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Chapter 6 - Computer Concepts and Legal Applications

Case Management and Personal Information Managers (PIMs)

Many of the procedural and administrative functions of practicing law can be easily organized and automated using case management and PIMs software. These include functions such as timekeeping, docketing, calendar, address books, and others. The two main categories of software to handle these tasks are case management and personal information management (PIM) software. There is no clear line of demarcation between these two categories of software. Many functions are contained in both types of software, and this trend of “integration” will continue, as their objective is to manage case, procedural, and administrative legal information together.

Text Box:    Amicus Attorney CTI - integrates case management with telephone management.  Amicus can dial the number, screen incoming calls, put information about your client and matter on the screen as you answer your call, and creates an automatic call record w/o human intervention.Case Management Software. Case management software manages case information. It is generally thought of as managing the procedural and administrative, but not the litigation part of your cases. It is intended to be an integrated collection of functions that work together to manage the tasks involved in the practice of law. For example, the user can track court due dates and identify cases that are nearing time limitations. Case management is intended to eliminate many of the repetitive input tasks inherent in case management processes. For example, information such as a client’s name should be “shared” with a case management program, word processor, and other programs.

Case management software programs are different and do not all contain the same functions. The key is focusing upon the functions that are most important to you and the selection of software that meets your needs.

Screen examples of case management software called Amicus Attorney™ are shown below.

Some case management functions to consider are:

  • Case information tracking capability - Does it track by case #, name, client, date opened, or present status?
  • Document assembly - Does it “integrate” easily with your word processor program to create form documents?
  • Timekeeper - Does it automatically keep track of the time spent on cases?
  • Customized reports - Does it allow for reports to be created for your specific needs?
  • Accounting - Is there an accounting module?
  • Case document management - Will it index and manage case documents?
  • Calendar or schedule - Does it automatically calculate court dates in conjunction with court rules of your jurisdiction?
  • Ease of integration with 3rd party software - Does it actually “integrate” with 3rd party software or just export data to the other application?
  • Customizable - Can you customize the interface screens?
  • Ease of use - Is it intuitive and user friendly?
  • Technology up-to-date - Does it keep up with the latest technologies, such as Windows Vista or Intranets?
  • Docketing capabilities - Does it automatically calculate court dates?
  • Conflict checks - Does it have the capability to perform conflict checks?
  • Name and address book - Does it have an integrated address book that can be searched and also integrated with your word processor?
  • On-line help - Is the on-line help easy to use and comprehensive?
  • Technical Support - Is there an 800 number, and are the support personnel knowledgeable about their product?
  • Import and Export capability - Can data be easily imported and exported to other programs?

Personal Information Manager (PIM). A Personal Information Manager program is designed to organize case and personal information. Information such as names, phone numbers, addresses, calendar and court dates, to do lists, time and billing information, and a variety of other information can be organized and accessed in these programs. PIM programs can be generic programs, such as Microsoft Outlook™, or legal specific programs such as Amicus Attorney™, designed for lawyers to manage case or transaction information, calendar and docketing, contact management, time and billing, etc. The PIM program you select should have the capability to share information easily with your favorite word processing program in order to eliminate re-entering common case data for pleadings, correspondence and other legal materials. Below is a screen shot from Microsoft Outlook™.

A quality PIMs program should have the following features:

  • Calendar, Appointments, To-do list or Task Manager;
  • Calendar reminders;
  • Contact address and phone directory;
  • To do lists and prioritization.
  • Other features available on some PIM programs include:
    • Docketing screen (Project and tasks screen);
    • Time entries and timer;
    • Client contact and case manager;
    • Reminders, case activity checks;
    • Outliner;
    • Notes and attachments;
    • Different view formats;
    • Telephone dialing and call tracking;
    • Ticklers and alarms;
    • Import and Export capability;
    • Bring forward capability;
    • Group calendaring capacity;
    • Security features;
  • Database creation.

Text Box: Electronic Post-It Notes    Automating your case will not force you to give up your post-it notes.  They are now available in an electronic form to be attached to all of your applications. Post-It Software Notes – www.mmm.com






Some case management and PIMs software to consider include:


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