Graham Smith-Bernal, Founder & CEOGraham Smith-Bernal characterizes his company as a racing yacht that is powerful, nimble, and responsive to the changing conditions in the legal tech arena. As the Founder and CEO of Opus 2 International, Graham says, “We have positioned our business like a chessboard where the battles of litigation take place. Our secure cloud-based technology, Opus 2 Magnum, allows lawyers to access, manage and collaborate across the full litigation content which could not be done behind the firewall of the law firm server.”
In the nineties, Smith-Bernal was the founder and CEO of LiveNote and he helped it to become the most widely used litigation support software of any kind prior to selling the company to Thomson Reuters in 2006. Following a brief retirement to his estate in Umbria, Italy, Smith-Bernal returned to the market to conceive his second great work in the legal technology space, Opus 2, and his “greatest work”, Opus 2 Magnum. “Opus 2 Magnum is a powerful yet simple lawyer-driven tool. Lawyers can find, read, and annotate documents and transcripts in a secure private cloud environment that is accessible from any device, and they can easily share their work with co-workers from anywhere,” states Graham.
The key feature of Magnum technology in the cloud is hyperlinking. The system hyperlinks any supporting documents that lawyers rely on to support their mission. “Our system’s uniqueness elevates hyperlinking to another level. It allows lawyers to find passages of evidence inside documents, transcripts or even research and then hyperlink that particular passage to any other passage, document or research anywhere in their case,” explains Graham. “These links can also be shared with other members of the workspace, enabling all team members to benefit from the findings.”
In the US, Opus 2 is uniquely positioned to assist at the point where the team of lawyers is preparing for depositions or trial, although some clients have utilized it for early case assessment and arbitration as well. A common scenario is for the law firm to approach Opus 2 a few months prior to the start of the deposition process seeking to use Magnum as their preparation tool. The key documents are up-loaded to the private Magnum workspace alongside the work product of lawyers and paralegals and the input from experts and clients.
Lawyers can find, read, and annotate documents and transcripts in a secure private cloud environment and access from any device
As depositions occur, the transcripts are added to the workspace so the attorneys can access the testimony, deposition video, exhibits and team comments, all within the secure Magnum workspace. “This results in massive savings in terms of increased efficiencies, and shorter time frames translating to significant cost saving for the client,” says Graham.
“In all the markets outside of the U.S., where the legal procedure does not facilitate deposition taking, Opus 2 Magnum manages all of the documents within the trial bundle as well as the realtime court reporting and the electronic presentation of evidence—a one stop solution that accelerates justice and minimizes distractions in the hearing room,” says Graham.
Opus 2 Magnum has already successfully transformed the practice of litigation in the UK—making hearings and trials a seamless experience for all users including the judges. As the evidence is being given, the transcription from the court reporter automatically appears within the secure Magnum workspace via wireless connections on any authorized user’s computer or iPad. “You could be viewing a trial occurring in London, but you could be accessing it from New York or anywhere in the world. The documents displayed will be hyperlinked into the transcript instantly, while enabling simultaneous viewing of the witness statements, the documents on display and the lawyers’ annotations-which is a significant benefit,” says Graham.
Territorially, Opus 2 is focused on the US, UK, and Asia legal markets. “A lot of major law firms, particularly in the US, who have been using Magnum on a case by case basis, are rolling out our technology on a more strategic firm-wide basis,” says Graham.