Information is entered into MasterFile's document repository and fact management system using "profiles" which are similar looking to emails. There are three profile types:
- Extracts, and
Document profiles are used to store your client/case's documents and create the document and evidence repository. They are also used for storing new or existing work product, together with translations in other languages related to the case/investigation file.
Extract profiles are used to highlight critical portions of large documents such as depositions, electronic transcripts, contracts, affidavits or authorities and research.
Fact profiles are used set out each fact, or chronological event, can hold supporting arguments for or against, opposing side's counter arguments, exposures and deficiencies, questions raised, and so forth, all substantiated with doc-links to the fact's source, underlying and corroborating evidence or even other facts.
Each document in your case/investigation is attached to a document profile.
Besides static evidence, document profiles also store new or existing documents still under review. These no longer need to be stored elsewhere and can be managed without expensive third party document management systems. Saving a work product document saves it back to its profile.
As shown below, the profile fields are grouped into the following sections:
- Primary Information
- Additional Information
- OCR/Transcript /Full Text of Document.
Profiles describe their document. MasterFile uses profile information to organize evidence so you can quickly locate what you're looking for by browsing or searching the database.
A document profile includes details such as:
- the document's date, type, author and recipient, if any,
- a short description and your own notes,
- draft copies of the document, if any,
- the users permitted to view the document or edit the profile,
- where originals (paper) copies are located,
- links to relevant issues, players or topics such as a location,
- transcript text,
- searchable OCR text of a scanned document or image.
When you open a document profile by double clicking its row on any view, "Primary Information" opens by default.
- Use the grey triangles to collapse and expand sections.
- Left click and hold your mouse over the "?" that precedes any field name to see its pop-up help.
- Press <Esc> to close a profile window or the 'X' on its tab.
Note that in preview mode, the sections "Primary Information", "Security" and "Delivery" are hidden.
Fact profiles let you track and manage the status of each fact or event in your case, investigation or research project. Every fact relevant to your case/investigation is entered into a fact profile where its key characteristics are recorded. These include:
- Status - i.e. is it stipulated or disputed, hypothetical, an assumption or an authority.
- Impact assessment - i.e. does it support or work against you, or a party, or the hypotheses of an investigation.
- The party/hypothesis impacted.
- Relevance to the case/investigation.
- Your argument, the opposing side's counter-arguments and any exposures/deficiencies - plus live links to supporting evidence or facts stored in MasterFile.
- Questions that need to be resolved.
- Links to relevant issues, players or topics.
- Associated dates - if the fact is a chronological event.
Fact profiles appear in a special set of views.
These views group and sort facts by the above characteristics.
Facts are also colour coded by relevance and impact assessment to let you focus at glance on those needing your attention. This lets you track and manage a fact's status so it is neither forgotten nor inadequately addressed.
The view below shows all facts categorized by relevance.
Facts shaded green are highly relevant and strongly for you, a party, or a hypothesis.
Facts shaded red are the opposite.
Yellow facts are of medium relevance and may be for or against a party/hypothesis.
Grey facts are neutral.
The following table summarizes these relationships.
Among the most important information about a fact you need to manage is:
- the argument for a party/hypothesis,
- the opposing side's counter-argument, and
- any exposures you face.
MasterFile uniquely lets you compose and store, within the fact profile itself, all this information along with any questions raised or further research needed. You can provide as much detail as you require, formatting it for clarity with tables, bullets, numbered lists and text and paragraph formatting.
Documents and extracts are also colour coded when the document or extract contains evidence that must be added to relevant facts, and that evidence is for (green) or against (red) a party/hypothesis.
To flag a document, select the appropriate choice in "To add to facts and why" in "Things to do" in the "Primary Information" section of document and extract profiles and enter a reason if necessary. Flagged documents appear in the [L+ Things to do/Evidence to add to facts] views along with any reasons you entered.
Hyperlinks (yellow icons we call doc-links) to other profiles are used to reference a fact's underlying substantive material exactly where needed in notes or argument.
They can be used anywhere in MasterFile and provide instant access to other document, extract and fact profiles. They are not links to files on your computer or server, rather links to other profiles in the case itself or other (external) MasterFile databases. They always work, even when you're disconnected from your office network and using a replica of your case(s) on your notebook or tablet.
With doc-links to other facts, you are able to build and substantiate solid arguments which themselves build upon established facts or evidence.
Creating facts linked with source evidence
To create a new fact and automatically insert a doc-link to the source evidence (a document or extract) you are reviewing, simply hi-light the relevant information and click "Make Fact". Complete the few required fields. The fact is created and appears in fact management views ready for the team to review and use.
To add additional or corroborating evidence to a fact, simply select the information and click "Add to Existing Fact". The extract along with a doc-link to the source evidence is automatically inserted at the beginning of the fact's "Sources / Argument / Counter-argument" field.