Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Litigation American Inn of Court

In September, a pupillage group from the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Litigation American Inn of Court in Tampa, Florida, drew “technology” as its topic for its April 2020 presentation. Little did Group 8 know that technology would soon play an even more important role in our lives (and legal practices) than ever.

Initially, Group 8 sent out a survey to its members to ask what technology topics they wanted to learn more about. The presenting pupillage group received a flood of responses and narrowed topics from there. The group planned to lead a live presentation with guest speakers at the usual monthly meeting location. But the novel coronavirus had other ideas.

After a few stay-at-home orders and telephone conferences, it became clear that COVID-19 would prevent any Inn meeting, let alone a live presentation. Group 8 took on the challenge of coordinating and compiling presentations about various aspects of technology for virtual presentation, all while working remotely. The initial survey results informed presentation topics, but so did the changing times and heightened importance of technology in the practice of law. Group 8 narrowed topics for its virtual presentation to three: research tips, including jury verdicts and post-judgment issues; technology used during hearings and depositions; and TrialPad, a tool for electronic presentation of trial materials. Group 8 also worked with a number of guest speakers to create short, informative videos about each topic.

In April the group hosted more than 65 members of the Inn on Zoom. Members were instructed to watch the three videos before the Zoom meeting so that the discussion could be interactive. the group used Zoom’s chat feature to field questions from meeting attendees, and the presentation went off without a hitch.