November 18, 2010
[Editor’s Note: This is first in a brief series of posts relating to pre-trial research including an interview with West author Jay Grenig on eDiscovery.]
Meeting deadlines is stressful enough. Determining what those deadlines might be shouldn’t add greys. In May, Cher Estrin of the Organization of Legal Professionals noted:
Most common sources of stress for legal professionals are undefined deadlines, lack of control over time, difficult clients, escalating intensity, no margin for error – are outside of a paralegal’s personal control.
On the list of Reference Attorney FAQ’s is, ‘How many days do I have to file this?” I can’t promise to improve your mental health but I can recommend one of the most popular Reference Attorneys tools, least known to researchers. KeyRules distills timing, formatting, and other general pleading and discovery requirements into a single document. Here’s a simple example of how to use the tool. Let’s say you’re working pro hac vice in New York. Your client has been sued in New York County, but you have never litigated there and do not know where, when, and how to file your answer.
First, access the KEYRULES-NY database. The default search method here is the Template. Select New York Supreme Court (New York County) and Search Pleadings as your Document Type. You are then given further options based on your Document Type:
We’re looking for rules regarding filing an answer. So, select Answer, then click Search Westlaw. You get one result (NY KR Supreme 4), a document created by West editors that summarizes and links to state and local rules relevant to answers. KeyRules documents are typically organized into the following sections:
The document outlines the relevant deadlines and links you to rules regarding the computation of time.
Also note that at the top of the Timing section, a link to Westlaw Legal Calendaring. Very briefly, Westlaw Legal Calendaring calculates litigation deadlines for you based on state and local court rules. You can then export the deadlines to your Microsoft Outlook Calendar and use its features to keep track of them.
In addition to pleading rules, KeyRules has outlines for state and federal discovery, bankruptcy, and intellectual property. A free KeyRules user guide is available on the Thomson Reuters website.