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Software tools for litigation services.

Litigation services is a complex specialty, requiring expert knowledge in diverse fields. In this article, Byron S. Cherkas, CPA, a partner of Byron Cherkas & Company, Miami, describes the software programs available to accountants who provide such services. Cherkas is a member of the American Institute of CPAs management consulting services executive committee and of the Florida Institute of CPAs litigation support committee. He is also the founding president of the Litigation Support Institute of South Florida.

The computer, already a key tool of CPAs in accounting, auditing and tax preparation, is equally indispensable in litigation services engagements. That's because the computer provides enormous calculating power and fast and convenient access to an assortment of information a CPA needs for such work. Also it allows the CPA to calculate the financial consequences of a wide range of alternative scenarios--steps that often are necessary in handling litigation matters.

This article describes many of the commercially available software products developed specifically with litigation services in mind.

* PI-Economist calculates the data used in personal injury, medical malpractice and related cases. It lists the damage factors employed in the computations and includes a database of wages for common occupations so lost pay can be computed.

Price: $295.

Source: Advocate Software, Inc., 350 Hanover Avenue, #102, Oakland, California 94606, (800) 800-1393.

* Structured Settlement-Economist calculates a proposed settlement's present value. It also creates settlement proposals based on a client's financial needs. In addition, it creates graphs showing the differences between actual and present values.

Price: $195.

Source: Advocate Software, Inc., 350 Hanover Avenue, #102, Oakland, California 94606, (800) 800-1393.

* Economic/Hedonic Damages System measures the damages based on procedures and factors outlined in an accompanying book, Economic/Hedonic Damages: The Practice Book for Plaintiff and Defense Attorneys. Although designed for lawyers, the software-book combination is a very useful tool for accountants.

Price: $234.

Source: Anderson Publishing Co., 2035 Reading Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202, (513) 421-4142.

* Case Evaluation/Basic Settlement Value Software computes individual claim settlement value. It factors in litigation costs, legal fees, the insurer's cost of settlement and inflation.

Price: $490-890, depending on options.

Source: JVR Software of Ohio, 30700 Bainbridge Road, Suite H, Solon, Ohio 44139, (800) 321-6910.

* Total Life Care provides economic projections for structured settlements, including reserves and litigation support. Its calculations adjust for age, race and labor-market activity and employ life and work-life expectancies. The program is able to present data in either numerical or graphic form.

Price: $1,699.

Source: Compensation Economics Information Services, 10765 Southwest 104 Street, Miami, Florida 33176, (305) 271-0012.

* Divorce Planner evaluates the financial and tax implications of support payments in a divorce settlement. It presents a checklist of alimony and child-support assumptions and provides the cash requirements to meet the children's budget needs while considering the tax consequences of various alternative plans. The program has state versions, factoring in both state and federal taxes.

Price: State versions cost $400; regional editions, $600.

Source: FinPlan Co., 2333 North Geneva Terrace, Suite 5A, Chicago, Illinois 60614, (800) 777-2108.

* Backpay and Frontpay are add-ons to the spreadsheet program Lotus 1-2-3. They compute damages from lost wages, factoring in benefits, pensions, life expectancy, estimated pay increases, etc. Backpay calculates historical information: lost wages and related benefits. Frontpay determines the present value of the anticipated future losses.

Price: $55 each.

Source: PRI Associates, Inc., 1905 Chapel Hill Road, Durham, North Carolina 27707, (919) 493-7534.

* Business Valuation with Ratios and Graphs employs up to seven generally accepted business valuation methods to compute an enterprise's value. It includes financial statement ratios, graphs and a report writer.

Price: $195.

Source: Innovative Professional Software, Inc., 7140 East Heritage Place North, Englewood, Colorado 80111, (800) 284-6105.

* Determining Damages: Structured Settlements calculates and evaluates structured settlements. It figures out the present value of both lump-sum and annuity proposals and also computes a proposal based on the client's financial needs.

Price: $395.

Source: Shepard's/McGraw-Hill, Inc., P.O. Box 35300, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80935, (719) 481-7704.

FILE MANAGEMENT

CPAs who handle many litigation services cases deal with so many files and such voluminous data that it's often difficult to locate specific information. These software products are designed to solve that problem:

* Research permits the user to enter notes on electronically filed research or evidence, including source and page and line numbers where the individual items were found. An 11-line summary of each item and a subject category can be attached to the electronic file. It also can prepare event chronologies and print the sorted data.

Price: $90.

Source: Integra Computing, 910 Cobb Place Manor, Marietta, Georgia 30066, (404) 426-5735.

* LegalBase is a document management program that creates and modifies database structures. It queries full-text documents and any text added to the database. It supports multiple table entry. A report writer is included. As an option, it can directly execute dBASE commands.

Price: $895.

Source: Basic Systems Applications, 220 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, California 94104, (415) 362-2595.

* Summation II is a full-text data management system that easily searches court documents such as depositions, interrogatories, etc. It produces reports in either page or column format.

Price: $1,595.

Source: Summation Legal Technologies, 595 Market Street, San Francisco, California 94105, (800) 735-7866.

* Inmagic is a database program that indexes information in document abstracts and then finds it with English, rather than conventional database, commands.

Price: $975.

Source: Inmagic Inc., 2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140, (617) 661-8124.

Accountants in the litigation services field should become aware of these software tools. They can make not only their labors more efficient but also their professional efforts more effective.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Institute of CPA's
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Cherkas, Byron S.
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Directory
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Words:925
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