You’re an attorney running a small law firm, practicing things like criminal law, real estate, family law, and estate planning. Your team sends out loads of documents and emails every day. It’s almost impossible to stay in the loop on every file. Your paralegal spends hours finding and filling forms with the same information, over and over. Worst of all, the time spent managing your firm’s cases inefficiently costs you lots of money.
It’s time to do business differently. It’s time for case management software. In this post, we break down the common features of today’s case management systems, and the benefits they bring to a small law firm including client management, document management, document automation, and email management.
Case Management Software Defined
Case management software makes it easy for attorneys to manage all areas of their practice from one convenient location. From calendaring, contacts, and matters to documents, e-mails, and tasks all your important details are stored neatly within a digital case file, inside the system. Case management software can be used to improve the working relationships within your team. When staff can easily share information with other attorneys in the firm, it prevents duplication, ensures accuracy and saves time.
Case Management Software Functionality
Case management software typically exists in three forms: pure cloud, premise-based, and cloud hybrid. Which type of software you pick will depend on your firm’s needs and what you will feel most comfortable.
Pure cloud systems are completely web-based. They offer many advantages like being able to access files from the cloud anywhere and are continuously syncing with the cloud for backups. Pure cloud systems tend offer integrations with other tools that you use every day.
One drawback to the pure cloud case management system is that they cannot work offline. In other words, without an internet connection, all newly created files will not be backed up to the cloud.
Premise based software will involve having the program installed on your machine. It lives only on your machine and files must be backed up using an external hard drive. Also, files created in the premise-based software must by synced or backed up manually. Premise based software is also typically integrated with other premise products that you use.
Cloud hybrid combines both the premise-based model and the pure cloud. Cloud hybrid systems can work offline, but all data is synced continuously when connected to the internet. Files created in the cloud hybrid system are also saved to your computer for backup.
Much like premise-based case management software, cloud hybrid software is locally installation and is integrated with other premise tools you use. Additionally, like the pure cloud system you can access and save files wherever you go.
Case Management Software Features
Although each case management software provides different features, document management, document automation, email management, matter management, and client management tend to be found in most software platforms. Let’s take a deeper dive to understand what these features do and why they are useful to your firm.
One of the best things you can do for your law business is track client records and interactions. Correspondence, phone numbers, addresses, and personal information should be in one place, and easy to access, from anywhere, by your entire staff. Let’s face it, creating reports from paperwork or Excel files can be hard work and time-consuming.
With case management software, you can transition away from paper documents and files to keep track of client information. By storing this information digitally you can manage all your client information and create reports with just a few clicks. Want to see a list of clients with open cases? Not a problem. Need a report of everything your associate who called in sick was working on, so you can jump in and help? It’s waiting for you inside the Smokeball reporting section.
An unorganized inbox, desk, and computer can hinder productivity and make running your practice a nightmare. Even the most organized attorneys can have a hard time keeping up with all the documents and emails they receive. But what if there were a better, more efficient way to stay organized?
Case management software helps you to organize all your documents neatly in one place. Turning stacks of paper into searchable documents. Most allow you to scan and import all your documents into the software, so they are safely stored in the cloud or within the software itself. Some tools, like Smokeball, offer full-text search that allows you to search for any keyword or phrase that a document might contain. Smokeball also offers versioning tools that save and label each version of a document within a digital file automatically, so you never have to worry about saving over changes!
Every attorney knows that time is money. Wouldn’t it be nice to create templates for your most used documents, letters or emails, so you can assemble documents more efficiently? With case management software you can!
Using a case management system with a built-in library or your document templates turns your client’s information into re-usable data. Which you can populate into any document, form, letter or email. Turning mountains of repetitious work into easily executable tasks. Document automation allows you to put emails, letters, and documents together in a matter of seconds – saving you time and decreasing your chances for errors. By simply uploading your client info once, you can generate documents and emails based on the imported information, over and over again.
The average lawyer receives around 120 emails per day. Each related to a client, case or project, stacking on top of one another, piling up over time.
Filing emails with their respective documents, PDF files, and other attachments quickly becomes tedious, time-consuming and difficult to maintain Add staff, long email chains, and multiple parties included on an email can turn your inbox an organizational disaster.
Case management software that’s integrated with your email inbox can log all email communications between your clients and your firm. Each email that is sent or received is added to its respective digital file in the software and tagged. Then anyone in the firm can find an email, or attachment easily through a quick search, or by going directly to the digital file.
Why should I invest?
Not all case management software is created equal as each software varies in features and services. Make sure to do your research so you can identify the right case management software for your firm. Once you have found the right software, though, you will start to see these benefits almost immediately:
- Better service for clients
- Increased quality control
- More efficient and organized employees
- Increased profit
- Time saved
In summary, case management can offer the following for your law firm:
- Case management software helps you to organize all your documents neatly in one place.
- Document automation tools give you a place to upload your most used documents or emails and transform them into templates to be reused.
- Case manaement software can integrate with your email program and logs all email communications between your clients and your firm.
- Tracks Open Matters, keeping emails, attachments, documents, phone calls, and forms all in one digital file.
- Tracks client records and interactions. Correspondence, phone numbers, addresses and personal information, all in one place, and easy to access, from anywhere, by anyone.
Every component within Smokeball is designed to work together to save you time, keep you organized, and provide the best service to your clients. If you are interested in amping up productivity for your firm and learning more about Smokeball, watch a demo or get in touch with one of our Account Managers by calling (855) 668-3206.