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The following discussion thread excerpt is from an ongoing law.com online seminar “Litigation Technology 2001″ moderated by Monica Bay, Editor-in-Chief of Law Technology News. For information on this program and other law.com seminar offerings, please visit www.law.com/seminars. MONICA BAY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, LAW TECHNOLOGY NEWS, NEW YORK Let me start by posing a question to all of you: What do youconsider to be the essential tech tools for big firm litigators? What do you keep on your desk? What could you not live without? What are the barebone basics? And what’s your favorite “luxury” tech tool? Let the fun begin. ALBERT BARSOCCHINI, E-PRACTICE CONSULTANT, THE WEST GROUP AND THE LAW TEK GROUP, SAN ANSELMO, CALIF. My checklist: 1. PowerPoint for the presentation 2. CaseMap, Summation or Concordance to organize the evidence 3. Blackberry for stealth e-mail communication inside and outside the courtroom 4. HP Capshare for “on the spot scanning” 5. Wireless access to Westlaw 6. And, of course, a good laptop! Stay tuned to hear what is essential, what is a luxury and what I can do without … TOM O’CONNOR, CONSULTANT, PACIFIC LEGAL, NEWCASTLE, WASH. When I’m consulting with litigators I recommend: 1. Evidence management tool(s): some combination of Summation or Concordance with imaging and real-time capabilities 2. Trial presentation system such as Trial Director or Sanction along with PowerPoint for quick presentations 3. A knowledge management tool such as CaseMap 4. Portable scanner 5. Portable printer Everything should be on a laptop powerful enough to run all the programs with a CD-ROM drive that has a backup of everything you need for the matter at hand and also allows Internet access to on-line research, e-mail and Web document depositories. A luxury would be a wireless modem or cell phone adaptor for times when a land line isn’t available. LARRY A. CRAPO, V.P. OF SALES AND MARKETING, COMPULAW, LOS ANGELES Our surveys indicate that most litigators continue to rely on the following tools every day: 1. (of course) Word or WordPerfect 2. Lexis/Westlaw 3. Palm Desktop/Palm (or other hand-held computer) 4. Outlook or Groupwise 5. PowerPoint Many are also adopting: 1. View Mail (to manage voice mails) 2. Imanage (though there are many PC Docs and some World Docs, too) Other applications we hear a lot about include: 1. Law Desk 2. Live Note 3. Summation 4. Sanction The last three litigation applications are typically used in a collaborative environment, on laptops, and not typically on “desktops.” It makes a big difference for applications depending on the size of the firm. Maybe Albert and Tom want to comment on which applications work best for small firms vs. midsized and larger firms. SHERYN BRUEHL, MANAGING PARTNER, BRUEHL & CHAPMAN, NORMAN, OKLA. I have to agree … . My list sounds a bit like a “me, too,” but here goes: 1. Presentations software — It doesn’t matter what you use (I’ve got both PowerPoint and Corel Presentations) as long as you are familiar with it and can use it quickly and effectively. It’s worth spending some time, if you are going to make trial exhibits or client presentations yourself, to learn the basics/tips/tricks of designing great visual presentations. One “power tool” I’ve learned to love in bothprograms that few people ever learn to use: the “outline” function. If you will simply organize your thoughts in an outline, making sure to keep the categories relatively small, and either type or import them into the slide creator’s outline function, the slide show will pretty much make itself. Then you can spend your time “tweaking” the basic layout (which all the text will then conform to), working on the exceptions and adding appropriate graphics. I have created very detailed and professional presentations of 20-30 or more slides on the fly in around 15 minutes, using pre-prepared backgrounds, creating a quick outline of my thoughts, and changing the “layout” template to format the text the way I wanted it. Run through the show once to proof and tweak the text … and it’s ready to present. 2. CaseMap & TimeMap — I seldom advocate for particular products, but this is one of the exceptions. CaseMap is the first tool I’ve ever seen that really does an effective job of automating the process of “thinking like a lawyer.” CaseMap has lots of little shortcuts to help you quickly and easily enter everything you know (including what you have determined that you DON’T know) about your case into the program: people, events, allegations, elements, questions, tasks, etc. … and add to that, everything you know aboutthose things (qualitative or quantitative things, such as: disputed/undisputed, credibility, importance, whether it helps/hurts, or virtually anything else you want to assess or quantify). Once the information is in, you can sort, filter and view it virtually any way that you can imagine. Once you have a useful view or subset of facts, you can print it, save the filter for later re-use, and/or (if it is a sequence of events or dates) export it to TimeMap to make an instant graphic chronology. I simply cannot imagine a better tool for organizing information in any case (litigated or not) than CaseMap and TimeMap. But what is even more amazing about the products than their features, is the company that sells them. CaseSoft, Inc. has the most amazing customer service model I have ever seen in a software company. If you buy their products, and don’t call them within a couple of weeks for your free personal tour and explanation of the program, they’ll call youand ask if you need assistance. Afraid to get started or a bit intimidated by the process? Make an appointment, and they’ll sit on the phone with you and walk you through the process of actually entering your first case … at no charge. Need help figuring out a strategy for using the product effectively in your type of case? The CD includes several