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This post was originally published in October 2020 and was updated on March 31, 2023.
It's not a surprise that technology can simplify the job of a litigator, regardless of their area of expertise. Litigators today have the benefit of a wide range of legal tools tailored to their practice. These solutions, when properly leveraged, can help take their practice to the next level.
Litigation support software is designed to help attorneys manage their caseload more efficiently. Typically the software can assist with discovery, document management, drafting, and more to help improve accuracy, efficiency, and reduce the costs associated with litigation.
Here are a handful 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:
Before litigation can even begin, it's important for attorneys to have an idea of the value and viability of their case. Verdict search software provides all the necessary information in one convenient location. Attorneys can quickly search for similar injuries or see what is frequently awarded in their jurisdiction. Some software uses legal analytics to provide a quick look at trends, allowing attorneys to have confidence in their case moving forward.
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.
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.
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.
Litigation support 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. Providers also are building artificial intelligence functions into document management software. These 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.
Expert witnesses can be a key part of litigation strategy and finding the right expert can make or break your case. Expert witness search software provides a database of expert witnesses along with their qualifications, curriculum vitaes (CVs), and other important information. Some software will also provide analytics and helpful insight into an expert to make the vetting process even easier
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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.
Other services are available to assess and analyze legal documents without hosting those documents online. These programs use extractive AI to pull concepts from legal documents to pull case recommendations, similar documents, and check cites and quotes. Litigators can use this insight to improve their own brief, or analyze opposing counsel’s brief and refute their arguments.
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.
Incorporating technology into their practice can help attorneys work smarter, not harder. By utilizing these tools, lawyers can streamline their work, increase productivity, and in the end better serve their clients. LexisNexis can support your firm as technology continues to grow and improve. Contact us to learn more about how you can incorporate technology into your firm or click below to explore Lexis+ today.
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