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Idiosyncrasies, legal drafting, and no time wasted

The wold of litigation drafting can be a harried place, full of conflicting preferences, rules, and feelings about how a document should look. This is because litigation drafting is under-standardized. Not only do litigators deal with local rules that vary--for no good reason--from court to court or even judge to judge, but each and every partner seems to have their own particular preference and style.

One of our testers told us the story of working with a new partner. After drafting a 40-page answering statement for an arbitration, the partner indicated that he prefers his fact citations to appear in parentheses. Cue another hour spent identifying fact citations and adding parentheses around them. Unfortunately, no amount of find and replace could have helped with that and there was no simple solution to get this done fast.

Personal preferences came up often when building our Citations Tool functionality. Originally, our plan was to cover the most commonly used exhibit formats:

  • Exhibit 1, at 2 (Example);

  • Exhibit 1, Example, at 2;

  • Exh. 1, at 3 (Example) (BATES000123);

  • etc.

Quickly, our alpha testers pointed out several different ways in which they, their partners, or the courts in which they practice format citations. For example, we learned some state courts in Philadelphia prefer the following format: Example, attached hereto as Exhibit 1. We then set out to build a customizable option.

At the beta testing stage, we spoke with our attorney testers at length about their experience customizing the exhibit formatting. It seemed like everyone had their own way to format their exhibit citations, and they felt strongly about it. Our testers wanted customization to be the rule, not an additional option.

Not only did our beta testers want flexibility in the formatting of their exhibits, they wanted a clear, no-code, no-placeholders way of stating their preference, and a very quick way to update it should partners disagree with their choice.

We built just that.

The Citations Tool now has a clean, easy-to-use Exhibit Formatting section, with drag and drop reordering and drop-down choices, giving lawyers the ability to build their preferred formatting.

It even allows you to use free-standing text boxes to build your preferred formatting.

And when the partner wants parentheses added, you can do it in just one click, freeing up significant time to think about the more important issues.

LitKit is launching in February, so if you want a free trial or demo, sign up now on our home page.

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