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How Lawyers In Any Practice Area Can Streamline Their Practice With Docketwise

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Mon Apr 11 2022 6 min read

Docketwise was born out of the need to build a platform to streamline the work of immigration lawyers. But while it was made with immigration lawyers in mind, lawyers in other fields can, and do, use Docketwise as well to optimize their work. As more and more lawyers who practice in a variety of fields bring Docketwise into their practice, we wanted to explore in more detail many of the features Docketwise offers that are most useful for lawyers regardless of their area of practice.

Let’s jump in.

How Lawyers In Any Practice Area Can Streamline Their Practice With Docketwise

1. Invoicing

Invoicing is an essential administrative task, and the easier it is to complete, the better it is for you as a lawyer to ensure you’re getting paid for your work. Docketwise allows you to create two types of invoices: 

  • Bills: Within the Bills option, you have two options: you can bill a flat fee, or you can bill hours. To help you provide accurate billable hours, you can use Time Tracking to include all billable hours as part of your invoice for a specific period of time. These payments are recorded or deposited into your Operating Account. You can find specific instructions on how to create a bill on Docketwise’s Support page. 
  • Trust Requests: This feature allows you to create an invoice that is recorded or deposited into a trust account, as required in specific cases. When the trust request is created, you can record a direct payment, send the invoice to your client so they can pay with a credit card, or set up a payment plan. 

It’s very important that you set up your bank accounts on Docketwise before you try to invoice a client. When you do have your accounts set up, and start creating invoices, they can be set to clients by email, text message, or shared through the Client Portal. You can see trust invoice payments by name as they are paid into your firm’s trust account. 

Managing invoicing in Docketwise: 

  • You can set up your Docketwise account to only give invoicing privileges to certain users in your firm, so that only those in charge of invoicing can see and edit invoices. This is important given that financial information requires confidentiality and should be managed carefully. 
  • Docketwise integrates with Lawpay, an ABA-recommended payment solution for lawyers. If you already use Lawpay, you can sync your Lawpay account with your Docketwise account to set up payment plans that automatically bill clients at specific intervals, and take credit card payments.  
  • As part of your follow up on accounts receivable, you can also create Reports on Docketwise that allow you to see unpaid and late invoices, as well as invoices with outstanding balances, so you and your team can follow up accordingly. 

Before you can actually invoice clients, though, you have to actually work on cases. So let’s go over Matter Workflows on Docketwise, where you can create case workflows and map out every step you need to take in a case. 

2. Matter Workflows

Every case has defined steps from start to finish. With Docketwise, you can create workflows that allow you to visualize and organize your cases by type - these case steps are called Matter Statuses, and you can assign them a timeframe until completion, which keeps you on track along the way. 

For each matter status, users can add two automatic actions

  • First, a list of tasks can be added to the matter automatically as soon as the matter is placed into a certain matter status.
  • Second, an outgoing email (written in advance by the user and saved under message templates) will be sent to the client with an update for that stage of the case.

This outgoing email helps ensure you’re following up with clients on next steps, which is important for two reasons: first, if clients need to take a specific action, this can be taken in a timely manner to keep the case going; and two, consistent follow-ups from their lawyer helps build trust. 

To keep track of all these matters that involve things to do, use the Events Calendar to keep track of everything coming up, delegate tasks among team members when applicable, and prepare for all your responsibilities in due time.

3. Events Calendar

Like many other electronic calendars, the Events Calendar on Docketwise allows you to create different categories of events. For example, you can create case-specific events, such as hearings, filing deadlines, and client meetings, as well as other events that may not have anything to do with your case load directly but are still important for you to be aware of, such as staff birthdays, national and state holidays in which public offices are closed, staff meetings, vacations, leaves of absence, etc.

To make sure that you and all relevant people don’t miss a thing, Events Calendar users can add multiple notifications to an event, which are sent to the user that created the event and those invited. 

And because we’re all about minimizing confusion by making things as clear as possible, the Events calendar on Docketwise has a two-way integration with both Google calendar and Outlook calendar.

To continue with the organizational features, let’s look at Notes, which enables you to write and keep your notes and all other case information in one place and thus minimize confusion for you and your team.

4. Notes

Docketwise allows users to enter notes from three different places: 

  • The main Docketwise Dashboard
  • A contact profile page 
  • A matter page.  

This means that you’re able to make and review notes along the way in different parts of the Docketwise system as you’re following the steps of a particular matter.

Notes can also be assigned to a particular user or multiple users so that they’re notified about the note in case they need to take any action. If you do need to share the notes with anyone that isn’t a Docketwise user, you can export your notes to PDF and share them electronically or print. 

Of course, if you’re going to keep all your caseload in Docketwise, that will require storage space. To account for law firms’ growth, Docketwise offers unlimited storage space. 

5. Files

The greatest thing about the Files feature on Docketwise is that both you as a lawyer and your clients can securely and directly upload files into the system. You can invite clients to upload files you may need for a step on their case through a questionnaire, or by logging into the client portal. When you’re looking at files on Docketwise, you can preview, rename, and download. You can also compress multiple files, or files that are too large, into a zip file. 

Best of all, despite its functionality for lawyers across all areas, Docketwise is highly customizable to fit your individual needs as a firm. 

6. Custom attributes

Understanding that every case and every client is different, even when the applicable law is the same, Docketwise Suite and Docketwise Enterprise allow users to add custom attributes for contacts and matters to keep track of data that isn’t asked in standard forms but may be relevant to the case or the client.

Some examples of common custom attributes for contacts might include: 

  • Name of person who referred the client (this could be helpful to see how many clients are coming to you via referrals)
  • Name of client's previous attorney. 

Some examples of custom attributes for matters might include: 

  • name of judge hearing the case
  • name of the grant funding the work (this is an example specific to nonprofits).  

Some of the ways in which these custom attributes can help you find information on Docketwise more efficiently are: 

  • Users can use the custom attributes as filters when running reports
  • Users can export the values of the custom attributes to documents when using the Automated templates feature.

We regularly speak to and work with our users to understand what they need to run their firms as effectively as possible, and we’re constantly building new features, optimizing existing features, constantly progressing toward our mission of empowering lawyers with great technology so that you can focus on what you do best.

Docketwise is a case management platform for all lawyers

If you're not an immigration lawyer but you're looking for a modern, cloud-based and flexible platform to help you run your law firm, check out Docketwise. With our CRM, easy-to-use client questionnaires and industry-leading API integrations, Docketwise helps you stay up to date on all your cases, communicate easily with your clients, and otherwise build and manage your law firm.

Learn more about Docketwise by scheduling a demo at the link below!

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