University legal departments need the right case management system
The legal department of a university or college is unlike any other practice. While you deal with some traditional legal issues, like contracts and litigation, you also handle unique topics, including athletics, diversity, and fundraising. You and your staff also work with many different departments and individuals, sometimes at separate campuses.
Yes, college legal departments face great variability and diversity. However, the right case management system can help your department operate more efficiently. With a few simple steps, you can select the perfect system for your law department.
Consider how your team works when selecting a new case management system
Before selecting a case management system, you need to make a list of what issues and matters your law department handles on a regular basis. You can look at other universities, but remember that every school is different. For this reason, you shouldn’t feel compelled to follow what another school has done with their system. However, you should talk to all members of your department to identify all of the relevant legal issues facing your organization.
Talking to attorneys and staff members is also beneficial because it can help identify tools and processes that they use to get their job done. It’s possible that no one else knows about or can access these tools. Some examples include a spreadsheet that tracks matters and correspondence, handwritten calendars and notes, and password-protected files. Identifying these tools can help determine what type of legal management system will best serve the needs of your legal department.
One of the things that will help your team be more effective is rethinking the way that you handle spreadsheets and emails.
- While Excel is a helpful tool, it has some shortcomings as a data tracking system. You can’t update a spreadsheet if someone else has it open. Additionally, different matters are often tracked in different spreadsheets, so it can be difficult to get the whole picture just by looking at one of them.
- The average university legal department receives hundreds of emails each day. While some of these emails can be settled with a quick reply, others are more involved, ongoing matters. Many staff members lack a solid organizational system for emails, so important correspondence is lost in a sea of digital messages.
The solution to these problems is a collaborative, multi-user system that can handle data, documents, and emails, while also providing reporting capabilities. This will give you and your department the complete, real-time information that you need with only a few mouse clicks.
You need to find the system that’s just right for your university’s legal department
Once you’ve figured out what your legal department needs, you should be like Goldilocks and find the system that’s just right for your department. To accomplish this goal, you want to purchase a flexible system that can handle everything that you deal with on a daily basis.
- Look for a system that can handle everything from general advice to litigation.
- You want a system that can easily transform a file if a situation changes from general advice to litigation. The file should maintain an accurate record of events in one convenient location.
Flexibility provides the best value in the long run because it allows your system to grow as the university and its policies evolve and change.
By following these recommendations for selecting a management system, you can transform your university or college legal department into a more efficient and organized operation.