Modern case management systems can enhance a law firm’s efficiency and profitability.

By Katie Mackillop, Practice Advisor

Over he last few decades, advancements in data entry and computers have revolutionized the small law firm market. Instead of working harder and longer, firms have discovered how to work smarter. These legal leaders are now producing legal forms in one click, without human error. Key information is only entered in once to be automated across multiple documents with the push of the button. There’s no time spent tracking down old forms to re-use, as these firms of the 21st century have access to an up-to-date, comprehensive collection of legal forms across all areas of law.

A Game Changer

The legal technology industry often focuses on providing accounting solutions for small law firms, rather than on creating advanced pre-configured and automated content that is key to a modern, paperless office. Contrary to the prevailing opinion, having an accounting system in place won’t make a firm more profitable. An accounting system works to organize a practice, but it does not enhance efficiency and profitability. A case management system with document automation, on the other hand, allows firms to become more efficient and substantially increase their profits.

A law firm without an adequate case management system wastes valuable billable hours by doing manual, administrative tasks. A firm that falls into this category might open a file and only have the option to record contact details. Important information – such as court, property, and marriage details – is re-typed countless times throughout multiple forms. This information, which is essential to providing the correct advice to clients, and is also pertinent to the forms and templates you need to produce, must be continually re-typed throughout the life of the matter.

To generate a new form, the firm must hunt for it in the paper files and re-key the same information again and again – which eats a large chunk of time. A good case management system transforms endless hours of re-typing and searching into minutes.

Preconfigured Forms

With a range of pre-configured matter types to select from, a modern case management system allows you to choose a preconfigured matter type that fits your area of law. A pre-configured matter type acts as a checklist of required information and a case intake form that is used to capture all the information needed throughout the duration of the case. These preconfigured forms have input screens that are specific to the matter a firm is working on. For example, family law attorneys can access separate screens to capture marriage, financial, and child support details. The vital information entered into the checklist is then auto-populated across multiple forms and templates within seconds. By entering key details into the input screens once, they can then be used over and over: for letters, forms, and time-recording, for example.

Content Teams

There are few legal tech companies that allocate resources to employ a skilled content team with legal backgrounds. This team is solely devoted to conducting heavy research to build the intuitive software that automates information into multiple forms. Every form has been automated to work with the data recorded in the matter type input screens. With content-driven legal software management systems, lengthy forms that require financial information – such as those forms in divorce, bankruptcy, probate, and real estate closing matters – can be automated.

The behind-the-scenes content team, which acts like your back-end staff, accurately completes all calculations and automates them throughout these complex forms. Small law firms are saved from manually re-entering the information more than once.

These dedicated content teams also provide a comprehensive library of up-to-date forms that spans across all areas of law and states. To keep forms current, content teams forge close relationships with authorities so that they can be informed of changes before they are enacted. Most content teams also have automated systems in place that scan websites for any updates to forms. Small law firms can now have access to their own archive of even the most complex forms, with mergeable fields, at their fingertips.

Katie MacKillop has been helping attorneys at small law firms transform their practices and make more money for over seven years.

More from Family Lawyer Magazine

5 Practical Tips for a Paperless Family Law Office

The “Smart” Law Office