May 23, 2016
Calculating mind: Rose-Hulman Ventures intern Max Morgan dug into Indiana and Illinois Workers’ Compensation law while creating a workers’ compensation calculator for Spiegel & Cahill, PC. “I had to interpret the laws and make the software code obey the law,” he says.
Spiegel & Cahill is a top-ranked Chicago-area law firm defending workers’ compensation cases in Illinois and Indiana. As with all law practices, the firm’s time is money, and one of the biggest time eaters is sorting through the mountain of documents associated with a case.
Miles Cahill, a managing partner, asked Ventures to develop a computer program to read PDF documents and sort them into groups while identifying duplicate and blank pages.
“It’s a terrible waste to print all those documents out and sort through them by hand,” Cahill says. The physical sorting process usually takes a firm employee several hours. The Ventures sorter program, completed earlier this year, can do it in a fraction of that time.
While tackling that project, Ventures also undertook a second task for Spiegel & Cahill: developing a workers’ compensation calculator webpage, much like cost-of-living calculators already available on the internet. The purpose of the calculator is to make it easier for workers’ compensation professionals, in Indiana and Illinois to determine the value of the expected compensation for a specific injury.
“I had to understand the laws before I could make the website,” says Max Morgan, a junior computer science and mathematics major at Rose-Hulman and the first of three Ventures interns responsible for developing the calculator under the guidance of Project Manager Nathan Weir. “There was a lot more to it than just writing code. I had to interpret the laws and make the code obey the law.”
Despite the daunting variety of possible workplace injuries – not to mention different laws in Indiana and Illinois – “Max did a wonderful job” developing the calculator, Cahill says. “He put it into a very easy-to-use format.”
The workers’ compensation calculator is up and running at no cost to users at https://illinois-indianaworkcomptools.com.
“There’s a certain energy in the room” when you deal with Ventures, Cahill says. “All of these guys have been a joy to work with.”