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6 Reasons Why Law Firms Need a Powerful Request Management Solution
The amount of accurate information required by legal staff is phenomenal. How do legal staff communicate their needs to research center staff? How do research center staff efficiently manage the volume of daily requests for the research services they receive? How do they ensure requesters are updated promptly? How can all the elements involved in the request management process be centralized? The logistics are hugely challenging without a powerful request management system (RMS).
Your research specialists, and the legal staff they support, need an RMS that:
- centralizes requests with the associated questions and researched information
- tracks all communication
- automated communication between researchers and legal staff
- a knowledge base feature
- monitors time
- real time analytical reporting
Efficient access to information is the key to the productivity of your firm’s staff. The result? The most positive experience possible for everyone; from your staff to your clients.
Automated Creation and Assignment of Requests
An RMS should enable legal staff to email a request for information to the research center staff, automatically creating a request in the system. There should be no need for research staff to constantly monitor incoming emails and find a way to record and action it. If permitted, legal staff should also be able to log in to the RMS and manually create a request if preferred.
The system should automatically assign requests to the applicable research staff, or allow the research manager to do so. Additionally,there should be the option for requests to be re-assigned to a different researcher as applicable.
The researcher should be automatically notified of a new request assigned to them. If applicable the team to which the researcher belongs should also notified.
Centralized Repository and Activity Tracking
All requests for information from legal staff should be stored in one place, whether created automatically via an email, or by a researcher. Additional information, questions and every email notification should be recorded on the request. Every request and all subsequent communication relating to requests is date and time stamped, providing a comprehensive audit trail.
Centralizing communication means that the system records all researcher and requester activity on every request. A centralized repository ensures research is streamlined and information protected. Information sourced and provided to staff, by researchers, can be made accessible to other staff, if applicable, via the knowledge base.
The Advantage of an Included Knowledge Base Feature
An RMS with a customizable knowledge base is invaluable. It will provide access to information already discovered by research staff on behalf of others. It should enable, research staff to group available information by category and sub-category. This makes searching in the knowledge base quick and easy.
The system should provide a blocking mechanism for information that is sensitive or subject to security issues. This type of information should not be available from the knowledge base.
Easy retrieval of existing, verified and relevant information is key. This is critically important in law firms where deadlines are often tight. Equally important is the blocking of sensitive information when applicable.
Remote Access to Research Staff and Information
Business no longer operates on a 9-5 clock, and time zones determine the requirement for many staff to operate flexibly. Operating on a purely national scale, a number of different time zones can apply. In countries such as America and Australia, your staff may be working on a project based on the other side of the country and in a different time zone. For law firms operating globally, time zone differences are even more significant.
Often the need for legal staff to access information is urgent, no matter what time it is ow where they are. With an RMS knowledge base feature, staff could access available information via their mobile device. If the information is not available, they could email research center staff. A request would be automatically created and the research staff notified.
If the information has already been obtained for another work colleague, it would take no time at all for research staff to email that information. The legal staff member could then choose to forward the information to their team members’ devices.
What’s more, staff could submit case documents and other files to research staff for inclusion in the knowledge base. From there team members could search for and access it wherever they are.
An RMS removes the need for legal staff to store large files and documents on their mobile devices unless it is their preference. Information is available to connected team members 24/7 via the knowledge base. It also reduces the potential for loss of information if staff misplace or damage their devices.
Timed Work for On Costing Accurately
An RMS that includes a stop-watch function increases the value of researchers to the firm’s bottom line.
It enables research staff to record the time spent on researching request information. Researchers can add multiple time blocks. For instance, if they are working on several requests they can “stop the clock” on one to work on another, then return and “start the clock”. The time spent on each request can be charged back to the applicable clients as required. It highlights how a research center and its staff are not simply a cost of doing business; they are a bona fide revenue unit.
Accurate Real Time Reporting
Reporting is a vital way for research centers to prove the high levels of service requests they receive and work on. Accurate reporting enables law firm managers to identify:
- the number of requests
- the types of requests – simple and complex
- how much time research staff have to spend seeking clarification of what information is being requested
- the completion rate grouped by request priorities
- which department and legal staff are making the most of requesting research
- the time used by research staff to complete the volume of requests they handle
Customisable reports enable research staff to return the data they want and export the data as required. An option to display reported data graphically with the click of a button removes the need for staff to manipulate data into graphs. Everyone likes a picture right?
Law firms recognize the volume of information their legal staff require from their research center staff. They understand that verified, accurate and applicable information is critical. They understand the need for a centralized repository of information requests, information sources and all request related communications and the need to ensure communication is automated. Information, its sourcing, curation, and prompt dissemination, powers business, especially a law firm’s business. A powerful and easy to use request management system benefits everyone.