When it comes to case management, it’s easy to end up committed to a certain way of doing things—and lose sight of the fact that other lawyers and firms approach your same problems with very different strategies.
We’ve put together a few common approaches to tracking case tasks so you can choose from the tools available to you.
Spreadsheets have been around for a long time, which can lead to some lawyers undervaluing them. But thanks to today’s tech, lawyers have access to cloud-based spreadsheets that update in real-time.
Spreadsheets work especially well for small amounts of data and for organizing certain kinds of static information, such as budgets and documents. But on their own, they often aren’t enough to keep track of the many tasks associated with a single case—let alone twenty or thirty cases.
And for lawyers, not handling certain tasks can lead to some serious consequences.
Outlook has a committed contingent in the legal world—and for good reason. Sorting emails, delayed delivery, and pinning emails to the top of your inbox are all useful features.
When it comes to task tracking, many lawyers like to use Outlook’s “flag” feature, which allows them to flag incoming and time-sensitive outgoing emails—recruiting their inboxes to help with task management.
This is a great hack to have tasks in front of you in another way, but it ultimately doesn’t allow for solid, organized record-keeping of all the tasks of your various cases. Looking at what’s flagged in your inbox won’t give you the full picture.
Practice management software
An increasingly popular option for many lawyers is to use a practice management system. These legal-specific programs are designed with lawyers—and their need to efficiently track case tasks—in mind.
These programs can take a lot of information and allow you to track it in a clear, intuitive manner. They offer matter-centric organization and features like customized checklists, which let you prioritize tasks. They fill in the gaps for those devoted to spreadsheets and Outlooks—or stand on their own as the only system needed.
Another benefit to using a practice management system is the ability to share these tasks with others on your staff. It can be easy to assign a task to a paralegal or to another attorney at the firm without having to rely on email.