Chicago Automates Manual Processes with EEO Case Management Software

Mar 27, 2020

Compliance with federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws and regulations can be difficult with all the reporting, documentation, and follow-up necessary. Without proper tools to manage all the cases, government entities can struggle to ensure compliance with EEO law and policy.

Two departments within the City of Chicago municipal government were struggling recently with a lot of manual work in helping citizens and City employees with various grievances. Both the EEO Division of the Department of Human Resources and the Commission on Human Relations were relying on spreadsheets to handle complex cases. Aggregate reporting was nearly impossible.

chicago logo

These two Chicago departments recently tapped LegalServer to solve their issues by automating manual processes with built-in reporting to demonstrate compliance with laws and policies.

Mark Pando headshot
LegalServer's report capabilities make it easy to track the progress of our cases and identify trends. Additionally, LegalServer has made us more efficient by having entire case information one mouse click away.
Mark Pando
EEO Officer

The Department of Human Resources and Commission on Human Relations are now more efficient and effective when managing discrimination complaints from employees and applicants for employment, along with harassment complaints from people working with the City. Conflict Resolution Services (CRS) case management also helps support the development of healthy resolution practices at individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels for the City.

Both departments are seeing significant improvements in the process for creating, managing and reporting on cases. What used to be an arduous process to manage is now simplified. Data-driven insights about the work being done allows management to make more informed decisions on how best to operate.

The City of Chicago Department of Human Resources and Commission on Human Relations are doing their part to help contribute to a harmonious work environment where staff can be happier, healthier and productive - and the LegalServer team is proud to play their role in this solution.

Need a better solution to your Human Resources or Human Relations case management needs? contact us today.


Continuing to Work Remotely Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mar 19, 2020

Working from home isn’t the norm for most attorneys, but that’s the new reality amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But fear not, LegalServer is here to help with remote working tips and specialized software modules to empower advocacy efforts.

Remote Work Tips from Remote Veterans

LegalServer’s team has been fully remote for many years, and we’ve learned a lot about effective collaboration during that time. Check out our recent webinar for practical tips on technology, policy, and security for your newly-remote offices.

Remote-Focused Software Trainings

We’ve updated our next few Tuesday trainings to focus on various modules dedicated to helping to provide services to clients who cannot make it into your office.

  • March 24: SMS Module
  • March 31: External Forms
  • Aril 7: Online Intake

If you would like to join any of these sessions, please find the Zoom information on the main training calendar.

Finally, here are some available resources (including videos) on the topics that were previously scheduled for these dates:

LegalServer is committed to helping attorneys do their best work, regardless of logistical conditions. Please contact us if you need assistance.


Bet Tzedek & LegalServer, Enabling Justice for All

Mar 13, 2020

Los Angeles-based Bet Tzedek Legal Services provides free legal services to low-income residents across the nation’s largest metropolitan area. Their impact on the community is enormous, helping over 40,000 clients speaking 30 languages via more than 1,300 volunteers across 120+ intake sites each year.

bettzedek logo

However, these heroic efforts were being hampered by an all-too-common factor in the legal world: bad case management software. “Our inability to customize, and the fact that the program we were using kept us tied to our office server, both of these things really limited our options,” says Diego Cartagena, President & CEO of Bet Tzedek Legal Services.

That’s why Bet Tzedek turned to LegalServer. A tailored software implementation with easy-to-run reports has been a major time saver, Cartagena notes. “Being able to easily create and run reports means we have an easier time responding to funder requests for data and measuring our effectiveness and efficiency,” he says.

Diego Cartagena headshot
Our programs are always changing, and there is always some new piece of data we want to collect. Being able to easily customize LegalServer ourselves allows us to remain nimble and responsive to attorney and client needs.
Diego Cartagena
President & CEO

Wrangling Bet Tzedek’s many departments - once difficult to manage - is now simplified. “Each program’s needs are being met,” Cartagena explains. “They also appreciate the fact that management is able to meet their needs through customization, and are better able to respond to staff requests.”

Across over 100 sites in the Los Angeles area, Cartagena says LegalServer is always there when his advocates need it. “We can serve our clients, anywhere! Now attorneys that are out in the field can enter their data immediately, thus reducing the need for admin staff and time at the office.”

While his staff is armed with specialized tools to amplify advocacy, Cartagena is also happy with LegalServer’s back-end grant reporting features. “It is a game changer, the amount of data we can collect and the various ways in which we can report it,” he concludes.

Better software, better advocacy. With LegalServer, Cartagena and his dedicated colleagues are making an even bigger difference in their community, where a multitude of seniors, immigrants, workers, disabled people, and other low-income residents are poised to benefit.

The LegalServer team is proud to help Bet Tzedek and hundreds of other legal organizations serving those that need help the most. Contact us today to see how our software is empowering attorneys across the country.


Fighting Poverty with Data Mining Tools for Legal Services

Feb 27, 2020

The need for legal aid among low-income communities isn’t a new phenomenon, and its relevance continues to grow in recent times. That’s why organizations like East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) aren’t just providing legal services - they’re also training the next generation of advocates.

