Just how hard is it to fill out a form?
Well, obviously, it depends on the form and who's filling it out, but I thought these things called computers made it fairly routine.
But maybe not.
There is now an outfit called Esq Apps that describes itself on its website as "a creative team of lawyers and software developers brought together in Santa Cruz by Attorney Adam D. Brumm and tech guru Mischa Lockton."
I could be wrong but I'm picturing Adam and Mischa as being most of the team if not all of it. I'm seeing pizza, beer and a LAN party.
What Esq Apps is offering lawyers is a mobile device app that sends a legal form template to your computer after you fill in some information about your firm.
Says the website: "The fight with the word processor is over. What used to take hours now takes only seconds starting with your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android device."
I must have missed the news coverage. It seems there's an ongoing struggle between lawyers and word processors. Why can't we learn to get along?
Now picture how a lawyer - apparently one without any clerical help - who needs hours to create (or find on the Internet) a form on a computer is going to zip through form creation on a phone.
I may be missing something here but I'm guessing this isn't going to be a big seller. Still, we do love our little electronic toys and there must be some useful apps for lawyers not yet invented.
Here are a few apps I'd like to see:
Truth Baring. The most common advice you get to calm your nerves when public speaking is to picture your audience naked.
The Truth Baring app can be taken to court and held discreetly while addressing witnesses, judges and jurors. When feeling that public-speaking terror, simply look at your mobile device screen to see the face of the person you're addressing on top of a nude body.
You can preset the app to generate erotic, realistic, obese, or cartoon mouse bodies.
The Objector. If a computer can win on Jeopardy, there's no reason why a mobile device can't spot objectionable statements during a trial. There's no need to pay attention to what's going on as long as your mobile device can make objections for you.
Simply pre-record your voice saying "objection, your honor" before you head to court.
The Ruler for judges can be used to respond to Objectors.
Litigation Fantasy. No, I'm not talking about what could happen in the privacy of chambers (although that would be a pretty good app too). What I'm talking about is drafting teams and going head-to-head in your local Litigation League.
Just before the beginning of the season, players take turns drafting lawyers, judges, and litigants. The app, a cloud program, will scour court records and tap into judges' computers to get up-to-the-minute results.
Score points for objections sustained, rulings made, verdicts, and, of course, contempt.
ZIP JUSTICE. Of course, if you're having trouble generating a form, you may be having trouble with the entire legal process. After all, it's so darn slow and you have to contend with facts and rules of evidence.
Fortunately, another group of computer lovers has an answer for you: ZipCourt. All you have to do is upload your problems and how you'd like to solve them and some guy - quite possibly in pajamas while eating a burrito - will decide whether you get your solution.
OK, there are a few drawbacks. The other side has to agree to this and gets to submit its own solution. And, yeah, someone might wonder if you're providing absolutely all the evidence that's needed or whether any of it is the least bit true.
But, still, as the ZipCourt website informs us, "litigation and land-based arbitration are time-consuming and expensive."
The cost of ZipCourt is relatively low compared to regular litigation and my favorite option is the least expensive one: the "Baseball Arbitration track" in which all the arbitrator has to do is choose with side's offer wins.
That one is $399 per party for the coin flip.
Computers are wonderful.
The real courts should try this and sell all those costly buildings.