The most important part of any personal injury software is creating template documents so your staff can generate completed documents by pushing a button instead of typing. To do that, you need an endless number of merge codes and the ability to easily create template documents.
***Does it do document assembly? (generate letters, forms, and legal documents by merging client data from the database into template documents). Document assembly will allow you to completely eliminate secretaries (I don’t have anything against secretaries but you can have them do other things! I have never had a secretary since I always used the document assembly in SAGA and I used Dragon NaturallySpeaking to dictate my template documents and everything else I write including this page.) Law firms which are using personal injury case management software but do not have document assembly or do not use it are missing out on the most valuable part.
*****Can you easily create and save template documents? Some of the software listed here require many complicated steps to save a new template document. This is the most important aspect, otherwise you won’t be creating template documents and will have to go back to hiring secretaries. The only software I am aware of which is easy is SmartAdvocate® and Prevail.
***Are there an almost limitless number of merge codes for a personal injury practice? For instance, merge codes to create “Dr. Joe Josephs” or “Dr. Josephs” or “Joe Josephs, MD”; “01/01/2014” or “2014/01/01” or “January 01, 2014” or “January” or “23rd” or “23” or “2014”. Are there codes for license plate; state of registration; list of all damages including cost of medical treatment and property damage; dates in hospital and dates of treatment; # of days out of work; police information, etc.
Are the merge codes easy to find and do they make sense? i.e. <<CL-FIRST-NAME>> for client’s first name.
Can your letterhead be created in a separate file and merged into template documents? (this allows you to easily change your letterhead without changing hundreds of template documents. This is vital but can probably be done with any of the case management software for Windows)
What is the cost for training?
Is training available on the Internet via live and/or recorded video; are there instructional PDF’s or an instruction manual available; is instruction available in your office; is your physical presence required in a classroom and where?
After training can you call in with questions or will you have to pay for additional training?
What is the annual cost for support?
*Is support easily and quickly reached? Try calling tech support several times to see how easy it is to get support.
What is the cost for updates?
How long has the company been in business?
How many law firms are using the software?
*Is there a quick case sign up screen to use when a potential client calls allowing you to quickly enter limited information to compile a retainer, medical authorizations, and firm welcome letter?
Is the dashboard customizable for each user?
Is the software company interested in receiving and willing to implement good suggestions which would benefit all users?
Does the case management software integrate with software you are currently using such as WordPerfect, Word, Outlook, QuickBooks and VOIP fax (you can send a fax using VOIP fax services by sending an e-mail, so if the software allows you to e-mail any document, it does not need to integrate with VOIP fax)
What other software does it integrate with for fax, email, accounting, calendar, scanning, telephone, time/billing.
Is there a hosted version of the software (in the cloud)? The advantage is that hosted software is updated, maintained, and backed up for you; can probably be used with Linux or Mac; and you don’t have to purchase, install or maintain a server.
How will you backup and restore the database files? Find a list of backup software (Tip: use software which can be restored to a different motherboard).
Is there an integrated backup feature to backup and restore the configuration (personalized settings of the software which can take many hours to reconfigure)?
Can you print out customized reports to different file types? For instance, I need to create an Excel file with the name, address and birthday of my clients so I can send holiday and birthday cards.
If switching from current software to new software, does the company have the ability to convert your data and template files from your current software to your new software?
Is it 32 bit or 64 bit? If 32 bit, will it run on on a 64 bit computer (SAGA would not)? It may not matter now, but it may in a few years when Windows and computers will only be available in 64 bit. While 64 bit is faster, 32 bit is fast enough even for large law firms but my concern is if the software will be upgraded or die. Because of the cost to convert to 64 bit, SAGA was sold to a company which also bought a 64 bit program and then killed SAGA.