Law clerks & paralegals
Manage client data
ContactsLaw places client data at your fingertips; easily searchable and comprehensive. Any staff member can create a contact and other members can easily add or update the detail for a contact. From the summary page for a contact – and from anywhere else you see a contact within the application – it’s easy to navigate to related contacts…
Among the contact information captured by the system is:
- Name, aliases and registered business details
- Gender, industry/position
- Prospect information and referral details
- Addresses and correspondence preferences
- Telephone, fax, e-mail and website details
- Identification records
- Financial details and payment preferences
- Relationships to other contacts
- Free-form notes and user-definable tags
In addition, you can catalogue documents against a contact, further adding to the firm’s shared knowledge about them. At a glance, you can view activities recorded against the contact, list financial transactions and see the value of business for a contact. For clients, you can review the status of their matter(s) and use these lists to quickly navigate to files.
Searching for contacts is both simple and powerful; you can perform a complete or partial name match, all the way up to an advanced search by location, workgroup, or even their relationship to another known contact.
Forget about timesheets
When performing any activity that your practice dictates should be time-recorded, ContactsLaw starts a journal. There’s no need to fill out timesheets; ContactsLaw knows which activity you’re performing, when you started it and (in most cases) when you finished it. If the activity pertains to a particular contact, file, document or accounting transaction, the journal also records this. You can make notes and annotate the entry by adding other information specific to the activity (venue, court, proceedings, etc).
With a compatible digital telephone system, ContactsLaw even journals your telephone calls. ContactsLaw encourages and facilitates collaboration between members, allowing one journal to record time for multiple members (as in a conference), or to transfer time to another member (when a telephone call is transferred). You can also start journals manually, ensuring that every minute of billable time is captured.
As you work through tasks, you can visit your personal activities list to review the journals and fixed charges posted during your day. From here, you can amend entries, allocate records to files and correct mistakes. It’s easy to identify gaps in your day and evaluate your time management.
Manage your to-do list
Tasks represent work items in ContactsLaw. They can be sent by other members, or generated automatically by workflows. You can also create tasks for yourself to facilitate your time management.
From your personal task list, you can see exactly what work needs to be done, in what context it is and how it should be prioritised. The preview pane summarises the contacts, files and/or documents involved in the task, its status, start and finish dates, as well as any remarks made by the sender. You can arrange your tasks by priority or due date, filter by urgency or origin and group according to a range of criteria. Double-clicking a task takes you straight into the action, starting (or resuming) the relevant activity. Should you need to query a particular task, you don’t have to leave your desk or even touch your telephone’s keypad.
Save time creating routine documents
ContactsLaw’s sophisticated document production features harness the power of automation, enabling you to produce routine documents quickly and easily. Document templates can be created to standardise letters, e-mails, labels, covering letters, discoveries and more.
By drawing information from contacts, files and other documents – and reacting to intelligent formatting rules – the document builder eliminates the need for information to be re-entered; saving time and ensuring accuracy.
As a law clerk or paralegal, this allows you to spend less time authoring documents are more time critically evaluating your templates; resulting in practice-wide innovation and improved quality control.
Convert attachments to PDF
When transitioning to the management of documents electronically, a common concern is that of non-repudiation; ensuring that the document you send is the same as the document the recipient receives. ContactsLaw helps to address this concern by offering ‘on-the-fly’ conversion of documents to the read-only Portable Document Format (PDF) representation whenever you attach them to an e-mail. You can also convert any draft or final document on a file to PDF format at the touch of a button. This represents the best of both worlds; internally, your documents remain in a versatile, editable form while, when sent, are converted to a final, read-only format. By converting to PDF, you also make your documents more accessible to contacts running different platforms or versions of Windows.
Keep track of incoming documents
ContactsLaw places responsibility for the registration of documents and e-mails on the members who receive them. The process for registering a document is so simple and intuitive that anyone can do it. All you need do is identify the relevant matter and the type of document being registered. Once uploaded to the document library, the cataloguing workflow is started for each incoming document; you can perform this immediately or at a later point in time.
The cataloguing process is tailored to the type of the document and captures the relevant dates, contacts and other descriptive information accordingly. Certain types of documents may be configured to be distributed to the members and contacts on the file’s distribution list. The distribution activity makes this process quick and easy.
As documents are registered to the file, they appear on its documents tab in folders that approximate a traditional paper file. The benefits of storing your documents electronically are clear; they’re easy to locate, searchable, distributable and you save vast amounts of paper by not keeping them in hard copy form.
Get your bills done quickly
With ContactsLaw, it’s quick and easy to bill your files. It’s easy to identify when files should be billed, through overview and billing lists. ContactsLaw’s time recording and cost recovery features ensure that all data required to produce a bill is available ahead of time, greatly reducing the work involved in billing itself. ContactsLaw’s powerful, streamlined, intelligent bill composer strikes the right balance between speed and functionality.
The bill composer fully supports both timed-costed and fixed-priced billing methods. If the time and charges recorded on the file have been assigned to products – or if products have been included in a quote – they will appear on the draft bill, along with the corresponding quantity and charge. You can drill down to tweak each member’s portion of the total, mark values up or down or apply a discount (unconditional or time-dependant). With ContactsLaw’s convenient trust transfer feature, you can initiate the process of drawing upon funds held on trust in order to pay the new bill; the pending transfer even appears on the bill you issue to the client. Depending upon the configured workflow, you can send the draft bill to a supervisor or finalise it yourself. Naturally, ContactsLaw takes care of all trust and general ledger transactions for you.
Archive with ease
ContactsLaw facilitates the entire life cycle of a matter, with features to simplify and streamline the process of closing and archiving files.
At the conclusion of a matter, the file manager can mark it as being ready for closure. When the necessary trust and general ledger accounting has been completed, the archiving workflow commences. ContactsLaw assists by offering the option to automatically write off any unbilled disbursements or outstanding debtor balances; subject to the member’s level of authority. Once all pre-archival conditions have been satisfied, the file becomes archived. For electronic files, there is nothing more to do. For paper or packet-based files, a task to store the file in an archive box is generated. Administrative staff can work through the list of storage tasks at regular intervals to stay on top of the archiving workload.
It’s easy to keep track of the archive number and shelf location of archived files, which remain searchable along with all documents and financial transactions. By tracking the files in each archive box, ContactsLaw can tell you the age of a box based on its most recently-added file. At a glance, you can see which boxes are eligible for destruction. The file destruction activity liberates storage space and system resources used by archived files by permanently deleting electronic records when physical files are destroyed.
Keep track of personal information
In addition to the vast array of features ContactsLaw offers for managing your files, staff and workgroups, you also have a range of tools to help you manage yourself; including your personal member profile, payroll details and professional development.
There’s no need to fill in forms when you change your address, get married or are admitted to the profession; ContactsLaw empowers you to maintain and update your own personal information via your electronic member profile.
ContactsLaw encourages transparency by giving you access to your payroll records, and allowing you to lodge electronic leave applications, re-print past payslips and review your superannuation activity. By putting this information at your fingertips, ContactsLaw helps to reduce disputes and eliminate inefficient internal paperwork.
Acknowledging the requirement for all practising lawyers to keep track of their professional development activities, ContactsLaw provides a register for CPD entries. As well as keeping record of the seminars and events you attend, it displays your requirements and can be used as a calendar for upcoming events as well.