Consultants Corner Technology For Litigation Management

Thursday, December 1, 2005 - 01:00

John Kelly
CT Corporation

Over the past few years, the legal industry has begun to realize the power of technology in increasing efficiencies and organizing information. Corporate legal departments are being asked to invest in technologies and ensure they are on top of the latest tools. At the same time, they're also being asked to decrease overall spending and cut costs wherever possible.

Corporate law is becoming more complex; there's more data being generated than ever before. Because of this, legal professionals are faced with the daunting task of tracking and reviewing massive amounts of information in order to apply their legal expertise. And, corporate legal departments are being asked to manage this increased information with the same, or even fewer resources.

Litigation Management Challenges

Litigation management presents its own unique information management challenges. When a matter is opened, multiple people need to touch it. In many instances, those people are not all in the same place, and in the past, legal professionals have relied on over-nighting or messenger services to disseminate information. This can present a challenge in maintaining control over versions, security and cost.

Security is also an issue in a collaborative environment. The litigation management team must strike a delicate balance between total access and making sure the information is secure and in the right hands. Corporate legal departments want the right documents to go to the right people. They need to control who receives what information and how that information is delivered.

Technology can help address many of these challenges: The right litigation management services and tools can enhance collaboration, reduce errors and streamline processes. New technologies exist that automate litigation management and let legal professionals take control of and organize all their matter-related information. The right tools can give corporate legal departments the ability to organize and effectively work with evidentiary data, which enables them to focus on litigation rather than on administering process management.

In addition, tapping into outside specialists and services can increase a corporate legal department's functionality and give them the extra assistance they need. Technology can help eliminate some of the back and forth involved with paper. It can give legal teams access to information from anywhere at any time, which can increase effective collaboration and result in quicker turnaround.

Finding The Right Technology

One of the drawbacks of some technologies, however, is that they can be difficult to use or too complex. Legal professionals are busy - they don't want to learn a new program or install a complex system. They want something that is easy to use, yet offers rich enough features and functionality to help them get the job done. In fact, it's ideal for litigation management tools to integrate or work in conjunction with many of the technologies legal professionals already rely upon.

And of course, cost is a common theme in any investment. Legal professionals want a solution that they consider to be a good value.

A Cost-Effective Solution For Organizations With Moderate Case Loads?

Investing in technology that provides litigation management support seems like an easy decision for corporate legal departments with heavy case loads. The more cases they have to manage, the more they can justify investing in litigation software. But, are there cost-effective technologies for an organization that needs similar functionality, but has a lighter case load to manage?

Yes. CT Corporation, a Wolters Kluwer company, recently launched CASE File.

CASE File

CASE File is a cost-effective solution that lets users control their matter-related information flow in an easy-to-use platform on CTAdvantage.com. It offers a single environment to electronically manage and collaborate on legal matters and enables the entire legal team - or matter-specific teams created in the workspace - to securely share documents real-time. This can help eliminate paper work and speed up processes.

Because there are multiple people involved in any given matter, collaboration and version control are critical. CASE File is Web-based, so everything can be accessed 24/7 from virtually anywhere in the world. It lets team members track changes and version documents, create notes and discussion threads, and establish automated email alerts that inform others whenever documents are updated or added.

Companies want to invest in technologies that make their lives easier and their workflows more efficient. CASE File works in conjunction with other features of CT's registered agent services, so users instantly have access to all of their service of process information in one place. Imaged service of process (service of process in PDF format), historical data and summaries are all incorporated into CASE File from the CTAdvantage.com site; there is no need to re-key information from one application to another. Also, many processes, such as garnishments, should not be classified as matters. CASE File gives users complete control in determining which services of process are new matters.

Technology should work how the user wants it to - legal professionals want technology that fits into their already hectic professional lives. There are certain technologies and processes corporate legal departments use on a daily basis that are important to managing their workflows. Litigation support software should fit into their existing environments. Because CASE File is built on Microsoft standard technology platforms, it enables users to sync with programs they already rely upon, such as Outlook . That means one calendar and one place to keep track of all information. The Microsoft platform also ensures a more advanced offering than those built on legacy technologies, and it allows for integration with many of the programs customers already use.

More Robust Technology For Organizations With More Advanced Needs

Some organizations want integration between e-billing and matter management. Others may work with a number of law firms and need more visibility into their department's complete financial information. And still others may need the ability to create advanced reports at any given time.

In these instances, organizations need more robust litigation support tools; but, they also need the technology in which they invest to be cost effective.

TyMextrix 360°

TyMetrix 360° is a single source for all substantive and financial case information and documentation for all practice areas. As an ASP-based solution, TyMetrix 360° provides security and functionality at a lower total cost than if installed locally - all a user needs is Internet access and a browser.

TyMetrix 360° gives corporate legal departments the power to streamline day-to-day operations, manage legal costs, conduct rigorous budget planning and analysis, and analyze data in more ways than ever before. A unique feature of TyMetrix 360° is the configurable tool set that allows users to decide what information to collect and how it should be organized at the practice area level. This flexibility gives users a complete view of their department's matters, from litigated and non-litigated matters, including specialty areas such as intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, across all business units.

Corporate legal departments at large organizations often work with multiple law firms, which can mean additional billing and financial information to keep track of. So that corporate legal professionals don't have to store billing information in one system and matter or documents in another, TyMetrix 360° provides end-to-end electronic invoicing. With this feature, the corporate legal professional can define how invoices are routed based on pre-assigned workflows, and they can also review all billing information in one place. This can help users gain more control of outside counsel expenses and more efficiently track overall costs.

CT TyMetrix's solutions can reveal valuable metrics about a company's matters, its risks and transactions, and practice patterns of outside counsel that will help to improve performance. With all a corporate legal department's data in one place, it's easier to segment and evaluate information from every angle.

The Future Of Litigation Management Support

The legal profession is dynamic - laws are constantly formed and re-evaluated, and the way information is handled can change from case to case. Corporate legal departments need litigation support solutions that move with them and change to meet their evolving needs.

As the legal professional's responsibilities and workflows grow and adjust, the services and technologies that support them must also evolve. CT is at the forefront of technology development. We believe technology needs to add value to the legal professional's daily workflows by automating tasks, increasing efficiencies and providing up-to-date information and expertise as needed - and our solutions aim to do just that.

John Kelly is the executive vice president of sales and marketing for CT Corporation and Wolters Kluwer Corporate Legal Services. He works with CT's experts to bring corporate legal departments intelligent software and service solutions to help manage governance and compliance, trademark research and litigation needs across their organizations.

Please email the author at john.kelly@wolterskluwer.com with questions about this article.