verygood articles and suggestions, as do their newsletters and e-mails. But if you don’t find what you need, just call. These people love their product and it shows. I’ve nevermet an unhappy CaseMap/TimeMap user. They are right on the edge of releasing a new outlining tool, which some say will be as good or better than the venerable (and dead) Ecco Pro, too! 3. Word processing — I don’t care what you use, Word or WordPerfect … but I’m a steadfast believer that you and every member of your team, from the mailroom on up, should be using whichever program they are the most effective with. And you should have both available so that you can open, edit and/or save documents in either. No matter what anybody says, whichever one you have, you willend up needing the other at some point or another to work effectively with someone. There are enough similarities between the two programs that you should be able to perform basic functions (Indent, bold, underline, save, print) within about two minutes of looking at the toolbars … but for major layout work and critical, time-sensitive projects, you should be using what you know. 3. Wireless e-mail device — I agree … once you’ve had one, you’ll never give it up. If I had to choose between it and my cell phone, the cell phone is history. It’s thatwonderful. The primary benefit is that you can send and receive actual information, silently, unobtrusively and instantly, almost anywhere you happen to be, subject to being able to get a signal (like any other wireless device). I would nevertravel without mine, and have used it in restaurants, libraries, meetings, during speeches, in airports, on airplanes (before and after landing, of course), on buses and trains, at home and even in the car (at stoplights, of course), to exchange important information that I otherwise would not have gotten (or been able to give) until the next time it was possible or appropriate to use a cell phone or drag out my laptop to connect to the Internet. I have accomplished more business in otherwise “down” time as a result of that device than I can possibly quantify … and the gentleman who suggested using it for “stealth” e-mail was right on the money. You have a distinct advantage when you can “call” your office in the middle of a hearing and get a return message with real information before the witness leaves the stand or the judge stops talking. Imagine having your entire staff at your beck and call every moment of your hearing … with the entire resources of your office at their disposal, and you’ve got the effectiveness of this device down. Of course, that presumes you can get it into the courtroom with you ( notgonna happen in a federal courtroom, I’m afraid). 4. Nobody’s mentioned Case Management software yet — and there’s another full day for that later in the seminar, but I think it is, bar none, the most important item on any lawyer’s desktop. It probably should more accurately be called practicemanagement software, as people tend to confuse it with case organization software like CaseMap, or litigation support like Summation … but Case Management software is that essential piece that tracks the client information, case contacts, docket information, matter details, associated documents, and helps you track time and produce documents far more quickly and effectively than traditional templates or cut-and-paste methods. Generally it works in conjuction with a billing program, a document management program, and your litigation support program to form a complete time and information management strategy, and makes you far more efficient. There are lots of reasons why specialized case management software is a far better approach than Outlook or Groupwise … a discussion which can be had later. 5. A Palm Pilot — For many lawyers, the Palm Pilot is a logical replacement for a laptop. If you only use your laptop for an address book and calendar, and occasionally to jot down a few notes … you’d be betteroff with a Palm Pilot. It turns on instantly (no interminable booting up), fits in a shirt pocket, costs less than $400, and can keep five years worth of appointments and to-dos, thousands of contacts, hundreds of memos, e-mail, Web sites, specially formatted books and reference tools, and a surprisingly vast variety of useful utilities (like time-keeping). You can synchronize it with your computer or network, with the right software, you can print directly from it, or even “beam” information from it to a computer or another Palm. Used in conjunction with a Case Management program, you can have almost all of the information you have about your cases at your desk in the palm of your hand. Even if you have a laptop, the portability and instant access make a Palm Pilot a wise addition to your arsenal. 5. A Paper Lessoffice — I’m a big fan of Ross Kodner’s Paper Lessconcept. There are those who advocate “paperless” to the extreme … but I don’t believe that law offices are ever going to eliminate paper, and think that those who advocate “scan and destroy or return” are irresponsible. The Paper Lessapproach, however, is to scan everythingthat comes into the office, store it along with the documents you produce in a logical client/matter format (ideally with good document management software that gives you powerful search and retrieval capability), put the originals in the file, where they belong, and work with the electronic file. That gives you the ability to work anytime/anywhere; to have several people working on the same file or document at the same time; to replace lost or misfiled documents quickly and easily (though how you’d lose a document almost nobody ever touches is hard to imagine); to mark up, annotate and highlight documents at will (try doing that with an original!); and to create a powerful network of electronic links to documents via your litigation support, case management, and case organization tools. Not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars it saves in time not lost