Case Management Software 101

You’re an attorney running a small law firm, practicing things like criminal law, real estate, family law, and estate planning. Your team sends out loads of documents and emails every day. It’s almost impossible to stay in the loop on every file. Your paralegal spends hours finding and filling forms with the same information, over and over. Worst of all, the time spent managing your firm’s cases inefficiently is costing you lots of money.

It’s time to do business differently. It’s time for case management software. So, what is case management software, how does it work, is it secure, and why should you make the investment?

Case Management Software Defined

Case management software makes it easy for attorneys to manage all areas of their practice from one convenient location. From calendaring, contacts, and matters to documents, emails, and tasks, all your important details are stored neatly within a digital case file inside the system. Case management software can be used to improve the working relationships within your team. When staff can easily share information with other attorneys in the firm it prevents duplication, ensures accuracy and saves time.

Whether you’re in the courthouse or at home, many case management software platforms are web-based which allows access to all your files, client details, and matter details at any time. With case management software, every matter worked on is created as a digital file, with the important details saved to the file as you go. From within the file, you can see all correspondence related to the matter, access the contact details of relevant parties and create documents and emails in a flash.

Most importantly, case management software helps with productivity and efficiency within a law practice. Features like document automation and automatic email management allow you to boost the productivity of your entire team.

Case Management Software Features

Although each case management software provides different features, document management, document automation, email management, matter management, and client management tend to be found in most software platforms. Let’s take a deeper dive to understand what these features do and why they are useful to your firm.

Document Management

An unorganized inbox, desk, or computer can hinder productivity and make running your practice a nightmare. Even the most organized attorneys can have a hard time keeping up with all the documents and emails they receive. What if there were a better, more efficient way to stay organized?

Case management software helps you to organize all your documents neatly in one place. Turning stacks of paper into searchable documents. Most allow you to scan and import all your documents into the software, so they are safely stored in the cloud or within the software itself. Some tools, like Smokeball, offer full-text search that allows you to search for any keyword or phrase that a document might contain. Smokeball also offers versioning tools that save and label each version of a document within a digital file automatically, so you never have to worry about saving over changes!

Document Automation

Every attorney knows that time is money. Wouldn’t it be nice to create templates for your most used documents, letters or emails, so you can assemble documents more efficiently? With case management software you can!

Using a case management system with a built in library or your own document templates turns your client’s information into re-usable data. Which you can populate into any document, form, letter or email. Turning mountains of repetitious work into easily executable tasks. Document automation allows you to put emails, letters, and documents together in a matter of seconds – saving you time and decreasing your chances for errors. By simply uploading your client info once, you can generate documents and emails based on the imported information, over and over again.

Smokeball’s document automation tools give you a place to upload your most used documents or emails and transform them into templates. Since your client’s information is already on file, Smokeball can pull the right details from the client’s file and quickly fill out any template you need. The Smokeball Client Team will jump start your library by converting 15 documents, forms or letters into templates for you.

Email Management

The average lawyer receives around 120 emails per day, each related to a client, case or project, stacking on top of one another, piling up over time.

Filing emails with their respective documents, PDF files, and other attachments quickly becomes tedious, time-consuming and difficult to keep up with. Add staff, long email chains, and multiple parties included on an email can turn your inbox an organizational disaster.

Case management software, that’s integrated with your email inbox can log all email communications between your clients and your firm. Each email that is sent or received is added to its respective digital file in the software and tagged. From there, anyone in the firm can find an email or attachment easily through a quick search, or by going directly to the digital file.

Smokeball’s integration with Outlook gives you the freedom to use your email as you normally would, without having to remember to save each email and attachment individually. Your staff will feel more organized and at ease, knowing that Smokeball saves all important emails and documents automatically in a single, shared digital file.

Matter Management & Reporting

Your documents and files are what keeps your practice running. But have you ever considered if your filing systems are efficient?

