Curio used for a lawyer's briefcase

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


The following is a post from one of our customers:

CURIO - THE LAWYER'S BRIEFCASE FOR THE MODERN AGE
Curio is the only program I have found suitable to my needs as an Advocate (Barrister, "trial lawyer"). 

I work with "briefs" - files of documents relevant to each case in which I am involved. Without Curio, I would have been forced to carry these between my office, home, and the court, in a "briefcase," and most probably, one at a time, given their weight and volume. With Curio, these briefs are, instead, stored on my Macbook Pro. These are not merely "stored," in fact - but they are made more easily accessible, and can be brought to bear more effectively in the practice of law. 

Of course, anyone with a scanner would be able to store electronic copies of documents on a laptop computer. Curio, however, gives one the means to interact with, and APPLY, those documents in an efficient and elegant manner. 

George has invited me to explain how I, as a lawyer, use Curio in my daily practice, and I am only too happy to oblige. I look forward to reading about how other professionals use Curio in their daily lives. 

The practice of law requires that one get to grip with mounds of paper. By "get to grip with," I mean:

(a) physically lug around; 
(b) cross-reference;
(c) search
(d) categorise
(e) and, crucially, bring to bear when it matters most. 

Documentary information, whether it is in the form of a disputed item of correspondence between warring litigants, or a copy of a judgment which one wishes to use as ammunition in advancing one's own case, or a summary of the evidence which (one hopes) a witness will give in court, is the material which a trial lawyer must absorb, and then bring to bear. Storing something is useless unless one is able to find it later, and use it. 

If one has access to a good scanner, one is able to turn these mounds of paper into PDF files. These PDF files can then be converted into searchable resources by means of the use of a program such as ABBYY Finereader. 

These PDF files can then be imported into a Curio project in various ways-  by simply dragging and dropping them into an idea space, or by saving, dragging, or printing them to Curio's scrapbook (from virtually any application), and then dragging them into the idea space in question. 

Curio enables one to organise these documents with reference to sections, folders, sub-folders, and idea spaces. 

The real ace up Curio's sleeve, which, in my view, no other program is able to match, is the ability to "spread" these PDF files across idea spaces. Each page can then be manipulated in various ways, all of which will require creativity on one's own part (and thus - perhaps - engender some degree of enjoyment). For example, each page of each PDF file can be marked up with highlighting, and excerpts of relevant portions of a document can be copied and pasted into other idea spaces (with, for example, the use of the excellent program "ScreenFloat"); 

More importantly, each page (idea space) or asset (eg "figure", such as a shape) can be referenced by means of a hyperlink which can be copied and pasted into other documents and, crucially, task managers such as Things or - my new favourite - Flow, which, when clicked (system-wide), will open that particular page and highlight that particular figure

Figures such as square brackets or text boxes can be inserted into each page at a particular location on that page, and can be referenced with a hyperlink, as I have just explained, or may form the destination for a clickable jump anchor which can be inserted into any other idea space in either the project in question, or any other Curio project;

One is thus able to, for example, construct a list of questions to be put to a particular witness, and, with reference to each question, link to a particular WORD or phrase, or page, which may be situated somewhere amongst thousands of other pages. One is in this way able to instantly cross-reference between the pages of one's brief - provided one has done the necessary preparation beforehand!

The process of inserting jump anchors in this manner, in fact, comprises the bulk of one's preparation.

One is left with a totally digitised brief, which is completely searchable, either within Mac OS' preview application, or with Curio's own search function (located in the "Shelf"). 

Crucially, one might - hopefully - arrive at court with some degree of assurance that one, literally, has the relevant documents at one's fingertips, with a tap of one's trackpad. 

There are many other ways in which Curio can assist one to manage documentary information (eg by way of the insertion of tags or other meta-data), but the workflow I have described forms the basis of how I collate, organise, and analyse the documents which literally comprise my daily bread. 

Organising PDF files via the Finder is simply not efficient enough. Carrying around a selection of scanned PDF files on either a Macbook or an iPad will not allow one to bring that stored information to bear. Only Curio, in my view, gives one the tools to APPLY the information which one has put into it. 

I look forward to Curio 8 with eager anticipation (even though I would be happy to use Curio 7 for the foreseeable future). Thank you, George, for developing such a wonderful product. 

Adv. M.M. Swain