Northern Virginia   &
Washington, D.C.
P.O. Box 216
Catharpin, Virginia 20143
Tel: +1-202-467-6200
Fax: +1-202-293-4395
Research and Software Capabilities

A considerable portion of our work requires us, after careful research and study of a particular matter, to generate written work products which may then need to be further revised or edited by others who may be using different software. This page describes some of our capabilities in these areas and is intended primarily as information for and use by our clients, other law firms and lawyers with which we have regular dealings.

Please let us know if this information is helpful. We are particularly interested in how to make it more useful!

Research and On-Line and Electronic Search Capabilities

The business of business law is now a very information intensive activity in which it is crucial to have access to extensive libraries of legal and other information, including timely access to the latest developments in particular fields of interest. We often refer to these aspects as the "research and intelligence" side of our business -- which are crucial to low-cost and successful results for our clients.

The modern practice of business law -- which is what we do -- in our view requires not just excellent and broad ranging legal knowledge, skills and know-how, but also interdisciplinary knowledge of specific business subject areas (e.g. accounting, finance, economics, marketing, industry practices, international business customs and practices, etc.) and also, sometimes, of technical (e.g. scientific or engineering) subject areas in which a particular business client is operating. Our self-image is that we are very resourceful in bringing together the necessary interdisciplinary talents in particular situations to achieve low-cost and successful results.

We have a number of specialized and comprehensive collections of legal, business and technical materials in our office library. Our current library collections exist in all forms now found in larger libraries: books, pamphlets, loose leaf binder materials, printed subscription materials, microform (microfiche), and CD-ROM / DVD. We also have access to much larger law and technical libraries. For example, we have full access the George Washington University Law Library -- one of the largest "open shelf" law libraries in Washington, D.C. area, as well as the other libraries at that University. We also have ready access to the largest law library in the world at The Library of Congress, and we enjoy easy access to all specialized government agency libraries in the Washington, D.C. area, including the Technical Libraries of the Library of Congress and of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Additionally, we have on-line access from our office to all databases and files maintained by or available through: WESTLAW, LEXIS and others. Most of the databases and files maintained by these services are updated on a continuous or regular basis. Collectively, these sources offer an almost overwhelming mass of materials which are searchable electronically. We use them to focus and update our research efforts in connection with new, developing or on-going matters.

We also have relationships with other search and investigative organizations, and technical (scientific and engineering) specialists throughout the U.S. and outside of the U.S. upon which we may call for specialized information as needed.

Many other information resources are now accessible through the Internet on a nominally "free" basis. However, for the moment, the reality from our perspective is that many of the nominally "free" services -- which are unquestionably useful and informative -- cannot be counted upon as being as reliable and up-to-date as the established commercial services.

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Word and Text Processing and Publishing Capabilities

Word 2003 is the industry standard format we use for vitually all in house production and for exchanging files with others whenever editable text is required. We also have Word 2007 available but to date we have had a need to use it only when (rarely) there is a problem using a Word 2007 format converter. We have many other document format converters available too. We also have Word 5.0 available on DOS emulators using a custom Y2K work around, but now that is only rarely used any more.

We use the full featured Adobe publishers: InDesign and Framemaker to create publication quality documents with full typesetting, with graphics and images in complex layouts.

The PDF file format originated by Adobe has become an industry standard for print image files containing text, graphics and images. Many Courts with which we have dealings now require electronic filing of documents in that format; the commercial printers we deal with also prefer that format; and some of our clients request or require electronic documents in that format. We use several different applications to create, modify, and maintain PDF files, and also to extract information from PDF files.

We use an assortment of utilities for searching, indexing, extracting, analyzing and manipulating textual information from files of all types. For text editing we use the Vedit editor which has extraordinary capabilities well beyond basic text editing; we use Ultraedit for editing Unicode text files. We use converters which can convert such textual information into text files and databases exchangeable formats and language analysis and revision control utilities. We use specialized XML capable software to control, convert, exchange, analyze and/or repurpose textual and other data types using XML techniques.

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OCR, Video and Imaging Capabilities

We use Optical Character Reader (OCR) and image scanners to extract text, graphics and images from printed materials. We can "capture" and process "still" digital images from video recorded with a portable video camera, and we can produce short color video tapes (or CDs or DVDs) extracted from recorded video streams. Captured "still" images can be printed or displayed or projected as can video clips.

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Spreadsheet, Database and XML Capabilities

All of our Windows workstations run the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet application which supports a variety of import and export formats. We also use one of several relational database systems for special purposes and custom projects: MS Access, SQLite, MySQL. We use specialized utilities for creating, processing, maintaining and extracting information in such databases. We can work with and create arbitrary XML data formats in databases and for data exchanges, and for control and analysis of data.

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Communications Facilities and Capabilities

The law firm's communications facilities and capabilities, including some of the software programs which we use for communications purposes, are described on another WWW page.

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Other Specialized Application Software

The law firm also uses as needed a variety of other specialized software in connection with its work for its clients. These include:

Slides, Technical Drawing, Graphics and Images

  • PowerPoint -- graphics and display - slides.
  • AutoCad -- technical drawings.
  • Photoshop -- image editing.
  • Illustrator -- graphics, drawing and image editing.
  • Visio -- graphics and technical drawing.
Statistical Analysis, Engineering and Science, Mathematics
  • Maple -- statistics, advanced mathematics, graphics and display.
  • Matlab -- engineering and control system analysis and display.
  • Simulink -- control system simulation add on to Matlab.
  • MathCad -- mathematics, engineering and statistical analysis, display.
  • PSpice -- electronic circuit analyzer simulator.
  • RFDesigner -- electronic circuit analyzer and simulator.
  • Numerous other specialized scientific and engineering programs, including structural and other analyses using finite element methods.
Various software, programming and computer operating system environments - pertaining to computer related legal matters.
  • More than 20 different languages and operating systems, including: C, C++, Visual Basic, Visual C++, Assembler, FORTRAN, COBOL, RPG, LISP, PERL, Python, PHP, ASP and Java, MUMPS, DOS, Windows, Unix, Linux and AIX.
  • Sourcer and other disassemblers
On-Line Dictionaries, Translation Aids and Specialized Word Processing:
  • German
  • Russian
  • French
  • Japanese
  • Chinese
  • Spanish
  • Arabic

These lists of specialized software which we have available or regularly use are not exhaustive, but may perhaps give you a better idea of the range of work which we have been involved in, particularly in the technical areas.

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Copyright © 1994 - 2009 - Richter, Miller & Finn - Last Update: June 2009
Constructive suggestions for improvements are always welcome!