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How Lawyers Work: Litigator Jerry Geiger on his mix of IOS devices, fountain pens and guitars

You can follow Jerry on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What apps or tools are essential to your daily workflow?

I find my iPhone 7 and iPad (3rd generation) indispensable in keeping up with all of the deadlines and projects that a busy litigation practice requires. I use an app called “Dictate” to dictate letters, pleadings, and summaries of depositions. If I am working out of town, I often dictate letters summarizing hearings and depositions for my clients and then I email the dictation to my secretary who can type the dictation on my drive home. I will often have a completed letter waiting for me to sign when I return to the office.

Speaking of dictation, the native dictation app on IOS is extremely accurate and allows me to process email responses quickly.
Taking searchable files with me on my iPad to hearings, depositions, and arguments is great because my entire file is searchable. I see lawyers coming into court bringing files on hand trucks. But, when they need a specific file, it is painful to watch them hunt for it. In just a few seconds, I can typically find what I need. It makes my arguments more persuasive and it helps me look prepared. Never discount the importance of looking prepared, especially when negotiating settlements with opposing counsel.

I am also a big fan of the Scannable app, which allows me to scan documents at hearings and depositions, and copy whiteboards in a very high quality format that I can save and OCR. My iPhone 7 camera has such a great resolution that the scanned images from my phone are typically better than my office’s full-size scanners.

Obviously, I love my iPad and the way it synchronizes information with my iPhone. However, I am due for an upgrade and would love the Pro version of the iPad. I am waiting, though, for the expected announcement of the next generation iPad since I have a history of buying technology right before manufacturers introduce new versions. I am often frustrated that my kids have better technology than me.

Finally, I have always loved technology and have dabbled in computer programing. But, we all need balance, right? In the last few years, I have fallen in love with fountain pens and have a growing collection of pens with varying types of nibs and a wide assortment of ink. When a “thank you” note or other personal message is needed, I find that a handwritten note, rather than a typed letter, is more personal and more welcome. Technology doesn’t eliminate the need for a human connection. There is nothing wrong with “old school,” given the right circumstances.

What does your work space look like?

It varies. I am probably the only one in the office who claims to have a “paperless” office but you would think I am lying about the paperless comment if you looked at my desk. Every piece of correspondence, in paper form or electronic form, is archived, scanned, and OCR’d (meaning it is a searchable document). I travel a lot so having digital files is very useful. However, when reviewing documents, especially briefs, I do find that reviewing the paper version is helpful. I am hoping that the iPad Pro, with its larger screen, makes this practice unnecessary.

How do you keep track of your calendars/deadlines?

My office has a practice management program called “Amicus Attorney” that tracks lawyers’ calendars, deadlines, and provides information on potential conflicts of interest. While I like the program, I manage my deadlines now through OmniFocus, an IOS/Mac app. While I am tempted to get one of the new Surface Pro computers, because of my love for OmniFocus, I am sticking with the iPhone and iPad to manage my deadlines. I have experimented with several dozen task management apps and this is by far the best I have ever seen.

I regularly juggle about 150 open litigation files with dozens of deadlines in each one. I have yet to find a better program to keep me on track.

What is one thing that you listen to/read/watch that everyone should?

Slate’s Political Gabfest, a podcast I listen to through the Overcast app but it is available elsewhere. I listen to it religiously, especially on my long runs. Try it.

What’s your favorite local place to network or work solo?

The Eastern Monroe Public Library. I’ve been the President of the Board of Trustees for the past few years and my legacy will be the construction of a café in the library. Books & coffee: a perfect combination! Construction is happening now and by this summer you will be able to drink espresso and read Hemingway.

What are four things most people don’t know about you?

• In my spare time and just for fun, I play fingerstyle guitar with a preference for Delta Blues. I first picked up the guitar as a teenager and then, after a long layoff, started up again when my wife bought me an all mahogany Martin for our anniversary.

Although my playing is hardly ready for prime time, I convinced a PA Supreme Court Justice to play a harmonica/guitar duet with me at a Monroe County Bench Bar Conference.

I’m certain it was the glasses that gave me the street cred.

• I ran my first marathon last year at age 56. It was the Steamtown Marathon, noted for its gradual 26.2 miles of downhill running. I was very slow but proud at having completed the distance after never running more than a mile before I turned 50.

• I own a BMW R1200GS motorcycle that I don’t ride nearly enough but when I do, it’s so much fun. A few years ago, I rode with a group of lawyers and Monroe County Courthouse employees on a motorcycle trip to see the underground mine fires at Centralia. Great experience.

I’m Batman. At least I played Batman at a “Fairy Tale Mock Trial” at the Monroe County Courthouse a few years ago.

My local bar association, in an effort to educate local children, produced a mock trial to illustrate the court process. Lawyers dress up as fictional characters to provide an engaging experience for local children. It is always an enjoyable event and a nice service to the community.

To the left is my interview with Channel 28 news.

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