User-Defined Fields: The Emphasis Is on the User

Every case is unique. No matter how many cases you see in your career, or how routine or similar they may seem, there will always be a few details that distinguish each case from the rest. And sometimes, those little details can be the difference between an enormously lucrative case and one not even worth taking on. As a lawyer with skill and experience, you’ve no doubt learned to identify exactly which details are essential to cases in your field. But it’s equally essential that you be able to record those details in the case file, somewhere they can be easily referenced.

That raises an issue: the developers of your case management software don’t have your experience, or your specialized knowledge. And the essential details of, say, an auto accident case are wildly unlike those of a medical malpractice case. Even cases in different states might need to keep different details in mind. It’s just not possible for a single case management system to be all things to all firms.

Even SmartAdvocate, as thorough as it is about keeping track of necessary information, simply cannot predict every single piece of data that its users might want to include. Fortunately, SmartAdvocate has a brilliant solution to this dilemma. User-defined fields, or UDFs, allow you to add just about any type of information to your cases. You can even customize UDFs down to the level of case types, allowing you to keep track of particular details only in the types of cases where those details matter. And everything you need to manage your UDFs is on one SmartAdvocate page, the UDF Editor.

To reach the UDF Editor page, simply click the Admin tab in the top toolbar, then click UDF Editor. (You’ll need a permission level that allows you to view and edit Admin pages.)

Navigating to the UDF Editor

Once on the UDF Editor page, you can choose whether to add fields to particular case types, or to all case types that share a single incident type. Choose the case type or incident type you want to add the field to, and you’ll be able to manage the UDFs for that type – you can add them, edit them, or delete them as needed.

As a mundane example, we’ll add a UDF you might want to use if you have any kind of pharmaceutical case: the highest prescribed dose. First, we click Incident Type UDFs, because we’re adding the field to all pharmaceutical cases, and then we select Defective Pharmaceuticals from the list of incident types.

Selecting the Incident Type

Next, we click Add New UDF, which allows us to customize the UDF.

Next, we click Add New UDF, which allows us to customize the UDF.

There is a remarkable level of customization available in just this small panel, but we’ll keep it simple for now. The important aspects are the description of the UDF and the type of field it creates – we’ll call the UDF “Highest Prescribed Dose” and make it a text field, which is a simple generic field into which you can enter anything.

Defining the new UDF

Now, any case in the category of Defective Pharmaceuticals has a new field that allows you to track the highest prescribed dose. Just go to the Incident Screen for any pharmaceutical case, and there it is, ready to store an essential detail.

The new UDF on the Incident Screen

Having the power to add any type of information to any type of case is a great thing. But SmartAdvocate doesn’t stop there. This introduction to UDFs is just scratching the surface of what you can do with them – check back in a few weeks for a much more in-depth look at customizing and using UDFs. User-defined fields are another in a long list of ways that SmartAdvocate gives firms the tools to work efficiently and effectively, without piling on limits and constraints. SmartAdvocate doesn’t stand in the way of you doing what you do best. It just helps you do it even better.