The Legal Sector is a workflow-dependent, document-heavy sector that relies on Legal Case Management software to function properly. These software solutions will have some level of Workflow Management and Document Management. And since the daily work of legal workers is directly tied to the software, how effective is the legal department will depend on how good their Legal Case Management software is.
For that reason, I’ve decided to write about a few must-haves any Legal Case Management software should have.
But, before we get in the software selection details, let’s do a quick test.
Does Your Organization Need A New Legal Case Management System?
Most of the times, organizations fear change because, usually, change is painful and expensive. But the flip side is, how much are you losing by NOT changing systems?
What are all the avoided problems, and what are all the added benefits of using a modern, workflow-oriented Legal Case Management system?
Here’s a short and quick self-test to see if your organization is at a point where you need to start looking for a new Legal Case Management platform:
- Does your Legal Case Management system allow you to work form any other place and/or device than the computer in your office?
- Do you still have to organize your files, meetings, and deadlines manually?
- Do you need to maintain an on-site server so you can run your software?
- Is the Legal workflow spread across different systems and technologies?
- Do you contact your clients only by (not always reliable) email?
- Does your system provide automatic updates of features?
If you answered YES on at least two of these questions, then you may need to start shopping for a new Legal Case Management solution.
Who Would You Call: Established, Disruptors or Startup Case Management Vendors?
Established Legal Case Management systems usually force organizations to adjust their workflows to what the software can provide. This directly affects how legal workers do their daily work, and it’s usually by slowing down people to do their work.
Such externally imposed limitations lead to missed appointments and deadlines, wasted time and effort, etc. And the scary part is, you are aware of it, but you feel caged by the current case management system.
Unlike these established software solutions, innovative solutions in the Legal Sector are more attentive to the needs of end-users, and try to solve workflow problems. This is why these innovative changes are labeled as ‘disruptors.’
Industry disruptors know the pain points of decision makers, so they make sure to match their offer to your situation in such a way that it’s a no-brainer to take their offer.
Disruptors are young enough to really, genuinely care about their clients. On the other hand, they’re mature enough as a business to be able to provide actual, tested, proven value-for-money solution.
Startups that really get things right are too rare. Only 1 out of 100 startups actually live long enough to be a serious contender. They may have an amazing offer. But even they are not sure if they’ll be around to support their own product, 5-10 years down the road. This makes Startups a bad idea for Legal Case Management alternatives.
If you have the time and resources to dig deep and interview tons of these startups, you may actually find a gem of an offer. But… that’s a big IF. And you won’t want to be responsible for a software purchase decision that ends up having no company to support it.
Here are a few tips on how to conduct your search. It’s mostly aimed at Industry Disruptors companies. I wouldn’t dare giving tips on choosing Startup offers. It’s far too volatile of a market. I’m offering the safe route to a good choice, without depleting your company’s bank account with an established (read: overpriced) offer.
Must-Haves Of Your New Modern Legal Case Management Software
An obvious disclaimer, before we get started on this topic: This is not an exhaustive checklist. I’m not attempting to offer an exhaustive, works-everywhere checklist that you can print out and follow through.
There are far too many variables and each company will need to do their own homework. What I’m offering here is just basic direction of thinking. And more importantly, identifying where not to look for a solution.
An acid test of which offer is a good match.
Let’s get started.
1. Workflow Automation
The first thing to do when choosing a Legal Case Management system is to make sure it guarantees Automation of the entire process.
You won’t want to have to resort to group emails to let everybody know what’s the next step in any Legal Case. You’ll want the system to do this automatically. And you’ll want to be able to easily automate what happens on each stage, and who gets notified when.
Automation of the Legal Case Management will contribute to the reduction of time and effort your staff invests in each Legal Case. It also clears out peoples Inboxes, but more on this topic lower in this text.
2. Point and Click Workflow Customization
Another very important feature you should look for in a Legal Case Management System is the ability to customize workflows with minimal effort and minimal technical knowledge.
This feature will help you determine priorities, outline stages and roles in the process, and build all that into the system without a need of writing any software code.
This dramatically simplifies the process and saves time and effort. No need to call a software developer, no need to be tied to a retainer contract with any company. And most importantly, all it takes for workflow customization is basic computer literacy.
3. Automatic Status Updates
A feature you definitely want to have as a part of your new Legal Case Management software is the ‘Automatic Status Update’ for each step of the process.
This feature will help you to easily track what role is assigned to which employee and what’s the status of the given task. Also, your employees will always know their role in the process and your clients will be timely updated about their case status.
This feature significantly simplifies your company organization and improves your end users’ experience.
4. Calendaring and Deadline Organization
One of the most important things in any Legal department is efficiently handling deadlines associated with Legal Cases. Missing deadlines and meetings with clients are mistakes that successful legal organizations can’t afford.
For that reason, when choosing a Legal Case Management system, make sure it includes this feature. It will help you to add deadlines and meetings related to each case in your calendar and automatically add them to your employee’s calendar.
This feature will help you stay organized, save time, and improve your customer experience.
5. Centralized Database
Having all of your clients’ information in one place is a must-have for every Legal Department. That’s why it’s important to find a Legal Case Management System which stores all client information (including case description, contact information, notes of the case, etc.) in one centralized database.
This Centralized Database approach will improve the organization and management of client information. It will allow for easier and faster access to data, from any device that has an internet connection, from anywhere in the world.
6. Reliable Communication and Collaboration System
Working with so many clients and on tons of Legal Cases requires a lot of communication and collaboration.
This can get very messy if you don’t have a reliable system for communication and collaboration between people, departments and organizations. This is a very good reason to look for a modern Legal Case Management software that has this collaboration capability out-of-the-box.
This feature will help you to stay organized and respond to your clients on time while saving your employees tons of time and frustrations.
As I said above, this is not an exhaustive checklist for choosing a modern Legal Case Management software. But, if you don’t know where to start from, these must-haves are a good starting point.
While still here, to spare you some research and time, you can take a look at this article and see how using an ArkCase Case Management solution can help your organization improve efficiency and client service.
Let’s Wrap Up
Keeping up with the ever-growing Legal Cases means that you need a Legal Case Management software that can follow your pace and effectively answer to all of your requirements.
Established vendors are choosing to keep their Status Quo, and Startups can’t promise they can survive in this competitive industry. So, the best thing you can do when shopping for a modern Legal Case Management software is to rely on Industry Disruptors.
I know that choosing the right innovation can be challenging, but not accepting beneficial industry changes means ignoring the needs of your staff – a mistake no organization can afford.
I hope that my checklist will be a good starting point when researching for a modern Legal Case Management software. But, if you still don’t know where to start from, take a look at our Blog, and see if our modern Legal Case Management Software Solution for ArkCase will be a good fit for your organization.
Or simply contact us. We’re enthusiastic about helping organizations improve their workflows using reliable, cost-effective case management solutions.