Justice taps CSC for bellwether case management system

The Justice Department this morning unveiled a new $42 million contract with Computer Sciences Corp. for the Litigation Case Management System, a standardized environment intended to improve management of legal resources and allow attorneys to share and manage trial information.

CSC said it would build LCMS with the help of partners Booz Allen Hamilton, of McLean, Va.; High Performance Technologies Inc., of Reston, Va.; Oracle Corporation, of Reston, Va.; Synergistek Inc., of Rockville, Md.; and Welkin Associates Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of CSC, of Chantilly, Va.

Justice now has dozens of litigation case management systems because each of the department's U.S. Attorney's offices nationwide has had the autonomy to tailor systems to its own needs. In addition, the department's six divisions that send platoons of trial attorneys into courtrooms have developed separate case management systems.

The Justice system forms an important part of the Office of Management and Budget's Case Management System Line of Business.

That line of business also includes the FBI's failed Virtual Case File and its successor, the fledgling Sentinel project. OMB also has directed Justice, leader of the case management line of business project, eventually to develop an administrative case management system.

LCMS is intended to serve as a template for other litigation case management systems used by attorneys across the federal government.

'The Department's Antitrust, Criminal, Civil Rights, Civil, Environment and Natural Resources, and Tax divisions, as well as the U.S. Attorney's offices, will use the LCMS to facilitate the transfer of information through the use of common solutions and data standards,' Justice said in a statement.

Justice used the National Institutes of Health, Chief Information Officers Solutions and Partners 2 contract, a governmentwide procurement vehicle that provides federal agencies with a streamlined method for buying IT goods and services. The department valued the award at $42 million.

"I expect LCMS to provide a valuable service to the department's seven litigating divisions," said Justice CIO Vance Hitch in a statement. "LCMS will allow the department to reduce operational costs and act more like a unified law firm by effectively and appropriately sharing information between the litigating divisions and with the department's executive leadership."

LCMS will use a centralized but flexible application and database, with unique user interfaces for each of the litigating divisions to accommodate their respective needs, Justice said.

LCMS' architecture is designed allow Justice officials to have a single repository for all litigation case management information and reporting, the department said.

LCMS also is intended to improve the quality of the data the department reports to Congress, OMB and other partner agencies, Justice said.

The department said it plans a phased and incremental approach for reaching its long-term litigation case management goals.

The project's first phase will mainly serve the needs of attorney managers and senior leaders to manage attorneys' caseloads and performance, Justice said.

Under this phase, Justice expects to adopt a common LCMS for the 94 U.S. Attorney's Offices during the 2007 and 2008 fiscal years. The first phase includes data exchanges with external systems such as Sentinel as well as Justice's own Victim Notification and Consolidated Debt Collection systems.

Justice plans to roll out LCMS to its six other litigating divisions between 2008 and 2010.

LCMS is contributing to the development of the National Information Exchange Model to assist in the development of a true standard for information sharing across federal agencies, Justice said.

Justice and the Homeland Security Department established NIEM to develop the data and exchange standards for information sharing across federal, state and local law enforcement and homeland security agencies.

The LCMS target architecture and infrastructure is intended to help capture case-related information once and then promote effective data sharing within and between Justice's divisions as well with as partner agencies and other authorized users, the department said.

An Executive Steering Committee jointly led by Hitch and the acting deputy director of the Executive Office of the U.S. Attorneys, Steve Parent, is overseeing LCMS. The committee also includes members from each of the department's litigating divisions, Justice said.

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