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Computer Corner: TimeMap Brings Clarity to Complexity
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Computer Corner: TimeMap 5 Brings Clarity to Complexity

By Marjory Harris, Esq.

In this series, we explore organizational techniques, software and hardware that will help you clear the mess from your desk, be more productive, and cut office overhead.

This article presents a software program, TimeMap, designed to transform facts into timelines and spreadsheets, and describes how it can be used for different purposes.


     

CaseSoft Products for Productivity

For some years I have been using software from CaseSoft, a company that designs tools for organizing and analyzing facts (CaseMap), creating outlines (NoteMap), analyzing deposition transcripts (TextMap), and creating graphic timelines (TimeMap). In previous “Computer Corner” articles I reported on TextMap and CaseMap. All these products have free downloads to try for 30 days. Some of these programs are interlinked.

Time maps are a handy way to untangle complex situations such as apportionment scenarios, dates of injury, events that are significant to the creation of cumulative trauma, work histories, or trace the history of problems with a client or employee. You can also track potential events or use the time map to plan actions.

I use it to organize thoughts, facts, documents and dates, to prepare for demands, briefs, and trial. It can also be used to make a decisional map, to help with strategy decisions (see Litigating a Comp Case: Some Lessons from the Art of War).

 

Downoad a free copy of TimeMap and watch webinars: “Quickly bring the events in your case into clear focus with TimeMap 5. A new Spreadsheet View, global search-and-replace feature, expanded image capabilities and improved date display tools give you unmatched flexibility, automation, ease of use and control.”

This brochure gives a quick overview.

A time map creates chronology visuals

Trial lawyers use time maps to show events as a visual timeline, but the workers' compensation attorney can use the same tool to clarify confusing issues, such as what events caused what injuries, or who insured during an extended cumulative trauma. In a recent case there were numerous insurers over a 5-year period of employment with one employer, several claims reported with denials of most and acceptance of part of one, etc. Using TimeMap and different colored entries, I was able to bring some order to the confusing set of facts.

In another case there were confusing reports from the Agreed Medical Evaluator concerning dates of injury, old and closed claims, an old Qualified Medical Evaluator's report, and periods of temporary and permanent disability. The TimeMap below helped me clarify the confusing and conflicting opinions and their legal consequences. I used this analysis to persuade the defense attorney to agree to a "reality rating" for a later date of injury.

Use a time map to compare different versions of events or facts:

Sample template that comes with program

Notice how using icons for phone or email, you can expand on the information presented. The program comes with many icons and images, or you can add your own:

 


Workers' compensation attorneys can use the same tool trial lawyers use for visual timelines: to clarify confusing issues, such as what events caused what injuries, or who insured during an extended cumulative trauma, or different versions of events or medical evidence.

Not just for cases, but to map changes in the law, disability rates, processes

Confused about the dates of injury which required bump ups or down, voucher rates, etc.? Just make a TimeMap and see it all at a glance. Thanks to color coding, it is easy to figure it all out, even with different injuries for the same client. You can save your TimeMap and relabel it for a particular case, then add in your facts and comments. Color code your comments to distinguish them from dates, documents or other items.

Some other uses might be to map out who is who at what WCAB office and how to reach that person. Use color coding for WCJs, their assistants, and other staff. Add comments about the vagaries and foibles of the officials you interface with. Include notes on the best nearby restaurant or bar. You are limited only by your lack of imagination or inventiveness. 

The following screenshot shows a sample time map for the QME process. It could be saved to a client's folder and edited for the facts of a particular case. Any process can be set up this way.

Because you can easily link files or website URLs, the process can be made easier, saving time searching for rules or forms. Just click on the item, then click on Linked Files tab, then highlight the link and click on "Open."


In the spreadsheet view, I can switch back and forth and see the same information in a different way:

Using the "Copy Metafile to Clipboard" command on the Edit menu, I can copy and paste the data to Word or an email.

Use the Options menu under Tools to send your time maps to PowerPoint or to print or to create a PDF.


You are limited only by your lack of imagination or inventiveness.
 

Easy to use -- even computer dummies can be up and running in minutes

All you do is click to add a fact. Remember, a fact can be anything -- document, person, address, comment. Just add a date, then fill in some text, highlight, bold, italicize, etc.

You can choose from over 30 templates, font styles and background colors:

Images from TimeMap Brochure

 


All you do is click to add a fact. Remember, a fact can be anything -- document, person, address, comment.
 

Brainstorming and spotting holes in your case

One of the best ways to use this software is to clarify the important facts, item by item, as well as the legal theories you are relying on. Do you have proof? Is it admissible? A good TimeMap will reveal what is and is not there.

“As you work up a case, the critical task is to develop a deep appreciation of the facts. Time graphing seminal periods in the history of the dispute makes it easy to achieve this goal. Here the mission of the graphing process is simply to analyze the evidence, not to create a demonstrative. Using timeline graphs in this new way frequently leads one to see the facts in a whole new light.” Greg Krehel's “Timelines - They're Not Just for Trial Anymore”

When brain fog sets in, I open a TimeMap and start putting in the facts, characters, documents, caselaw, statutes or regs, either in spreadsheet view or timeline view, with linked files if helpful. It clears the fog and allows insight at a glance. The complex becomes clear.

“Using timeline graphs in this new way frequently leads one to see the facts in a whole new light.” Greg Krehel's “Timelines - They're Not Just for Trial Anymore”

 

Marjory Harris, Esq.

Marjory Harris began practicing law in 1974 as a defense attorney and later became an applicants' attorney and a certified specialist. She continues to represent injured workers and mentors attorneys on big cases.

Reach Marjory at (888) 858-9882 or email: MHarrisLaw@verizon.net

www.workerscompensationcalifornia.com

 

 


Reach Marjory at (888) 858-9882 or email: MHarrisLaw@verizon.net

 
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