You can insert videos and sound into PDF documents!!!

I was reading Ross Kodner’s blog and he described a CLE presentation he had seen where David Ferrell, an attorney, had shown a sample PDF demand letter that had video included in it. Here’s Ross’s accolade:

In a demand letter related to personal injuries suffered by a Chinese melamine-laced formula poison infant, the video that popped up was devastating – showing the powerful concept conveyance capabilities of video images v. mere words or even static pictures. While obviously not likely admissible, the effect on a claims adjuster could be significant.

I went to the lawyer’s site and he had a sample letter that had embedded in it a sound video of the plaintiffs’ baby crying as well as two very brief mp3 files.

This ability to insert a number of different file types was news to me, and I could see a variety of ways that this ability could be valuable.

You do need Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro to create the documents and the reader/viewer/listener will need to at least have downloaded the free Adobe 9 viewer.

For details from Adobe, take a look at Adobe’s “step-by-step guide” for “Inserting rich Media into PDF files.”

With a Google search of: pdf “insert video” (with the quotation marks) I also found a video demo of how to insert flash content into a PDF document.

Here’s a general caveat, however, regarding Acrobat:

Adobe has reported: “A critical vulnerability has been identified in Adobe Reader 9 and Acrobat 9 and earlier versions. This vulnerability would cause the application to crash and could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There are reports that this issue is being exploited.”

For more information of the vulnerability, click here. The writer of this article reports another source that recommends that people disable javascript in Reader.

A friend of mine sent me the following about a detailed ABA posting about Acrobat training. (The posting was in ABA’s blog Site-tation, which if from ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center.) Here’s what he sent:

Training Alert!  Free Acrobat Legal Training Movies
You can get Adobe Acrobat training relevant to attorneys at no cost or travel–just visit the Acrolaw Blog to access links to free Acrobat Legal Training Movies. There are at least 25 short films and 2 hour-long e-seminars with more being added regularly. Topics include creating PDFs, combining PDF, working with PDFs, OCR, securing PDFs and using legal-specific features such as redaction and Bates numbering. You can download the slide presentations to watch offline. 

The Acrobat blog, Acrolaw Blog, is more fully described as “Acrobat for Legal Professionals” and is authored by Rick Borstein, who is “a Business Development Manager specializing in the Acrobat-Legal Market for Adobe Systems Incorporated.”

Please leave a comment if you or others have used video and other rich media in PDF files.

If you’re a lawyer with an iPhone, you need to see the blog iPhone J.D.

Jeff Richardson, like me a New Orleanian, has a blog that is invaluable for lawyers who are iPhone users.

Jeff’s blog is iPhone J.D. — Lawyers Using iPhones, and he includes — with lots of screen shots – detailed postings of new apps and other useful info for attorneys. Some of his postings include info about Time tracking — online, Time tracking apps — Eternity Time Log, adding additional fields in your contacts, having federal rules on your iPhone (rules of civil, criminal and appellate procedure and the bankruptcy rules), and how, with an Exchange server, you can have unlimited e-mail on your Phone.

Lawyers can be mechanically creative

The New York Times recently had an article on techniques people use to show they were busy so they wouldn’t get fired: “Working Hard To Look Busy.” A lawyer in the New York office of an international firm had a creative approach. Perhaps putting aside other issues, he wanted to have the lights in his office on in the evenings so that it would appear that he was working late. But he had a problem: the lights dimmed when he left his room. What to do to trick the motion detector? What to do?

The inventive lawyer had an AHA solution: he put an oscillating fan in the room to keep the lights on.

Out-of-the-box marketing: Listing fixed fees for writing appellate briefs

We’ve all heard about setting fixed fees for certain kinds of litigation. But this is the first time that I’ve seen a site in which an appellate firm lists a schedule of its fees for certain kinds of work.

For instance, the firm, The Bartlett Law Firm, APLClists its fee for writing a principal brief on appeal at $7,750 and for writing both principal and reply briefs at $11,900.  The firm lists additional fixed fees for other services. However, the site adds that the firm “will consider blending a lower flat fee with a contingent-portion of the award in certain cases.”

Thanks to Ernie Svenson for posting about the site.

In line with this, there is a January 29 article in the New York Times: “Billable Hours Giving Ground at Law Firms,” which discusses how some firms are using, for instance, value billing in litigation. In one situation, the firm set a fee, but that fee was to be and indeed was increased based on how much the firm saved its client over the amount the client feared losing if it lost.

Do you suffer from “Nomophobia”?

