Practice/Industry Group Overview
Edwards Wildman Palmer's Litigation Department has more than 150 lawyers handling complex civil and criminal litigation, corporate investigations and regulatory matters. We represent a wide variety of clients from individuals to closely-held companies to giants in industry, finance, insurance and government entities. Our clients choose us because we are skilled practitioners who understand their goals and their businesses and who partner with them to achieve their chosen solutions. A number of our former partners sit as judges of various courts. Our attorneys are admitted to practice in many jurisdictions and regularly litigate cases throughout the country.
We have a proven record of success as trial and appellate lawyers. We recognize, however, that the best result for our clients is achieving litigation goals early with reduced expense. As a result, we are committed to the use of alternative dispute resolution where appropriate, and have substantial experience in the creation of innovative alternative dispute resolution approaches. A favorable settlement early in the proceedings avoids the major expense of litigation: protracted discovery. We are also experts in the use of electronic discovery and trial tools which improve efficiency and reduce costs of litigation.
Litigation Supported By Technology
Edwards Wildman understands that technology plays an important role in the capture, organization and dissemination of knowledge. Our primary goal is to manage the information flow, through technology, to create efficiencies for our clients.
In order to affect this goal, we have established a Litigation Support Services "LSS" Team to help our attorneys and paralegals apply technology to the management of their cases. The LSS Team focuses on practice management, management of discovery documents, document production, deposition management, and trial presentation. It also provides troubleshooting and assistance with technical issues for our litigation support software and hardware. Our use of state-of-the-art litigation support technology allows our attorneys to concentrate on case strategy.
Communications & Infrastructure
The firm has and continues to devote significant resources to advance its technology infrastructure including servers, PCs, laptops, PDAs, software and remote access systems. These new technology standards ensure that vital applications such as messaging, time tracking, document image repositories and databases are available wherever and whenever the need exists. It also enables us to build communication links with our clients thereby extending our virtual office environment and providing them with access to their cases and more importantly, the ability to collaborate with our attorneys and staff.
Through this technology, the Firm leverages its knowledge base to work more efficiently. The Firm utilizes its internal workspace as a means to access firm specific information including links to document repositories. Other links provide direct access to the Firm's library of work product as well as case specific document and image databases. We advocate and employ Knowledge Management to support and facilitate the identification, capture and dissemination and use of knowledge. In this manner the Firm ensures that our lawyers and support staff, across practice groups, are working together to identify and satisfy client needs.
Document repositories have been created for case files and other pertinent related information. These extranets allow us to streamline communications with our clients while providing for a collaborative workspace that improves the quality and timeliness of our service. It allows everyone to work from a single document source. In order to protect the safety of our client files, the Firm has implemented up to date firewall and anti-virus solutions.
Edwards Wildman stands ready to adopt next generation technology where and when necessary to meet the continuing demands of complex litigation.
Discovery and Document Management
We use and support leading litigation management software including JFS Litigator's Notebook, iPRO, Concordance and Summation. With these tools, we can design, create, populate and store a set of client-specific databases and document images, which enable team members to retrieve information and view documents on all present, and prior litigation matters for a specific client. These advanced tools allow us to comprehensively manage all aspects of the litigation.
Attorneys can create "virtual" case files that contain and manage deposition transcripts, pleadings, chronologies, and discovery documents. We also have the ability to share these case files with clients, experts and local counsel over an internet connection. Automating these processes reduces the time required to collect, organize, review and produce documents all the while creating tremendous efficiencies for our clients.
We also utilize adjunct products such as chronology and timeline tools. They enable our attorneys to quickly organize and evaluate the facts and issues in a case, which can then be mapped to a timeline based on the dates of events. Both the chronologies and timelines are extremely useful for organizing case data and can be used in both trial preparation and at trial.
Records Management and Electronic Document Discovery
Records management and document retention/destruction are integral to a corporation's success. Edwards Wildman understands these requirements and how they have changed with the onset of new record keeping requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley as well as the growth of electronic documents including e-mail, instant messaging and voice mail.
In response to these changes, the Firm has created an in-house Electronic Discovery (ED) team to help clients' craft and implement policies designed to comply with the law that will protect corporate records in the event of a lawsuit. If a client finds itself facing litigation, our ED team ensures a "best approach" to an electronic discovery project including the preservation, collection, review and production of electronically stored documents. The processes our team follows for these key steps ensure our clients a less intrusive, more cost-effective strategy while satisfying the legal obligation to produce relevant documents.
Understanding that the size and scope of electronic discovery may at times surpass our in-house resources, the Firm has fostered relationships with a number of leading electronic discovery vendors. These vendors are required to meet our stringent quality control and standardization requirements. Regardless of who performs the work, the Firm will remain in charge of the management of the project.
Edwards Wildman advocates the use of real-time reporting and recognizes its value to trial counsel as an alternative to expensive and unwieldy daily transcripts. Real time deposition transcripts permit our attorneys to view a nearly simultaneous written transcription of a question and answer dialogue as it is being spoken. Using annotation tools, the testimony can be marked for follow-up questioning or cross-examination of the witness.
After conclusion of the testimony, it can be used to formulate additional discovery requests, prepare other witnesses or craft pleadings. A recent innovation provides for the indexing and linking of exhibits within a transcript. This allows for more efficient, effective review of the testimony.
Trial Preparation and Presentation
Our client-specific databases and image repositories provide our lawyers and paralegals with a ready source of documents both in the courtroom and in our war rooms. Documentary evidence from these databases can be effectively introduced at trial via specialized software which enables the creation a smooth presentation of documentary evidence, including graphics such as those found in PowerPoint presentations, and testimonial evidence, such as videotaped depositions with synchronized text of the testimony being given.
We have established and ensured standardized use of litigation support tools across all our offices. An essential part of this standardization process includes the development of "Best Practices" to provide a methodology for handling discovery materials and a strategy for accomplishing all tasks required to effectively assemble, organize and utilize all the information collected in a case. A "Best Practices" program is a fully comprehensive "soup to nuts" approach for both manual paper handling tasks and those that incorporate the use of technology.
The program covers all key discovery tasks including case planning, collecting and reviewing documents, designing and building databases, managing vendor relationships, producing documents, preparing for depositions, managing electronic discovery, and developing litigation calendars and budgets.
While it is our preference to do as much work as possible in-house, the Firm views the use of specialty firms as a valuable resource and a viable option when internal solutions are not the most efficient alternative. We utilize vendors when the expertise does not otherwise exist within the firm or deadlines cannot be met without assistance. These carefully screened vendors provide us with the flexibility and cost efficiencies needed when staffing a large document review and production project or a large electronic discovery project where the volume of processing required exceeds our in-house capabilities.
Staffing and Training
Edwards Wildman litigation support staff members' possess considerable knowledge and understanding of the timeline and significant events of a lawsuit and discovery management tools and techniques. Our professionals are well versed in a number of litigation technology-based products. Experienced project managers ensure that each case is carefully assessed and staffed with trained specialists in accordance with the needs of the project as they change over time.
Our Information Systems team, comprised of network engineers and communication and application specialists, stand ready to support the needs of both our LSS team and our clients.
Edwards Wildman recognizes that technology is not an effective tool without proper training. To maximize service for our clients, we provide ongoing training and support for our attorneys and paralegals to ensure the most effective, consistent use of our litigation support software across all our offices.