Science and Law
5th June 2014

Alerting Your Legal Team to the Relevant Science

Most law firms do not have a systematic approach to proactively alert all team members (including experts) to the existence of relevant scientific studies.

Alerting Your Legal Team to the Relevant Science

In our last post, we discussed the first step of effective scientific information management for litigators: Targeting and Identifying the Right Science. Today, we’re going to discuss the second step: Alert the team to the relevant science.

Unfortunately, this is not as straight forward as it might seem.

Most law firms do not have a systematic approach to proactively alert all team members (including experts) to the existence of relevant scientific studies.

We are all too familiar with the inefficiencies of informal and spontaneous email distribution lists to handle this crucial step.

Sometimes they are too wide-ranging and send a study out to everyone associated with the case, diluting the importance of the message.

Other times, distribution is too narrow, and key decision-makers can be forgotten or left off inadvertently.

It is critical to give careful thought to exactly who should get what kind of information and to formalize the process. Because if the right individuals are not alerted to the existence of the relevant science, it could have a devastating effect in depositions or in trial.

We’ve seen many haphazard and ineffective attempts by law firms to distribute the relevant scientific information to the right team members.

Let’s use a method predicated on PubMed alerts as an example:

You can assign a team member the job of going through your PubMed email alerts and choosing the relevant articles, but this strategy can result in a long list of abstracts. And once he or she culls through all of the abstracts, they must be re-processed and emailed out to the relevant team members. This has to be done for every PubMed email alert.  Inefficient.

You can also set up RSS feeds using a reader (we like to use Feedly). But, you still need to disseminate the information to all team members in a manner that can be digested quickly. Ideally, the full-text version of the article should be downloadable with a single click.

As you can see, there are actually multiple steps embedded into the seemingly simple task of keeping your team abreast of the latest science.

You need a single, well considered distribution list with a systematic process to disseminate all the relevant scientific information to each team member.

This should include quick and easy access to the articles so team members don’t have to search for the article orwait days for someone to deliver it to them.

By implementing a process like this you’ll be sure that key members of your team will have all of the critical scientific information they need to…

In our next post in this series, we will expand upon the third step in the process of effective scientific information management: Archiving the science in an easily retrievable fashion so you have a centralized location to store and access the articles and information you need.

 

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