The COVID-19 pandemic has required courts to adapt amidst seemingly constant change. As the pandemic and our understanding of necessary precautions progresses, courts are returning to session in-person with various restrictions, virtually, or in blended virtual/in-person formats.
Provisions to the CARES Act passed last March enabled federal courts to return to session and conduct some virtual proceedings over video or telephone call. Smaller courts followed, beginning to hold electronic proceedings for bench trials, criminal appearances, and even all-virtual jury trials in the Western District of Washington.
Attorneys representing cases in 2021 have more to monitor than ever, understanding which elements of cases are virtual and in person, ensuring participant access to reliable internet and devices, and so much more.
Whether trial attorneys are catching up on a massive backlog of cases unable to be tried virtually or are working in fields or with judges with nearly no backlog, the return to the courtroom is a major logistical undertaking.
Tracking which cases were held virtually, blended with COVID-restrictions when physically in court, and fully in-person will be a data point that attorneys will want to track long-term. How did they perform in various settings? How many of each type of case did they argue? How might time commitments, preparation, or other elements change based on the format of a case? What matters become necessary or obsolete in each setting?
Case management software allows attorneys to track and report on all these aspects of their case. Not only can they track the matters, documentation, and court details in one place, but they will be able to pull meaningful reports on hours worked, results, and any other data points meaningful to them. The collaboration abilities that case management systems provide also enable attorneys to share information across a team and store information in a secure, central location to access from anywhere.
If you’re searching for a case management tool, here are just a few features you may want your solution to include:
- Case intake forms
- Reminders and alerts
- Deadline and assignee tracking
- Document storage
- Approval requests
- Linking ability for related cases or IP
- Robust reporting and custom field options
- Nuanced permissions
- Due date and overdue notices