Consider how much time it takes for you to collect and organize client information on a daily basis. Also, have you ever been in a situation where you needed documents, emails or court forms but you don’t have access to them since they are at your office?

Using a case management system can transform how you keep track of open matters, and miscellaneous details. With case management software, you are no longer bound to your desk. Many programs are cloud or web-based so you can access all your files on the go.

Smokeball offers a centralized point for client information and help you standardize client intake information and how documents are prepared. Smokeball is built to collect granular information, allowing you to auto-populate forms, documents and send emails in seconds. Each matter layout within Smokeball is built to collect detailed information that is specific to the type of case you are working on. Smokeball also allows you to save all client emails, calls, documents, important dates, and templates—regardless of size.

Client Management

One of the best things you can do for your law business is track client records and interactions. Correspondence, phone numbers, addresses and personal information should be in one place, and easy to access, from anywhere, by your entire staff. Let’s face it, creating reports from paperwork or Excel files can be hard work and time-consuming.

With case management software, you can transition away from paper documents and files to keep track of client information. By storing this information digitally you can manage all your client information and create reports with just a few clicks. Want to see a list of clients with open cases? Not a problem. Need a report of everything your associate who called in sick was working on, so you can jump in and help? It’s waiting for you inside the Smokeball reporting section.

Smokeball tackles the tough tasks so you can spend more time delivering consistent, high-quality service to your clients. From phone calls, appointments, and correspondence, track any detail relating to your client inside the digital matter file. Smokeball’s bank-grade security provides a safe place for every detail of your client’s information. Unlike paper files, Smokeball’s client database is backed up throughout the day, and accessible from anywhere, including your smartphone.

Never miss a beat with Smokeball’s reporting features. Create reports with Smokeball on anything from important client dates, next steps on open matters, or client referrals.

Case Management Software Security

Many case management software companies are web-based or cloud based. These terms can be intimidating and hard to understand. Furthermore, with hackers and information-breaches, many attorneys are concerned about their client information being protected and safe. Understanding the basics of what cloud software is and what makes cloud-based software safe can help you feel more confident when making the transition to case management software.

In its simplest terms, the Cloud is simply the storage of data on a computer server in a separate location to you where the internet is used as the network to transfer the data back and forth between the device you are using and the computer server. The reason that the Cloud has rapidly become so popular is that its technology gives users the ability to work efficiently remotely and reduce costs on purchasing hardware (like computer servers) for the office. Additionally, most reputable Cloud vendors also house your data in multiple locations which gives you an over-night disaster recovery plan for your business.

When it comes to security for case management software, you should ensure that the vendor you are looking at uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and RSA encryption. These are industry standard encryption technologies to ensure that all communication between your computer and the remote server is encrypted and protected from interception. SSL and RSA are extremely powerful technologies that allow for complete, secure communication. These are also used by Banks to protect your banking data.

Why should I invest?

Not all case management software is created equal as each software varies in features and services. Make sure to do your research so you can identify the right case management software for your firm. Once you have found the right software, you will start to see these benefits almost immediately:

  • Better service for clients
  • Increased quality control
  • More efficient and organized employees
  • Increased profit
  • Time saved

In Summary

Case management can offer the following for your law firm:

  1. Case management software helps you to organize all your documents neatly in one place.
  2. Document automation tools give you a place to upload your most used documents or emails and transform them into templates to be reused.
  3. Integrates with your email program and logs all email communications between your clients and your firm.
  4. Tracks Open Matters, keeping emails, attachments, documents, phone calls, and forms all in one digital file.
  5. Tracks client records and interactions. Correspondence, phone numbers, addresses and personal information, all in one place, and easy to access from anywhere by anyone.

Every component within Smokeball is designed to work together to save you time, keep you organized, and provide the best service to your clients. If you are interested amping up productivity for your firm and learning more about Smokeball, watch a demo or get in touch with one of our Account Managers by calling (855) 668-3206.

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