September 2017 update

New features in this update

  • A function to bulk-set the name, description and key document fields of multiple documents at once.
  • The ability to upload a new file directly as an attachment of an existing document. This is useful if an existing document is missing an attachment. Once the attachment file is located, it can be uploaded and attached to its relevant parent document in one step.
  • The bulk-discovery page now allows setting the “estimated date” flag independently of setting the date fields.
  • An option to split a single PDF attachment into multiple attachments of the same parent. Previously, you could only split a PDF (attachment or standalone) into separate documents, or into attachments of the first split.
  • A tool to rotate multiple PDFs at once. This is useful where a set of documents have been scanned upside down or sideways, and you want to rotate them all to the correct orientation.
  • An option for generating a list with the unredacted version of any redacted document.
  • A function to “unlink” an issue from multiple documents at one time (to compliment the existing function for linking an issue to multiple documents).
  • The sign-up page now automatically creates accounts for users of registered firms. This is a convenient way for users from existing firms to instantly create their own accounts.
  • Support for XPS files.

Improvements

  • Improved rendering and display of CSV files.
  • Excel spreadsheets now render cell comments in PDF versions.
  • Added an option in the File Types category for viewing documents with no extension (usually, these are corrupted or system files).
  • Improved performance when importing a large number of files extracted from a zip file.
  • Manually re-ordering a custom list now dynamically updates page numbers.

Thank you as always to our users for your suggestions and feedback.

New server and website

Due to strong growth (both in numbers of users and the size of discovery projects), we finally outgrew our previous hardware and have recently moved to a newer, faster and better server. In practical terms, this means that LawFlow project pages will load faster than ever (especially if you use the latest version of Chrome, Firefox or Edge). We continue to be hosted right here in New Zealand, at the international-grade Vocus data centre in Auckland.

We’ve also taken this occasion to refresh the home page and associated informational parts of our website. This will help us add more useful information and updates. We will continue to work on the site, so check back for updates.

You might have noticed that the informational website address is still www.lawflow.co.nz, but when you log into a LawFlow project the address is app.lawflow.nz. This has allowed us to separate the “app” part of the system from the informational website, which provides more flexibility in how we setup our servers.

Thanks to all our customers for your ongoing support!

June 2017 update

We’ve been so busy adding new features, we haven’t had time to tell you about them!

Notable recent features include:

  • A white-out tool, allowing irrelevant/unwanted parts of a document to be “whited out”. A common scenario is removing unwanted email or fax headers.
  • An affidavit exhibit stamper, facilitating the easy stamping and numbering of affidavit exhibits.
  • Bookmarks can now be inserted in compiled PDFs.
  • The ability to rotate specific pages of a document (instead of all pages).
  • An option to include a table of document type codes in exported lists.
  • New “batch scan” function for handling very large, bulk-scanned sets of paper documents.
  • Improved handling of duplicates.
  • A function for comparing similar documents.
  • Option to add parent/child documents to those already in the tray.
  • A new “non-discovery documents” repository for holding other types of documents (e.g. pleadings).
  • Option to download documents with their original filenames.
  • Highlighting of search terms in PDF documents.
  • Improved reordering of documents on custom lists.
  • The ability to enter discovery data via Excel.
  • Function for setting/editing party codes for multiple parties at once.
  • Ability to add watermarks to list documents (e.g. to apply a “CONFIDENTIAL” watermark).
  • More details about the status of related documents on the Discovery tab.
  • The ability to enter more information when splitting a PDF.
  • A way to scroll through PDFs one page at a time (instead of “continuous” scrolling).
  • Searching by number of pages.

Some of these are significant features that we will blog about separately in future.

First user survey results

We recently conducted our first-ever user survey, to find out what our users had to say about our LawFlow e-discovery system. We are very pleased to have received such positive feedback from our users. Comments include:

  • “I find Lawflow easy to use, but particularly appreciate the excellent service and assistance when I have a question/issue.”
  • “It is very intuitive to use.”
  • “Overall, a great tool. It is especially good that it is created to reflect the High Court Rules and documents remain in NZ based servers.”
  • “Very useful tool.”
  • “Excellent system and very responsible support system. Have recommended it to others.”
  • “Very good, great support and does its job.”
  • “Good software.”
  • “Its a great time saving tool.”
  • “Software works well. Useful when working in a group.”

