VirtualCourthouse Issue 1.6 – Connections
Judge Arthur M. Monty Ahalt – September 1996
First Published in the Prince George’s County, Maryland Bar Association Journal – Newsletter
Connections…Connections…Connections. Those who have them are successful. Those who do not constantly struggle to stay competitive. Connections are valuable for many reasons, but one of the most important is — obtaining information.. Those who have access to critical information make better decisions and can have the upperhand with their adversaries.
Connections are usually obtained through long years of experience and repeated contact with many people. On the other hand, in the age of information technology connections are obtained electronically by accessing databases of information. Until recently the use of multiple databases which were run on different operating systems which are formatted differently was an extremely cumbersome process which could require many hours of time. However, with the advent of groupware it is now possible to access multiple databases and to copy portions of those databases into organized notebooks of informatiom. Recently JfeursteinSystems has announced The JFS Litigator’s Notebook. This software uses Lotus Notes and therefore connects lawyers and their staff to all types of case infromation such as discovery documents, key passages of testimony, notes, memos, profiles of witnesses regardless of the source of the information. The Notebook in addition to connecting people to information connects lawyers to each other. Thus, lawyers in the same office, lawyers in multiple locations of the same firm, in-house lawyers, outside counsel, traveling lawyers, and staff stay connected and are able to share information, ideas and work together on a shared Notebook. The Notebook is set up on a case-by-case basis and is capable of creating an entire electronic file. Each separate Notebook can have its own team of lawyers–in some casese one or two lawyers and in other cases dozens or even hundreds. The Litigator’s Notebook is designed to handle all kinds of information including documents, memos, notes, images, graphics, spreadsheets, electronically filed pleadings and to keep everything immediately accessable. The Notebook can be used as an electronic file which has subfiles or notebooks for: (i) discovery documents; (ii) research memoranda; (iii) witness profiles; (iv) correspondence; (v) interview notes; (vi) to do lists; (vii) spreadsheets, sketches and graphics; (viii) status information; (ix) electronic mail and (x) any other catagory the user wishes to designate. The Notebook also allows the creation of binders so that the information can be simultaneously organized into issue binders, fact area binders, cron files, exhibit files, and subject files. This organization allows each document to be filed in multiple binders and files. Thus you can file a discovery document with every witness to which it relates and at the same time update automatically a cron file. The Notebook alows a team of lawyers, paralegals and lawclerks to work collaboratively on a case. The team can: (i) submit draft briefs to the team for commentary and discussion; (ii) raise questions and get ideas form other team members; (iii) send memos to single team members, (iv) plan tasks and follow their progress; (v) develop organizational approaches to the case and share it with team members; and (vi) discuss how to deal with diffucult witnesses, hot documents, and problems issues. The Notebook allows a lawyer to have complete access to a file while traveling. It also allows for files to be shared with a corporate client. For More info about The Litigator’s Notebook, please contact: Brigitte Miklaszewski Regional Sales Manager J FeuersteinSystems 1025 Boucher Avenue Annapolis, MD 21403 301/261-2601 Funny Pleadings and Things You never know what you will find in pleadings. Most all of the infoirmation is rather dull and repetitive. On a few occasions, lawyers do show a sense of humor: Good Use of Literature: “As will be evidenced in a further analysis, the pleadings most recently filed bear more than a passing resemblance to “Alice in Wonderland” where the clocks run backwards and in some rooms everything is upside down.” Interrogatory Counting: “There is no rational way in which these seventeen interrogatories can be counted as more than thirty interrogatories. Since the plaintiff has sued six defendants, he should be counting his blessings instead of interrogatories.” Copyright: Arthur M. Monty Ahalt, 1996