Four benefits of replacing legacy case management software
It is no secret that law firms can be slow to adopt new technology, and with good reason. Law firms make large investments in software systems that must be readily available given the demands of trial. Additionally, they handle sensitive information that cannot be open to security vulnerabilities. However, at some point it becomes time to explore the benefits of newer, more up-to-date technology.
Case management software can encompass many different things. For this post, we are looking at systems used to manage evidence and work product including systems to store and analyze case-related documents and videos, build fact chronologies and timelines, manage deposition transcripts including designations, and organize witnesses and characters.
1) Everything in one place
Case management software is a relatively recent development. Law firms who use legacy software are often using disparate systems for case management. They may have one tool for chronologies, another for transcript management, then a spreadsheet for tracking witnesses, and various other manual processes for creating outlines and exhibits. These disparate systems make it difficult to see updates and quickly understand what is going on. Onboarding a new team member requires training for all the systems as well as the case itself.
One of the key benefits of modern case management software is that all these tasks can be done in one place, with linking capabilities and automations that reduce time spent switching between processes. For example, if one practitioner adds notations to a deposition, then those notes are available for all team members to instantaneously view and collaborate as needed. Teams can easily build on that information to prepare for other depositions, add to a chronology, or include in designations, etc. Notes will not end up in a silo in someone’s hard drive, disconnected from the underlying evidence, or result in duplicate copies that quickly go out of sync.
2) Cloud-based software advantages
On-premise software requires extensive resources to maintain and update. Users may update their software at different times resulting in people on the same team using different versions of the same software, which leads to incompatible files or work product. Updates may also take significant down time.
Additionally, users face storage challenges with on-premise software. Files stored locally on different machines result in duplication and difficulty keeping track of various versions of files. Scaling on-premise software is difficult given the finite amount of space available. Because older software does not keep track of active users or when a matter is still being worked on, it is difficult to know what to archive to gain more space.
Cloud-based software has a shared workspace that always has the most up-to-date version of documents and the software itself. Collaboration is easy because different team members aren’t switching between documents and trying to find files in various hard drives. Additionally, administrators can easily see who is working on what matters and when a workspace can be archived.
3) User-friendly interfaces
Many legacy systems require extensive training, which leads to frustrated users and poor adoption rates. Legal practitioners are rarely able to devote the time needed to learn database management techniques or nuanced searching systems. Then, software sits unused leading to more disjointed systems.
Modern systems prioritize user-friendly interfaces that are intuitive to the way legal teams work. Users can jump right in, without significant training. With an adaptable interface and customization, the software displays what is most important to the team and users can create workflows for each unique case.
4) Data protection improvements
Law firms need to meet high standards for data protection based on the rules of professional conduct as well as consumer privacy laws. With confidential, privileged, and highly sensitive information, law firms must be responsible data stewards. Legacy software does not have options like single sign on or multi-factor authentication, which are newer advancements. Additionally, access permissions and sharing controls in newer software make sure that information is not inadvertently shared with the wrong parties.
State of the art systems make collaboration easy and cut down on manual work, have benefits for the IT team, are user-friendly, and include modern data protection measures. Given the investment law firms make in their technology, they should have all these benefits when choosing case management software.
For more tips on replacing legacy case management systems, download our three-step framework for evaluating legacy case management systems.
Rachel Bailey is the US Product Marketing Manager at Opus 2 where she uses her writing and storytelling background to help legal professionals understand the benefits of Opus 2 solutions. Previously, she worked as a legal data expert and data relations manager at Lex Machina. She is currently based out of New Orleans, Louisiana after spending several years practicing trademark law in the Bay Area. Rachel earned her JD from the University of San Francisco and a BSM from Tulane University.
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