Can I use a spreadsheet to manage my law firm cases?
Spreadsheets work well for quickly organizing small quantities of data—and because they’ve been around for decades, most people are very familiar with them.
But familiarity doesn’t make them a Band-aid for any kind of office work. In fact, in certain situations, spreadsheets can become dangerously unwieldy—taking up time they’re supposed to be saving.
Tracking who’s doing what
For law firms, spreadsheets can help you quickly organize documents. But try to jam the complex and dynamic details of a case into their basic format, and the whole thing quickly collapses.
Part of the reason for that is the sheer quantity of information that needs to be tracked in case management—and they’re prone to human error.
Consider all the individual tasks, documents, and contributors to a single case and it quickly becomes clear that even online spreadsheets that update in real time aren’t designed to track and organize the range of information and variety of tasks in case management.
In addition to case management tasks not fitting easily into a rows and columns format, cases also come with a fair amount of documentation to keep track of.
Contracts, briefs, and notes from client calls can quickly clutter a spreadsheet with pure volume. Add in non-text documentation, such as images and videos, and the confusion grows.
If you’re committed to the spreadsheet approach, you’re either trying to catch a plate’s worth of spaghetti on a single fork—or you’re having to use multiple platforms to track case data, which quickly gives rise to its own problems.
The solution to the spreadsheet dilemma is software.
Today’s practice management systems offer matter-centric software that can keep documentation organized, update instantly with cloud-based technology, provide customized checklists, track time, monitor case status, and more.
Since practice management systems are designed specifically for law firms, they are better equipped to handle dynamic and complex details—leading to a more efficient and reliable case management process.