The first step towards better case management for your personal injury attorneys is admitting you have a spreadsheet problem. Using spreadsheets (e.g., Excel templates) to manage your PI cases is like using a VCR to record your favorite shows—it works just fine if you only have one show to record, but good luck with anything more than that.
Similarly, spreadsheets are ok for organizing data that remains static after input, but once you start adding hundreds of cases, handfuls of contributors, thousands of tasks, endless deadlines, tens-of-thousands of documents, and non-stop split-second decisions, it all starts to unravel.
Not caught up on what we’re saying? Binge read below some of the ways that using spreadsheets to manage your cases will keep your PI firm in rewind.
You’re not up-to-date
Using spreadsheets to manage your cases is like looking up last week’s football score in the newspaper right as this week’s game is headed into overtime—you’re way behind.
This “snapshot” nature of spreadsheets leaves you vulnerable to missed deadlines, costly mistakes, and lots of wasted time and money.
And while there are online spreadsheets that allow for limited real-time updates, they’re simply not able to keep pace as your firm grows.
When you’re using spreadsheets, you’re buried in never-ending tabs and so is your vital case information.
You shouldn’t have to spend hours digging up important matter notes or critical tasks like they’re a hidden treasure…and then still miss stuff; after all, the only thing that leads to is a malpractice claim washing ashore.
You’re not providing quality service
Failure to meet your client’s expectations is the quickest way to poor reviews and a struggling PI practice.
Consumers can get anything they want with just a few taps of their phones, so they expect the same from their PI law firm—but using spreadsheets to manage your cases puts your firm at a huge disadvantage.
Spreadsheets make things harder to find so you end up spending more time searching for info than you do assisting your clients; and because spreadsheets are static documents, it’s harder for all team members to stay on the same page (literally)…leading to less informed interactions with your clients.
You’re not able to measure progress
Using spreadsheets to get your case from intake to closure is similar to driving in the dark without directions—you’re lucky if you get where you need to go…and you don’t have just one case to deal with.
Spreadsheets can’t give you visibility into the essential info you need to steer your firm towards success (e.g., critical dates, status updates, attorney caseloads, bottlenecks).
They also make it harder for you to evaluate your employees—resulting in over/under-worked staff, resentment on both sides, and ultimately, poorer work product.
You’re damaging your credibility
We’ve already touched on how the penchant for mistakes that comes along with spreadsheets can affect your reputation with clients and employees, but the effects are more far-reaching than that—inefficiency, unreliability, and missed deadlines can lead to irreparable damage in the legal community.
You already know that relationships with opposing counsel can be fragile, so why intentionally choose to smash your goodwill into pieces?
The only thing worse than doing unnecessary work is doing unnecessary work two or three times—and that’s what you get with spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets for lawyers decentralize information so you don’t know who’s working on what or how much they have done. This lack of transparency can lead to 2 scenarios: wasting time waiting for updates or wasting time doing duplicate work…and neither are good.
You’re not collaborating
In addition to forcing team members to work alone, spreadsheets for lawyers make it hard to disseminate updates—that’s because communication and documentation happen “outside the tabs.”
This limited collaboration leads to heavier burdens on your team members and (as mentioned before) duplicate work for everyone.
You’re not modern
Because legal case management spreadsheet templates are so one-dimensional, you’re forced to piece together a hodgepodge of non-compatible software to run your practice—which makes your firm look like a relic.
And that’s before mentioning that the practice of law today is extremely mobile and—in case you haven’t noticed—trying to use a multi-cell spreadsheet on your phone is not.
So in addition to being inefficient, you’re sending a message to your clients, peers, and (current and potential) employees that you’re not ready for the big leagues.
However, if you are ready for the big leagues, hit the tabs on the rest of our site so you can learn how our Next-Gen Legal Cloud® will help you build, manage, and grow your modern PI practice; then break free from your cell(s) by signing up for a demo…unlike spreadsheets, it won’t cost you a thing.