From Law.com: "Electronic Transcript Management Technology for Litigators," by Lawrence Savell--
For some of us, back when we were in school, the concept of "transcript management" consisted of determining whether a particular elective course should be taken for a grade or on a pass/fail basis, in light of potential GPA ramifications.
Today, for litigators and those who work with and provide technical support to them, transcript management has a very different meaning -- applying technology in an effective and efficient manner to collect, organize and analyze records of testimony from and for use in depositions, hearings, trials and other litigation contexts.
Litigation testimony may well be the most difficult aspect of information generated in discovery for lawyers to get their hands around because of its inherent nature and format.
In my own practice, I favor some less complex tools. Even for keeping track of the hundreds of depositions and many trials in the Vioxx litigation, I feel I have plenty of flexibility simply by loading the transcripts onto a hard drive, making an index of what I have with Notemap, an outlining tool, then relying on DT Search to search across the transcripts for particular words.
For me, it's the act of making outlines that's the biggest aid to learning and remembering important case facts, as I have to consciously consider the item being categorized in order to place it into a hierarchy. By contrast, whenever I receive large litigation databases assembled by others, say in CaseMap, I just can't ever seem to learn or remember the material and end up having to reorganize it myself. For some reason, I have the same problem when I use CaseMap myself, probably because I become frustrated with all the ways the data can be organized. I prefer something simpler, which also makes it easier for me to relearn the material after spending time away from it.
Another aid that helps me organize transcripts is a USB drive, such as the one I wrote about in 2004, where I can dump huge groups of depositions, as well as Notemap outlines, and work on the particular case no matter what computer I happen to be using. Another way to do this is to store everything on a work computer, then access it from elsewhere using a program like GoToMyPC, which was recently featured in "Ten Must-Have Web Sites for Solo Practitioners,"
by Rick Georges. My law partner, Andrea Lamere, uses GoToMyPC, and it works very well. Still, I like the simplicity of USB drives, which keep being redesigned to hold even larger amounts of information. You just have to be careful to back up your data and keep a tight grip on the drive so it doesn't get lost.