CAT | General

Sep 2, 2014

Vote for Innovating Justice Awards

Last month, I wrote about A2J Author, a tool used by legal aid programs and others to create automated guided interviews to assist people in need of legal help. It is primarily used to help self-represented individuals create court and legal forms, for online intake at legal services programs, and to help guide individuals to [...]

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Sep 2, 2014

News About PacerPro–And an Announcement

Last February, I reviewed PacerPro, which I described as a better way to search federal court records than PACER. This free search tool provides an interface to PACER, while actually improving on the service with features such as real-time universal search, aggregated search results and one-click downloads of entire dockets.

In the last week, there have been some notable developments regarding PacerPro. Most notably, PacerPro announced a major new release that adds two significant features:

  • Scheduled updates. Users can now opt to automatically update cases and choose the frequency of the updates — daily, every other day, weekly or monthly.
  • Email alerts. Set up email alerts to notify you of changes to a case docket.

Also, PacerPro announced that it will begin offering paid premium accounts starting in October. While the basic service will remain free, free subscribers will be limited to four batch downloads per month and four concurrent automatic case updates.

Paid subscribers will be allowed unlimited batch downloads, unlimited case follows and unlimited automatic case updates. The cost will be $25 a month per user, with enterprise pricing available and discounts for firms that sign up before Oct. 15. (More information is available from

These announcements happened to coincide with the ABA Journal’s annual listing of its newest Legal Rebels, which included PacerPro’s founder, Gavin McGrane. McGrane is a San Francisco lawyer who founded PacerPro due to his own frustration with using the antiquated PACER system.

Joining PacerPro’s Advisory Board

Finally, I am please to announce that I have joined PacerPro’s advisory board. Going forward, I will be providing the company advice and assistance on further developing its product, building strategic alliances, and expanding its user base.

While I have served on other product advisory boards in a purely external capacity to provide user feedback, this is the first time I have ever joined a product advisory board in a paid capacity. I did so after many conversations with McGrane and after meeting with him and members of his team. I was impressed with what they have developed and with their future plans.

To see a PDF brochure describing PacerPro’s major features, follow this link. As I said, the service is free, so if you have not already done so, give it a try. (You do need PACER credentials and will incur standard PACER charges.)

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Aug 29, 2014

A Brief Note About Browning Marean

browning_mareanEloquent remembrances about Browning Marean have been written by those who knew him well. See the posts by Craig Ball, Tom O’Connor, Chris Dale, John Tredennick, Ralph Losey, Monica Bay and Josh Gilliland. These folks built friendships with him over many years, traveled to conferences with him, sat on panels with him, shared meals with him, and earned their places as his good friends.

I cannot claim the same. I knew Browning, but not as closely as they did. We ran into each other at conferences. We chatted here and there. We shared a common interest in technology, as well as in the north shore of Massachusetts, where he grew up and I now live.

Yet it is that very fact — that I was not among his closest friends — that compels me to write about his untimely death. Because Browning was that rare person who always made you feel like you were his close friend. He always greeted you with warmth and enthusiasm. He always expressed interest in what you were doing, and his interest was sincere.

Browning was that rare person who was brilliant and accomplished yet humble and caring and kind. There are way too few people like that in this world, and now there’s one less.

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Aug 19, 2014

UMass Law’s ‘Justice Bridge’ Pairs New Lawyers with Needy Clients

The University of Massachusetts School of Law has launched what it is calling an incubator designed to help new lawyers start their careers while serving modest-income clients who might not otherwise afford a lawyer.

Justice Bridge is described as a legal access center and law practice incubator that will help enable new lawyers to deliver high-quality, affordable legal services to clients of modest means. (more…)

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Aug 18, 2014

Microsoft Launches Document Management System for Legal

At the ILTA annual conference in Nashville today, Microsoft Corp. announced the release of a preview version of a new document management and collaboration platform designed for law firms and legal departments.

Called Matter Center for Office 365, it works with Office 365 and allows legal professionals to securely find, organize and collaborate on files within the familiar Office environment. (more…)

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Aug 18, 2014

Another App from the ‘Hackcess’ Winner

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I recently reported here about the ABA Journal’s Hackcess to Justice, the first-ever hackathon held during an ABA annual meeting. First prize went to William Palin, a Massachusetts lawyer. Over the course of the two-day event, he created PaperHealth, an iOS app that provides a quick and easy way to create a legally binding health care proxy or a non-binding living will on an iPhone or iPad.

