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Rules-Based Calendaring Software: Help Easing the Deadline Pain

By Nicole Black

Here’s good news: There are now a variety of cutting-edge cloud-based tools available for litigators, ranging from software designed to streamline the pre-trial process to mobile apps created for use in the courtroom. One notable category of legal software that litigators often find particularly useful is rules-based calendaring software.

This is because deadlines are an inescapable part of your practice if you’re a litigator. Your days are ruled by deadlines, including statutes of limitation, filing deadlines and discovery deadlines. That’s where rules-based calendaring systems come in: They help ease the pain of tracking and meeting deadlines.

From Manual Entry Paper and Electronic Calendars …

Before digital calendaring systems, lawyers tracked deadlines using paper calendars and firmwide tickler systems for particularly important drop-dead dates like statutes of limitations. The old-school deadline management process was cumbersome and clunky and not always particularly effective.

Enter electronic calendars, which offered lawyers a streamlined way to easily enter and visualize their due dates. The advent of cloud-based calendars further improved this process by providing truly versatile, accessible and reliable calendaring and deadline-tracking functionality. With this type of system, lawyers have 24/7 access to their calendars from any internet-enabled device in a format that is inherently flexible and intuitive.

To Automatically Updated Cloud-Based Calendars

But it wasn’t until court rules-based calendaring features were added that cloud-based calendars truly became a must-have for litigation attorneys. When this functionality is added to an online calendar, specific jurisdictions’ court rules and statutory deadlines are automatically calendared for litigation matters at the start of a case. In other words, there’s no need to enter deadlines manually; rules-based calendaring systems have it covered.

Importantly, when rules-based calendaring tools are cloud-based — meaning that the data is housed on the software provider’s cloud servers — there’s no need to download new files or data when court rules are updated. Instead, when court rules change, the revised deadlines are automatically applied to your firm’s calendars. With this type of calendar automation, you no longer have to worry about tracking rule changes or revising due dates and deadlines. The software does the work.

Rules-Based Calendaring Options

Now, let’s look at your options when it comes to rules-based calendaring. This type of software is available as a stand-alone tool, and you’ll also find that many law practice management software products provide this functionality as well. For example, MyCase (note that I am affiliated with MyCase) now offers a rules-based calendaring integration, as do several other law practice management software providers. So if your firm uses law practice management software, it’s entirely possible that these features are already available to you.

You can also choose to use a stand-alone rules-based calendaring tool. Two options to consider are LawToolBox and CalendarRules. Both integrate with Outlook calendars. LawToolBox is also offered as an add-in for Microsoft Office 365 and syncs with Google Calendar and iCal.

Regardless of whether you settle on a standalone tool or one that works with law practice management software, you’ll be well on your way to simplified, streamlined litigation calendar management. No matter which one you choose, with cloud-based rules-based calendaring software, missed deadlines will be a thing of the past!

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

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Niki Black Nicole Black

Nicole Black is a Rochester, N.Y., attorney and journalist, and the Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase. The nationally recognized author of “Cloud Computing for Lawyers”  and co-author of “Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier,” she also co-authors “Criminal Law in New York,” a Thomson Reuters treatise. She writes regular columns for Above the Law, ABA Journal and The Daily Record. Niki regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law and emerging technologies. She is an ABA Legal Rebel, and is listed on the Fastcase 50 and ABA LTRC Women in Legal Tech. Follow her on Twitter @NikiBlack or contact her at niki.black@mycase.com.

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