In litigation (and in life), the organization often leads to better results.
The path to organization, especially in litigation, can present significant challenges. As a trial attorney handling a number of mass killings cases, I have learned about and appreciated certain state-of-the-art legal technology tools that are vital to the organization. So not only can I “keep up” but also move forward with tools that support critical action thinking, complex problem solving, and overall optimal performance in managing complex litigation.
Working with a technology subsidiary of my law firm, I have had the opportunity over the past few years to help design a matter management system, and in my current practice I rely heavily on that system to efficiently manage a large group of cases. The end result of this design process was a customizable, searchable, cloud-based reporting database that could handle a virtually unlimited amount of data – whether my case report contained 20 or 20,000 cases.
The system allows me to manage all of my cases with relative ease, and any litigation attorney who still opposes the implementation and use of new technology can no longer deny the benefits.
At the beginning of designing a process management system or database, a law firm or legal department needs to think about the type and scope of information to be collected, especially as this is likely to provide the basis for an analytical review of the trends in the litigation.
For the cases I manage, various dates were relevant to my clients, starting with basic biographical information about the plaintiffs in my affairs. Equally important was the need to identify the various entities and stakeholders involved in a given case and to track their changing status throughout the litigation. Other data to track were: lawyer identity, jurisdiction, expert witness, settlement status and conditions.
In addition to being able to enter data in certain database fields, I was also able to upload and link important documents.
The individual needs of a law firm or legal department inevitably vary. So when designing an internal system, a full review of the relevant information and input from managers and practitioners is beneficial.
Analysis and reporting
As soon as relevant data is recorded in a database, a case management system pays off as an organizational tool.
In my experience, I have not only been able to review and evaluate a single matter, but, and perhaps more importantly, find and analyze groups of cases and generate reports to aid my analysis. This enabled me to be proactive with my affairs. In a matter of seconds, I was able to search for all the cases currently planned for the process and generate a report detailing when and where they were going on, as well as other relevant details.
This reporting enabled me to prioritize and plan accordingly for matters that require immediate attention.
Of course, a test calendar function is only one benefit of a case management system. Depending on the general objectives, data can be searched and analyzed in many ways. For example, matters can be analyzed by jurisdiction, opponent, type of claim, all of the above, or an unlimited combination depending on the amount of data collected.
Indeed, the beauty of such a case management system is the ability and freedom to analyze data and generate reports based on criteria that are deemed most relevant to my clients and me.
Business customers are concerned with budgets and costs, and likely increasingly because of an ongoing pandemic.
If businesses are to stay competitive and keep costs under control, innovating organizational tools through technology is more important than ever. When it comes to litigation, a case management system improves customer service when used properly.
Indeed, these systems can help a user identify emerging trends: be it in filing full cases, in a specific jurisdiction, or on a specific opponent. Such capabilities also take the guesswork out of evaluating billing value by allowing one to search the history of handling cases on similar matters. The technology used in this way promotes better decision making, which is a foundation for solid customer service.
Technology-driven case management systems promote efficiency.
In the litigation business, the sheer volume of data and information that needs to be collected, stored and analyzed continues to grow exponentially. Traditional document diagrams and spreadsheets may be useful, but such tools have limited ability to handle data that grows in volume and complexity.
Powerful technological tools, on the other hand, offer the highest level of reliability and efficiency. Whether the litigation is local or national, we use these systems to keep track of trial dates, discovery deadlines, deposits and court appearances and display them in calendars or reports. This ensures that no date or deadline “slips through the cracks”.
Another reason to consider the “efficient” benefits of technology is simply the ability to save time – what used to be considered added value is now seen as a necessity and requirement. .
Recently, a customer requested numbers for cancellations made over a period of time. With the relevant data already tracked, the task was as simple as running the appropriate search to answer the customer’s query. What instead could have been a tedious and time-consuming exercise turned out to be quick and easy due to proactive considerations of how to use technology. .
Since case management systems securely occupy the cloud, there are numerous possibilities for cooperation between lawyer and client as well as for savings in client costs. If both the client and attorney have real-time access to a cloud-based case management system, the client has the flexibility to determine and allocate resources and potentially use the case management system independently of their attorney. Indeed, in some cases, a client’s preference to rely directly on a case management system rather than calling their attorney to request information will lower costs and thus have a positive impact on the client’s litigation budget.
Additionally, a client’s ability to view and operate a case management system supports collaboration, trust, and clear communication between client and attorney.
Even with the cutting-edge technology currently available, we can assume that innovations will continue to drive process management – in the form of data analyzes and executive dashboards. The concept of data analysis is to use technology to discover, interpret, and communicate meaningful patterns in data that is particularly useful in areas with a lot of recorded information, and to rely on the visualization of that data to convey insights.
Law firms will likely use legal data analytics to win cases and produce positive outcomes for their clients, with an enhanced ability to uncover patterns in how courts previously ruled on similar issues.
Data analysis may also provide better insight into the duration of a case or an opponent’s experience with similar cases. Accordingly, companies can better advise their customers and make predictions on a range of topics, from litigation duration to expected judgments and benchmarks.
The Executive Dashboard is the vehicle with which data analyzes are reported to a customer.
Dashboards track, analyze, and visually display various metrics and key data points so any key stakeholder can monitor the overall status of a litigation, company, or other process. These dashboards are fully customizable to suit a customer’s needs. They enable monitoring in “real time” and at the same time minimize the time required for analysis and communication.
The difference, however, is that executive dashboards are more visual (e.g. charts, graphs, tables) and make it possible to understand trends and developments more quickly. Dashboards can also automatically report their data anytime, anywhere, reducing or reducing the time it takes to analyze and format data.
As lawyers and their clients increasingly rely on technology and advances in technology, litigation management is inevitably becoming more efficient and forward-looking. Likewise, the communication and cooperation between lawyer and client will tend to increase as the process costs are reduced.
Without a doubt, technology is key to an organized approach to managing complex litigation. With the tools available, I can use tailor-made case management systems to offer solutions and implement strategies to meet the requirements of current and future customers.