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Concordance 8 and Opticon 3
By Kim Plonsky
As reviewed in the September/October 2005 issue.
For those with the budget and need for all-encompassing litigation management software, Concordance 8 and its companion viewer program, Opticon 3, are unsurpassed in breadth, scope and ability. The hefty price might be cost-prohibitive for the average law office, but if you work for a large firm, especially one that specializes in document-intensive litigation, you would be hard pressed to find a comparable product, at any price.
Concordance features the ability to link together up to 128 separate databases that include more than 4 billion documents. Small and discrete databases can be maintained separately but are linked together to search, gather and report data. One of the many litigation tools included is transcript management.
One of the most useful and time-saving features of Concordance is the Production Wizard, which simplifies management of document production sets. This tool has the option to create a new set of images from those in your database and easily can be burned to a CD or DVD or saved to your computer.
In addition, this image-production tool offers automatic Bates numbering of images (with prefixes and user-determined starting number), and automatically can write the production number back into the database for tracking purposes. In one step, you can select documents to be produced, automatically number them and update your database with the production number. Documents produced in this manner can be redlined, redacted or highlighted in the process, and images can be converted from single-page to multipage tagged image file formats and vice versa.
If you use CaseMap, you will be glad to know that Concordance links with CaseMap. Likewise, the program can send transcripts or highlighted blocks of text to trial presentations. Also, Dataflight’s FYI Servers provide remote access to Concordance and Opticon, allowing collaboration from any location via the Internet. Users even can work on a database while offline, and the database updates when connection is re-established.
Concordance’s searches are easy to implement and lightning fast. For example, to find all documents authored by Jones, simply type “author.jones” in the Quick Search bar. Full-text, Boolean, context and proximity searches are offered as well as form searches that walk you through the many search options.
I highly recommend Concordance 8/Opticon 3 for legal professionals whose needs justify the hefty investment. Concordance is user-friendly and extremely powerful. On the down side, the documentation leaves much to be desired, and the Web site offered no real solutions (I had difficulty getting Opticon configured properly on each of my computers), and customer support is not available on weekends.
Granted, most law firms that can afford this software will have Information Technology personnel to resolve such issues. However, considering the upfront costs and the fact that training offered by Dataflight is $1,495 per day (plus travel expenses), I expected better instructions and trouble-shooting literature.
When I reached customer support during regular business hours, I was satisfied with the patience, persistence and knowledge of the technician, who ultimately resolved my configuration issue.
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