Spreadsheets have been a popular tool for organizing matters, handling conflicts checks, tracking progress and other activities for the last few decades. With case management spreadsheets, it is possible for personal injury lawyers to easily manage 2-3 cases (though not without some calendar integrations). However, with each additional matter you add to a case management spreadsheet, the harder it becomes to manage. With 10 active cases or more, spreadsheets are a highly ineffective tool for managing cases.
Even online spreadsheets, which allow for limited real-time collaboration, are not an effective, scalable solution for growing law firms. In fact, using spreadsheets to manage your firm’s cases is costing your firm dearly. Here’s how.
Spreadsheets slow down your workflow process
Case management spreadsheets provide very little insight into your workflows and processes. They’re just not built for that. For example, spreadsheets won’t properly capture conflicts, case overlap or time-gaps between hand-off from one person to another. Spreadsheets don’t provide insight into bottlenecks nor enable you to quickly identify and eliminate them. Important dates, notes and instructions get lost in endless tabs and email chains. All this can easily lead to missed deadlines, longer case processing times, budget overruns and other avoidable mistakes. At worst, it can lead to a malpractice suit.
It can prevent you from achieving operational excellence
Modern law firms depend on achieving a high level of operational excellence in order to succeed – this is even more true for firms operating on contingency models. Operational excellence requires you to plan, manage and track cases at the highest level, with varying degrees of insight into how matters are progressing. It is also essential that execution is timely and flawless across the entire law firm, from intake to closure – with well-defined and easy to implement workflows. In order to operate efficiently and effectively, every team member must have visibility into their cases, tasks and timelines to get their jobs done. They also need to know which tasks require approval and be able to get that approval in a timely manner. Conversely, those giving approval need to be able to see what approvals are outstanding and have all the relevant information required to make a decision at their fingertips in order to provide timely approval.
Static spreadsheets are simply not capable of automating workflows and providing the easy access to information required to achieve operational excellence in your law firm. This will inevitably result in lower levels of client service and higher levels of dissatisfaction for everyone involved.
Increased miscommunication and duplication
Another major drawback to spreadsheets, even if you’re only managing a couple of matters, is that communication and documentation happen outside case management spreadsheets. Important things like emails, notes, briefs, medical records, photos, videos and more cannot be stored within a spreadsheet. While it is possible to link to many (but not all) of those things, doing so requires time – your most valuable resource.
Additionally, spreadsheets create information silos, it forces team to work on their own information silo. As a result, no one knows who is working on what, or how many tasks they have completed. The next thing you know multiple team members are working on the same task, in some cases even after it’s been finished by someone else.
Spreadsheets lack tracking insights
What you really require is a case management system that gives you data outputs in terms in insights, analysis, trends, etc. Spreadsheets can capture data, but getting insights from that data directly depends on your personal knowledge of the cases and whether you are a spreadsheet master. The same is true for each of your team members. Those that aren’t spreadsheet experts will get less information out of the spreadsheets, causing problems all around. Thus, you need an option that is intuitive enough to give everyone the data they need to do their jobs effectively.
All of the above listed issues can lead to damages to you and your firm’s reputation.
Choosing a case management software is the right move
If you are looking to up your game, you should use personal injury case management software to better manage your cases. No matter how large or small your firm may be, it’s too late to implement a proper case management software, which could radically enhance your firm’s abilities. Furthermore, you can easily migrate from spreadsheets to a new software over just a few days without losing the old data.
Head to schedule a demo to learn more about how to choose case management software for your personal injury law firm.