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July 09, 2020 iWitness

Twenty-First-Century Software for Litigators

A review of several different types of software and mobile apps developed with litigators in mind.

by Nicole Black

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Rapid technological advancements have changed the practice of law over the past decade. The rise of mobile and cloud computing has driven the increasing pace of change. With the iPhone’s release in 2007, lawyers could suddenly practice law and access important case-related information stored in the cloud from anywhere at any time on an internet-enabled device.

Since then, lawyers have embraced the convenience and flexibility of 21st-century legal technology, using litigation software to help them manage their clients’ matters both in and out of the courtroom. The ability to practice law from anywhere offers so many benefits that it’s no surprise that the number of litigators who are now incorporating these tools into their technology arsenals has increased significantly year over year.

The good news is that litigators seeking to incorporate modern software tools into their practice are in luck; there are many cutting-edge tools available, ranging from software designed to streamline the pretrial process to mobile apps created for use in the courtroom. There are even artificial intelligence legal platforms that provide a host of insights gleaned from available data that will assist in making the best possible decisions in litigation matters.

Here are several different types of software and mobile apps developed with litigators in mind.

Rules-based calendaring. Litigators’ days are ruled by deadlines, including statutes of limitation, filing deadlines, and discovery deadlines. Like it or not, deadlines are an inescapable part of litigation practice, but rules-based calendaring systems can help ease the pain of tracking and meeting deadlines.

Rules-based calendaring automatically calendars deadlines. This software applies court rules and statutory deadlines of specific jurisdictions to the due dates of a matter at the start of a case. Rules-based calendaring systems will automatically enter deadlines, obviating the need for manual entry.

Two of the more widely known stand-alone rules-based calendaring tools to consider are LawToolBox and CalendarRules. Both integrate with Outlook calendars. LawToolBox is also offered as an add-in for Microsoft Office 365 and syncs with Google Calendar and iCal.

Deposition review software. Reviewing and analyzing deposition testimony is an important element of mastering and organizing complicated fact patterns.

That’s where deposition review software comes in. This type of software assists lawyers with the typically tedious process of reading, reviewing, and annotating deposition transcripts during the pretrial process. Using this software, lawyers can upload and store digital transcripts in the cloud and then access them from any compatible device.

Lawyers can read, highlight, and share deposition and trial transcripts once they are uploaded into the system. This simplifies the analysis and review of deposition transcripts, and it often includes features that allow lawyers to highlight text with color-coded designations, search for specific phrases, flag important sections, generate reports, and share the reports or flagged portions of the transcript.

Two programs to consider when it comes to this type of software are TranscriptPad (an iPad app that is arguably one of the most widely known of the cloud-based deposition review tools) and Mobile Transcript (which offers apps for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices).

Litigation analytics software. Another tool to consider adding to a firm’s technology arsenal is litigation analytics software. In recent years, there have been significant advancements in data analytics and language processing, both of which make it possible for massive amounts of data to be organized and analyzed in mere seconds.

This capability can be particularly useful in litigation because there is a wealth of information to be found in court data and filings about judges, their rulings, the litigants, their attorneys, expert witnesses, and more. Litigation analytics software helps you make sense of the information and use the analytics provided to make informed decisions about the course of a litigation matter.

There are several different software products that sift through litigation data:

  • Judge analytics tools offer insight into the rulings and decision-making processes of judges and often provide insight into whether a particular type of motion will be successful if brought before a given judge.
  • Law firm analytics provide an analysis of data relating to a given law firm’s prior litigation history, including case outcomes, clients represented, and the lawyers assigned to given cases.
  • Company analytics tools include data regarding a company’s litigation history, including lawsuits, outcomes, and the law firms that handled the litigation.
  • Expert witness analytics provide data about expert witnesses’ involvement in past litigation, including their curricula vitae, which parties they testified for, and whether their testimony (or parts of it) was excluded.
  • Case analytics offer insight into specific types of cases and include data on the number of cases filed, the length of the time that the case was pending in court, and appearances in the cases.

One example of this type of software is Bloomberg Law’s Litigation Analytics, which provides analytics on several different categories of data, including company analytics, judge analytics, law firm analytics, motion and appeal outcomes, and case analytics.

There’s also Lexis Analytics, which includes Context, a tool that offers in-depth judge analytics and expert witness analytics. Lex Machina, which is also included in Lexis Analytics, offers insights into case timing, resolutions, remedies, findings, and damages.

Westlaw Edge, another option, includes a litigation analytics tool that provides data regarding judges, courts, attorneys, law firms, and case types.

Other options to consider are Premonition’s Legal Analytics, Gavelytics, and Docket Navigator.

Litigation fact-management software. Another type of software designed for litigators is fact-management software. For decades now, lawyers have been able to take advantage of the many benefits of the digital age, not the least of which is that it has helped to reduce (but not eliminate) the sheer volume of paper documents. But as we all know, whether digital or physical, all evidence needs to be reviewed and scrutinized by litigation teams.

Enter litigation fact-management software, which simplifies and streamlines the litigation preparation process. With this type of software, lawyers no longer have to rely on documents or spreadsheet summaries, witness preparation folders, or strategically placed sticky notes. Instead, this software makes it easy for litigation teams to collaborate and share notes about case-related evidence and documents in one central location.

Here are a few options to consider:

  • Everchron allows team members to create a master chronology and then categorize the data on which the timeline is based. The timeline can be tagged by topic and filtered into sub-issues, documents can be annotated and shared, and reports can be generated based on parameters set by the team.
  • FactBox enables lawyers to generate work product, including memos and chronologies, by directly accessing the source materials from which the cited facts originated. Searches for keywords or issues can be run, and reports can be generated based on the search results.
  • Opus 2 Magnum enables litigation team members to prepare for depositions and trial by collaborating on the discovery documents and other case-related data.
  • Allegory (which was acquired by Integreon in 2017) enables teams to sift through documents, identify duplicates, and home in on important facts by creating connections between relevant information. Team members can share thoughts and analysis as they review the data and prepare for litigation.

There you have it—a robust list of litigation tools designed with the workflow and needs of trial attorneys in mind. Taking advantage of one or more of these tools for litigators is a great way to work more efficiently during the pretrial process and during trial. And because most of the software programs are cloud-based, you’ll be able to review, analyze, and collaborate on litigation files from anywhere using compatible internet-enabled devices.

The bottom line: These tools are convenient and affordable, and they help you stay on top of your busy litigation caseload. What are you waiting for? Dive in and test-drive a few of them. With just a little research and time, you can learn how to selectively incorporate modern technology into your law firm, allowing you to streamline your litigation practice, increase efficiency, and reduce costs in the process.

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Nicole Black

The author is a Rochester, New York, attorney, the Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase legal practice management software, and the author of several books about law and technology.