Establishing a Cause of Action: How the Indiana Attorney General’s Office Used Everlaw to Ramp Up Their Post-Review Process
The Office of the Indiana Attorney General (OAG) helps protect the rights, freedoms, and safety of Hoosiers. When a consumer believes they have not received a product or service they have paid for, they can file a complaint with the OAG. The OAG investigates the matter by gathering facts and establishes whether or not a cause of action exists. If it does, the IAG case team may bring a civil action on behalf of the State.
The OAG assigns case teams for each investigation. Each case team has a paralegal who uploads documents, a law clerk who reviews the documents and assigns notes and codes, and deputies who build the case theories. When the OAG began to implement this case team approach to their workflow, their existing discovery platform had several critical drawbacks:
- The system had no provisions for remote access.
- Multiple steps were required to export a document.
- A shared network space for multiple user access had to be cobbled together via a link.
- Critical updates didn’t happen consistently for all users.
- The platform was not set up the way IAG teams were set up and did not offer collaborative features.
The OAG’s case files contained mostly PDFs along with some spreadsheets, images from investigators, and audio or video transcripts – all requiring intensive and time-consuming review before a complaint could be drafted to avoid bringing a case that is not fully supported or defensible.
The Everlaw Solution
In 2016, when the OAG became involved in a large multistate matter, the team discovered Everlaw and found out how easy it was for the platform to navigate this vast multistate matter involving dozens of State Attorneys General.
While the OAG deals with a handful of large cases that would require Everlaw’s powerful document review features, the team was convinced when they saw the post-review tools and Storybuilder in action.
Although many of the OAG’s cases are not document-intensive, Everlaw’s post review features enable the team to build and test the theory and outline of a case at the beginning of a matter. Evidence can be attached to the case theory with tools to analyze and report up the chain, as opposed to putting extensive document reviews through ingestion, processing, and coding before post review. The OAG team is able to identify what potential statutes have been violated by the targets and what elements are to be established to show that there is a viable cause of action.
A complaint is the first document a plaintiff files to bring a civil action. Before Everlaw, the OAG would investigate a case and then take weeks to draft a complaint from a mass of undifferentiated sets of documents and materials. Now, before the team drafts a complaint, they complete a case disposition report in Everlaw that outlines the theory and associated evidence, making the complaint drafting process much faster, particularly when multiple theories are at play.
“Everlaw has enabled our case teams to collaborate more efficiently. We use Storybuilder as our playground to test multiple or novel theories early on in the case, follow logical inferences to refine the theory all in real time, saving us time and effort from bringing a case that is not defensible.” – Justin Hazlett, Section Chief of Consumer Litigation
For the Indiana Attorney General’s office, implementing Everlaw was seamless. Because it is a cloud-based solution, there was no need to rely on the IT department to install the platform, and updates are automatic. The team found the Everlaw system to be very user friendly – new law clerks get what they need to get started by simply watching the tutorials and using the platform.
Looking ahead, the OAG plans to utilize Everlaw’s integrated platform to:
- Prepare for depositions, hearings, or the next phase of review
- Pull out theories and automatically draft filings
- Use theory cards as drafts of their findings
To learn more about how your organization can also start leveraging Everlaw to ramp up more quickly, email email@example.com.