The evidence of the need for innovation in every segment of the legal industry keeps rolling in. Today’s bit is from the NYT in this article, An Effort to Upgrade a Court Archive System to Free and Easy – NYTimes.com
Here’s the quote from the article:
“Americans have grown accustomed to finding just about anything they want online fast, and free. But for those searching for federal court decisions, briefs and other legal papers, there is no Google.”
Ironically, its not just publicly available data that’s hard to get. For the lawyers litigating the case, it’s difficult to get off of their own systems, if they even have a system.
And while no one expects to be able to have litigation support software for free (yet), without question it should be fast. But that’s simply not the situation. Most lawyers – no matter how large the company or the firm – are in the same situation. Unable to get command of their documents, pleadings and transcripts in their cases quickly and with a minimum of fuss. Check out this survey from Lexis Nexis.
We’ve believe search is more than just the central tool to any evidence management platform, it’s the most relevant paradigm for managing the data. It seems obvious — but search is the new model of navigating data – away from the folder categorizations you see in local desktop systems, on older web-based applications, or the human indexing which was all the rage when Yahoo was the leading internet “portal”. (Haven’t used that word in about six years!)
Keyword searching – optimized relentlessly by tweaking algorithms – has won in the consumer space, and will continue to propagate into business uses. For public information, this article talks about insurgent technologists looking to co-opt Google to further government tranparency. To me, the irony here is that while the courts shut off the servers – Google didn’t!
Scalable, cloud based technology like Google means that for absolutely free, people were able to throw millions of pages to get crawled without a hitch. I’d be shocked actually if anyone at Google even noticed, while the old government model was literally ground to halt while managing a fraction of the data. A prime example of where old tech meets new.