Legal Calendaring Software 101
By Nicole Black
If you’re a litigator, your practice revolves around court deadlines. From criminal cases and personal injury matters to commercial litigation and class action lawsuits, there are many different deadlines to keep track of and conform to.
In litigation, missing a deadline isn’t an option since the end result could lead to penalties, such as court sanctions or even dismissal of your client’s case. If one of these penalties occurs, you may face the unfortunate possibility of disciplinary actions, the loss of your license to practice law, and even legal malpractice.
A robust calendaring system for law firms will ensure that no one in your firm ever misses a deadline. Because drop-dead deadlines like statutes of limitations can make or break your client’s case, it’s imperative for your firm to have legal calendaring processes in place that are reliable and accurate.
The Benefits of Legal Calendaring Software
Before electronic calendars were invented, lawyers tracked deadlines and due dates using paper calendars and tickler systems. This was a clunky, inefficient process, but in most cases, it got the job done. At the time, there were no other alternatives.
Fortunately, there are now better options. With the advent of computers, electronic legal calendar software became available—making it easier to track and manage litigation deadlines. Advances in technology further improved legal calendaring, allowing lawyers to access and manage their calendars from laptops, desktops, or mobile devices. All that’s needed is an internet connection.
Currently, there are robust legal calendar software management tools that make legal calendaring a breeze for busy lawyers. With the right calendaring software for law firms that is cloud-based, you can access and manage your firm’s calendar from any location, as long as there is internet access available. When your firm’s calendar is housed in the cloud, everyone in your firm has access to the most up-to-date information on meetings, appointments, court dates, and deadlines. As a result, your team will stay in sync during the management of legal matters and looming deadlines.
Cloud computing and SaaS software with rules-based calendaring capabilities revolutionized deadline tracking. Court rules-based calendaring features connected to online legal calendaring systems offer a modern, superior way to track and manage court deadlines.
What is Rules-Based Legal Docketing Software?
If you’re not familiar with rules-based calendaring, you’re missing out! With this functionality, specific jurisdictions’ court rules and statutory deadlines are automatically applied to the due dates of a particular matter at the start of a case. This means you no longer have to manually enter deadlines. The rules-based calendaring systems handle this time-consuming task for you.
Another popular benefit of cloud-based, as opposed to premised-based, rules-based calendaring tools is that this software automatically updates your firm’s calendar if and when any dates change. Since the data is housed on the court calendaring software provider’s cloud servers, the court rules are regularly updated on the back end.
As a result, there’s no need to download new files or manually update your firm’s calendar when court rules change. Instead, the rule changes are automatically added to your firm’s calendars with cloud-based software. When key due dates are modified, or the court’s rules are revised, the system automatically recalculates the deadlines and changes them on your calendar. No additional steps are required on your end.
How to Choose Rules-Based Legal Docketing Software
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing rules-based calendaring software for your law firm. First, you’ll want a tool that integrates with your law firm’s law practice management system. This is because your firm already relies on the legal calendaring tools built into the law practice management system. If the rules-based calendaring software doesn’t integrate with your firm’s law practice management software’s calendaring system, you’ll have to re-enter court deadlines manually. This can result in deadline-calendaring mistakes—the very problem you’re trying to solve.
Also, choose a rules-based calendaring tool that includes the calendar rules for the appropriate courts and jurisdictions. If your firm’s lawyers litigate in jurisdictions and courts that aren’t covered by the software, then the tools are useless.
You’ll also need to take the software for a test drive. Take advantage of free trials, and have all stakeholders in your firm sign up and test out the software. Also, make sure the interface is intuitive and user-friendly.
Lastly, enter test data from a few cases into the system and ensure that the deadlines are easily tracked and visible to all interested parties. If everything works well, then congratulations! You’ve found the right court rules-based calendaring software for your law firm!
Get Started With Calendaring Software for Law Firms Today!
The bottom line—the practice of law doesn’t leave much room for human error. It’s essential to take advantage of a calendaring system for law firms and implement processes that eliminate calendaring mistakes. Calendaring software for law firms that is rules-based will help you do just that by protecting your firm from the risks of malpractice caused by missed deadlines.