I have been CIO of three different large, multi-jurisdictional law firms, in addition to consulting with hundreds of firms in over 25 years in the legal technology industry across North America. I have found that every firm has docketing challenges, including policies, compliance and multi-jurisdiction requirements. Successful docketing system implementations combine a rigorous procedural methodology with change management techniques. They must also minimize the effort required by lawyers and secretaries to maintain the database. I have seen many instances when one or more of these requirements are overlooked, and the effort to correct the issues can easily surpass the initial implementation effort.

The docketing process can be very risky. When a law firm’s docketing and calendar workflow is undefined or loosely structured, the firm is left vulnerable to missing deadlines, losing track of e-filings, or submitting out-of-date or unofficial forms. Further, time-consuming paper reporting, inconsistent database and deadline management, and a lack of integration with other critical programs (such as time and billing systems, conflicts checking and document management systems) cannot only diminish a firm’s workflow efficiency, but also increase its risk.

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