Learn how to find the best digital case management solution for your team
If you’re part of a busy legal team, chances are finding the perfect case management software is not the first item on your to-do list. In fact, it may not even be the second, and yet, finding the right digital case management solution can make the day-to-day lives of attorneys and paralegals much easier, freeing up more time to spend with clients and leading to better outcomes in court. This guide walks you through how to choose the best case management tool for your team and the different features you should consider before making a decision. But first, let’s define caseload management.
What is caseload management?
Caseload management is the process of managing new case intakes while balancing priorities with existing cases in order to optimize time spent on both. The past fifteen years have seen an explosion in the amount of digital evidence available to legal teams, which means that discovery now involves sifting through emails, going through social media messages and watching body-worn camera videos, in addition to reviewing the usual police reports and witness statements. While these new sources of evidence bring more certainty to cases. There is no doubt it can make managing caseload more challenging if the right tools and workflows are not in place. Some benefits of good caseload management practices include:
Improved court performance: Legal professionals can show up at their best for clients when they have time and proper resources to prepare for court days.
More thorough intake process: Good caseload management practices make it easier to sort and categorize evidence, which reduces intake time.
Fewer compliance issues: Detailed audit threads that follow strict legal procedures can ensure you protect the rights of your clients and the opposing party.
Less burnout and attrition: Heavy workloads and a stressful environment make burnout and attrition a common problem in the legal profession. A thoughtful approach to caseload management can help your team distribute the workload as equitably as possible.
Best strategies for caseload management
These strategies can help your team prioritize and work through cases more effectively and efficiently:
Break down data silos: Good caseload management involves securely sharing and making data easier to find for your team. A purpose-built digital platform for case management is usually one of the best ways to organize intake information and evidence in a way that’s accessible to other authorized parties.
Get a complete view of your caseload, then break it down: As the saying goes, it's hard to see the forest when you’re lost in the trees. You need to have a complete picture of all your cases at any given time in order to assign tasks efficiently. Incidentally, case management software is also great at helping you get a bird’s eye view of your caseload and building in time for priority tasks.
Temper down digital evidence: The onslaught of smartphone videos and text messages can be much less overwhelming when it can be tagged, searched for and reviewed all in one place with robust legal case management software.
To learn more about caseload management strategies, read Caseload Management: How the Best Legal Teams Stay Organized.
What is case management software?
Case management software stores evidence and client information and allows legal professionals to organize, review and share it securely. Cloud-based solutions offer the most flexibility because case files can be accessed from anywhere, anytime by your legal team, whether they’re pulling case law in the office, working remotely or spending the day in court.
Benefits of case management software
There are many benefits to using case management software, but the most obvious one is lessening the administrative burden that accompanies the piles of evidence. Instead of sorting through boxes of hard drives and manila folders, your team can pull up the file they need in a matter of a few clicks. Modern solutions, like Axon Justice Premier, also make audio and video evidence searchable by automatically creating clickable transcripts, so you don’t have to manually review hours of video footage.
Shorter review times and less time spent on paperwork translate into more productive legal professionals. Colorado 21st Judicial District is a great example of how an agency with a heavy caseload and limited resources can maximize its efficiency with the right case management software. After switching to Axon Justice, they were able to both boost productivity and increase employee retention by cutting down on administrative work. “Attorneys and support staff members don’t get as frustrated or feel so lost when they are in the system, which takes one more thing off their already full plates,” said Jordan Weimer, the supervising paralegal at the office.
Security and compliance are also made easier with digital case management, by providing you with a safe, encrypted digital space to store and track sensitive information, versus relying on ever-fragile paper records.
Learn more about case management software.
Key features of the best case management solutions
Before deciding on a provider, make sure your case management software has these must-have capabilities:
Customization: You should be able to customize your legal case management software to fit the unique needs of your office, including how you manage audit trails and user permissions. You should also be able to create custom document retention policies.
Security: Any case management software you consider should encrypt data both at rest and in transit, along with other security measures, like multi-factor authentication.
Ease of Use: Being able to ingest documents and keep them organized so your team can focus on more impactful tasks is arguably the entire point of case management software. You may want to ask for a free trial or a demo to make sure your solution is user-friendly.
Reporting: You should be able to automatically generate reports that show file history and updates, as well as track when case files are accessed by team members or disclosed to opposing parties.
Collaboration tools: Prioritize solutions that allow you to securely share data with colleagues and make necessary disclosures within the software solution (usually via a secure link).
Easy mobile access: Legal professionals are often on the move, meeting with clients, preparing for courts and logging hours while working from home or on the go. A case management solution with mobile access provides maximum flexibility.
Integration: For ease of use and to keep a clear sightline of all your case documents, your case management software should integrate with other solutions like your client management, scheduling or invoicing platform.
If you want to dive deeper into must-have features for case management solutions, take a look at 5 Features the Best Attorney Case Management Software Must Have and The 7 Things Public Defenders Need in Case Management Software.
E-discovery software for law professionals
E-discovery software allows law professionals to upload, review, track and disclose documents during discovery. It can be a separate solution from your case management software, but they are often the same tool. A robust enough case management system can often act as e-discovery software.
Key features of modern e-discovery software
Powerful search tool: Look for software solutions with strong filtering capabilities so you can find files that you need right away, without having to scroll the search pages.
Tagging and review: Help eliminate confusion about priorities and obligations with concise audit trails and workflows.
Easy onboarding: It should not take your team weeks (or even days) to learn a new tool. Check reviews on Capterra or Gartner and ask your network about their onboarding experience with their case management solutions.
Hassle-free disclosure: To minimize time spent on admin work, you need to be able to share deposition statements and subpoenas within your e-discovery software. For instance, with Axon Justice Premier, legal teams can disclose discovery without the hassle of DVDs or USB drives. You can reach out to the Axon team if you’d like to learn more about Axon Justice features and how it supports legal professionals.
To learn more about e-discovery software, read The Impact of E-Discovery Software on Law Professionals.