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Court Rules Calendaring Challenges and Solutions

Court Rules Calendaring

Note:  This post was originally published by Loretta Ruppert

We know that when it comes to court deadlines, there are few excuses for getting it wrong. And that is why LexisNexis Firm Manager has teamed with LawToolBox to provide a special offer to solo and small law firms where court deadlines matter.

We are at LegalTech New York and had an opportunity to interview the two principles of LawToolBox, Jack Grow and Carol Lynn Grow to learn more about challenges attorneys face with deadlines management.

How long has LawToolBox been serving the legal industry?

LawToolBox has been calculating State and Federal court deadlines based on the rules of procedure online since 1999. LawToolBox chose to build an online solution specifically to push rule changes as soon as they applied to a jurisdiction to make sure attorneys were in compliance and didn’t miss any deadlines.

How did you get into the court rules calendaring business?

Jack Grow in the 1990’s worked in one the largest litigation firms in Colorado and was on the technology committee for the firm. He recalls walking through the office watching staff calculating deadlines on their fingers. At that time in the legal industry about 35% of the malpractice claims stemmed from calculation errors, not knowing a deadline existed, or calculating the deadline but not properly managing it. He knew something had to change and there was a way to automate this to make is not only easier for law firms to manage their deadlines, but to minimize the risk for law firms.

What are the challenges LawToolBox solves for attorneys?

In law firms, there are full time employees, whose jobs are to calculate and enter deadlines. And with this job, comes a high risk for error when depending on people to manually calculate deadlines and then hand enter them on calendars. Getting the initial deadline calculations into a calendar is challenging enough, but when a case is continued or when a case resolves, someone has to go and remove or update the deadlines for all of the calendars.

LawToolBox when doing market research on firms who need rules based calendaring tools, said when the calendar gets cluttered, and contains information that is no longer relevant, or if an attorney finds one error in a deadline, they stop trusting the calendar. Jack Grow described how LawToolBox solves this problem – “LawToolBox automates procedures of a case, so attorneys in the law firm can focus on the substantive issues that will determine the outcome of the case. Further LawToolBox has been designed to work the way attorneys work, which is critical.” For example, an attorney in California can select the rules set for Los Angeles Superior Court, they then enter the trial date, of which LawToolBox then calculates, in this case, over 40 deadlines.

The user can then download a deadline chart, and will receive email reminders in advance of each deadline. All case deadlines will then synchronize into their calendar and any other relevant law firm staff calendars who they shared the case with. And if the trial is continued, LawTooldBox will automatically recalculate deadlines based on the new date and change the relevant dates on the calendar. If a case closes, LawToolBox will remove all upcoming deadlines relevant for the case.

Are there specific practice areas that benefit more than others?

Why? Commercial litigation, Insurance defense, personal injury and other civil matters. These practice areas can be complicated and some are intensely driven by court and other deadlines.

How does the new app LawToolBox released help attorneys?

Attorneys do not generally calculate their own deadlines, and we know they also live in Outlook.  We built an app available in Office 365 that sits on the Outlook app bar. An attorney can quickly inquire the case and see all of the deadlines with a click for the entire case. Sure they have their Outlook calendar, but you have to know what month to look at for the deadlines and sift through all of the other scheduled calendar items. This app makes it easy for attorneys to quickly see deadlines for any of their cases with an easy to use app. For more details, click here.

Why a Microsoft app?

Microsoft rolled out Office 365/Office 2013, which has the ability to include apps on an app bar inside Outlook. And in the legal industry, there is a move towards the cloud and for the adoption of Office 365. We also know attorneys don’t need another plug-in. This app works behind the scenes; all the user has to do is download the app from the store at no charge and subscribe to LawToolBox services to take advantage of it.

How is the relationship between LawToolBox and LexisNexis Firm Manager going to benefit attorneys?

LexisNexis Firm Manager provides strong tools for solo and small law firms to enable them to manage their law practice and LawToolBox brings deadline content and technology to help manage deadlines. Both online solutions enable attorneys to minimize the risk for their practice, provides a peace of mind for attorneys knowing they can find centralized information relevant to clients and matters, and that someone has their back when it comes to deadlines management.

To take advantage of a special offer visit www.firmmanager.com/lawtoolbox for more details.

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director with Business of Law Software Solutions (BLSS) a division of LexisNexis. In this capacity he directs communications strategy and execution in support of BLSS products including those for large law, small law and corporate counsel. With 15 years in experience in the marketing communications for the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of PR for Vocus, which develops marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He’s held multiple roles in PR both in-house with corporations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms both large and small. A veteran with two deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an Army officer. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University.
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