VirginLaw > New Standards

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  • Leveraging Technology in the Law Office to Lower the Cost of Legal Fees-Is your lawyer up to speed?

    Compared to 20 years ago law offices and the tools accessible have drastically changed.  Phones, the Internet, and computers have advanced to make information flow within seconds. Below is a summary of the technology that has transformed law offices’ business models and relationship with clients. Make sure your lawyer has them and is using them:

    Law Equipment

    Laptops are more accessible and transportable. Both lawyers and paralegals can now take important files on the go with them. The introduction of tablet devices and smart phones has made it even easier to carry around emails and files. Accepting payments with these devices is easier with the addition of card reader applications and equipment for tablets and smart phones. All attorneys at the Law Offices of Karin A. Bentz, P.C. have their own Ipad for use in legal research and other tools needed for quick access to information.

    Legal Software

    Law practice management software can help generate important legal forms. Form templates are available on different software too. Calendar systems and a variety of other programs also exist. These all help make it easier for a paralegal to provide proper assistance to a lawyer and lower costs. We use the Software Technology Programs for billing, calendaring and forms. We store all documents using Worldox making for a near paperless office.

    Research Tools

    Search engines give law offices access to unlimited information, especially about legal precedent and current clients. Legal research systems, such as WestlawNext, can help lawyers look up all the information they need in one database. Most of these resources require a subscription. We use Westlaw next.

    Virtual Law Offices

    No physical office is necessary to conduct legal matters. Law professionals can handle cases virtually. A Virtual Law Office or VLO is growing in popularity with the advancement of technology and the shortening of time for meetings. Clients, attorneys, and legal staff can be in touch via phone, email, and video conference sessions. This type of communication allows for lawyers and clients to save time on traveling and money on office overhead. We use skype and facetime for conferences if necessary.

    The amount of technology law offices have available makes it possible for more efficient legal practice. Information can be shared in a matter of seconds. The ability to communicate with clients in less time and for less money allows lawyers to focus more on the law and less on the technicalities of business. This saves clients on cost, time, and stress. Make sure your legal practitioner has the best legal technology to assist you with your legal matters.

  • New Time Standards For Superior Court Cases

    Why does the Superior Court need time standards for adjudicating cases?

    Timely disposition of court cases has long been a concern in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Constitutional considerations require criminal matters to be adjudicated within certain time frames. However, these standards do not apply to civil cases. Complex civil matters have often taken second priority in recent years, resulting in lengthy litigation and delayed disposition of cases. Many state and local courts have adopted time standards to improve the quality of services provided to the public.

    How long does it take for a Superior Court case to be decided?

    In 2013, the Superior Court acknowledged the problem of protracted litigation and took significant steps toward resolving the issue by adopting time standards to increase efficiency and productivity. The time standards took effect on June 1, 2013. Significantly, routine civil matters are now to be disposed within 270 days (approximately 1 ½ years) and “more complex” civil matters are to be resolved within 730 days (2 years) of filing. Most other civil matters are to be resolved within 90 days of filing. However, it is important to note these time standards represent goals for the disposition of cases and are not guarantees that any individual case will be decided within a particular time frame.

    How will the adoption of time standards impact Virgin Islands litigants?

    These time schedules establish goals the Superior Court will strive to achieve moving forward. For litigants, the time standards represent a renewed commitment to improving access to the courts and increasing public confidence in the justice system. These standards will help protect the rights of Virgin Islanders, since justice delayed truly is justice denied.