The Westlaw editorial process for Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, part 1

September 11, 2012

Decision Receipt and Westlaw Loading

Health Care at the Supreme CourtLegal Editorial Operations and Technology began preparing for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act decision months before the decision was actually received.  Team members at multiple locations anticipated several potential scenarios in obtaining and processing the decision to ensure that we were prepared to immediately address issues that might be encountered.  The end-to-end workflow was analyzed and scenarios were reviewed.  As a result we took a wide range of actions in the areas of receipt, conversion, format, and loads.  A few examples are listed here:

  • The team was prepared to process a single or multiple document feeds.   Due to the magnitude of this decision, we were particularly concerned that the United States Supreme Court would provide a single document that might far exceed the average document size, thus requiring the document to be split.  Contingency plans were created.
  • United States Supreme Court data markup changes are not common but markup experts were on hand to address unforeseen format issues.
  • The system capacity for loading new content to Westlaw was maximized by freezing online test environments, pausing large data loads in our production environment, and rescheduling system maintenance activities.  As a result, system performance was at a peak when the decision came through, and we were able to load the decision to Westlaw within one minute of receipt.
  • The actual decision receipt date was unknown, so for weeks staff members adjusted personal and work schedules to be available for all morning Supreme Court All Hands Conference calls, which are scheduled for dates when we anticipate receipt of United States Supreme Court content.
  • An online notification system was established to quickly communicate progress for the initial and subsequent editorially enhanced loads that occurred throughout the day we received the decision.

(Editor’s note: Now that the case has been received and uploaded into the system, our next post in the series will look at Westlaw editors’ adding KeyCites to documents and cases.)