Customer Profile: Don Davis, J.D., is general counsel for the San Francisco Unified School District, which serves 55,000 students. His experience includes 30 years with the Marine Corps Judge Advocate Division—practicing law all over the world and 10 years as chief of staff in the Office of General Counsel for the Los Angeles Unified School District. His areas of focus include education law, litigation, transactional law and law office management.
Business Situation: Davis is using his practice management experience in Los Angeles to increase efficiency for the school district in San Francisco.
Solution: Davis and the team in Los Angeles implemented Time Matters® software across a rapidly growing practice and then integrated with LawToolBox® for easier docket management. The plan is to take a similar approach in San Francisco.
Integration with LawToolBox for rules-based calendaring
LawToolBox combines off-the-shelf court rule sets with custom in-house rule sets for centralized docketing. Once a paralegal enters a complaint or trial date, LawToolBox determines the applicable deadlines. Deadlines synchronize from LawToolBox to Time Matters using Integrated Deadlines synchronization software.
For example, in the LawToolBox calculator for Los Angeles County Superior Court, paralegals can enter any one of over 30 trigger dates, which in turn automatically calculate between 1 and 18 deadlines.
Deadline calculations are updated in LawToolBox online in real time when rules change. When rule changes apply to pending matters already docketed in LawToolBox, deadlines are updated and also preserved under the “old rules” for reference.
It’s easy to generate deadline-related reports for the entire department. For example, says Davis, “If I want to look at trials coming up in the next two weeks, I can easily filter the information to view just those dates.” He adds, “No two lawyers work the same way, so to achieve consistency across the practice, Time Matters and LawToolBox are critical.”
LawToolBox delivers email reminders of upcoming deadlines. In addition, each deadline is automatically docketed to: (a) each user’s Time Matters calendar, (b) each user’s Outlook calendar, (c) weekly deadline summary emails and (d) management reports.
Manage Cost and Risk
Davis notes, “We needed a consistent, well-organized, responsive product, and that’s what Time Matters software is. Per-user cost is minimal, and same with LawToolBox. They designed a firm-wide cost structure for us and made it affordable.”
In addition, failure to know or be reminded of a deadline is a cause of legal malpractice. When a firm signs up for LawToolBox, malpractice discounts often more than offset the cost of using the service.
Davis estimates the department in San Francisco will gain 20 to 25 percent time savings by accessing legal data and documents through Time Matters software—similar to the time savings experienced in Los Angeles.
He explains, “From the general counsel’s standpoint, Time Matters provides a comprehensive resource. When I need to know what new matters were opened in the past week, I don’t have to ask anybody or wait for an attorney to return to the office or for a file to be pulled. I just do a quick search on matters created or closed in the last seven days. It’s easy to reach out and access the information I need right away to be an effective general counsel.”
In the area of docketing, time savings are also significant. Says Davis, “By adding LawToolBox to Time Matters, we saved hours of paralegal time previously spent calculating and entering deadlines by hand.”
“ LawToolBox worked very collaboratively with us to adapt the deadline calculator to our practice.” — Don Davis, General Counsel SFUSD
“ No two lawyers work the same way, so to achieve consistency across the practice, Time Matters and LawToolBox are critical.” — Don Davis, General Counsel SFUSD
“ We need a consistent, well-organized, responsive product, and that’s what Time Matters is. Per-user cost is minimal, and same with LawToolBox.” — Don Davis, General Counsel
“ By adding LawToolBox to Time Matters, we saved hours of paralegal time previously spent calculating and entering deadlines by hand.” — Don Davis, General Counsel SFUSD
LexisNexis® (www.lexisnexis.com) is a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting, and academic markets. LexisNexis originally pioneered online information with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. A member of Reed Elsevier [NYSE: ENL; NYSE: RUK] (www.reedelsevier.com), LexisNexis serves customers in more than 100 countries with 10,000 employees worldwide.
LawToolBox was the first online rule-based court deadline calculator in the United States. The company first started offering patented deadline calculators online in the late 1990s. A significant measure of quality provided by LawToolBox is a client retention rate of nearly 95 percent.