Case Management Methods

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (7)

Philhelm in Overland Park, Kansas

48 months ago

I know this is a jobs forum, but I was wondering if I could get any suggestions here.

I work as a paralegal (with slightly over one year of experience) in a small immigration firm with only two attorneys and myself. There was a case that fell through the cracks a bit, and while it was not a catostrophic deadline, we would like to create a better system. To that end, one of the attorneys asked me to devise a better system.

The problem is that he is against the idea of purchasing case management software. Granted, we have a software subscription to INSZoom, which is specific for immigration law, but we mostly use it for form preparation . The problem is that it is perhaps the most cumbersome software that I have ever encountered, and I am not convinced that its case management functions would be efficient.

The other option is Microsoft Outlook; we already have a task list to keep track of current cases, but the attorney, who is not computer savvy at all, simply does not like it. He doesn't know how to use MS Excel, so that is out as well.

Even our directory of case files on the server is completely defunct. Hundreds of files, all poorly organized (seriously, they need to be organized by client name, not case type), make it even more cumbersome to deal with. Furthermore, the senior attorney is resistant to any changes that would ultimately make things run more smoothly.

I am an INTJ by personality type (for those who are familiar with such designations), and it irks me to no end to see so many things that can be drastically improved upon if the attorneys were more open to change.

In any case, I'm starting to digress, so the bottom line is what is the best way to implement case management? I had suggested case management software, which was rejected. Can Outlook really suffice? I feel like my hands are tied.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

48 months ago

I used Outlook for years to manage deadlines. Don't forget, you can set it up to keep nagging you to do things. For that matter, Outlook can be installed on the attorneys' machines to nag them. You may have to take responsibility to enter the deadlines. Don't count on the attorneys to do it.

Maybe the attorneys might be more receptive to purchasing case management software if they could be convinced it would help them avoid notifications to the malpractice carrier.

Sorry to hear you are working in a disorganized office. Sometimes working for an anal attorney has its blessings.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

48 months ago

One more suggestion might be is to create a hard-copy list of deadlines. Print a copy for yourself and a copy for each of the attorneys. You would be responsible for keeping it updated.

Another standby that the senior attorney is undoubtedly familiar with is hand-writing each deadline in his At-A-Glance desk calendar. Very antiquated, but it works.

Of course the key to managing deadlines is to ensure the attorneys are cooperating with your efforts. That can mean at times you end up nagging them, either verbally or by written memo. At least a written memo, with a copy for the file, can help you CYA.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

48 months ago

@ Philhelm,

Hope my suggestions helped. Please ignore the troll.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Philhelm in Overland Park, Kansas

48 months ago

Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado said: @ Philhelm,

Hope my suggestions helped. Please ignore the troll.

Thank you for your suggestions. As it turns out, when I spoke with the attorney this morning, he had already came with his own implementation. He had been in manufacturing business for many years and decided to go with a work order method, in which each case has it's own sheet with case status updates, along with a sheet showing all active cases. Not unlike your suggestion of doing it hand-written.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

48 months ago

Philhelm in Overland Park, Kansas said: As it turns out, when I spoke with the attorney this morning, he had already came with his own implementation. He had been in manufacturing business for many years and decided to go with a work order method, in which each case has it's own sheet with case status updates, along with a sheet showing all active cases. Not unlike your suggestion of doing it hand-written.
Sounds like a plan! I like how the attorney came up with a method from his other experience that is transferable to law.

I didn't hand-write my deadline list; I would wordprocess it and print it out. I would set it up on an easel-type stand so it would be facing me.

In any event, hope it works for everyone. Best of luck with your job!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

48 months ago

My last firm did it all in Word. They also had hard copies of the court call. Of course, there were no notifications of deadlines that way.

Also, I had an attorney who kept his files in year order rather than alphabetically. If you had to pull a case file and didn't know the year it was filed, well then you were screwed. I never understood that system. I can only guess he did it to be an ahole.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.