Tech Tips: Case Management Queries

Do you have questions about case management systems? Are you considering implementing a case management system at your law firm? If you are or you have already done so and are not happy with its performance, you may want to look into what features you should be looking for when determining what system is best for your firm. Another issue that arises with regard to effective case management systems is the ability to synchronize them with a mobile device. Read on to learn more about case management system features and synchronization with mobile devices.

Q: Dear IT Guy, I am the managing partner of a small 20-lawyer firm and we are considering implementing a Case Management (CM) system. What are some of the main considerations that we should be aware of when we are looking at the various software offerings?

A: I appreciate your question and it fits in well with our Case Management theme this month. I am assuming that since you specified a Case Management system you are aware of the different components that make up a robust package.

The first feature I would consider is whether or not the CM system will integrate into any existing document management software and/or time and billing software. Some of the better Case Management software is modular in that it fits into a time and billing software package that is commonly based on a SQL database. There are a few smaller Case Management systems that may work well with your firm's size but they typically don't include billing information or operate their own document management.

One feature that is extremely useful, and has a lot of potential for change in the future, is the docketing aspect of the software. I see a future integration of CM docketing and case contact information with end-user's personal calendars and contacts, such as Outlook. One nice feature I have seen is a case tickler, based on case-type templates that keep you up to date on filing dates and overall case progress.

Q: Hi IT Guy, love the column. My life revolves around my mobile device and I don't know how anyone could get by without having their contact and calendar information available. I wanted to know if there were any developments out there for using my mobile device to track time and billing?

A: A few years ago, one of the larger time and billing software sellers made an announcement that they would be making PDA synchronization available. The thought was that the growing number of lawyers owning PDA's at that time could review time and update the information either through a remote wireless or hardwire connection. Today, there are several CM systems that allow attorneys to migrate information to and from their PDAs. For the most part, Palm OS is the platform of choice for integration into CM solutions.

Tips courtesy of Chuck Linebaugh of O'Hagan, Smith & Amundsen.

Technology changes quickly. For a more up to date discussion on this topic, please visit the Legal Software section at FindLaw’s Technologist blog.