Letters To The Editor
Monica, I just wanted to send you a quick note to say that you and the rest of the staff did an outstanding job on the October 2001 issue of Law Technology News. While so many of us went numb in front of our TV sets, you dove into the maelstrom and went to work. Outstanding professionalism.
Undoubtedly the searing memories will be with you permanently.
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I read with interest Monica Bay's "Tech Circuit -- Fiat Lux" article in the October 2001 edition of Law Technology News. Having been born and raised in Union County, N.J., like other area natives I also feel the loss of the people and the World Trade Center.
One thing in your writing truly brought a smile to my face: your absolutely correct description of Father George Rutler and his "understated dignity." I don't know if you are aware but Fr. Rutler is a "regular" on EWTN (the Catholic cable network -- Eternal Word Television Network).
Fr. Rutler is a brilliant theologian and if you ever have the chance to meet him again you may wish to consider an interview with this truly remarkable priest.
I want to say that I liked your article, but it makes me sad to think of liking any article on the attack. "Like" just seems to be the wrong word and I can't seem to think of a better one at this moment so it will have to do.
In any event, I love reading LTN. Hands down it's the best publication when it comes to legal technology.
Reed Elsevier Inc.
Belle Mead, N.J.
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I enjoyed Anthony Paonita's article on translation software that appeared in the October issue of Law Technology News.
A couple of years ago, I did a study of AltaVista's Babelfish, using about a dozen French sites and my own Web site. The results were worse than I had expected. Some of the English translations were incomprehensible. As a former French teacher, I could tell where many of the mistakes in translation came from. However, I still can't figure out how a "whitefish" got in my Web site!
Ruth G. Balkin
Balkin Library & Information Services
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More Expert Info
In the October issue's "Second Opinions" column, a reader inquired about storing and retrieving information about experts. Guy Wiggins offered the excellent suggestion of using a document management program to organize and track the information. I agree wholeheartedly with this approach, and have been using a document management program with great success for more than six years.
Unfortunately, not all firms are willing to make the investment in such a firm-wide system. Because an expert database, more often than not, pertains to litigation, non-litigators might well resist the call to implement a DMS, not understanding how it might help their non-litigation practices.
If this is an issue, consider using readily available litigation support software as your primary tool for management of expert witness transcripts and materials. A litigation support program and the use of imaging technology with OCR capabilities will handle the job nicely. This has the added advantage that the software can also be used for other litigated matters. The skills learned for one function will transfer to the other.
A program such as Summation includes document database, imaging, and transcript management as part of the core product. Concordance can work with a variety of imaging and transcript management programs to accomplish the same goal. Both now offer the ability to use ancillary software to host this data on the Web, making it available to other users for collaborative purposes.
Typically in an expert database you want to collect deposition transcripts, associated deposition exhibits, and other written materials produced by or referred to by the given expert. Both the testimony and the documentary information should be searchable and easy to retrieve. Combining the transcript management and document database functions of the litigation support programs with imaging and OCR'ing does just that. Searches across a variety of document categories are easy to conduct. Furthermore, if the depositions are added to the database in their native electronic format rather than as a scanned image, they can be read, annotated, and highlighted as needed.
In terms of the documents associated with the particular expert's file, they would be entered in the document database using the document coding function, placing text in the various searchable fields that you determine are useful. The ability to search within the standard fields is usually enough to easily locate and parse the documents you need. If you add OCR'ing to the picture, and have an OCR database to search as well, you can enhance the accuracy of your search within the database by searching the actual text of the documents.
Thus, using litigation support software for your expert witness databank you gain greater functionality than organizing materials with document management software. Every trial lawyer should be using some form of litigation support software, those who do will find the added benefit of using this software for a variety of purposes including the maintenance of a fully developed expert witness database.
Davis & Kuelthau
Green Bay, Wisc.