Law 253 Law Office Management - Chapter 1

  1. Application programs widely used in legal organizations:
    • Word Processing
    • PDF Creation and Document Assembly
    • Spreadsheets
    • Timekeeping and Billing
    • Databases
    • Case Management
    • Docket Control
    • Electronic Discovery and Electronic Mail
    • Presentation Graphics/Trial Software
  2. Project Management Software
    Tracks the sequence and timing of the separate activities of a larger project or task.

    Ex. Tracking tasks that must be completed before a case is ready for trial.
  3. Accounting software
    Accounting software used by legal organizations might include general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and trust accounting.
  4. Document Management software
    The electronic equivalent of a file room filled with filing cabinets.

    Organizes, controls, distributes, and allows for the extensive searching of electronic documents, typically in a networked environment.

    Files documents electronically so that they can be found by anyone in the organization, even those in other parts of the country.
  5. (ASP) Application Service Provider
    • Supplies software or a service application through the internet directly to the user's computer.
    • (Hosted software)

    Ex. LexisNexis and Westlaw. Also have ASP applications for timekeeping and billing, document management, and litigation support.
  6. How the Internet is used by Paralegals:
    • Email
    • Instant Messaging
    • Conducting factual and legal research
    • Accessing listservs, blogs, and newsgroups to gather info and communicate with groups of people
    • Maintaining a legal organization's website
    • Purchasing legal-related services
    • Gaining continuing education
  7. General and Factual Research on the Internet:
    • Conducting background information research on parties to cases
    • Locating expert witnesses throughout the world
    • Finding newspaper, online, and technical articles related to cases
    • Locating the current whereabouts of people for service of process
    • Researching information about witnesses
    • Discovering financial information about corporations, including accessing SEC filings
    • Finding public records about people or businesses
    • Finding co-counsel in another jurisdiction
  8. Legal Research on the Internet: and hundreds of others provide access to federal and state cases and statutes, provide a portal to other legal research sites on the Internet, and generally offer a wealth of free legal-related info.

    Fee-based sites, including LexisNexis and Westlaw, allow users to electronically search the full text of cases, statutes, and documents.
  9. Listservs and Electronic Mailing Lists:
    • Listservs send email messages to people whose names are on a list.
    • Paralegals use these to communicate with other paralegals, other legal professionals who practice in their legal specialty, and others.

    Ex. Legal Assistant Today -- specifically for paralegals who want to share info about paralegal issues, idea, and experiences or who have questions about practice issues. (
  10. Litigation Support Software:
    Organizes all the documents for trial or settlement negotiations. Helps the legal professional to electronically search through the litigation documents to find what they are looking for in a timely manner.

    Can be made available to staff, clients, or co-counsel, so that they can access the information from remote locations.
  11. Collecting and Organizing Data: Database Management Software
    Stores, searches, sorts, and organizes data.

    Ex. List of names of witnesses and their probably testimony, list of all documents in a case, a chronological listing of major events in a case, list of all cases being handled by the firm including: name of client, adverse party, case number, court, and name of the presiding judge.
  12. Mathematical Calculations: Spreadsheet Software
    • Adding up the amount of damages a party has asked for in a case
    • Preparing a case budge for a client
    • Calculating principal and interest payments in a real estate transactions
    • Analyzing statistics for trends
    • Calculating lost wages in a workers' compensation case
  13. Timekeeping and Billing Software:
    • Stores client information: Name, address, billing rates, time attorneys and paralegals spend on the case.
    • At the end of the billing period it automatically calculates and generates invoices.
  14. Tracking Appointments and Deadlines: Computerized Docket Control and Case Management Software
    Docket Control software - primarily tracks appointments and deadlines in legal matters

    • Case Management software - typically controls docketing of a case,
    • also helps to track and control the entire case:
    • Tracks client's name, address, phone numbers, makes notes about each phone conversation with the client, tracks appointments and deadlines by case, automatically schedules deadlines by type of case, performs conflict-of-interest searches when new cases are entered, produce letters and notices depending on the type of case, etc.
  15. Presentation Graphics/Trial Software:
    Used to prepare charts, tables, video clips, evidence and other information for juries and factfinders; to present information to clients; and to present information to colleagues, such as an in-house training program, a marketing plan for the law office, a proposed budge, or a new initiative.
  16. Electronic Discovery
    Supplying electronic versions of legal documents to a court, via the Internet or other electronic means, when the court does not require the hard copy of the document.
  17. Paperless Office
    Firm in which all hard-copy documents are converted into electronic form(s) for storage, processing, and distribution.
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Law 253 Law Office Management - Chapter 1
Law office application programs