Although the series of reviews I conducted last year between the top three cloud-based practice management services – Clio, Rocket Matter, and MyCase – resulted in Clio getting the highest marks, my favorite single feature of all the services was MyCase’s Workflows. The Workflows feature, which allows you to set up a series of tasks under the umbrella of one overarching workflow, was something that true case automation requires.
Don’t let anyone tell you that each case is entirely different from the next, because for many practices, including mine, the only significant difference from case to case is the names of the parties and a few important details. For about 95-98% of my cases, the methods and procedures for handling the cases are identical. By having a cookie-cutter approach to these areas of your practice that are always the same, you’re able to put the appropriate time and energy into the areas that are always different – particularly into your direct relationship with your clients. Clio’s new Task Lists accomplishes this goal.
Yes, it may seem a basic addition to what Clio offers. However, looks can be deceiving – this addition is crucial.
MyCase’s Workflows is the current gold standard for easy creation of inter-linked tasks.
My favorite example of the utility of a one-step process for adding a series of nearly universal tasks is discovery responses. Currently, my entry in Clio tasks for any given case includes one discovery entry – the date discovery is due. However, if I were truly being honest, the entry “Respond to plaintiff’s discovery requests” includes a significant number of tasks, including:
- Draft discovery responses;
- Speak to client concerning additional information in responses;
- Request a certified copy of the insurance policy from the carrier;
- Request a copy of client’s criminal and driving history;
- Make any requests necessary for cell phone records;
- Assemble estimates, police report, photos, and other responsive documents;
- Send draft discovery responses to client;
- Get notarized verification form back from client;
- Serve verified, complete discovery responses.
While I could probably run through most of these in my head when preparing responses, keeping track of multiple cases is more difficult. Try and remember which tasks you’ve completed if you have discovery responses pending in five different cases. Now try ten. Now try 30. You can see how it becomes important to monitor not just the final result, but also what steps have been completed for numerous different cases. Being able to automatically create these task lists with one simple entry, a la MyCase’s Workflows, is crucial. For me, it’s possible – even likely – that due to the sheer number of tasks to be entered, without having a task list template, those individual tasks will never even be created.
You are able to create various types of lists for your different cases, as well as different aspects of each case. Do you have a regular routine concerning the opening of a file? Design a task for that. How about drafting your complaint or preparing for depositions? Design a task for that. Where the new Task List feature really comes in handy, in my opinion, is in areas that have a lot of small items (minutae, as it were) that MUST be done, but can be easy to overlook. Preparing a Trial Box can be incredibly tedious, but it absolutely must be done right every time. The same can be said for preparing motions and briefs in federal court, particularly concerning exhibits.
Once you have your task lists drafted, they’d be pretty useless if you couldn’t assign them to attorneys or staff like other tasks. Bearing that in mind, Clio’s Task List feature allows you to assign complete lists of tasks just like you would assign regular tasks. Designate the person to whom the list is being assigned, indicate its importance (from low – although when has this ever happened in a law firm – to medium to high), and create a due date for the task.
While there are many areas that I would love to see Clio improve in the future (particularly concerning multi-party litigation, an area where all current cloud-based practice management players could really improve), finding a way to compete with MyCase’s Workflows feature was an absolute necessity. For more information, check out Clio’s announcement of the new Task Lists Feature.