Case management can quickly become complex, keeping track of deadlines, matter documents and tasks. With the proper tactics and tools, it can become a way to keep case costs under control, make sure clients are satisfied and that every responsibility is completed.
To stay on top of their cases, firms should use the following best practices to make sure that cases move forward as they should.
Stay on top of calendaring
As soon as you’re aware of a deadline, put it into your calendar. No matter what type of system you’re using, keeping a deadline of calendars is critical, especially court specific ones.
Record time as it happens, making sure to attach billable time to its appropriate matter.
Set client expectations early
From the start, you should let your clients know what to expect in terms of communication, anticipated case outcomes and potential cost considerations. By setting the tone from the beginning, clients know when and how to expect status reports and whether or not their case objective can be achieved within their specified budget.
To make sure you’re keeping up with client expectations, consider running weekly reports to make sure your clients have received their previously scheduled status updates.
Have workflows set up
You should be very clear about what needs to happen in certain types of cases. If there are tasks that you know will have to be completed, set up a checklist ahead of time.
Make it easy to find what you need
Part of your workflows should be document storage, both digital and paper. When the time comes to locate a particular file or matter record, you don’t want to waste valuable time searching. Instead, file systems should be clearly set up, as well as any scanning systems and digital storage.
Come up with file naming conventions as well, to make sure that anyone on your team knows where to look.
Consider using technology
Many practice management programs are also comprehensive case management tools. Calendaring, setting up task templates and workflows depending on case type, and task management can be simplified through the use of technology. While you can do all of this manually, it’s a matter of how much time you have to handle all of these tasks and whether or not individual tools can manage all of your needs.
These systems also frequently include a client portal to facilitate secure client communication, also making it easier for clients to see all past correspondence in one place.