Home » Uncategorized » Blog Post 3 for 10/7: The Use of Case Management Systems in this Electronic Technology Age

Blog Post 3 for 10/7: The Use of Case Management Systems in this Electronic Technology Age

With the proliferation of improved computer software in data management, many law firms are now using case management software programs, such as Clio, Time Matters, and My Case, to assist in the logistical aspects of legal practice. These software programs are essentially a centralized database with most of the pertinent information of each case stored in one place. Accordingly, these software programs can help lawyers organize files and information pertinent to each client’s matter. For example, a lawyer can create a matter card in Clio and input the client’s email address, telephone number, business mailing address, and other basic information into the system. Whenever the lawyer wants to look up the contact information of a company’s representative, he can just look at the matter card. By organizing the client’s information, this functionality can be instrumental in enhancing the efficiency of client communications

(http://www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/legal_technology_resources/resources/charts_fyis/casemanagementcomparison.html).

 

Another common feature of these case management software programs is the provision of to-do lists and calendars. Lawyers can use these functions to organize all of their deadlines, schedules, and meeting times. These software programs can even be linked with personal digital assistants. When a lawyer adds a meeting to the calendar, she can enter a time entry for that meeting and automatically set up a reminder for the meeting

(http://www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/legal_technology_resources/resources/charts_fyis/casemanagementcomparison.html).

 

Through a stop watch function, these case management systems can also be used for timekeeping purposes. As such, lawyers can track billable hours, thereby simplifying the billing process and ensuring that the clients are not underpaying or overpaying for their legal services. Moreover, lawyers can utilize the software programs to create trust accounts. Once created, these accounts can be directly linked to the firm’s financial accounting system. With all accounts operating under one system, these software programs can be used to generate reports for each individual lawyer, create invoices in PDF format, send invoices to clients through a secure portal, and set up customized payment plans, such as hourly rates or contingency fee plans. Thus, the partners at the law firm can use these case management systems as a general ledger to manage the firm’s financial matters, including recording payments and helping with IRS filings

(http://www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/legal_technology_resources/resources/charts_fyis/timeandbilling.html).

 

In this age of technology, many files are stored electronically. These case management software programs make it easier for lawyers to find, search, retrieve, edit, and share documents. Since lawyers often work with other associates to draft contracts or other documents, it will be more effective to use a case management system. When the document is uploaded to the system, other associates at the law firm can have direct access to the document and can revise the document in a timely and cost effective manner. Furthermore, lawyers may have to send drafts of contracts to their clients. Since the correspondences may contain confidential and privileged information, client confidentiality is of paramount concern. With these systems, lawyers can send the documents to their clients through a secure portal so that the information cannot be easily intercepted. This can also prevent lawyers from violating ethical rules on confidentiality (http://www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/legal_technology_resources/resources/charts_fyis/casemanagementcomparison.html).

 

Undoubtedly, with all these functionalities and capabilities, these case management systems can greatly enhance the firm’s cost effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.  Indeed, this technology is beneficial to the practice of law in small and large law firms. (http://www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/legal_technology_resources/resources/charts_fyis/casemanagementcomparison.html).

-Clarence Ling