Page 30 - Network Magazine Fall 2018
P. 30

      The 21st Century Litigator: You're Only as Good as Your Technology
I often joke to younger attorneys that when I was a brand- new associate way back in 1989, it was a big deal to receive a fax – at that time, a piece of shiny paper cut from a roll in uneven sheets, and only used for emergencies. We still did most of our research in a paper library using West Digests and actual books, and because Westlaw and Lexis were so expensive, we only used them if we had no other options.
By the time I left the practice of law to raise my kids five years later, I had managed to wangle a PC that the Word Processing Department (we actually had a Word Process- ing Department!) had deemed too slow and out-of-date; eight years later, when I returned to the practice of law, email was sort of a thing, and desktop legal research was common.
Nowadays, most of us use email for much of our corre- spondence; e-filing is now either optional or mandatory in many courts; large firms have implemented document management systems that put your entire case file at your digital fingertips; paralegals spend much of their time online compiling medical records and investigating cases; and most administrative tasks (scheduling, matter diary or "tickler" systems, and time entry, for example) are done via computer – or on a smartphone. The bottom line? Nowadays, there is no room in the law for Luddites – in fact, those who refuse to embrace technology may risk ethical sanctions and malpractice claims.
Technology is everywhere, and we rely upon our digital systems for everything from e-filing to medical records re- trieval to trial presentations. Consider these innovations that may make the litigation lawyer's job easier:
In the Office
uments, and "snail mail" documents into a database that can be accessed electronically from anywhere there is wifi access.
• Document database products for e-discovery/doc- ument analysis and production make it possible to search huge volumes of documents using Boolean or keyword searches, thus identifying and coding documents quickly for production or internal use.
• Document manipulation/editing solutions such as Nuance make document productions fast and easy by converting pleadings, photographs, medical records, or other documents into a PDF document that can be redacted, Bates-stamped, and marked with comments.
At Deposition
Real-time streaming services allow you to read testimony as it is being spoken and recorded by the court reporter.
Online deposition and exhibit databases provide paper- less transcripts and exhibits any time, day or night, through the court reporting service portal – great for when the paper copy gets lost, or you're working remotely and do not have access to a document management system.
• Native evidence transfer lets you record a witness's manipulation or annotation of a document.
In the Courtroom
Document management systems theoretically make it possible to go paperless by integrating digital communications and filings, internally-created doc-
Depending upon the courtroom, and your comfort level, all you need to try a case these days is an iPad and a video screen. There are a variety of trial presentation software programs that permit you to download documents and call them up via barcode scanner, keyword search, or Bates number.
For those who don't want to be tied to their com-

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