London’s Daily Mail just reported about it in a headline: “Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact – and it’s the plague of our 24/7 age.”

The article continues:

“Millions apparently suffer from ‘no mobile phobia’ which has been given the name nomophobia.

“They have become so dependent on their mobile that discovering it is out of charge or simply misplacing it sends stress levels soaring.

* * *

“Experts say nomophobia could affect up to 53 per cent of mobile phone users, with 48 per cent of women and 58 per cent of men questioned admitting to experiencing feelings of anxiety when they run out of battery or credit, lose their phone or have no network coverage.”

A suggested blog: A blog that reports cases that hold laws or rules unconstitutional or invalid for some other reason

This is an out-of-the-box suggestion for a new blog, one that I think will interest many readers, and it’is free for the taking.

By way of background, one way of coming up with solutions in your practice is to have many ways to jog your thought processes.

Assume you have a case that involves a statute (state or federal) or a regulation (state or federal) or a court rule ‘o or indeed any rule (state or federal), and the statute, regulation or rule is barring you or your client from achieving the relief you would like. One defense to the bar that you might consider is whether that bar is invalid. For instance:

1. If the bar is a statute, is it unconstitutional under either the federal or the state constitution;

2. If it is a regulation, is it invalid because it did not comply with rule-making requirements or because it violates a federal or state statute or constitution;

3. If it is a district or appellate court rule, similarly, does it violate a federal or state constitution, statute or even a uniform rule of the court;

4. If it is a city ordinance, does it violate a constitution or a statute.

This validity-checking technique would apply to various types of litigation, and could be helpful to all who are trying to defeat some bar. It could be helpful to plaintiffs and defendants, and to corporations where they are being charged with violating a statute of a regulation. It would also be helpful to civil rights or other groups where they or their clients are being barred from some type of activity. The list could go on and on. Continue reading

An out-of-the-box way to find someone’s hidden bank accounts

Do you remember that Sherlock Holmes solved a crime because of a dog that didn’t bark?

Well, in one case reported by CaseMap, an investigator entered all of a husband’s checks into CaseMap’s case preparatiion program. Here’s how, in that out-of-the-box way, the payments that didn’t show up led to the investigator’is discovery of the husband’is hidden bank account:

[Bill Branscum, the owner of an investigative agency based in Naples, Florida] recalls how . . . he investigated a subject’s finances after the individual in question had supposedly turned all of his financial records over to the court. CaseMap allowed Branscum to quickly pull out all of the man’is alimony payments, which enabled Branscum to detect something odd: Some monthly payments were just missing, and not made up later. On a hunch, Branscum used CaseMap to pull up the man’is car payments, and he found the same pattern: some payments simply were not made. Branscum’is conclusion: the man had a hidden bank account from which he occasionally paid his alimony and his car loan. The hunch was right and the missing finances were revealed.

Of course, some of the same results can be accomplished with spreadsheet programs.  However, CaseMap might allow you to use its bells and whistles and its related programs like TimeMap that ordinary spreadsheets won’t have.

Metadata in photos: There’is a lot of hidden information in digital photos

You’ive probably learned about all the metadata that can be found in word processing files. The metadata may show when a document was created, what editing changes were made, and all sorts of other potentially valuable information.

I recently learned that there is also some extremely valuable information hidden away in the digital version of digital photographs. And Microsoft has a free –  that’s free – program that allows you to discover from the digital version such information as the date and time when the photo was taken.

You may also be able to discover additional information with Photo Info, although not all of the information may be available for all photos. The additional information may include:

The camera model: If different photos were taken with different cameras, was there more than one photographer?The serial number of the camera: Again, was there more than one photographer?Technical information, such as F-stop, exposure time, ISO speed, and focal length: Did the photographer alter the way the scene really looked by adjusting the settings?

The “author”of the photograph


You need to be wary, however, because the metadata may have been changed before you see the photograph. For instance, someone could change the date and/or time when the photo was taken. However, knowledge regarding photo metadata is less well-known than word processing metadata, so photo metadata is less likely to be deleted or changed than the word processing metadata.

In addition to being able to see the metadata, you can, on your own photos, for instance, change your metadata or add metadata such as keywords to help find your own photos more quickly.

Microsoft has a general description of the program here; it has frequently asked questions here and you can download the program here. (You may already have other programs that show certain photo information. I have two, but, unlike Microsoft’s program, neither of them show the camera model, the camera serial number, or the “author” of the photograph.)

There is a technical description of Microsoft’s program at the site of one of our local TV companies. You will have to search on “metadata” to find it. The page where the description and other computer tips are included is named “Digital Gumbo.” (Only in Louisiana could there be a website with a combination of “digital” and “gumbo.”)

