Support during a pandemic

For all of us, COVID has created many complications in our every day lives. The legal field has not been excluded. Preparing and trying cases has become more laborious and complex than ever before. The pandemic has shifted deadlines and tightened schedules and that alone may be more than your current support staff level can handle.

This is definitely something that BTG is able and willing to assist with. Our staff can help fill the gaps and offer your team support roles to help you through the complications from being in a pandemic. Please let us know how we can help you.

Stay safe and enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend

We’ve Moved!

We’re excited to announce we have a new office space! You can find us at 1121 E Westview Ct, Spokane, WA 99218

Social Privacy

Social Media – To Post or Not to Post

Social media can be a great way to connect, share events, and so much more.  But, as with most
things, there is a risk of misuse.  The best part about being as old as I am is that I wasn’t in high school with smart phones and social media. While I was not out there breaking the law and
partaking in a lot of questionable behaviors; I was still a kid having some fun. When I was a teenager, I would have never thought that a picture, video, comment or meme is forever. I would have allowed my immature, teenage humor to block any logical thinking I may have had. The reality for today’s kids is that they will be judged on those immature, teenage humor pictures, videos or comments, potentially for years to come. A company 10 years later may unfairly dismiss them from a job because they found something on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that has no bearing on who that person is today. The notion that the internet is forever does not only apply to teenage humor, it also applies to the legal field.

BTG has worked on several federal cases that are largely being adjudicated because of Facebook returns and cell phone dumps. Facebook returns are what the government will receive from a subpoena of Facebook, to receive all of the metadata related to your account. Within the metadata, is your GPS coordinates when that post was made, all individuals you have contact with, and all photos, videos, telephone calls and comments you make. Even a picture or video that you’ve shared and then deleted will still be provided in the subpoena request! This is also true with a cell phone dump. Any and all metadata on your phone is now in the hands of the government.  Even if you are not under investigation for federal crimes, this metadata, if hacked, can contain some very personal information.

Knowing what I know now does make me pause before I hit send on that post or text message. Not only should we be bringing this to the attention of our children, we as adults need to realize the harm that a picture, video, or comment can cause you if somehow your metadata becomes available to someone you wished it wouldn’t have. Whether you’re under investigation or not, a friend of a friend of a friend’s cousin’s uncle’s brother may be- and that might unwittingly lead to your data being available to complete strangers. 

Visual Learning

Show AND Tell

I am a visual person. You could tell me how to do something eight times, and I could still get lost. Writing and reading notes, drawing diagrams, looking at a photo or recognizing patterns is my best chance at retaining information. I know I am not alone in this. When I was in high school, I learned math not by understanding the logic of an equation as explained by my teacher, but rather by staring at examples and recognizing the pattern of their results.

One of my first cases with Behind the Gavel involved a huge drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy. There were many players, with the investigation turning in a hundred different directions along the way. “Who is this guy?” I kept asking myself, “How do these people fit together?”  We know how daunting some of these types of cases can be and these are just some of the questions we address for you in nearly every project. 

So for those of you who are with me on the visual-aid-train, have we got a tool for you!

The Relational Chart is a tool designed to lay out a conspiracy in a series of visual aids. We analyze discovery for patterns of connections between co-conspirators, display them on diagrams and provide you with a citation for every instance we find, so you can see for yourself our logic behind each affiliation. Those connections can be pulled from agency reports, wiretap data, toll data, and more. We also provide our own flowchart that creates a picture of the conspiracy as we understood it through reading the discovery.

As with our other products, the Relational Chart is created for all defense counsel and can be navigated through by just a couple clicks. But don’t worry, if you do need help with any of our products, we are here for you and can schedule a training at your convenience. We will SHOW you how to get the most out of everything. After all, we visual learners need to help each other out.

pink pig figurine on white surface

CJA Cost Savings

Hold onto your hats, we’re going to do some math!

 We here at BTG are well-aware of how difficult it can be to get funding from courts that are suspicious of requests for seemingly “Cadillac” services for a defense.  It is an extraordinary, uphill battle that’s often intimidating, frustrating, and defeating.  We’re here to provide you with a little information to put in your back pocket the next time a court balks at the use of BTG or any other service-provider.  We are steadfast in our belief that we are not an expense.  We can and will save money and we will provide the best available products with the best possible service.

 

Let’s say a Grand Jury indicts 50 co-defendants in a massive federal drug conspiracy case.  The 6th amendment requires that all 50 of those defendants receive representation.  Let’s assume that all 50 of those defendants can’t afford an attorney, so they’re appointed a Criminal Justice Act Panel attorney.  Through our research, 70% of those attorneys are either solo practitioners or practice in a small firm (2-5 attorneys).  It is highly unlikely that they have the time, staff, or software/equipment to process and organize discovery in-house. 

