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One simple example would be where an attorney receives a thumb-drive with 100s of documents and files as a "production" in a case. An attorney without basic skills would (or would have staff) manually enter all of those files into a spreadsheet or a word document. An attorney with basic programming skills would write/run a short shell script that instantly pumps all of the metadata about those files into an Excel spreadsheet.

Another example, though a bit more general, would be an attorney trying to find documents in a case that were created around a certain date. An attorney without basic skills is, again, going to end up in a manual or semi-manual (with a basic tool) process. An attorney with basic programming skills is likely able to directly craft a query that produces the documents.

Or you send it to a vendor who has written the code to do that.


It doesn't make much sense for a $400/hr attorney to play around with scripts and such or otherwise do much of anything with document production (that is what staff is for).

If an attorney knows coding from a previous career, it can be helpful in a few cases, but for a non-technical attorney to try to pick up enough coding to do anything useful is a stretch.

It may be the case that some vendor somewhere can provide a tool to do this, but they will charge quite a bit more than $400 and it will take more than an hour to find them.

A shell script to achieve your ends could be endlessly helpful here.

Having the depth of knowledge to recognize when a simple shell script would be helpful is the harder part.

It is one thing to teach a non-techie lawyer how to "hello world" But getting them to understand file system attributes, permission schemes, file I/O, regular expressions, and so on, is where "learn to code" falls apart in this context.

Just getting a non-technical person to learn how to navigate in Powershell is a near impossibility.

That comes with long RTTs and delays. That's often how Big Law does things, but it's suboptimal in lots of cases.

My vendors are pretty responsive (hours for a small production). They're using the same automated scripts 'rudyfink is talking about--they're just already written, tested, and ready-to-go.

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