Case management software can help a law firm or Office of General Counsel (OGC) manage its cases, firm matters, and clients. While case management software has been around for some time, there are still firms who haven’t invested in it yet. But, recently, more and more law firms are finally implementing this very useful software to run their cases in a much more efficient way. Choosing the right case management software for your firm can be a complicated process.
If your law firm has decided to make a move to a case management software, here are some questions you probably have as you start your search.
What Is Case Management Software?
The definition of CMS is confusing because it can encompass various areas of your practice. Here are a few major areas that a case management software should cover.
- Contact management
- Document and records management
- Time and expense tracking
- Search and reporting
- Calendar integration
What Will a Case Management System Do For Me?
The question you need to answer before you start to look for a CMS is “Do I really want to buy a CMS?” To respond to this question, you will want to know what added value you get from a CMS. Here are a few key benefits you will gain from using a case management software.
The 6 Benefits Of Using a Case Management Software
1. CMS Can Manage Deadlines
One of the greatest tasks of legal professionals is managing all of the deadlines that are part of any case. CMS will integrate with your calendaring system (i.e. Microsoft Exchange) to help you manage the deadlines.
2. Organize Client Files
CMS keeps all of the information relating to a client in one area. You can enter case description, task lists related to each case, case notes, case discussions, party and participant contact information, deadlines and much more. You usually have all of this information, but do you have it in one area? A case management software will allow you to easily and quickly access this information in the context of a case.
3. Automated Time And Expense Entries
Most CMS have the ability to record your time and expense associated with a case and show a summary of activities for the case. You won’t need to write your billable time and expenses on sheets of paper and then enter into a billing system each month. This kind of automation can save you plenty of time that you and your staff can use on other tasks.
4. Coordinates Communication
Because you will have all of the contact information in one place, it now becomes easier to find the contact information when you need it. You have probably spent a couple of minutes looking for an old email to get someone’s address. Now, imagine how much time it would save you if you were able to open up the CMS file and retrieve precisely the address you want when you want it.
5. Document Retrieval
When it’s time to organize a case, you have to pull information from many sources. Transcripts are in a stack on a shelf, pleadings and briefs are in a folder on your system, email messages are in your email system. With CMS, all of these pieces of information will already be in one place. When it’s time to organize a case, a lot of the work will already have been done for you.
6. Work From Anywhere
Many of the software options are now available online. It means you can access them from any device – laptop, tablet, smartphone or desktop. You simply go to the website, sign in, and continue working. You can work from home or any remote location. It can be a huge advantage when you are traveling as you will be able to use your free time better to stay productive.
Which Legal CM Software To Purchase?
Once you have decided to implement a CMS, where do you begin? Here’s an alphabetical list of some of the available case management software options that you may want to review.
- Credenza Pro
- Legal Files
- Rocket Matter
- Total Attorney
There’s a lot of variation in these case management systems. Some like ArkCase will comply with strict security rules like FedRAMP, HIPAA or HITECH. Some will do a few specific tasks very well. It is important to compare the software options in order to see which has the features you need.
One last thing to consider is each platform’s document management capabilities. As we are talking about law firms and legal documents, keeping them and storing them securely in a digital format is a key requirement governed by law. We have integrated CMS solutions with various records management solutions to include Alfresco, the only open source DOD 5015 compliant document and records management platform.