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Five Effective Tech Tools for Litigators

October 23, 2020

It’s probably not a revelation that technology can make a litigator’s job easier. After all, the same can be said for any attorney, regardless of specialization. That said, modern litigators have a suite of practice-specific and general legal solutions at their disposal that, when properly leveraged, can help take their practices to the next level.

Here are five effective tech applications that can help litigators work more efficiently and effectively, and another that makes sure lawyers capture the time they spend on billable work:

1. Legal Drafting Software

Strong writing skills are an essential part of a litigator’s legal toolbox, but many lawyers spend hours of their valuable time on the tedious, routine tasks of drafting and proofreading legal documents. Legal drafting software helps streamline the process, providing time-saving analysis and proofreading tools, instant citation validations, and a process to automatically customize and update a brief’s table of authorities.

2. Legal Case Analysis & Organization Software

Case analysis and organization software helps litigators manage their case information, even on relatively straightforward matters. The technology makes it easier to organize facts, build chronologies, review documents, keep track of witnesses and experts, manage tasks and workflow, and more. By utilizing case analysis and organization software, litigators and their firms can improve productivity and accuracy, and have key case information in a centralized location. Some software platforms also enable litigators to collaborate with colleagues, using visual aids that track case progress.

3. Document Management Software

Software that provides online, cloud-based document storage and organization enables litigators to annotate, share and collaborate on documents with co-counsel, clients and experts. Some products also allow users to convert scanned documents into a format that creates searchable PDFs. Many software companies also build customized data security capabilities into their systems. Providers also are building artificial intelligence functions into document management software. Such tools use AI and machine learning to search documents to help find and extract key information.

For cloud-based storage, the software provider hosts this confidential data. Given lawyers’ ethical duty to ensure that their client information remains confidential, they need to understand how the company handles the information, where the servers are located, data-backup plans and other details.

4. E-Discovery Software

Discovery has historically been one of the most time-consuming, tedious components of litigation. E-discovery software changes that, enabling litigators to retrieve information quickly and cost-effectively from a variety of electronic sources including email, company documents, databases, social media and cell phone data as part of a lawsuit or investigation. The software’s AI-powered data analytics tools can help lawyers perform searches across electronically stored information to surface valuable data and evidence relevant to a matter, and allows them to process, review, tag and produce documents for the discovery process.

5. Legal Calendaring Software

Litigators, perhaps more than any other group of attorneys, are controlled by deadlines, including filing deadlines, discovery deadlines and statutes of limitations. Legal calendaring software can keep lawyers on track. Online calendaring software based on court rules automatically applies the rules and specific jurisdictions’ statutory deadlines to due dates, saving litigators the trouble of manually entering deadlines. Because the data is housed in the cloud on the software provider’s servers, there’s no need to download new files when court rules are updated; the changes are automatically applied to users’ calendars.

Not Just for Litigators: Time-Tracking Software

Capturing billable time is a top priority – and not just for litigators. If you don’t bill your clients, you don’t get paid. Several legal practice management platforms offer centralized time-tracking tools, but some firms opt for standalone platforms. Using such a system will allow lawyers to enter time from their computers or mobile phones – wherever there’s online access. Keeping on top of time entries will ensure that a lawyer’s firm is capturing and subsequently charging for all billable time. Many time-tracking programs also have a feature that generates client invoices from the time and matter data entered into the platform.