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Over the years, case management software has become more and more refined. However, there are still several programs that don’t take into consideration the fact that most attorneys need a program that is more adept at their particular area of practice. I practice in the area of family law, and needless to say, most of the case-management programs floating around don’t account for the language and the rules involved in my practice area. That is to say, not until now. The folks at AbacusLaw have come out with practice-specific software in the field of family law (they also have one for estate planning, but since I don’t practice in that field, I will keep my remarks in this column focused on the Family Law Edition). In order to work with the specific practice area programs, one must have either the AbacusLaw Classic Law Software or the Gold edition. AbacusLaw Gold, with fully integrated legal billing software, takes the drudgery out of the time-management task. And you never have to manually track your time or create a bill slip again. PRACTICE-SPECIFIC FORMS Once you obtain a copy of either of the above Abacus products, you are now ready to get a copy of the practice area specific software, as in my case, family law. Install was a few quick and easy steps, and I now have the ability to obtain practice-specific matter names and areas, as well as rules, reports and forms all geared to my area of expertise. This special edition enables the user to maximize all of the powerful functions of AbacusLaw through all the phases of a family law case, starting with your initial consultation and retainer agreement to the gathering of all your needed records, court filings, discovery, settlement negotiations, up to and including litigating to a final judgment if the need should arise. With little or no effort, I now have the ability to modify my case files to easily match my office policies and procedures, as well as the state law of Illinois and my county-specific rules of practice. For the first time, I can have all my family law information right there at my fingertips, which allows me to free up more time to work — and less time trying to do the customization job on my case management system to get it the way I want and the way I work. Likewise, I find the new special edition allows me to work the way I want to, and at the same time, while I use my new special edition screens, others in my office can use the screens that they prefer on AbacusLaw — and it is a totally flexible solution for the firm. As for forms customization, the family law edition comes with customized forms ready for use. Here are some of the preconfigured forms included in Abacus Family Law Special Edition: � Client Intake Sheet. � Divorce Client Documents Request. � Referral Letter Non-Representation Letter. � Letter to Opposing Spouse. � Marital Settlement Agreement Cover Letter. � Discovery Notice to Opposing Counsel. � Discovery Notice to Client. � Fax Cover Sheet. � Client Transmittal Letter. � Case Status Memorandum. In addition to the forms, the new special edition has a wonderful series of special reports for the firm to use. The Abacus Family Law Special Edition compiles business-critical information. You can access pertinent metrics to gauge your financial success, assess practice growth trends and view attorney productivity. These reports allow users to manage and market their law firms, all in one click as the valuable information is pulled into a report from the ever-growing database. This information is extremely helpful in allowing you to make efficient and profitable practice organization decisions and drive targeted marketing strategies that result in increased clients, cases, and firm revenue. MEASURE PRODUCTIVITY Likewise, The Abacus Family Law Special Edition includes a sample Firm Productivity Report that enables you to quickly determine the success of your firm — based on the number and types of cases handled in a certain time period compared to any other time period. This information may guide you in making hiring decisions and determine trends in the firm’s handling of case types. You also have the ability to track the activities of each of your firm’s attorneys and run a report by the attorneys’ names in divorce cases, the domestic violence information by attorney or the custody information by attorney — this will give you the information you need as to just who in your firm is being more productive and how active they are in a particular matter. Another helpful report is the client origin report. In Abacus Family Law Special Edition, a sample Client Origin Report lets you quickly determine the geographic regions that are supplying the most clients to your firm. This is a real help when it comes time to gauge the efficiency of your current ad campaigns, as well as guide targeted marketing strategies in the future and determine client demographic information. I have found that in the short time I have been using the new Abacus Law Family Law Special Edition that I have become more productive and more aware of just exactly how my cases are progressing and how well I am doing in certain specific areas of my Family Law practice. I can honestly say that AbacusLaw has come up with a true winner in the area of practice-specific case management, and I, for one, am very happy and pleased with the product. As for technical support, I have had the occasion to call them a few times, and I found them to be very knowledgeable and fully able to put me back on track in a very short time. I also found that my wait time to speak with them was relatively short, and they knew how to get me an answer without hesitation. I have seen many versions of AbacusLaw throughout my several years as a legal technology reviewer, and I have found that this company has made constant strides moving ahead and into the forefront of case management systems, and this new Family Law Special Edition is right up there with the best that the marketplace has to offer You can contact AbacusLaw at www.abacuslaw.com or call them at 800-726-3339 for a free software demo and a look at their practice-specific products as well as pricing for your particular firm. Alan Pearlman is an attorney, a computer consultant and a nationally syndicated columnist. He is a member of the Law Tech Newsletter’s Board of Editors and can be reached at The Electronic Lawyer. Subscribe to the Legal Tech Newsletter.

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