NOTE: I would appreciate learning of ways that lawyers and support personnel have used metadata in photos. I’m not allowing comments to be posted ecause of severe comment spam problems. However, you can send me your thoughts at the following email adress:

Type “noboxes” before the @ sign and type “” after the @ sign. (Do not include the quotation marks.)

Thanks for your thoughts.

Today’s Wall Street Journal – June 18 – has a great 12-page section on “All Things Digital”

Thes Monday June 18 issue of the Wall Street Journal has a tremendously informative section regarding computers and other digital information.

Particularly pertinent for attorneys are articles entitled:

“Business Solutions: Making Sense of Social Software”

“Social Studies: Companies of all kinds are figuring out which tools work and how to use them” — The article includes information on topics such as social networking, RSS, wikis and blogs and a discussion of how corporations are using them” (This article may be seen at not cost on the Journal’s site.)

“Playing Well With Others: How IBM’s employees have taken social networking to an unusual level” — The article even includes a discussion of how IBM has islands on Second Life for its employees”

“Wikis at Work: Companies turn the Wikipedia concept into a powerful corporate-information tool for employees””

There are also interviews with Steve Jobs, George Lucas, and other magnates.

If you’re interested in any of this and don’t subscribe online, you need to get the paper today while the issue is still available.

How to automatically update “See page ____” cross-references in your briefs and memos

Continuing readers of legal blogs such as this one probably know how to create cross-references in their briefs and memos. With that knowledge, they don’t have to manually update their cross-references when they add or delete pages in their briefs and memos, thus changing the cross-referenced pages. Therefore, for most of you, the following is a time-saving posting for you to share with your fellow attorneys and their secretaries:

How many times have you written a brief and you’re on page 10 and you want to refer to something above that’s on page 5. So, you write “See page 5, supra.” But later you put some new material before page 5, and page 5 becomes page 7. Now your reference is no longer accurate. Then, unless you forget, you manually change 5 to 7. However, that can be tedious if you have four or five or more cross-references. And, even if you only have one, you might forget to make the change.

There’s a way in both WordPerfect and Microsoft Word to make your life easier. It’s called “cross-referencing.” It’s a little complicated at first, but once you or your secretary learn the technique, it’s easy.

Essentially, for instance in WordPerfect 8 (other versions of WordPerfect may be somewhat different), click consecutively on Tools, then Reference, and then Cross-Reference. Reference Type is almost always “Page.” Give the reference a name in the “Select Target” box (for instance “negligence”), and press “Mark Reference” ~n and that’s now the “reference.” Then, go to the location you are referring to, such as page 5, and press “Mark Target” using the identical name you used when you named the reference. You now have marked both the Target and the Reference. Now, you can press “Generate” and, shazam, the “See p. ___” on page 10 now refers to page 5. If you add pages in front of page 5 and page 5 becomes page 8 (or becomes page 4 because you deleted material), all you need to do is “re-generate” the reference (Tools, Reference, Cross-Reference, and Generate), and page 10 now refers to page 8 ~n or page 4 ~n or whatever.

For instructions in WordPerfect itself on how to do the cross-referencing, you can go to “Help” in the toolbar at the top of the page, then click on “Ask the Perfect Expert,” then enter “cross-reference” (without the quotes), and follow the instructions. (Again, there may be variations in finding the instructions, depending on which version of WordPerfect you are using.)

Smart Computing magazine, which has very practical articles “In Plain English,” as it says, has an article on WordPerfect version 6.1′s cross-references at one on cross-referencing on WordPerfect’s version 10 at Again, although your version of WordPerfect may be different, the techniques and the principles of marking and generating will probably be similar. (The links to these articles will be open only until April 5, 2007. You can also search Smart Computing for these and other computer articles with a free Smart Computing trial subscription.)

Microsoft Word also permits cross-referencing, although the technique is different. There is a detailed article on Word 2003-2004 at (No time limit is imposed for that article.)


The same technique can be used if you want to cross reference to footnote numbers and counters that you create. Instead of selecting page in Cross Reference, just select Footnote number (or counter or “Paragraph/Outline”).

In addition, you can automatically increment Exhibit numbers so that you can move the exhibits around or delete or add exhibits and have the numbers automatically change to the correct new number. To learn about that tool, in WordPerfect 8 (other programs and versions may be slightly different), go to Help and, in the Index tab, type list, numbered. You’ll see detailed instruction on how to use the time-saving technique.