We also asked how LawFlow compared to other e-discovery systems. Many of our users have tried other systems (particularly Summation) but found them complicated, expensive and hard to use. Here’s how our users compared LawFlow to other systems:

  • “It is proving to be much better than Summation.”
  • “Really good, a lot more user friendly.”
  • “Much more user friendly.”
  • “Service is much better.”
  • “Much less cumbersome and easily imported documents.”
  • “Incredibly easier to use.”

We also received a number of great ideas for new/improved features. We really value that feedback as we continue to improve and extend LawFlow.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey. If you have any comments, ideas, feedback or questions, please contact us.

December 2015 update

We have rolled out our latest update to LawFlow with a number of enhancements and improvements.

Combine PDFs

A user-requested feature included in this update is the ability to combine two or more PDF documents. This is useful when what is in substance a single document has been split into two or more PDFs, all being regarded by LawFlow as separate documents. This new feature allows you to conveniently combine two or more separate PDFs into a single PDF.

Other changes

  • Ability to manually set the starting page number for stamping PDF bundles.
  • Ability to browse file types by repository, as well as for the whole project.
  • Ability to browse tagged documents by repository, as well as for the whole project.
  • Performance improvements.

Coming in 2016…

While LawFlow already has a comprehensive User Guide, one area that we will be working hard on over summer is to convert the User Guide (currently available only as a PDF) into online help. This will make it easier to access help & tips for a particular feature or task directly within a LawFlow project. It will also make it easier to keep the online help up-to-date as we continue to improve and enhance LawFlow. We plan to retain the User Guide as a standalone resource, too.

Thank you to our users for all of your great support during 2015 as we continue our mission to provide the best e-discovery solution for New Zealand lawyers, designed and developed right here in New Zealand.

November 2015 update

We have rolled out two updates this month, adding a number of new features, performance improvements, and fixes.

Performance improvements

To keep up with the rapidly growing usage of LawFlow by New Zealand firms, we have made some behind-the-scenes performance improvements. These are aimed at improving overall performance and keeping the system ‘snappy’, especially when browsing documents. We have also ironed out some bottlenecks that could arise at peak times.

As always, for best performance you should use a high-speed network connection and a modern browser. If you are browsing PDF documents in particular, we recommend Google Chrome or Firefox over Internet Explorer, because Chrome and Firefox have built-in PDF viewers which are often faster and more stable than using a PDF plug-in with Internet Explorer.

We find Google Chrome is usually the fastest, but different options may work for you.

Multi-level discovery lists

LawFlow now supports multi-level (subgrouped) discovery lists. This allows discovery lists to be sub-divided into multiple levels or subgroups, e.g.:

  • ABC.001 … ABC.025
  • ABC.UnitA.001 … ABC.UnitA.007
  • ABC.UnitB.001 .. ABC.UnitB.015
  • Etc.

While you could always create this structure manually, the latest update makes this a built-in feature.

Automatic date extraction from scanned PDFs & other documents

LawFlow has always been able to extract dates from native emails (e.g. emails extracted from PST files and  .MSG and .EML files), and document properties (subject to file compatibility). However, it could not do this for scanned documents where the structure and internal data of the native had been lost.

LawFlow now attempts to extract the date from scanned PDFs (after OCR-ing the PDFs, if necessary). While this is always subject to OCR capabilities and is not as effective as reading the date from native email files, it attempts to extracts identified dates which can be a useful time-saver. Of course, extracted dates can be changed if necessary.

Other improvements

  • Better identification of privileged & confidential documents (documents set as privileged or confidential now display this information more prominently)
  • Improved highlighting of search terms in results
  • Boolean search operators (‘and’, ‘or’, ‘not’) can now be lower case or upper case
  • Improved extraction of text from PDFs with columns and other non-linear layout
  • More ways to tag groups of documents
  • Ability to browse documents by date where the documents have partial dates, and custom dates
  • Easy way to switch between discovery list bundle download and report generation
  • Ability to upload documents with non-Windows-compatible filenames (e.g. some filenames that are valid on Macs are invalid on Windows PCs)

As always, thanks to our users for providing feedback and ideas. As the users who are carrying out discovery, we welcome your thoughts on how we can continue to improve LawFlow to make your process more efficient and effective.

