For more than 20 years, Hagens Berman has concentrated its practice in serious injury cases. More recently, the law firm’s practice has evolved to include an increasing number of complicated consumer class action cases.
As part of an overall software/hardware upgrade in the fall of 1999, the firm sought to replace its “dumb terminals” and existing case management system with “upgraded” hardware and applications, including Legal Files, according to office manager Clare Borden.
Today, even with the passing of 10 years and with the firm branching out into other class action areas, Hagens Berman continues to leverage the comprehensive functionality offered in Legal Files. Legal Files has met the challenge to adapt and change as the firm has grown and changed.
Adaptable Tools and Functionality
Offering ultra flexibility, Legal Files was designed to manage any type of case or file. The application can be utilized and customized by any law firm—regardless of size, location or practice area.
“For us, Legal Files’ most important feature is its ability to track deadlines and statute dates,” Borden said. “We don’t worry about missing a date. I would be fearful of working at any firm that didn’t have Legal Files in place; I would think you would miss all kinds of things,” she said.
“But my favorite feature, what I like the best, is its ability to create settlement statements; there is no room for error. Even on those rare occasions where we work up a settlement outside of Legal Files, I still like to input it into Legal Files to make sure things are done correctly, especially cost recovery and trust accounting.”
Legal Files tracks all case-related expenses incurred and whether they were paid or not. At any given time, you can view a negotiation or settlement worksheet that automatically brings together all the case expenses.
With personal injury work, Borden said, “We use every aspect and component of Legal Files—calendars, tasks, mail logs, notes, telephone logs, expense/cost tracking, document assembly. And with our class action work, we use many of those same tools, plus we use the Time Keeper a lot more.”
Legal Files’ built-in Time Keeper tracks the amount of time attorneys and staff spend on Legal Files activities. It functions like a stopwatch: you can start it, pause it and stop it—all with the touch of a button. When stopped, Legal Files automatically displays a Time Slip Update window with the actual time and the user name already filled in. You can choose to run the Time Keeper manually or automatically start the Time Keeper whenever a file is opened.
A Total, Complete Package
Legal Files is “a total, complete package,” Borden said. “There’s no risk of conflicts (of interest) because everything is right there for you in one place. Absolutely everything you need to track is in there, and anything we need to find is in there, too. We don’t have to look in Word, Excel or wherever because Legal Files manages it all.”
It’s not just the software that Borden and her team appreciate. “Any time we’ve had a question or gone through an upgrade, we have found everyone (at Legal Files) to be extremely helpful and very supportive,” Borden said. As just one example, Borden mentioned the “New Features” guide which Legal Files Software, Inc. publishes with each new release. “Those guides have been most helpful, keeping us informed of new features, learning what we can adopt into our practice and helping us transition into the new version,” she said.
Since 1999, Hagens Berman & Associates has relied upon Legal Files case management software to provide the tools it needs to ensure the success and viability of its practice. Even with an evolving practice, the firm has no need to invest in, or have its attorneys and staff members learn, any other case management system.
The Bottom Line
“Legal Files is thorough and (its people are) helpful,” Borden said. “I would recommend it to anyone.”