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Meet your new workflow: A faster way to perfect your legal briefs

Most work has a cadence and flow. Step One followed by Step Two followed by Step Three. Repeat. Complete. It’s a distinguishable harmony, one you recognize and that instills a sense of comfort. A familiar flow that you can recite in your sleep.

For you, creating and updating your work product has its own equilibrium. While the current process for doing so may be somewhat monotonous, the time and attention you give your clients is unsurpassed. You will always do the best you can with the time you have available.

The time you have available, though, is finite. It’s divided between crafting and reviewing (and re-reviewing) your own work product in addition to analyzing your opponent’s documents. For both, you always perform due diligence to ensure everything cited accurately reflects the current state of the law. Of course, that research takes time, but you give what time you have. That old familiar process kicks in again.

The process as it was

Once you have determined the facts of your case, you know what legal issues you need to research. You use your preferred search tool to find case law and court decisions that will help shape your argument.

You tailor your brief for this specific case and cite your authorities. You pore over the research, checking and cross checking trying to ensure that you don’t mistakenly cite bad law. But there’s only so much you can do because there’s only so much time in a day.

When does “done” mean done?

In the old world, even after you had spent days finalizing your arguments, ensuring you had the strongest authority and cases, it was difficult to feel like you were done. Because “done” meant there was nothing more you could do, and you know there is always more you can do.

Time constraints and competing priorities often meant that “done” happened only when time was up. But did you feel done? Or did you stay up at night wondering if there was something important you missed?

More likely than not, you’re working up until the very last second because you want to be sure you haven’t missed anything. You write your conclusion, proofread your work, and make sure you have accurately represented the state of the law. It’s here that attorneys turn a final critical eye against their own work. Best-case scenario – any mistakes you find are small.

In the worst-case scenario, when you check your work and determine that you’ve centered your argument around a case that has been overruled by a higher court or overturned by statute, you’re forced to start the process again. While it’s frustrating and time consuming, it’s definitely not optional. Therefore, you do it again and again because there is no alternative.

Until there is.

Why change?

When something new comes around – something that will change both the quality and efficiency of your work – it can seem an intriguing, yet intimidating, prospect. After all, what you do works well, and it has a discernible rhythm. But occasionally, disruptive technology reestablishes what we know and how we do it. It makes the traditional way of doing something immediately obsolete. In these situations, there will be only two types of people: those who get on board and those who struggle to stay afloat.

Those who adapt often see the new way as the only way to do their work. Because the results they receive make the change not only worthwhile, but indispensable. These “early adopters” are not just focused on results and outcomes, they’re amenable to new ways of working. Sometimes they’re looking for new outcomes, but often they’re looking for increased efficiencies.

Meet Quick Check

And just like that, the old way is now the hard way.

Quick Check on Westlaw Edge is a document analysis tool that will immediately transform how you do your job. Upload a brief or motion, and Quick Check will recommend highly relevant authority that traditional research might have missed. And it doesn’t just suggest authority, it highlights additional details for why that authority might be important to your case, the outcome of the case and the relevant portions.

Additionally, you can quickly filter by what matters most to you at the time: jurisdiction, date of the opinion, or documents you’ve viewed in the last 30 days. Quick Check delivers additional insights beyond just recommendations. The Warning for cited authority tab makes it easy to check for bad law. Quotation Analysis allows you to quickly double check your case quotes for any errors.

Quick Check does things the average human would struggle greatly to do for several reasons: a lack of time, efficiency, finances, or resources. It looks at more things than you can reasonably look at, in ways you simply cannot look, in places you might not look.

The volume of case data the technology analyzes is impossible for a single person to take on. It finds key number and citing relationships that are not obvious. It looks beyond cases to briefs, trial court filings, and secondary sources.

But what does all of this mean to you?

Now you can check your work quickly and easily rather than treating it like a laborious task. The impact it will have on your documents will be so substantial that it warrants a shift both in what you do and how you do it. Manually doing the heavy lifting has instantly become antiquated and needlessly time consuming.

While moving on from old routines can feel cumbersome and challenging, the new way will allow you to reap benefits that were out of reach before. Satisfaction and peace of mind finally become tangible; more time for billable hours becomes a reality.

Gain time and confidence

What previously may have taken days can now take minutes. In just a few clicks, you can confidently and quickly repurpose an old brief, check a final draft, or review your opponent’s document. Quick Check makes it easy to find the newest, most relevant authority without having to revalidate all your arguments and citations.

To put it simply: Quick Check helps make you the best version of the attorney you are.

Stronger cases mean better results for your clients

Quick Check gives you the reassurance that you have an ironclad case. When you can make the strongest case for your clients, you increase the chances of a successful outcome. The better results you deliver, the better your reputation. This makes Quick Check a win-win solution.

