New Technology helps Public Defenders Overcome Challenges

May 15, 2014

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The 5th Judicial Circuit office of the West Virginia Public Defender Services is responsible for providing indigent defense across four counties. The six attorneys and three staff members handle a daunting number of criminal, abuse and neglect, and family court cases that often need to be handled by more than one office.

“It’s essential that everyone work as a team, even with our attorneys and staff spread across two counties,” said Chief Defender Kevin Postalwait in an interview with Thomson Reuters. “In high-profile cases, the state prosecutors will often assign more than one attorney to a case, and we need to increase staffing on the case. Other times, one of our offices may reach their maximum caseload, and work needs to be shifted to the other office.”

This presents a major challenge for Postalwait and his staff, who need a simple way to share information with one another and to search and retrieve documents. And with sensitive information being shared across counties, data security is another issue.

Employee retention is also important to Postalwait, who understands that the work doesn’t always end when the attorneys leave the office at the end of the day.  “In a public sector office such as ours, recruiting and retention of attorneys is important. Giving people more flexibility in how and when they can do their work, and the opportunity to spend more time with their families, can make a big difference.”

Luckily, Postalwait and his staff are using Case Notebook, a hosted case analysis tool that is saving them time and money, protecting their data, and giving them the flexibility to work remotely when they need to. To learn how, read the full case study.