A1-Law / WCFMS Case Management Newsletter July 2001

As you may already know......

A1-Law applies to the Windows Case Management System
WCFMS applies to the DOS Case Manager System

Important Notice
To Unsubscribe from this newsletter, please send me an Email saying Unsubscribe or Remove Me.

CAAA Convention
Itís Jan 24 - 27, 2002 at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Resort in San Diego. Iíll be exhibiting there as I have for the past 16 years.  Hope to see you there.

In This Issue
Software integration, is it the right way to go or just a shortcut for incomplete case management programs?  Version 4.00 features.  Special Tips, Tricks and problem resolutions.  Want to know more.....Read onÖ.

Integration, Integration and Integration
What a bunch of baloney.  This is where large law offices can really get into trouble and I mean "big time."  What's worse is that in the beginning everything appears to be manageable and gets worse as time goes on like a cancer out of control.  Let's take an example.  Some case management programs integrate with programs that will print court forms.  In my opinion this is the first recipe for disaster.  The first problem is that things don't integrate and data is not merged the way one might desire.  But, an even greater problem has come to my attention (from law offices that have switched to A1-Law).  The problem manifests itself through time.  As more and more cases are added, it can take the forms program longer and longer to load.  In fact, one office I was at, it took over two minutes.  Can you imagine?  You open a case and you simply want to view a form that was saved last week.  Maybe you want to view the summary of settlement conference form and you wait two minutes for the forms program to load.  Next, you have to fumble through a bunch of folders to find what you are looking for.  As more cases get added, more folders get created and you never know what your staff will name each form in the folder.  What a joke...

In fact, even integration with simple word processors can have its drawbacks if they are not tightly integrated with the application.  I do not believe the freedom to create folders and filenames should be left to the end user but rather should be the job of the case management system.  Further, I believe this should apply in as many situations as possible including word processing and forms management.

Version 4.00 Features
The following lists some of the new features in version 4.00.  First, there are over 20 bug fixes from version 3.1.22.  Next, there are approximately 200 new features.  Some additions and changes are nice but minor enhancements while others are totally new features which introduce entirely new windows.   Some enhancements include the following:

User Defined Fields - Enhancements to the client card.  But, also now includes the ability to set up user defined fields for the rolodex and the injury screen.  Why would you want a user defined field at the injury screen?  Suppose you want to keep track of whether the injury has been accepted or denied.  Maybe you want to track which injuries have been accepted and denied.  Maybe you want to track the group number.  You decide.  You can have up to 20 user defined fields for each injury.  The rolodex now has a suffix as well as a prefix (salutation) and up to 20 user defined fields.

Case Activity - Many enhancements.  One major enhancement includes the ability to set up user defined case activity screens.  For example, currently the case activity is pre-set where you enter in the Date and the Event.  You can now set up additional user defined fields and lay out any case activity to look like a "spreadsheet."  This may be useful for tracking medicals, lien lists, benefits or anything else.

Chat Room - There was a bug in the 3.1.22 where on some networks the instant message and/or Email notifications were not working properly.  This has been fixed and in addition a "chat room" is now available where more than two people can communicate about any given case.  Once in the chat room it's possible to simply click a button to automatically pull the case being discussed.

Court Forms - Some new court forms have been added to version 4.00

Email - Totally enhanced.  It's now possible to post all Email to case activity.  Also, there is an option to mark mail as Urgent.

Envelopes - New enhancements for printing to envelopes.

Form Letters - Many new enhancements including automatic spell check through Word, automatic paragraph numbering and an extended symbol set.  The extended symbol set allows one to insert Spanish and other characters in form letters.  The printed form letter is now "modeless" which means you don't have to save the form to "flip" between different windows.  In addition, there are many new form letter commands.  Some very powerful commands include the GetList, GetCaseAct, ButtonMacro and Input4 commands.  Many commands like the GetParty command are now even more powerful than before.

Mail Tracker - Many improvements have been made to the mail tracker to allow one to easily add Email and calendar appointments as well as add case activity directly from the mail tracker.

Task Window - Many enhancements including the ability to print the client's name on a task report.  Also includes the ability to specify a date range when printing tasks

These are just some of the new features coming soon in Version 4.00

When You Meet the Client
The problem happens when you meet a client somewhere and need to have them sign the application and claim form or any court form for that matter.  The problem is that you need to have a signed form and then you need to insert that signed form into the computer.  There are a few solutions.  First, some offices sign the form for the client.  However, if you prefer to have the client sign the form you must take the following steps:

First, you must print a blank form or blank forms from A1-Law.  When you print a form, A1-Law allows you to print both the form and the data, the form only or the data only.  Print a hundred blank forms for future use.  Next, you take a couple of blank forms with you and have the client sign them.  Next, you take those signed forms back to the office, insert them in the printer and print "Data Only."   You cannot have them sign a form from the court since the alignment might be very different from the blank forms you print within A1-Law.

System Resources - E000005 Errors
Once in a while you may see this error.  It's an error returned from windows that says, "I know what you want me to do, but I can't do it."  Usually, it's due to lack of memory or lack of system resources.  There are several solutions.  One is to close out some programs if you have several programs open at the same time that you don't use often.  Another and even more important is to check your system resources.  Close out all your programs (ie: Word, Word Perfect, A1-Law, Email programs, etc).  Then, right click on My Computer, click Properties and Performance.  You should have at least 80% free and preferably close to 90%.  If not, you should check with your computer consultant to increase the system resources on that workstation. 

And now for my usual sign-off.......

Until next time, have a great month.