As with any review process, there are many benefits to detecting weaknesses sooner rather than later. Just like at a routine health checkup, finding a cause for concern may not be the news you were expecting. Early detection, however, greatly improves your odds. The same is true for your work product: an early diagnosis is critical to your document’s long-term health. Even in the earliest drafting phase, Quick Check can provide relevant support for your argument.

Initial reviews, of course, are not enough to guarantee that your work product isn’t without flaws. Laws can be amended. Cases can be overruled. Frequent reviewing is the only way to safeguard a compelling argument from the kinds of mistakes that could derail it.

With Quick Check, you can review your work as early and as often as you need without sacrificing critical time. Whether it’s a brief, motion, response, or memo, finding an error or issue at the outset makes it a manageable mistake. You can adjust your argument or appropriately align your authority.

Scenario one: An original work

Once you have put together a solid draft, running your legal document through Quick Check can help you find more relevant authority so you don’t miss something that could be critical. Even small misses can weaken the best arguments. When you find these early on, a resolution is attainable and will have cost you much less time.

If you’re waiting until the last minute to check your work, you risk missing a major opportunity. From time and energy to billable hours, a late-in-the-game mistake can cause a domino effect. If you’ve focused on weak authority, finding this out earlier allows you to pick a more relevant case based on Quick Check’s recommendations. Using Quick Check’s suggestions, you can reengineer your argument rather than starting over from scratch.

By checking your draft early and often, you can stay ahead of the game and research relevant documents you may not have uncovered in your initial research.

Final stage review

When your brief is in its final stage, you should be satisfied with your argument, cases, and authority. One final review can help you feel confident that what you’re about to submit is as strong as it can be. The most critical component of your case is about to be handed to the judge – someone who is now likely using Quick Check – making it even more crucial to know you’ve done your best. We’ll discuss that more later.

Scenario two: Updating an old document

You have a winning motion from a previous case. It worked well then, and it’s exactly what you need for a new case. In an ongoing effort to save time, you plan to reuse this motion.

With Quick Check, you can expediently update that previous winning motion and maintain its status as an MVP on your team – even if the client you’re serving is new to you. This step is paramount – whether the motion is 10 years old or five months old. While it may have carried the day in the past, it’s vital to make sure the argument still holds up before drafting and applying that law to your new case.

Once you’ve checked for changes in the law and updated your documents as changes are detected, you strengthen your argument by using the most relevant, refreshed cases and solid authority as uncovered by Quick Check.

The final quality check

Before you file or submit, do one final quality check. It will take just a few minutes to give you the added security that what the judge reads is the most up-to-date version. This is no longer a burden or unproductive use of your time. Quick Check’s efficiency will make this a part of your new routine.

Scenario three: Analyze an opponent’s work

Think of all the ways to improve your legal documents that have been outlined here. Now imagine using that same information to analyze your opposing counsel’s brief. Perhaps they have cited a case that they’ve relied on for years, not knowing it’s been overruled. Did they cite an invalidated, overturned, or abrogated case?

With Quick Check, you can identify instances where they cite bad law and find gaps in their argument. Pointing out these missteps and mistakes to the court can give you the competitive advantage. Plus, with Quotation Analysis, you can also check your opponent’s work by identifying missing, added, or changed language between case quotes in an uploaded document and cited case language on Westlaw Edge. This provides the crucial context needed to easily see when quotes have been taken too much out of context.

While you’re reviewing your opponent’s work product, Quick Check can also highlight the most relevant law that they chose not to cite. Analyzing this information can help you understand whether this was an oversight or if there was a strategic reason to exclude it.

Scenario four: Compare multiple documents

Imagine having an insider’s look at the same analysis that judge or law clerk will see when they review briefs by both parties. What happens when you can see what they see?

With Quick Check Judicial, you can upload multiple briefs or memos from a single matter to Quick Check. And that’s what many judges and law clerks are doing with the briefs you and your opponent submit. The resulting report provides insights into the citations relied upon by each party and calls out those citations found in both parties’ filings. It will also surface highly relevant authority that neither party included.

That report can provide you with the safeguard you need to feel confident that you didn’t miss anything important that your judge might find. It also means you can directly compare opposing counsel’s filings against your own to find weaknesses in their arguments as well as opportunities to strengthen your own.

All of this means you get to deliver an even better work product for your clients – with stronger arguments and a better strategy to attack your opponent’s position.

Your next move

With Westlaw Edge Quick Check as your partner, you will be an even better attorney. It alleviates that lingering concern – “Is this good enough? Can I submit this with total confidence?”

You will know your brief is done because Quick Check offers the assurance that you have just what you need: the best authority, the most relevant and timely cases, and no instances of bad law. It removes doubt and validates your argument.

The old way is the hard way. With Quick Check, you’ll finally feel confident that “done” means done.

See how Quick Check can change your workflow today. 

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