EBCLC logo

“EBCLC is the highest-volume free legal services provider in Alameda County, California, and we train more than 150 law students each year in our clinics,” says EBCLC Data Scientist Lawrence Karongo, who’s leading up a data-centric approach to serving those in need.

EBCLC legal clinic

This forward-thinking strategy requires sophisticated tools, notes Karongo, which EBCLC didn’t have access to until recently.

“Our advocates utilize a highly diverse set of strategies to fight poverty, and our old system wasn’t set up to track and report on our community outreach, impact litigation, and policy change work,” he says. “For all these reasons, we needed a system that was highly customizable - something that could support our frontline attorneys in managing everything from eviction defense and asylum applications to employment advocacy and business entity formation. We’re really happy to have found all that we need in LegalServer!”

Lawrence Karongo headshot
LegalServer saves our employees’ time, makes it easier for managers to support their teams, and gives me the tools I need to really analyze and evaluate our services.
Lawrence Karongo
Data Scientist

“Our mission is to advance justice by addressing the root causes and conditions of poverty, and part of that is identifying the most effective possible models to serve our communities using data,” Karongo concludes. “LegalServer has improved our ability to integrate data into our storytelling and communicate our real impact to funders.”

legalserver reports

With a treasure trove of data now at their fingertips, LegalServer’s Reporting Tools are supporting EBCLC’s goals, both internally and externally. Bottom line: when advocates’ dedication to helping people is quantified, it illustrates how everyone wins.

Visit EBCLC’s website to learn more about their impact on the Bay Area, and to see how LegalServer empowers you to mine your data for important insights, schedule a demo today.


Register Now for LegalServer National Spring Training Denver 2020!

Feb 19, 2020

UPDATE 2: We have officially confirmed the new date of October 22-23 and our venue will remain the same as The Oxford Hotel in downtown Denver. We will be updating you all with new details, including information on the hotel room block and a new link to book those rooms, over the next few weeks. Please do not hesitate to reach out in the meantime with any questions that you have.

UPDATE: With the World Health Organization’s declaration of coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic, we at LegalServer have chosen to respond proactively to mitigate the risk of the virus and its impact. As such, our National Training scheduled to be held in Denver on April 17-18 will be postponed until later this fall (most likely in October). This difficult decision was made out of an abundance of caution and as a preventative measure to limit the spread of illness throughout our communities.

We have extended the option to receive a refund until March 31st. Please let us know if you would like a refund, otherwise your purchased ticket will be applied to the new date for the training. We will be in touch about this as soon as more details, including the specific rescheduled date, are available.

On April 16th and 17th, 2020, LegalServer site administrators, grant managers, reporters, analysts, and developers will gather in Denver, Colorado for a National Training event. Limited tickets are available, so be sure to register now (it’s expected to sell out!).

This “spring training” event - hosted at The Oxford Hotel - will hone your case management software skills with expert guidance, and provide an opportunity to network with colleagues from across the country.

the oxford hotel denver

A Collaborative Training Plan

View the preliminary training agenda (subject to change) for some of the topics we’ll delve into in Denver. Morning and afternoon sessions will include breakout groups in separate rooms to focus on subjects like advanced problem solving techniques, public defender programs, and “office hours” (face-to-face Q&As) with LegalServer staff.

Training topics will include:

Day 1
  • Running & building Reports
  • Advanced Reports problem solving
  • Grants Management
  • SMS & Electronic Signatures
  • Process Management
  • Public Defender Tools & Processes
  • Forecasting and Dashboards
  • Networking with your colleagues
  • Office hours with LegalServer staff
Day 2
  • Guided Navigation Workshop
  • Introduction to APIs
  • Branch Logic Workshop
  • Coordinated Intake & Referral
  • Site Admin Collaboration
  • Reports API Workshop
  • Change Management
  • Document Templates
  • Office hours with LegalServer staff

Lodging

Attendees must book their own lodging. We highly suggest booking a room at The Oxford Hotel (where the training takes place), because we’ve reserved a limited number of hotel rooms there at a special rate. Aside from being the site of your training, The Oxford is within steps of Union Station, where the train from Denver International Airport arrives downtown.

Book at The Oxford and Save

Those staying at The Oxford will receive:

  • One free breakfast at the Urban Farmer restaurant each morning
  • One free beverage at the Bourbon Bar each evening
  • 25% off food and non-alcoholic beverages at participating businesses in Union Station (PigTrain, Milkbox, ACME, & Terminal Bar)

Book your room online or call The Oxford’s reservation line at 1-833-600-7830 (be sure to mention LegalServer). Book before Monday, March 23, 2020 to receive the special rate!

The Oxford Hotel
1600 17th St Denver, CO 80202

There are also several other lodging options within close proximity to The Oxford as well, if you prefer.


