforward the platform, the faster he or she will get down to preparing for trial. The MacOS' uniform command structure and intuitive user interface were the foundation for Windows and continue to set the standard for ease of use in a thousand small ways.

There's a reason why, in study after study, the cost of owning a Macintosh is approximately 25 percent lower than equivalent other platforms -- training and maintenance costs are substantially lower.

Second, this question deals with courtroom graphics. Everyone knows which platform has the strongest reputation as a graphics platform -- Macintosh. Like using a hammer to fix the plumbing, the right tools always make the job easier and look better.

Power Point, projectors, database managers (including barcodes) for display of evidence -- these are all available for use on the Macintosh, too. But it goes farther. You can create a 3D panorama from 35 mm pictures or a video camera which permits a "walk-through" of a scene. The litigator can also present an object like a damaged vehicle to the jury on the projection screen and then rotate the picture to look at it from any angle. This is great stuff! And there's more. For an interesting demonstration of many ways that Mac and Apple technology can be used in the courtroom, take a look at the new Apple legal site.

Macintosh may not be the right solution for every lawyer. But for the one who does not yet have a commitment to current Windows-based hardware, Mac presents significant advantages that are worth considering. The platform is far from disappearing -- Mac lawyers are alive, well and thriving. Check out the Macintosh lawyers' support and user group, MacLaw: at

Ed Siebel
Solo Practitioner
Balboa Park, Calif.

Editor's Note: Siebel is a member of the LTN Editorial Advisory Board and a consultant to Apple Computer Inc.

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