 The case itself contains voluminous discovery.  There are multiple wiretaps, transcripts, tons of Facebook and Twitter data, phone downloads, toll records, surveillance video, pole-camera videos, and tens of thousands of pages of police reports and court pleadings.  It is overwhelming.  In order to perform their due-diligence, however, each attorney must somehow wade through all that stuff to find the most pertinent information for their client. 

 In our experience, attorneys do not receive neatly organized discovery from the government, and the government isn’t under any real obligation to produce it that way.  It is often distributed on multiple cd’s, dvd’s, blu-rays, external hard drives, in no particular form or fashion, and typically without any sort of index.  Suffice it to say, it takes a substantial amount of time to get everything in order to even begin a meaningful discovery review.  It may take several hours just to find a single document that a client is mentioned in!    

 Let’s assume that it will take each of those attorneys 100 hours to process and organize their discovery (keeping in mind that 70% are solo practitioners or work in a small firm and lack the staff to do it for them).  Let’s assume that the hourly rate for each of those attorneys is $135.00 per hour.  Each attorney, therefore, will require a budget of $13,500.00 for discovery processing and organization.  The total cost then, would be $675,000.00 for the entire case (50 attorneys x $13,500.00).

 If all of those attorneys instead hire paralegals to organize discovery, and those paralegals have an hourly rate of $45.00, the cost will be $4,500.00 per paralegal for a total of $225,000.00 (50 paralegals x $4,500.00) for the entire case.

 (here comes the math)

We have compiled three tables to outline the cost and cost savings for an entire case that utilizes BTG:

***These estimates are extremely conservative.  According to our survey results, we average over 300 hours saved per attorney per case

 

Attorney Rates:

 

Budgeted Attorney Hours

Cost (1 Attorney)

Total Cost (50 Attorneys)

Estimated Savings

100 (No BTG)

$13,500.00

$675,000.00

0

75 (BTG saves 25 hours)

$10,125.00

$506,250.00

$168,750.00

50 (BTG saves 50 hours)

$6,750.00

$337,500.00

$337,500.00

25 (BTG saves 75 hours)

$3,375.00

$168,750.00

$506,250.00

  

Paralegal Rates:

 

Budgeted Paralegal Hours

Cost (1 Paralegal)

Total Cost (50 Paralegals)

Estimated Savings

100 (No BTG)

$4,500.00

$225,500.00

0

75 (BTG saves 25 hours)

$3,375.00

$168,750.00

$56,750.00

50 (BTG saves 50 hours)

$2,250.00

$112,500.00

$112,500.00

25 (BTG saves 75 hours)

$1,125.00

$56,250.00

$168,250.00

  

Historically, for all of our work-products (Discovery Hub, Relational Chart, De Novo), our average cost is $2,100.00 per defendant (equaling approximately 16 attorney hours or 47 paralegal hours).  The more defendants on a case, the less that cost becomes.  In terms of total cost on cases with 10 or more defendants, our average total cost is $46,000.00 (our cases have ranged between a single defendant and up to 62 codefendants). 

 

Putting everything together:

 

Hours Saved

Case Savings Attorney

Case Savings Paralegal

Fixed BTG Cost Per Defendant

Average BTG Cost

Net Savings Attorney (per defendant)

Net Savings Paralegal (per defendant)

Net Savings Attorney (average)

Net Savings Paralegal (average)

0

0

0

$105,000.00

$46,000.00

-$105,00.00

-$105,00.00

-$46,000.00

-$46,000.00

25

$168,750.00

$56,750.00

$105,000.00

$46,000.00

$63,750.00

-48,250.00

$122,750.00

$10,750.00

50

$337,500.00

$112,500.00

$105,000.00

$46,000.00

$232,500.00

$7,500.00

$291,500.00

$66,500.00

75

$506,250.00

$168,250.00

$105,000.00

$46,000.00

$401,250.00

$63,250.00

$460,250.00

$122,250.00

As you can see, there are only two scenarios in which BTG doesn’t save any money:

1)      If the attorneys or paralegals don’t use our work-products, or

2)      Our work-products don’t save paralegals 25 hours of time

 Regarding the second scenario, we believe that we save 25 hours nearly automatically by centralizing the flow of discovery.  Attorneys, paralegals, and other staff do not need to copy multiple discs (we’ve had cases with over 100 separate discs in a single discovery disclosure) or download materials from government platforms.  Additionally, or work-products take care of all discovery issues that would ordinarily require special attention by a paralegal, an investigator, an IT person, or some other subcontractor (OCR, audio/video conversion, Wiretaps, social media data, phone data, etc.).  We do it all in-house and we do it all with CJA panel members in mind.

 From a logical, financial, mathematical, practical, and/or nearly any other perspective, BTG just makes sense for this case and cases like them.  Why do something 50 different ways when you can have us do it once, and better than it’s ever been done before

 Please call us, email us, or contact us through our website.  Our goal, very simply, is to help.