How a tech company is helping litigators deal with profitability, deadlines, and security

Jul 17, 2020

Canadian Lawyer June 2020Firm’s leaders say they integrated document automation and exchange platforms to address the real needs of litigation practices.

Korbitec Inc. understands the challenges that litigators and their firms face. The legal tech firm boasts a suite of software platforms designed to power the efficiency of a litigation practice, minimize errors and the related risk, and secure the information being shared. In recent years they’ve integrated those platforms, stacking efficiency, error-reduction, and security atop one another to create tools far more powerful than the sum of their parts.

Korbitec’s president, Alan Bass, told Canadian Lawyer why his team recently integrated two of their flagship products: xchangedocs and ACL5. ACL5 is an automated civil litigation platform that streamlines the document-heavy processes of civil litigation. xchangedocs powers secure transfers, document exchange, and even document service. Together, Bass says, they create a hugely powerful tool for civil litigators. It’s a tool that’s constantly evolved and improved over almost three decades.

“When ACL was envisioned in the late ‘90s, we identified that in the litigation practice area, there are hundreds of forms and documents, which are often difficult to complete and involve a lot of data repetition,” Bass says. “Further, the Ontario court system in particular has one of the most stringent style requirements. Documents were being rejected for having the wrong font or margins. We developed ACL to eliminate time spent formatting documents, re-keying information, and then we thought, we should actually provide and maintain all of the court mandated forms.”

Since the formation of that idea, Bass and his team at Korbitec have been supplying and maintaining over 3,500 court forms, sometimes on a weekly basis. The smart platform can automatically fill information across the vast array of documents that litigators touch in their day to day duties. Bass and his team noticed, too, that many of their client firms have their own internal precedents and forms. Korbitec started automating those forms within client firm’s custom versions of ACL5. Now they maintain over 37,000 custom documents for their customers.

Bass says that this innovation is driven by both Korbitec’s customers and their team of former legal assistants and law clerks working alongside their development team. Those former legal professionals know the process and know the pain points of a legal practice and can address those issues head on. Korbitec listens, too, and when LawPro highlighted the sheer number of cases that are dismissed for missed deadlines, Korbitec built a legal task management system into ACL that integrates with Outlook. Now task reminders can be easily applied to matters from a single control point with centralized access and accountability.

When they started hearing more and more about data breaches and risks from documents being transferred over email, as well as changes to court rules for service, the Korbitec team started work on xchangedocs.

“We built xchangedocs as a web application so any firm could use it,” Bass says. “We know that adoption of tech in the legal industry can be tough, but we’ve managed to bring over 500 firms on board with ACL. xchangedocs serves a wider group of lawyers than ACL, be they corporate lawyers or inhouse legal departments at major firms. Once we checked all the boxes for wider practice areas, we asked ourselves, ‘how can xchangedocs serve ACL by adding some functionalities that would be really important on the litigation side?’”

Answering that question, they built a key function into xchangedocs purpose built for their ACL5 users: electronic service documents. Court rules now allow for a document to be served electronically via a secure portal. The portal must, however, generate a Record of Service, which replaces the need for an Affadavit of Service. In xchangedocs they already had a secure document exchange platform, optimized for legal documents. By adding the Record of Service, Korbitec empowered litigators to complete the service of documents electronically, an innovation that has proven crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bass says, though, that this is an efficiency that won’t be walked back in a reopened world. Electronic document transfers via xchangedocs has created electronic efficiency in an aspect of litigation that has been long languishing in analog.

Implementing the two platforms comes with training and support. Bass and the Korbitec team know that adopting new technology poses challenges, so they offer free training and support, including weekly webinars. As well, ACL has pioneered a fee-for-use payment model, while still offering a subscription fee arrangement if a firm’s model necessitates. That means that the cost of ACL can be fenced within a single matter, better serving a law firm’s cost calculus.

Korbitec has built a deep, customizable document automation tool in ACL5. They’ have engineered a task management program designed to eliminate the process errors that can plague law firms. They have crafted a secure platform for document exchange and collaboration in xchangedocs. Now they have integrated the three, wedding xchangedocs and their task management program into ACL5. Civil litigators can automate documents with confidence, stay on top of the countless matters they juggle, and transfer essential documents remotely and securely. Bass says that this compounding of efficiencies comes from a simple desire to eliminate the pain points of legal practice.

“With ACL and xchangedocs together,” Bass says, “we address real needs in a law practice and effectively eliminate key sources of mistakes for litigators thus minimizing risk, while increasing productivity and enhancing security.”

This article originally appeared in Canadian Lawyer on June 29, 2020 and is republished here with permission.