Inslaw Inc. was a computer software company based in Washington, DC, owned by William and Nancy Hamilton. Inslaw’s market was case management software to courts and related justice agencies, to the insurance industry, to large law firms, and to the law departments of corporations. Inslaw’s principal asset was a highly sophisticated software program called PROMIS, a computer program which manages large amounts of information
In 1982, Inslaw won a contract with the Department of Justice to install PROMIS in U.S. attorney’s offices. The person assigned by the Department to manage the contract, however, was one C. Madison Brewer, who had just been fired by Inslaw. Just one month after the contract was signed, Mr. Brewer recommended that it be terminated even though Inslaw was performing as agreed. The Department stole the software because it felt that it was above private property law.
The Justice Department withheld payment for the software, and Inslaw went into bankruptcy. Inslaw hired former Attorney General Elliot Richardson as their attorney. Richardson filed a civil suit claiming that Inslaw had been the victim of a conspiracy by the Justice Department.