Mark Hanover uses InfoHandler since December 2001. At May 2005 he wrote us about his usage for managing his professional law practice:
I am a partner in a large U.S. law firm that is
based in Chicago. My practice focuses on litigation, and I currently have a few
dozen pending cases. On a daily basis, I maintain a single "big" infobase
(currently with 12,000 infoitems), and I occasionally create other infobases for
special projects. With the big infobase, I manage my tasks, notes, due dates,
and documents. Here is a simplified description of how I do it:
I created a category group called "Cases," containing a category for each of my cases. I also created a category group called "Actions" that contains functional descriptions like "To Do," "Due Date," "Notes," "Email," and "Documents." The Documents category is a slave to many master categories, including: Letters, Memos, Pleadings, Orders, Articles, Authorities, Miscellaneous, Plaintiff, Defendant, etc. These master categories are in their own category group called "Descriptors."
Throughout the day, I create infoitems--some of
which are short, and some of which are quite voluminous. Every infoitem always
starts with the case name, followed by the function, and sometimes some
infotext. For example:
Jones: Due Date: Class certification hearing.
Smith: To Do: Draft outline for oral argument on motion for summary judgment.
Mitchell: Note: Interview with opinion witness Bob White. [Infotext with extensive notes from interview.]
Jones: To Do: Speak to client about strategy issue.
Every item is dated, and sometimes an alarm is created. Of course, IH automatically tags every item with multiple category assignments. To sort, find, and retrieve my data, I use filters stored in saved Views. For example, if I am working on the Jones case, then I filter the view based only on the Jones category. This shows me the To Dos, Due Dates, Notes, Documents, etc., relating ONLY to Jones.
However, if I am trying to get a handle on my
overall workload for all cases, then I filter the view only based on the Due
Date and To Do categories, which shows me everything on the horizon for all of
Frequently my views are more complex: I might look at all the To Dos and the Due Dates for both the Smith and Jones cases, but exclude any Notes. (You can imagine all sorts of permutations.) Many of my cases concern similar broad topics, so I have created parent categories that encompass multiple case categories (e.g., a parent called "Installment Fee Cases" that encompasses the Abel, Baker, and Conner cases.)
With respect to the Documents category (which is a slave), my secretary scans every paper that comes into my office into a PDF file. I then name the files according to consistent conventions:
The first word is the case category, the following two or three words are recognized as synonyms for certain categories in the Descriptor group. The remaining words describe the document itself. By dragging the filename onto IH, a linked item is automatically created, dated, and categorized. For example, the first line above would be tagged with the Mitchell category, the Pleading category, and the Plaintiff category. Later, if I ever need to find the Response in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss in the Mitchell case, I can instantly create a filtered view limited to the categories of Mitchell, Pleading, and Plaintiff. I have many Descriptor categories to help me organize all my documents.
This system is much more efficient than the historical method that American lawyers have to organize their cases: multiple three-ring binders for pleadings, correspondence, and key documents. Typically, a paralegal or secretary spends countless hours manually updating the binders, and then retrieving documents when needed.
With the Notes infoitems, I keep track of information that I learn by interviewing witnesses and reviewing documents and evidence. Often, I create new categories on-the-fly to help further organize and index the Notes.
Finally, I have another category group called "People" that contains auto-assigned categories with names of people who may be relevant to one or more cases.
As you can see, InfoHandler is ideally suited to my workplace organizational needs.
I also happen to use IH for non-work purposes: to keep a journal of the movies and theater that my wife and I see together, to keep track of restaurants that I have tried, and to store interesting newspaper articles, web links, recipes, and confidential passwords. (Soon, I will create a new infobase to keep track of things that affect my first child, who is due to be born in 4 weeks!)
By the way, Mark is a responsive member of the InfoHandler Group. So if you would like to discuss things with him you can meet him by joining this forum which is open to everybody interested in InfoHandler matters.