The Benefits of Simply Knowing the Rules

August 24, 2010

Here’s a story of an associate attorney doing work that really impressed a partner, by simply knowing the rules (thanks to SmartRules).

The associate was assigned to oppose a motion to compel responses to interrogatories.  After reviewing the motion papers and the applicable SmartRules Guide, the associate immediately noticed that there was no separate statement accompanying the motion as required by the California Rules of Court.  The associate was able to draft a strong opposition quickly and inexpensively.  A few days later, the court denied the motion to compel on the basis of the failure to include a separate statement and cancelled the scheduled hearing.  The moving party had to deliver the news of the unsuccessful motion to the partner and the client.  I’m sure that neither were very understanding about the oversight!  Knowing the rules is important and SmartRules makes that easy.

Using SmartRules can save you time and money.  It can enable you to maximize the “billability” of your time and allow you to look super-competent in front of other lawyers and judges.

SmartRules is a jurisdiction and task specific set of guides for the most commonly filed civil litigation documents.  Just tell SmartRules where you are and what you are doing, and SmartRules will pull together a SmartRules Guide that contains all the information you need to draft and file your document, timely, and in compliance with all applicable rules, including local rules. The SmartRules Guides always begin with a section about timing and deadlines.  Then the Guides move on to present requirements regarding the substance and form of the document, additional documents that might need to accompany it, and finally covering filing and service and hearing and disposition, if applicable.

And the best part:  all requirements, including the local rules, are updated in real time.  No more checking pocket parts and other sources of recent amendments to rules and statutes, SmartRules has you covered.

-Wendy Schneider

Managing Editor, SmartRules


Deadlines On Demand Provides Affordable Malpractice Prevention, Powered by CompuLaw

August 17, 2010

Truth be told — Avoiding malpractice claims is not fun, but is certainly easier with Deadlines On Demand.

TRUE STORY: A malpractice verdict cost a Chicago law firm $35 million after their client claimed that they tried to cover up mistakes and missed deadlines.

TRUE STORY: According to the ABA’s Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims, calendar related errors are the leading cause of malpractice actions against lawyers. Of all claims, 70 percent were filed against firms with five or fewer attorneys.

TRUE STORY:  Affordable, accurate online deadline calculation technology is now available for small law firms.  Powered by CompuLaw, Deadlines On Demand will calculate deadlines based on the rules for the event and jurisdiction you select. On screen calendars automatically synchronize with Outlook for additional protection and risk management, providing multiple copies of your calendar, without the error-prone task of duplicate entry.

Deadlines On Demand is available on a pay-per-use basis with an average cost of $25 per search, making malpractice prevention accessible and affordable for small law firms.

Looking for the truth on legal deadline calculation services? Jump right in with our special LawyerToolbox bundle offer.

-Deadlines On Demand


How Not To Be a Redaction Headline

August 11, 2010

I don’t expect the world to live and breath redaction like I do. I understand why the rest of you don’t have Google alerts set for “redaction.” But surely most people have read at least a few of the recent redaction headlines?

First there was the Facebook v. ConnectU case, where the courts inadvertently revealed internal Facebook stock valuations. Or how about my personal favorite, the Transportation Security Administration posting an improperly redacted Screening Management Standard Operating Procedure manual on the internet.

These redaction headlines are especially relevant for attorneys and paralegals. Attorneys are responsible for ensuring redactions are accurate, even when their office staff perform them. Look at the GE sexual discrimination case, where the paralegals of the plaintiff’s law firm improperly redacted documents before filing them with PACER. The case was settled out of court, so it is hard to attribute consequences, but it seems likely that it impacted the outcome of the case and it certainly didn’t help the reputation of the firm.

I keep a list of these headlines and more (they are fun reading!) on our Redact-It website, and in reviewing them today I can only say, “Wow, people aren’t getting it.”

I admit the press is getting better at looking for it, but knowing that should only make people more careful.

To help out, I have a few steps you should take before posting, filing, or otherwise sharing sensitive documents.

  1. Pick a redaction tool, like Redact-It.
  2. Learn how to use it. Redact-It has Getting Started tutorials available from the product itself. Or call us and we’ll walk you through it.
  3. Select the areas on the document that you want to redact.
  4. Finalize the redactions (all tools require this step!).
  5. Check your redactions by copying the text and pasting it into Notepad or Word. If you can see the redacted text, something is amiss. Go back to step 2. Or call us.

If you follow these steps, you won’t be a redaction headline.

– Christine Musil

Informative Graphics Corp.