The platform bundles CT Summation iBlaze with CT Summation Web-Blaze to provide access to case information via traditional LAN, Web-browser and laptop implementations. It allows all members of the legal team to collaborate � no matter where they are � even if they are not connected to the Internet.
And, the firm administrator has full control over who can access the information, providing ample security.
A FULFILLING SOLUTION
With the CT Summation iBlaze component, users inside the traditional network firewall can collaborate on case evidence.
We are working on installing Personal SQL on all our firm’s laptops, and eventually we will migrate those cases needing laptop mobility to that system so users can take away all or part of the case.
The CT Summation WebBlaze browser-based system allows users to access case information online.
Each case hosted in Summation Enterprise is comprised of several databases and collections of information, including:
- Case documents and related documents
- Pleadings and papers
- Deposition, hearing and trial transcripts
- Issues, events and the cast of characters aligned with the case
The iBlaze users can access all of these databases or other information from their desktop. They can search, review and annotate each to assimilate and collaborate on how all of the probative information interacts in the case. Critical documents can be flagged and correlated to issues, witnesses and importance to the case. The same is true for critical testimony embodied in transcripts. Links can be made between documents, testimony and events, and all can be associated with legal, factual or procedural issues in the case.
ON THE ROAD PERFORMANCE
The firm is still working on WAN-related literacy issues that have prevented us from taking full advantage of Summation’s SQL feature set in all offices. Due to these latency issues, we are still using Summation LG/iBlaze for our partners’ mobility needs.
Once the migration process is complete, however, a lawyer or paralegal can check out a mobile copy of the software and as much of the case information as he or she needs for the project at hand. New information can be added, and existing information can be augmented, analyzed and annotated while on the road.
If the project is a deposition, the user can connect to the court reporter to capture the deposition in real time. As the deposition streams into the computer, flags and annotations can be made with a tap on the spacebar or a click of the mouse. With simple advance setup, testimony can be flagged on-the-fly with automatic marking features. Upon return to the office, replication and synchronization utilities deliver this information to the entire case team moving forward.
Finally, any firm member who needs access to case information can log in to the case via WebBlaze. While the connection is made via a browser interface, the data is the same data as accessed by iBlaze, so collaboration is made in real time. Each user can be assigned rights and permissions that define or limit access to exactly that which the user needs to do his or her job, given his or her role in the case.
Summation Enterprise is also supported by a professional services group that offers enterprise-level systems support, consulting and training services when needed.
Working with CT Summation’s Professional Services team, we were able to plan our implementation process, migration strategy and training requirements for a smooth transition. By leveraging their expertise, we were able to coordinate a streamlined deployment. We migrated the cases that required the most active collaboration between our users without any downtime.
CT Summation has exceeded our needs and has also helped us find unexpected ways to cut costs. We were able to do a large coding project with previously retired PCs that would not run today’s standard application. Using CT Summation’s technology for the project eliminated the need to rent or purchase additional PCs.
SAVING TIME AND MONEY
Summation Enterprise gives us scalability, which means more people can be searching for, finding and reviewing documents or testimony at the same time � in much larger document collections.
Historically, document-intensive cases meant managing paper � and a lot of it. Technology has crawled forward in the past 10 years, so that much of this paper has been converted to images � and there is still a lot of that.
However, businesses invest in computer technology for a reason � efficiency and effectiveness. Converting useful and compact digital information to paper or a paper-like format is wasteful.
Summation Enterprise allows users to keep large volumes of digital evidence digitally, in native-file or near native-file formats. The information is captured, loaded and maintained in a legally defensible manner. This allows for the search and review of information in its source format � eliminating costly and time-consuming conversion projects. When a document must be redacted, CT Summation’s petrification utility allows users to convert only those documents that need converting.
For example, a large automobile manufacturing client of ours had hired a major outsourced Web company to create a database for them. That Web company was charging our client for a number of things: converting and importing the PST files (the mobile format for reviewing e-mail files), processing them, and designing the data entry form and pick lists. The Web company also charged to house that database � to have a secure site where our staff could log in, view and objectively code that information.
A lot of time and effort went into creating this massive database, and ultimately the client spent around $175,000 to do it.
Using Summation Enterprise, we were able to build a comparable database for this client for around $6,000. We were able to use Summation Enterprise’s e-loader to load the PST files directly � we didn’t have to outsource it. We didn’t have to print, scan and import the e-mail because the core of the database is out-of-the-box. We then developed customized coding forms and used Summation WebBlaze to populate them.
The ability to use otherwise obsolete hardware also saved money. We resurrected hardware that wouldn’t have been able to keep up-to-speed with today’s programs and functions, but that worked for our purposes. We hooked up an extra monitor to each computer, which allowed us to use one screen to see the e-mail (Summation Enterprise shows the e-form, or the e-mail), and we used the other screen to code that e-mail.
Once we set up the database in house, we exported a portion of what was being housed by the outside Web vendor on behalf of our client into Summation Enterprise. The client had used the outsourced database to winnow and sift the information to what could be useable in the future. Once the matter was closed, the relevant information was brought in house, and with it the monthly bill for hosting that information. Now the firm is able to change things more quickly: It used to take a week or two before a change was made when the Web vendor hosted the database.
Being able to provide clients with this type of technology and service is invaluable. Not only were we able to save them money, but we’ve also saved ourselves time.
Michael Cammack is the chief information officer for Bowman and Brooke. The firm defends many corporations in products liability, toxic torts and other high stakes litigation throughout all 50 states. For more information, please visit www.bowmanandbrooke.com. This article was originally published in LJN’s Legal Tech Newsletter, a Recorder affiliate.