15 August 2014

Quickscribe 2.0 Launched!: Important New Tool for Family Law Counsel

Quickscribe Services has just launched the long-awaited Quickscribe 2.0, which offers a boatload of useful new features and is a genuine and substantive improvement on 1.0.

The original version of Quickscribe was known for its legislation tracking service, which offered speedy updates to the provincial legislation and the more frequently accessed federal legislation, historical point-in-time tracking, and information about the status of bills, new regulations and new orders in council. Quickscribe was also much easier to use than the BC Laws and Legislative Assembly websites, and subscribers were able to program a variety of automatic alerts customized to the needs of their particular practice.

The new version continues these services and also offers:
  • some pretty slick PDF capabilities, letting you print or save to file all or some of a document;
  • an expert annotation service provided by leading practitioners;
  • an improved tracking and alert system, which will alert users to new annotations in addition to legislative amendments; and,
  • a collaborative annotation function that lets users build a database of annotations shared with a firm.
Quickscribe 1.0 likely would not have been particularly useful for family law practitioners, particularly when the Family Relations Act was the law of the land; we had two key statutes and one critical regulation to keep on top of, and rarely found ourselves needing point-in-time references to the Land (Spouse Protection) Act or the Fraudulent Conveyance Act. I had access to the system for a whole year, and maybe used it once. I'm sure 1.0 was an indispensable tool for general civil litigators, just not so much for members of the family law bar.

I've had the chance to browse around 2.0, however, and it seems to me that the new version will make a very useful addition to the family law lawyer's tool box. First, Quickscribe is likely the only way you're going to get your hands on a complete electronic copy of the Family Law Act without having to jump between parts. Second, the case law is developing at such a rapid pace, that you need a way of faster way keeping up with developments than waiting for the next practice manual or white book; users' ability to make public annotations could give us an extraordinarily useful resource. Third, a number amendments have already been made to the act, and more are in the pipeline, that we need to keep on top of — it's reasonable to assume that still more amendments will be made in the months and years ahead as further wrinkles in the new act are discovered.

A slideshow-style tour of Quickscribe 2.0 is available, as well as a free but time-limited trial subscription. Quickscribe is a web-based application, which means that it works on both Macs and PCs, and you won't need to download or install any software.