This Jeff Kerr post on Evolve the Law struck a cord. It opens:
All litigation, both civil and criminal, hinges on disputes about law and facts. We’ve seen massive interest in technology designed to facilitate legal research, but technology for dealing with facts (investigating them, proving them) doesn’t get as much attention.
He explains that with all the focus on e-discovery software, fact management software lags behind:
Fact management software, which is part of the broader category of case management software, fulfills this need. Fact management platforms, from the old (CaseMap) to the new (CaseFleet, FactBox, Allegory) enable litigators to handle facts in a collaborative, reusable, and scalable way. Each platform’s primary unit of data is a fact, which can be linked to other kinds of data, such a legal issues, evidence, and witnesses. The more modern fact management platforms have intuitive and fluid interfaces, which make entering data in them as fast or faster than hammering out a chronology in Word that’s far less useful…
Even so, fact management remains a field that’s ripe for innovation.
That’s an understatement. This is what I need in a fact management platform:
- chronology software that links to source documents;
- outline software that allow building outlines linked to witnesses and issues;
- notebook capabilities like OneNote or EverNote to organize material;
- robust search functions;
- interacts with my case management software; and
- cloud based.
There is no product on the market that comes close to meeting these requirements.
CaseMap is still the best fact management software even though it’s not had a major update in at least 10 years and is not cloud based.
Cloud based software like FactBox and CaseFleet solve CaseMap’s biggest glitch of the possibility of losing the path to your linked documents. But they don’t provide the options for organizing material in a fact as well as CaseMap. That may sound minor, but it’s a huge flaw.
Nothing has outline software. If I want to know if I’ve started an outline for a witness, I have to open up NoteMap and look. Then I have to open OneNote and check my notes there. Finally, I check my notes in my case management software, which has a bad note taking feature that I try to avoid, but sometimes use because it’s easy to make a note linked to the case in the phone app.
That’s a lot of running around for something that should all be seamlessly organized in one software platform.
It’s ridiculous that I can’t at least organize notes in Clio. How is that going to work on anything other than a small case? Poorly.
Kerr concludes that we can expect fact management software to get better in the next few years. I hope so. I’m not as optimistic, but I hope so.
There is an opportunity for someone to own the market with a superior product.