Ten Things Law Firms Hate About Case Management Software

Stacey Burke is a Houston-based attorney and law firm management consultant who works around the world with lawyers and law firms to improve their business development, marketing and infrastructure. Although we have no business relationship with Stacey, I recently came across an article she published entitled “Top Ten Reasons We Hate Case Management Software.” Although nearly two years old, most, if not all of the points the article raises are still valid and prevalent.

I was immediately drawn to the article, as I wanted to see the extent to which SmartAdvocate addresses the listed complaints. I was gratified (but not surprised), to see that SmartAdvocate provides a response and remedy to each of the shortcomings she enumerates.

In this post, I’ve listed the ten “reasons” identified by Stacey (in blue) and responded with the ways in which SmartAdvocate addresses those concerns or shortcomings (in black).

If you’d like to read Stacey’s original article, you can find it at: http://www.staceyeburke.com/blog/top-ten-reasons-we-hate-case-management-software If you’d like to learn more about Stacey and her business, go to: http://www.staceyeburke.com/


It’s clunky and ugly

Each screen in SmartAdvocate is designed to provide users with a wealth of information in a concise, easy to access format. We’ve tried to strike the right balance between function and design, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You decide.

No one solution really has everything we are looking for

Obviously, that depends what you’re looking for. We’ve tried to make SmartAdvocate as comprehensive as possible. If you’re looking for a single platform that enables you to do everything you need to do to manage your cases, includes a powerful, self-contained document generation engine and document management system, offers communication features like mass emailing and integrated text messaging, and contains time and money saving features like barcoding for scanning (to name just one), then SmartAdvocate is the system you’ve been looking for.

Difficult or impossible remote/mobile access

Not so with SmartAdvocate. Our server-based platform is web enabled for direct remote access. No VPN or third-party provider is needed. You can do anything remotely that you can do in the office.

Our easy-to-use, free iPhone app also provides mobile access – and we’re adding an Android app this Fall.

Does not include real document management

Not all case management systems include true document management functionality. Many programs interface with external document management software. SmartAdvocate contains a true document management system. All documents are stored and accessible in the system, where document generation, document organization and document management are all performed and handled.

No custom fields or tabs allowed

While most of the low cost, cloud based case management solutions may look cool, in exchange for cheap and sexy you usually forego the ability to customize. Not so with SmartAdvocate (both server and cloud versions), where user defined fields and custom document merge codes enable you to tailor the system to your needs. There are a host of other aspects of the system, such as file and document naming, where you have the ability to customize the system.

Certain features can only be adjusted by the software company (for a fee of course)

SmartAdvocate is loaded with more features and capabilities than any other case management system. It’s all there and included in the price. Our trainers can show you how to make ongoing modifications to your system yourself, so you don’t have to rely on us or pay us on an ongoing basis as your firm’s needs evolve. There are, of course, optional third-party integrations, like text messaging and medical records retrieval services, which are available for a modest, one-time charge.

After our initial investment, the company stops trying to help us succeed

After the sale is closed, many software companies disappear – some don’t even offer onboarding or initial training to new customers. Our approach is the polar opposite. System implementation and configuration is a critical part of the purchase. We have a lot of self-help training resources, but offer and strongly recommend personal training, conducted by a human who can answer your questions and show you how to use the features that matter to you. After all, what good is having a Ferrari if you don’t know how to drive it?

Furthermore, SmartAdvocate is not just designed to help you become more successful, it provides you with the tools you need as your firm grows. It is this long-term, relationship-based approach that separates us from most of our competitors.

It won’t work with a Mac

Although the server version of SmartAdvocate must be installed on an SQL server, the platform is also web-based, so it can be accessed by any internet-enabled computer or device, including Macs. The same is true for our cloud-based system. And every system purchase includes a free iPhone/iPad app. (Don’t fret, Android users, the Android app is coming this Fall.)

It’s too expensive

The cost-benefit calculus for any firm should take into account time, labor, and other cost savings. The myriad of automated tasks and functions in SmartAdvocate enable firms to do more with less labor and help attorneys to accomplish more in the same amount of time. If you could work on 40 cases in the time it now takes you to manage 30, how much more profit would that add to your law firm’s bottom line? We believe that SmartAdvocate provides more value than any other system on the market.

We buy it and don’t use it

I’ll let Stacey’s response speak for itself: “The biggest point of contention between law firms and their software is not a willingness to spring for the cost; it is actually using the program once purchased. Dear lawyers: stop drinking the haterade. Organization is your friend. Case management software can save you from yourself in areas including conflicts checking, customer relationship management, document form automation, and more. You must continue to learn about your programs. I tell the lawyers I work with that “training is forever,” meaning that your law firm has to keep training its staff on a regular basis and maintain quality control of your database dutifully throughout the year.”