“There’s Always a First Time for Tech at Trial”

This case is a remarkably successful demonstration of how to use technology to win a case. Waiting until you absolutely NEED technology to LEARN how it works, however, is NOT recommended:

"On May 24, 2001, Claire Duncan was driving on Route I-95 near Petersburg, Va., when a Winnebago made a sudden shift into her lane. The 26-year-old pharmacology Ph.D student swerved her 2000 Ford Explorer and hit the median, launching the boxy SUV into a sideways spin. It rolled five times before landing upright into oncoming traffic.

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In 2001, Scott Duncan sued Ford Motor Co., claiming that defects with the Explorer’s roof and seatbelt caused his wife’s death. The roof crushed in seven inches and the seatbelt slackened, he alleged, allowing the fatal contact with her skull.

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"Pajcic & Pajcic, an 11-lawyer plaintiffs’ firm in Jacksonville, where the Duncans resided, took up the case against Ford. The automaker retained Phoenix-based Snell & Wilmer, a 400-attorney firm that had previously defended Ford in seven Explorer rollover cases across five states.

"Robert Link, a partner at the Florida firm, had been working on Duncan’s case for nearly two years when partner Raymond Reid noticed the forest of boxes stacked in his office. ‘Sucks to be you,’ he joked to Link.

"’I thought, ‘There’s got to be a better way to handle all of this,’ Reid recalls. But no Pajcic attorneys had experience using litigation technology.

"’Ray just sort of volunteered," says Link. They came up with a plan: Link would continue to work with paper files; Reid and a paralegal would scan all the documents to create an electronic database. Meanwhile, Reid took a two-day course in Sanction trial presentation software. From Verdict Systems Inc., it helps users design an electronic database with customized fields for storing, categorizing and retrieving documents and exhibits."

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