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Chapter 6 - Computer Concepts and Legal Applications

Litigation Outliner and Case and Timeline Analysis Tool

From the time a litigation client walks through the door, assembling case facts in an accessible and useable format for trial is a necessity. If you want to replace your legal pad with sophisticated but easy to use litigation knowledge management software, consider CaseMap and TimeMap. They are litigation analysis tools as opposed to merely data management tools.

CaseMap enables you to outline the issues in your case and then to organize and link the facts, documents, witnesses and demonstrative evidence that relate to the issue and subissues. CaseMap can easily replicate the following litigation process for analysis and reports.

For example, when we initially review a case for preparation for litigation, we build a list of the parties, key witnesses, organizations, and documents in a case. These persons, documents, or organizations will be the main building blocks for our case. We then begin to define the causes of actions, elements, and factual issues that will be determinative in our case.

After this, we begin the process of linking the parties to key issues, build a chronology of known facts (with date and times), and link these facts to issues. We also need to determine if the fact is disputed and the source and whether the fact is favorable, unfavorable, neutral, etc. This list of facts will assist in focusing your attention on any questions in the case. From this factual foundation, you can then move to case analysis by creating timelines and chronologies of your facts. CaseMap replicates this case presentation process, which may then be used in many litigation functions such as an opening statement, summary judgment, etc.

For example, if you print out a set of facts that are both favorable and unfavorable, then one can discuss the facts with your clients and co-counsel to determine the probability of success at trial or for use during settlement negotiations. Also, CaseMap can be used to prepare a motion for summary judgment. As you enter your facts into CaseMap and mark them undisputed, then you can print out a report for the court showing the undisputed facts supporting your MSJ categorized by issue.

Other features include replication and synchronization, which provides the capability of using CaseMap on a laptop while traveling and then merging your workproduct onto the main computer when you get back to the office; filtering and tagging of facts allows for one to limit the facts that appear on your spreadsheet to facts about a particular issue, etc., and CaseMap permits you to export reports as HTML for use on your Internet, Extranet, or Intranet site.

TimeMap creates chronology timelines for use during hearings or trial. After entering the key facts and dates, TimeMap automatically generates a timeline graphic. It creates a proportional time scale and positions fact boxes above the dates on which the facts occurred. These timelines can be customized and enlarged for use before judges and juries. You can change the number of pages the timeline is on, set the color and line weight of the fact boxes and the fonts. You can save the files as JPEG's, bitmaps and Windows metafiles that you can import into your word processor, e-mail to others, or print on hardcopy. TimeMap is a standalone product or can be used in conjunction with CaseMap. The cost is approximately $200.

To download trial copies of this software, visit www.casesoft.com. There are no other similar software products specifically designed for the legal field, but check out Inspiration software (www.inspiration.com) for a generic brainstorming and planning type of software.

CaseMap is a single user license that you are able to load onto as many computers as you want, as long as you are the only person using the software. CaseMap is priced at $495 with a 90 day guaranteed return policy.

CaseMap and TimeMap are two strong litigation knowledge management tools that one should consider using. They are issue driven thinking tools that permit an attorney to save and build on the analysis of ones case as it progresses. This software is on its way to replacing the ubiquitous legal pad on your desk.

Contrasted with Word Processing, Databases and Full Text Search & Retrieval Programs.

There are inherent limitations with outliners, depending upon the program you choose. Outliners are not powerful word processors. They have built in outlining functions that enable you to easily manipulate main and subheadings of your outline. Outliners generally cannot function effectively with depositions or other transcripts. Part of the reason for this is the very nature of outliners - to "outline" information. They are not designed to process large text documents. They may not accept a large text file, and are unable to "index" the data that is accepted, which results in slow searches. Nor do they effectively act as databases except in smaller cases. Databases generally separate discreet segments of information in documents for document, witness, or issue indexing. A variety of reports, including chronology reports, can then be created from these abstracts. An outliner does not have this capability. However, some programs, like CaseMap, are beginning to integrate an outliner, database, and a graphics timeline into one product.


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