BlueLine saves time on cite-checking

December 21st, 2015 by Briana Cummings

Legal Technology Big Change Through Small Revolution

Guest post by BlueLine staff

Investment in legal technology has moved at a staggering pace over the past few years. Tech start-ups promise to radically disrupt law practice by automating everything from document review to legal research, while Lex Machina and Judicata promise to empower lawyers with data-driven insights and analytics.

Despite these revolutionary possibilities, myriad simple legal tasks, such as cite-checking, pulling cases, and reviewing quotes, still consume absurd lengths of time.

We question whether the low hanging fruit is being left on the tree.

The low hanging fruit has already been picked in practice management software. Lawyers are now familiar with digital time-entry, e-billing, and expense-tracking applications. There has been less interest in applications that are specifically designed to improve the tasks that lawyers can actually bill their clients for doing. Perhaps this is because lawyers focus on automation that speeds up non-billable tasks, but not on automation that reduces the time it takes to do billable tasks.

If so, that thinking is bad business. A lawyer who can get a winning brief out in 10 hours will have many more customers willing to pay much more per hour than the lawyer who spends 100 hours on the same project.

Toward this end, we advocate for a much quieter revolution. We designed BlueLine with the goal of dramatically speeding up the process of proofreading or “cite checking” a legal brief. BlueLine takes a piece of legal writing, automatically turns all the citation into hyperlinks, and color codes the quotes according to accuracy. BlueLine‘s process also allows lawyers to immediately spot citation problems in the submissions of opposing counsel.

We applaud other programs that have sought to speed up similar tasks, such as Casetext and Bestlaw. We also recognize the big players in the industry for the many small innovations they produce. Big change does not have to be radical.

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