As it turns out, Palin had previously created another legal app, PaperWork. Developed for use by family law attorneys in Massachusetts, PaperWork allows users to create PDF family law forms for use in Massachusetts. It includes forms for divorce and separate support, modifications, child support, paternity, change of name, financial reporting, and several others. (more…)

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Aug 14, 2014

Box Announces New Alliances in Legal

In two posts last year, I wrote about Box, the file sharing and collaboration platform, making a push into the legal industry through integrations with several mobile and web legal platforms (here and here). Today, two weeks before its major BoxWorks2014 user conference in San Francisco and just a few days before the International Legal Technology Association conference in Nashville, the company announced major new clients in the legal field and new law-related partnerships and integrations.

In today’s announcement, Box said that the law firms DLA Piper, Hinshaw & Culbertson, Perkins Coie and Stoel Rives have chosen Box to manage, access and share information for various purposes.

The law firms moving to Box represent a diverse set of use cases. DLA Piper, the world’s largest law firm, is leveraging Box to improve file sharing security gaps and replace unsanctioned tools with a secure end-user friendly collaboration tool. Additionally, through Box and Intapp’s partnership announced last year, DLA is using Intapp’s Integration Builder to integrate Box with HP Worksite and enable its mobile workforce to be productive from anywhere, while still protecting IP. Both Hinshaw & Culbertson and Stoel Rives rely on Box for external collaboration between hospitals and healthcare providers who need access to patient information for legal cases.

Box also announced a new relationship with HBR Consulting, a firm that provides strategic, technology and information management consulting services to the legal sector. Through the relationship, Box and HBR Consulting will work together to offer custom-built cloud-based storage and collaboration tools for law firms.

Also today, Box announced new integrations with e-discovery platforms Recommind and Logikcull. Box will now integrate with Axcelerate, Recommind’s review and analysis platform, to enable organizations to collect, analyze and review information stored in the cloud. With Logikcull, Box is enabling one-click integration that will allow its users to transfer documents and metadata from Box into Logikcull for use in e-discovery and investigations.

Logikcull’s cloud discovery and integrations platform directly integrates with Box APIs, eliminating multiple manual steps and allows users to easily search, collect and preserve ESI maintained in Box as part of litigation or regulatory matter. Additionally, Logikcull’s Culling Intelligence engine automatically categorizes Box documents into smart search filters like languages, email domains, custodians, and document types. Using these smart filters, legal teams can quickly get to the facts of their case and narrow their search to the right documents for review.

To read more about other legal products that can integrate with Box, see my earlier post: Box Furthers its Push into Legal with New Integrations.

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Aug 13, 2014

How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services to the Poor

It is estimated that all the programs and resources devoted to ensuring access to justice address only 20 percent of the civil legal needs of low-income people in the United States. And with dwindling funding due to decreases in IOLTA and other funding sources, the problem is only growing worse. Given this situation, technology is playing an increasingly critical role in helping to bridge the gap.

This presentation, “Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services,” is one I gave on Aug. 9, 2014, at the annual meeting of the National Conference of Bar Foundations.

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Aug 12, 2014

Rocket Matter Adds Outlook Integration

The cloud-based practice management platform Rocket Matter has announced that it now allows integration with Outlook email.

By installing a plugin in Outlook, users can associate a Rocket Matter case and billable time or costs with an email directly within Outlook. If an email has an attachment, the attachment will automatically be uploaded to Rocket Matter and be accessible through its web interface. (more…)

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Aug 11, 2014

‘Hackcess to Justice’ Spawns Creative Concepts

If you have any doubt as to the success of the ABA Journal’s Hackcess to Justice event on Thursday and Friday, consider this: Even Scott Greenfield said nice things about it.

The first-ever hackathon held during an ABA annual meeting, the event was a competition in which teams were given two days to develop technology that could help expand access to justice for those unable to afford or obtain legal services. Five teams competed, with prize money going to the top three. (more…)

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