ellwood has been a technology consulting operation since 1984 focusing on the legal market starting with accounting systems such as PCLaw, Peachtree, Bedford accounting, NuViews and Accpac accounting. The practice moved into word processing for these same law firms and provided training for support staff and lawyers in the transition from IBM Selectrics to WordStar, WordPerfect for DOS, MultiMate, XYWrite and a handful of other competing applications.
Document assembly and process automation then became the next frontier. Early systems for law firms included LexperText and WordPerfect's Notebook which for its time was literally 'magic'. On the same timeline firms started wanting to manage their contacts, calendaring and client data using computers. This quickly moved to into wanting to share information across staff where in the early 90’s ellwood started using and implementing Amicus and not too long afterwards, Time Matters.
With the general support of a law firm's information systems well in hand, which by this time included their phone systems, cost control systems, wide area networks, home connections, PDA devices through to their desktops, servers and backups; ellwood began the process of operationally dividing into separate divisions.
The 'General Support' division was (and is) managed by Jonathan Kadoo. Jonathan runs a 365/7/24 support department for the infrastructure of the law firm. That commitment goes way beyond the needs of the office and extends to their home PC's, cottage computing, cell phone links to their cars, whatever they might need supported. General Support cares for the 'infrastructure of the law firm'.
The 'Practice Management' division was charged with supporting accounting systems such as PCLaw, practice management systems like Amicus and Time Matters, document assembly, document management, digital voice dictation and other practice related applications. This division was involved in ensuring the smooth running and steady improvement in the 'business of the law firm'. From capturing time to collecting past due accounts, from client intake processes to meeting Statute of Limitation dates, from staff calendaring to productive and results reporting
The litigation process in Canada changed from what one prominent Master called a "LAW" suit to a "FACT" suit. A 100 document case in the 1990's became a 10,000 document case in the new millennium. Emails, hard drive discovery data, cell phone and PDA data captures, memory sticks and excessive paper - an avalanche. Gradually a new division of ellwood was formed, 'Case Management'. This team of professionals assists our firms in managing this data, processing it into meaningful, useful facts and chronologies. We regularly assist in the preparation of affidavits, factums; we assist in the preparation leading to an examination, motion and trials; we often attend these proceedings sitting behind counsel to provide a smooth and reliable delivery of documents and data to the counsel if and when required. We develop and execute in courtroom presentation materials on projectors and large screens and other media to assist in the delivery of the key points of the case. We say that the Case Management division is involved in the 'Product of the law firm'.
Today the firm's three divisions are comprised of 18 professionals drawn from IT specialists to paralegals to forensic examiners. Our client base continues to be concentrated in the core of Toronto where we focus on bringing major league tools to a wide variety of law firms with diverse practice areas. Our future is bright. With upcoming changes to the rules of civil procedure around the limits to the time spent in discovery, the need for accurate and efficient fact management and presentation will become even more important. Our firms are prosperous because by and large they represent the subset of the profession that is aggressively seeking advantage for their clients; they are delivering superior results to their clients.