July 2015 update

Updates to LawFlow made in this release include:

  • More ways to set discovery information: when you pop open an attachment, parent document, or related document, you can now enter or edit discovery information for that document without leaving the original document.
  • More document categories: you can now browse documents linked to chronology events, and documents with redactions, from the main Documents page.
  • Add range to tray: when browsing documents from the main Documents page, you can now add/remove multiple documents (i.e. a range) to the tray without needing to check/uncheck each one.
    • To add a range of documents to the tray, check the checkbox of the first document and then hold down Shift and check the checkbox of the last document.
    • To remove a range of documents from the tray, uncheck the checkbox of the first document, then hold down Shift and uncheck the checkbox of the last document.
  • Layout improvements: some users were experiencing layout issues with certain scenarios, in particular when viewing PDF documents in Internet Explorer. We’ve made some CSS and rendering tweaks aimed at resolving these issues.
  • Performance improvements: improvements to client-side script to fix some issues and improve performance.
  • Various fixes and tweaks: specific changes to address user-reported issues.

We’re already underway on our next update. As always, we welcome user feedback including feature requests and suggestions! Thank you to all our users for your continued support.

May 2015 update

We’ve been hard at work adding new features and improvements to LawFlow. Here is a roundup of recent updates.

  • Performance improvements: As discovery projects get larger and the volume of text in a typical project continues to grow, we’ve put lots of effort into performance improvements to keep your projects running smoothly. For optimal performance, we recommend using the latest Firefox or Chrome browsers.
  • Expanded OCR capability: LawFlow has always offered free OCRing of PDF documents. We have now expanded this to enable OCRing of common image files (JPGs, TIFFs, PNGs). [As always, remember that all OCR technology is inherently limited and dependent on numerous factors]
  • More document categories: it’s now easier to browse documents by repository, within various categories (by confidentiality, by privilege, by document type, by date range). We’ve also added options to easily browse documents with notes, descriptions, and linked issues.
  • More list options: in response to user requests, we’ve added more bundle and list report options.
  • Increased upload limits: we’ve increased the individual file upload size limit to 5 GB. This allows larger zip & PST files to be uploaded (these files are then automatically extracted).

As always, we welcome your suggestions to how we can make LawFlow work better for you. Thank you to all our users for your continued support.

LawFlow’s Chronology feature

Did you know you can use LawFlow to create a chronology of facts?

High Court Rule 9.9 requires parties (primarily the plaintiff) to prepare a “chronology of the facts it intends to rely upon at the trial or hearing“, cross-referenced to relevant documents.

LawFlow includes a tool specifically for creating the chronology. It allows you to:

  • Create chronology events;
  • Link those events to one or more relevant documents;
  • Add notes to events;
  • See which chronology events you or other team members have added to the project; and
  • Generate a Word version of the chronology which can be edited and formatted into the appropriate final form.

This tool is directly integrated into your LawFlow projects, allowing you to carry out discovery, issue analysis, preparation of a common bundle, and preparation of the chronology using the same LawFlow platform. It also allows chronology entries to be recorded at any time, and by any team member, during the discovery process and beyond, which can be more efficient and effective than attempting to prepare the chronology in isolation.

Chronology functions are available on the Analysis menu of projects, and the Analysis tab of documents.

For more information, please contact us.

Tailored discovery

LawFlow has specific features for carrying out tailored discovery under the High Court Rules. Unlike ‘standard discovery’, tailored discovery requires documents to be discovered in categories (or some other method of classification). Examples of categories may include:

  • Date ranges
  • Specific subjects
  • Types of documents
  • Key individuals

This can be useful for limiting the scope of discovery to ensure it remains focused and proportionate, though it can also be used to expand the scope of discovery in appropriate cases. It can also make it clearer between the parties why certain documents have been discovered.

In LawFlow, you can set up the tailored discovery categories relevant to your project, and then specify which category (or multiple categories) relevant documents fall into. When you generate document lists, you can include a column showing each document’s category, and (optionally) choose to group the documents by category (e.g. so all “Category A” documents are listed together, then “Category B”, etc).

It is important to consider tailored discovery before attending the first Case Management Conference when discovery orders are usually made. If you want to seek tailored discovery, or think that another party may seek it, you should consider in advance which categories are appropriate. Ideally, this can be agreed with the other parties before the Conference so that orders can be made by consent.

For more information on using LawFlow for tailored discovery, please contact us. If you are already using LawFlow, you can set up tailored discovery categories for a project via Documents > Tailored discovery categories.