Deadlines matter to lawyers. However, within the busyness of a daily practice it can be easy for these deadlines to become lost, resulting in rushed work or even missed deadline.
When this is a court or a statute deadline, the consequences can be significant. So how can lawyers ensure that they keep on top of multiple deadlines for multiple projects?
Why legal deadlines matter so much
In many industries, missing a deadline is an issue that can be resolved – for example, the US government has missed their budget deadline and shut down the government a massive 19 times since 1976!
For a lawyer, however, a missed statute or other deadline can have significant consequences. Consequences for the client, who has permanently lost the ability to fight their case; and consequences for the lawyer, who open themselves up to a malpractice suit incurring significant financial, time and reputational costs.
There can be many reasons why deadlines can be missed. One of the most vulnerable points for an organisation is when an employee suddenly leaves, or becomes unexpectedly ill. When each employee has their own method of managing their files, remaining workers must try to decipher someone else’s system whilst still managing a full case load. It’s no wonder that details get missed, and costly mistakes happen.
How can technology help?
- Use a case management system to store deadline dates
Within a case management system, file information is standardised. This means that employees can go into any case file within the software, and know exactly where to find relevant deadlines. Important dates will no longer be hidden within huge paper files and missed.
- View all your case deadlines in one place
Within Thread Legal, file deadlines can all be viewed within one window. Filter by deadline type or by file owner. Managers can see which employees have high or low volumes of deadlines within a period, and can allocate resource accordingly.
- Manage your workflows
Preparation for a deadline doesn’t (or shouldn’t!) begin when it is imminent . Set up workflows and assign tasks for common procedures to each member of the team. These individual tasks should have their own deadlines.
This means that capacity problems, or other issues that are preventing work from being completed, are identified in real time rather than days or weeks later. Case owners and managers can see where cases are entering the risk zone, and can resolve the timeline slip before it becomes critical.
Our workflow management systems within Thread Legal are powered by Microsoft Planner.
What should I do next?
Many lawyers feel like they don’t have time to source and implement new technology, and so the practice keeps on running the same way that it always has. However, this leaves law firms and legal teams still exposed to the same vulnerabilities that they have always faced.
There are a lot of ways that case management systems can provide ROI – reducing vulnerability to malpractice suits caused by missed deadlines may be a less tangible ROI, but it is nonetheless significant.
It is worth setting aside time to explore different case management solutions, and determining which would be the best fit for you and your organisation. It’s never too soon to start implementing your organisation’s digital transformation!
Do you want to see if Thread Legal could be a good fit for your business? Click here to start exploring our key features.
Not sure if a case management system is for you? Here are a few reasons why you should consider it and start improving your business today.
When we first start speaking to clients, many of them know that they need some sort of online system. However, the day-to-day running of their law firm takes up all of their time (and more!) and so trialling case management solutions falls to the bottom of the list.
So why should you put your task list to one side, and invest time in finding a case management system? Here are 6 reasons:
1) Increase your profits. Moving from a paper-based to a digital system can reduce operating costs by up to 66%. An easy way to increase your bottom line!
2) Increase the amount of time your lawyers spend doing fee-earning work. Just having a shared database and precedent knowledgebase can save up to 48% of a lawyer’s time. That’s 48% of time they can now spend on more valuable work.
3) Focus on your most profitable clients and industry segments. With a case management system, you can track costs and expenses vs. fees in real time. This means you can easily understand which work is most profitable for you, and focus your marketing efforts on these clients
4) Build better client relationships. Ever had a client ask you an urgent question when you were out of the office? With a cloud-based case management system you don’t need to make the client wait, or have the whole office running around trying to find the right files. Just open up your system on your laptop or smart device, and the information is right there at your finger-tips.
5) Collaborate well. With a case management system, all staff working on a case can see what has been happening, and know when it is their time to step in. No more confusion over who has completed what, or process inefficiencies resulting in wasted time.
6) Never miss another deadline. When you are managing multiple statute deadlines and other deadlines over a number of cases, it can become complicated. When every staff member manages their deadlines differently, taking over someone else’s case can result in significant wasted admin time copying the same information from one place to another, or even in a date being missed. Having all deadlines tracked within your case management system means that everyone in the office knows what is happening and when. Submission complete!
Investing a small amount of time in selecting and installing a case management system can make your law firm more effective, more efficient and more profitable for years to come.
Have we convinced you yet? If so, click here to see some of our core features and start your case management journey today.