Okay, you have selected your case management or billing/accounting software, it has been purchased, delivered, installed and it is up and running. Now what?
There is a big difference between “installing” the app on your network and “configuring” the app to work efficiently for your practice and your staff. That is where legal technology specialists can help you.
How do you get the system to give you management reports? How do you use the system to get a bird’s eye view of your practice? How do you monitor how productive your firm is? How do you make the system work to save you money and help you prevent malpractice?
Practice management systems like Amicus Attorney and Time Matters can help prevent key dates from being missed and discovery tasks from being missed or overlooked. The tracking of tasks within these systems can make sure clients get responded to in a timely fashion, creating more satisfied clients with less time expended to do so.
How these systems are set up and customized make all the difference to your getting the most out your software investment. For example, screens can be customized to capture key dates, docket numbers, courts, to name just a few. Triggers in programs like Time Matters can be set up to send messages, record to-dos, schedule follow ups, and create billing entries for completed work.
Screens — What fields do you need to create to capture the data elements that are important to you, beyond what comes pre-configured ion the software? How can these extra fields be useful for filtering, sorting, alerting, etc.? If you have multiple practice areas, this applies to each of them.
Alerts and Reminders – What reminders should pop up in the system? What events should trigger notification to people working on a matter, or to partners?
Reports – what information do you need, in what format, and in what interval, to make your practice operate more efficiently? Do you need it on paper, or in a “viewable” dashboard? If you bill by the hour, how do you ensure that all time has been entered? If you bill using an alternative billing arrangement, how do you evaluate the time versus the compensation?
Are you being required to produce reports for an outside organization or government entity? If so, do they require sorting and grouping by demographic or other information? Is that information readily available in your new system?
Getting It All to Connect – Many practice management and billing systems “talk” to each other – so, for instance, Amicus Attorney practice management links to the Worldox document management. Time Matters links to PCLaw and Timeslips, and to other billing systems.
Getting value from the software post-installation requires application-specific expertise. That’s where ELS can help. Call (877) 357-0555 to get assistance in making your software work for you in 2012.
Jack Schaller has been active in the field of law office technology since 1989, and has worked with a variety of commercial accounting, legal billing, practice management, and document management software products during his twenty plus years in the software consulting field. During his tenure as a software consultant he has garnered many sales and service awards for his work with legal software products. Jack is a frequent presenter at legal conferences and seminars, and is a regular contributor to TechnoLawyer and other technology publications.