tracking down files and papers, and the massive benefits of a complete (and backed up, of course) electronic copy of all of your files in the event of an office disaster. I couldn’t possibly explain all of the benefits in this small space and time, but there is more information at www.microlaw.com(and it’s free … my favorite price). TOM O’CONNOR, CONSULTANT, PACIFIC LEGAL, NEWCASTLE, WASH. To answer Larry’s question, the great thing about current technology is that there is little or no distinction any longer with regard to firm size. The cost of all the programs that have been mentioned here is well within the budget of even a sole practitioner and the power of the programs is scaleable to handle the demands of even the largest firm or largest case. The old days of one program for the “little guy” (say, an AskSam database or CAT-Links for transcripts) and another for large firms (say, DocuFind or Verity) have been replaced by reasonably priced, very powerful Windows-based applications. No matter where you stand on the issue of Microsoft and antitrust, the fact that they literally gave away a developers tool kit when they first released the product has now paid off with bigger, better and cheaper software for any practitioner. LARRY A. CRAPO, V.P. OF SALES AND MARKETING, COMPULAW, LOS ANGELES Sheryn’s point on Case Management is important. Litigators need accurate calendar management, more than other attorneys. According to the ABA, missed critical dates are still the number two reason for malpractice claims. While most litigators are still relying on a “paper” docket report, increasingly, they want their schedules on their desktops, either in a case/calendar program, or transferred from such a program to GroupWise or OutLook and later tranferred to their Palm Pilot. Though I agree with Tom that all the products mentioned in the initial responses are affordable for all sizes of firms, I think that case/calendar products definitely fall into an area where size of firm counts. In smaller firms, applications such as Amicus Attorney, Abacus and Time Matters are prevalent. They’re easy to learn, work for more simplistic conflicts checks, keep Rolodex information and so forth. The midsize and larger firms place much more emphasis on the back-end database (like MS SQL) for performance, they want integration with their higher end accounting, records, etc., and expect other more advanced features, like rules-based calendaring and rules databases. This is a fast-growing area, with many different products designed for different areas of practice. Tom is right, though, on the litigation tool integration issue. We’re certainly getting more demand from users in that area. DOUGLAS MCQUAID, TRIAL CONSULTANT, OXHEY, HERTS, ENGLAND It’s interesting to compare the experiences of the English lawyer with the American. Litigation is, of course, considerably less common, and often of lower value here. We also have the split between solicitor (who generally does not have rights of audience) and the barrister (who does). Other major factors, though, are that there is no jury in a civil case (except libel). Neither do we have the deposition process and its attendant need for transcripts and evidence presentation. Judges are generally very opposed to what they see as the barristers’ use of technology as a weapon in the litigation. All this means that we do not have a single litigator armed with the range of tools that have been mentioned so far. Nevertheless, there are dominant products that litigators will use in preparation for, and use in, trial. There is a handful of serious litigation support providers, who concentrate on one or two products, including Introspect, Concordance, JFS and local products. For transcript management the most commonly used product is LiveNote, and almost without exception lawyers will only think of this in relation to real-time. TrialPro and latterly Sanction are used in court. JAMES KEANE, CONSULTANT, JKEANE.COM, NORTH POTOMAC, MD. Larry mentioned a survey that showed the following specialist litigation support programs: Other applications we hear a lot about include: 1. Law Desk 2. Live Note 3. Summation 4. Sanction This list needs to be supplemented with Concordance and its ASP version iConect. Summation and Concordance are the two most popular litigation support programs. And don’t forget the browser, which lets you access Internet repositories and ASPs like Case Central, Nikku or Nextra. InData’s suite of programs (Trial Director, Depo Director, Video Director) are also very popular and effective tools for the trial presentation desktop. [Note: law.com Seminars will have a later lecture on this topic.] PowerPoint is pretty static and needs a lot of advance prep work, while an industrial strength trial presentation package lets you display documents, exhibits, transcript excerpts and even video clips on the fly. And Tom is right. Big Firm v. Small Firm is not the dividing line. The size of the case and budget may dictate which tools a lawyer uses. Summation can be used almost out of the box to manage a box of documents, 50 to 100 exhibits and a several thousand page of transcripts. Digital photography software is fast becoming an necessity for some types of practice, such as a PI practice with lots of gory pictures. You need programs like PhotoStudio to crop, highlight and manage the underlying photos. You many present them in PowerPoint or some other presentation software. BROOK S. BOEHMLER, PROLAW SOFTWARE, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. I think the legal technology market still has a way to go. There are still many vendors out there with very specialized products that are only appropriate for a small segment of the legal market. That is definitely changing, and we’re starting to see that the most successful companies and products are those that address a wide market, both in terms of functionality and firm size.

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