What is Court Calendaring?
What is court calendaring software for lawyers?
Court calendaring software is used by lawyers to manage court deadlines and other critical court events. It is used by solo practitioners, law firms, and other legal services providers, including legal aid societies, corporate legal departments, and government agencies.
Court calendaring software helps lawyers comply with court rules and statutes of limitations, so that they initiate court proceedings within required time limits and meet ongoing time requirements to complete proceedings without missing deadlines. The software helps law firms and their clients avoid fines, penalties, and possible case dismissals due to missed deadlines, and reduces the risk that a law firm could be sued for malpractice.
Because different courts and different jurisdictions have different sets of rules and deadlines, court calendaring software providers typically support federal, state, and local court rules. Some also include calendar management for critical dates that comply with U.S. regulatory requirements and courts outside the US, including Canada (LawToolBox) and India (Casewatch). Not all court calendaring products cover the same jurisdictions, so a lawyer should check coverage before choosing a product.
Why should a law firm use court calendaring software?
A law firm should use court calendaring software to avoid missing a critical court deadline. If an attorney misses a court date or statute of limitations, it can be fatal for a client’s case and carry a substantial malpractice risk for the attorney.
For law firms, managing deadlines is more than simply creating a calendar event or task. Often, law firms use various systems to track important dates. While a court calendaring system tracks court dates and legal deadlines, it usually integrates with client appointment calendars. Some law firms use a tickler or diary system to prompt attorneys to review files requiring work with upcoming due dates or to meet client expectations. Whatever methods a law firm deploys, they should notify attorneys of the tasks that need completion before a court date and allow sufficient time to complete them.
What features does court calendaring software include?
Court calendaring software supports configurable, rules-based calendaring with federal, state, and local court rules. For lawyers outside the U.S., they should ensure that the software supports calendaring for courts in their jurisdiction.
In most cases, court calendaring software synchronizes with law firm calendars, such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Outlook, and Google Calendar. It automatically updates calendar events when there are changes in the court rules or when time and date changes occur to proceedings. Software vendors may also support mobile apps to manage deadlines and documents on Apple iOS or Google Android.
Some court calendaring products also integrate with email applications such as Outlook to synchronize calendar updates sent by courts or other opposing counsel.
The software can also combine with court electronic case files (ECF) for firms to receive docket alerts, analyze dockets, and search them to find pleadings, motions, petitions, and other ECF. The software may also integrate with the firm's case management, law practice, or document management system to copy documents from ECF to the firm's corresponding case file. Court calendaring software can also support an application programming interface (API) to integrate with other firm computer resources.
How can my law firm use court calendaring software?
Court calendaring and docketing software can reduce malpractice risk if your law practice includes litigation, appellate work, or regulatory compliance. You may even earn a discount from your malpractice insurance provider for using the software.
You can use an online calculator to calculate court deadlines and synchronize the dates with office calendars, such as Microsoft Outlook, Teams, and many law practice management systems. Use rules-based calendaring for various case actions in the applicable federal and state courts and never miss a deadline with automatic updates when a court rules change.
If a court calendaring system combines with docketing software like Aderant Milana, users can get docket notifications and documents directly from electronic court filing (ECF) systems. The software automatically adds docket entries and calendars court appearances from the court's docket to ensure your firm always meets its appearance deadlines.
Many providers support application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate court calendaring and docketing software with other resources not directly supported by the vendor. Once set up, you never have to leave an integrated system to calculate deadlines and add them to all your calendars.
Should I choose court calendaring software that is cloud-based or on-premises?
Vendors deploy court calendaring software on-premises or as software as a service (SaaS) in public or private clouds. Regardless of the deployment, the software synchronizes calendars with desktop software on PCs and Macs running Microsoft Windows or Apple MacOS.
Cloud software requires no capital expenditures (CAPEX) and maintenance on local computers to run the software. It reduces the total cost of ownership and relieves organizations of the administrative burden of supporting, upgrading, and patching on-premises servers and CLM software. The user experience from a cloud-based CLM is like on-premises systems, but users get immediate access to the software's latest features and security updates in the cloud.
Consider on-premises court calendaring software if your organization is not ready to transfer its calendar or document management system to cloud-based repositories or if you support legacy systems that cloud-based resources cannot access. An on-premises deployment of court calendaring software would not prohibit a later migration to the cloud. An organization must have an IT budget and staff to support an on-premises court calendaring software deployment.
You should have no reservations about using cloud-based court calendaring and docketing software if it synchronizes with firm calendars and integrates with other tools, such as your case and law practice management system and document management system.
Should I select a court calendaring system with or without docketing software?
Court calendaring and docketing software go well together, especially for law firms and legal service providers with busy litigation practices. You can calculate deadlines, synchronize them with calendars, automatically get docket alerts for filings and copy filings to case and document management systems for the entire firm to share.
If your litigation practice is sporadic or you work in a corporate legal department solely focused on compliance, choose a configurable, rules-based court calendaring system. You can still calculate court deadlines on demand and create regulatory deadlines and timelines toward compliance.
What should I expect to pay for court calendaring software?
Expect to pay approximately $25-30 per user or case monthly for court calendaring software. Vendors offer bulk discounts in user or case tiers. LawToolBox court calendaring starts at $29 per user per month for 2-9 users for a court date calendar, automated calendaring, with matter and document management support. Aderant Deadlines.com starts at $25 per case for one case. Still, Aderant allows unlimited users and notifications of rule changes.