Something New From West: Drafting Assistant

West might be onto something with this idea. Drafting Assistant, being introduced by West at Legal Tech New York as we speak, offers a suite of tools that integrate with your word processing system of choice (Word or WordPerfect), to pull in legal research, discovery material, deposition transcripts, case analysis along with other drafting tools peculiar to the legal trade. Drafting Assistant will reduce the number of steps a lawyer has to take to get all of the information pulled together for a finished product. For example, from the press release:

For example, the Locate Authority feature can identify the best case to support an argument that an attorney has just crafted, using trusted Westlaw research and without breaking the writer’s chain of thought. To quickly find and cite from a transcript or discovery document, Drafting Assistant can search and access all case-related information contained within West Case Notebook. With just a few mouse clicks, paralegals can save hours or even days, using tools that check the validity of cases cited, insert links to case law and correctly format documents and citations to comply with jurisdictional rules.

Drafting Assistant is but one tool within an integrated suite of tools, services and content called Westlaw Litigator. The suite includes:

• Westlaw CaseLogistix – document review and production tools
• West Case Notebook – legal research, case analysis and transcript management
• LiveNote Stream – live remote streaming of deposition audio, video and transcript text
• West Case Timeline – graphically displays important events in a case
• West Publisher – bundling & sharing of transcripts, related exhibits and other documents
• West km – leverages the internal work product and intellectual capital of a firm
• Westlaw Roundtable Group — helps find the perfect expert tailored to the exact needs of a case
• West CourtExpress — retrieves court or agency documents quickly and accurately
• Westlaw Expert Center – searches and profiles expert witnesses

But of course, this suite integrates with the toney WestlawNext service. I shudder to think what the price of this Cadillac, no make that Maybach-worthy suite of digital surgeon’s instruments will set an intrepid lawyer back. Ah well, kudos to West for taking legal tech a step forward into the future, even if the cost makes you want to jump back a bit.

Press release found here.

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WestLawNext On Your Phone

Image from West

Back at the WestLawNext breakfast in March, one of the features promoted by the speakers was the impending introduction of mobile versions of WestLawNext. Right in line with their proposed timeline (they had said by the end of May), West’s LegalCurrents blog (link here) is reporting the improved availability of the new search interface on mobile devices (link here). West is touting the new interface as a unique “ecosystem” in which to interact with the WLN search tools. From the announcement:

WestlawNext Mobile mirrors the clean, modern interface of WestlawNext, with a primary focus on helping legal professionals resume their research while on-the-go. Through the mobile site, you can quickly and easily access research folders and read documents or notes, as well as perform new searches.

The site automatically detects whether you are accessing via mobile interface and directs you to the mobile version accordingly. Hit the link above for the mobile site, or click the link here for the iPad version.

Convergence of Intelligence, Intuition and Information (Gladwell Video)

For those of us who could not attend LegalTech New York earlier this month, but were very interested in the keynote presentation on Intelligence, Intuition and Information featuring Malcolm Gladwell from the New Yorker, you can rejoice. West has released the video at the link here. The panel also included Dr. Lisa Sanders, a columnist for the New York Times, author and clinical professor at Yale University and David Craig, Chief Strategy Officer for Thomson Reuters.

The topic centered on how professionals can make sense of the morass of information now available. Timely enough, indeed. And very well received, by all accounts.

It is an excellent discussion and well worth the watching time. Wish I could embed, but you can still get there with two clicks of the mouse.

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Westlaw Sings The Blues: Project Cobalt

Never able to let a mystery lie dormant, I spent some time this weekend digging into the dirt to find out about this West-branded next evolution in legal research. It’s code-named Cobalt and I managed to scare up a Thomson Reuters PowerPoint which hints at the features. It is fairly clear that Cobalt will offer a more Web 2.0 experience. Of course, its being billed as the best search engine for law and easy to use. It will promises “high velocity” results and  research workflow optimization. What interests me is a vague reference to “community insights.” Is West going to offer its own social aspects within the research framework?

Although it is not certain, there is a suggestion that the preferred search format will be natural language. Some are opining that this means no more Boolean. I will wait and see on that point before I assume the worst. I am hoping West is smarter than Bing in that regard. There is also a suggestion in the press that it will learn from the community – perhaps this learning hints at a semantic aspect (woohoooo!).

There isn’t a lot more to say at this point, but I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for more info. My inner cynic is moving aside a little to make room for a new hope that West will bring its service up to par.

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