Q&A with Jeff Karpel: Streamlining Casework to Improve Access to Justice

Topics: Access to Justice, Case Management, Efficiency, Government, Justice Ecosystem: Innovation, Midsize Law Firms Blog Posts, State Courthouses, Thomson Reuters

Jeff Karpel, the owner, founder and Chief Application Design Architect of Karpel Solutions, wants to streamline the prosecutorial process with effective criminal case management. His company’s ProsecutorbyKarpel and DefenderbyKarpel platforms, attempts that by (according to its website) “eliminating paper-based processes, redundant data entry and tedious manual tasks” and will allow lawyers “to focus on the effective administration of justice.” Karpel launched his company in 1985, and now more than 7,000 users nationwide employ its products.

Jeff Karpel talked with the Legal Executive Institute’s Justice Ecosystem to discuss how his company came about, how lawyers and other legal professionals use the products and what is next for him and his company.

Justice Ecosystem: What inspired you to start ProsecutorbyKarpel and DefenderbyKarpel?

Jeff Karpel: It started with a tragedy and my eyes being opened to the need within our justice system for efficient processes and systems. A friend’s daughter was murdered by a repeat sex offender, and the courts dragged her family through a two-year trial trying to decide whether the punishment would be life in prison or death. The family is now broken apart, not only because of the horrible loss of a child, but also because of a judicial system that re-victimized them over a stressful two-year process. I felt the best thing I could do was to not complain, but try to help the justice system work more efficiently.

Jeff Karpel

Justice Ecosystem: What was your first application?

Jeff Karpel: The City of St. Louis, Mo., asked me to build a custom application to replace its outdated , broken system. Now, it’s used by more than 280 prosecutor offices nationwide.

Justice Ecosystem: How did you connect with Thomson Reuters and come to partner with them?

Jeff Karpel: I was approached by Manoj Jain, an executive within Thomson Reuters involved with the company’s C-Track court case management system. He was working with a team around their Justice Ecosystem vision with the idea to help connect the players of the justice system. He called me looking for a Prosecution system to partner with C-Track.

Justice Ecosystem: What are the biggest “pain points” for lawyers, judges and other professionals, and how do your products address those points?

Jeff Karpel: The development of ProsecutorbyKarpel didn’t look at the pain point of one individual or user — but wanted to establish a product that helps to address the efficiency of the judicial system as a whole. ProsecutorbyKarpel offers users the ability to better manage caseloads and hold participants within the judicial system accountable, whether that’s in reference to meeting deadlines, making correct data entry or providing transparency across the system.

Justice Ecosystem: How does the partnership between Karpel Solutions and Thomson Reuters Westlaw help lawyers, judges and other professionals? How does the partnership help defendants?

Jeff Karpel: Integrating the industry’s premier products will keep all judicial partners on the same page and speed up the judicial system, providing increased access to justice. That’s better for victims and wrongly-accused defendants, and not so good for guilty defendants.

Justice Ecosystem: Did you ever contemplate going to law school? 

Jeff Karpel: No, I never wanted to become a lawyer — but I believe that my software helps prosecutors and defenders provide better access to justice.