In this post 9/11 world, being able to rely on a safe, secure online system is essential, especially when it comes to sharing sensitive legal documents and litigation information among professionals.

That’s why a group from the Executive Office of the U.S. Attorneys at the Department of Justice visited the West Virginia University campus this week (May 29-30) to view presentations from University professors and private industry representatives for an Automated Litigation Support System that could be used for large casessuch as the Uni-bomber case, the O.J. Simpson trial and the suspected 9-11 terrorist Zacarias Massoui case.

The model addresses all aspects of performing and supporting the ALS process, including a concept of operations and business model for a facility and information technology infrastructure, systems and communications required to accomplish the work.

The $1 million study is being coordinated through WVU ’s Office of Research and Economic Development under the direction of Vice President for Research and Economic Development John D. Weete.

The research team includes expertise from across the campus, including law professor Marjorie McDiarmid, who provided litigating insight and developed a source document that will serve as an online help system for litigation specialists using the system; and College of Business and Economics Professors Virginia Kleist and Richard Riley, who conducted a cost-benefit study showing how the new business process will result in significant cost savings.

Computer science professors Cindy Tanner and Robert Carter along with George Trapp, chairman of the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, are reviewing the project. The Office of Information Technology’s John Vilseck is handling the networking functions, and LaRue Williams from the Office of Information Technology is project director.

WVU also partnered with Vision Networks Inc. for development of a technological architectural framework for the system.

“The purpose of this project was for WVU to develop a concept for a system to perform ALS for large cases for the United States Attorney’s Offices,”Williams noted.”The concept is to show an economic benefit to the government, technical feasibility and operational feasibility.”

On hand for the presentations were John. S. Kaull, U.S. magistrate judge from the Northern District of West Virginia; several U.S. attorneys from the West Virginia Northern and Southern districts; Michael Kirkpatrick, deputy director of the FBI Complex; David Satterfield of the State Development Office; and several representatives from the Executive Office of the U.S. Department of Justice, including Zalmai Azmi, chief information officer; Ted Shelkey, security officer; Jeanette Plante, U.S. attorney; Jennifer Mackley, investment management analyst; and Heather Lewis, automated litigation specialist.

WVU is also involved with the federal government in researching and developing other high tech forms of security, particularly in the biometrics and forensics fields using effective human identification and verification technologies.