Here are tips to uncomplicate litigation fact management software
Complex litigation is just that: complex. Cases involve in-depth fact patterns, ever-growing lists of parties and witnesses, multiple attorneys and firms, convoluted legal issues, and reams of documents. Lengthy depositions result in stacks of transcripts that need to be reviewed, annotated and analyzed.
Similarly, documents and evidence produced in response to discovery requests also require extensive review, and findings then need to be shared across an entire litigation team so that each team member can do their part in moving the case forward toward a successful conclusion.
Certainly the digital age has reduced (but not eliminated) the sheer volume of paper documents. But just like physical evidence, digital evidence must also be reviewed and scrutinized. The good news is that as evidence becomes increasingly digitized, software tools are being developed that are designed to simplify and streamline the litigation preparation process. Gone are the days of Word or Excel-based document summaries, printed hot document binders and witness preparation folders, and strategically placed sticky notes—replaced instead by cloud-based litigation fact management software.
Litigation fact management software is a relatively new category of cloud-based software that has emerged in response to litigation teams’ growing need to coordinate the work being done on complex litigation matters. Using this type of software, litigation teams—including lawyers, paralegals and administrative assistants—are able to easily collaborate and share notes about case-related evidence and documents.
A few years ago, there were only a few of contenders on the market, but over time a few new platforms have been released, giving you even more options to choose from. What follows are some of the products devoted primarily to litigation fact management.
First, there’s Everchron, software that allows team members to create a master chronology and then categorize the data upon 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. Everchron integrates with the discovery software Relativity, making it easy to get e-discovery data from Relativity into Everchron. Pricing is not available on Everchron’s website.
With FactBox, lawyers can generate work product, including memos, chronologies and more 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. The cost is $38 per user per month if you opt for the yearly plan, or $45 per user per month if you pay month-to-month.
Opus 2 Magnum is another tool to consider, and it is particularly useful for larger firms. Like Everchron, it integrates with Relativity, allowing e-discovery documents to be uploaded directly from Relativity into the Opus 2 Magnum platform, at which point litigation team members are able to prepare for depositions and trial by collaborating on the discovery documents and other case-related data. Opus 2 Magnum offers both premise-based and cloud-based solutions, and pricing is not available on the website.
CaseFleet, one of the newer products, facilitates collaboration and communication among litigation teams while also incorporating rudimentary law practice management features, such as task management and invoicing. It offers tiered pricing, beginning at $30 per user per month.
Finally, there’s Allegory, which was acquired by Integreon in November. It helps teams sift through documents, identify duplicates, and hone in on important facts by creating connections between relevant information. Team members are then able to easily share thoughts and analysis as they review the data and prepare for litigation. Pricing is not available on the website.
So if you’re in the market for software to streamline your firm’s litigation preparation, you’ve got quite a few options to choose from. However, keep in mind that what works for one firm might not work for another.
Each tool has benefits and drawbacks, so as is the case with any type of software, it’s important to carefully research your options and to test-drive the software prior to committing to it. Make sure to get input—and the commitment to use it—from other team members who will be using it. And once you’ve settled on the right litigation fact management software tool for your firm, make sure everyone is on board and understands how to use it. Then dive in and reap the benefits of streamlined case preparation and collaboration in the cloud.
Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York, attorney, author, journalist and the legal technology evangelist at MyCase, legal practice management software for solo and small-firm lawyers. She is the nationally recognized author of Cloud Computing for Lawyers, and she co-authored Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier. She also co-authored Criminal Law in New York, a Thomson West treatise. She writes regular columns for The Daily Record, Above the Law and Legal IT Pros, has authored hundreds of articles and regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law, mobile and cloud computing, and internet-based technology. She can be contacted at [email protected].