Indiana Legal Services Flourishes with LegalServer’s Case Management Tools

Feb 14, 2020

Established in 1966, Indiana Legal Services (ILS) is the largest provider of civil legal aid to low-income Indiana residents. The organization handles cases where their clients’ access to basic life necessities - food, housing, income, and safety - are at risk.

ILS logo

With an ever-growing caseload, ILS tapped LegalServer to streamline and simplify their approach to case management. Tools like Text Messaging, Advanced Grants Management, and built-in customizable Reports are making a big difference for their staff.

“I love being able to easily open items in a new window; I can leave the report open and look at a case and then go back to my report window without having to re-run the report,” says ILS Managing Attorney Tracy Pappas. “I also like having different parts of the case open in different windows if I am checking on a couple of parts of the case file.”

reports module

Collaboration is a lot easier too, says Pappas. “It is so easy in LegalServer to transfer a case to another attorney and send the email about the transfer (and have proof in LegalServer that I did that!).”

Tracy Pappas headshot
LegalServer is helping my practice become more paperless.
Tracy Pappas
Managing Attorney

Jamel Pacha, ILS Director of IT, echoes that sentiment. “We now have so much more flexibility in being able to go totally paperless,” he notes. “For example, we can now eliminate using a three page paper document before closing each case.”

While the tailored app was evolving, LegalServer’s specialists provided the support Pacha and his team needed.

Jamel Pacha headshot
The LegalServer Onboarding team leadership was excellent during the development of our CMS.
Jamel Pacha
Technology Director

To optimize the benefits of a case management platform, the software has to be usable - and ILS now has one set of tools that is saving them a lot of time.

Tom Frohman headshot
Legalserver’s ease of use is impressive.
Tom Frohman
Managing Attorney

Simple reporting, paperless operations, and high usability? Check, check, and check - LegalServer now has ILS covered throughout the lifespan of over 10,000 cases per year.

A big thanks goes out to ILS for sharing their experiences with LegalServer. If you’d like to see how smarter software can empower your attorneys, reach out to us.


Why Should Attorneys Care About Software Usability?

Nov 25, 2019

usability

noun

  • The extent to which software can be used to effectively and efficiently achieve users’ objectives.

Legal aid and public defense attorneys are overloaded with demand for their services. In 2017, a single public defender in Louisiana was tasked with juggling 194 felony cases - a caseload that would require five full-time lawyers to properly serve.

While that’s an extreme example, it’s illustrative of a universal problem in the indigent legal services world: a lack of time. It’s no wonder that attorneys are constantly searching for ways to improve efficiency.

Case management software is an integral tool to that end. However, if there are usability problems with the platform, the advocate may actually become less efficient. Bad software causes distraction and confusion, which inevitably leads to lost time - and even worse things, it turns out.

Distractions are Deadly

Interruptions in our day can add up and really cost us time.

Gloria Mark, professor of Informatics at UC Irvine and author of “Multi-tasking in the Digital Age,” studies how people interact with information technology and how it affects multitasking, attention, mood, and above all, stress.

Through her studies, Ms. Mark has found it can take up to 23 minutes to get back on task following a single distraction.

Attorneys working in legal aid and public defense cannot afford to waste time getting information into or out of a case management system. That’s why usability is so important, but what makes some systems more usable than others? It boils down to simplicity and personalization.

The Fundamentals of Highly Usable Software

  1. Eliminate everything but the essentials. A simple interface that presents only what’s necessary is ideal. The input fields, menu options, and modules available to each User should vary based on Roles & Permissions. While an Administrator might have access to every single option in the system, an Intern should only see basic functionality.

  2. Adapt to desired or pre-established workflows. Highly usable case management software is malleable. Everything from Dashboards and Intakes to Reports and Document Management should be configured to match the way the organization operates in the real world.

  3. Good data goes in, and good data comes out. Data integrity starts with smart input fields that optimize efficiency and accuracy. Detailed Reports should output everything the organization needs to measure efficacy and satisfy funding requirements.

Aaron Krause headshot
Through hundreds of engagements, and working with thousands of attorneys, we’ve found a way to configure case management software that makes it highly usable for every user.
Aaron Krause
Director of Legal Solutions

Maximizing usability in case management software, which we can define as “effectively and efficiently entering, locating, and sharing information,” can add up to significant time savings. LegalServer has found organizations can save over 80 hours per year, per staff employee, by using a system attuned to the precise needs of the organization.

Learn more by trying our time savings calculator, and if you’d like to see how usable LegalServer truly is, contact us to schedule a demo.


LegalServer Community Thrives at 2019’s National Training

Oct 25, 2019

A record number of 55 attendees from across the country gathered in Chicago on October 17th and 18th, 2019, for LegalServer’s sold-out National Training, where participants honed their case management skills and networked with peers firsthand.

Chicago street

Once again hosted by Legal Aid Chicago, the event offered in-depth training on many subjects, including:

  • New tools and enhancements,
  • Forecasting & Dashboards,
  • Advanced problem solving, and
  • Pro Bono Tools.

“We presented on topics ranging from specific features, like Guided Navigation and SMS, to broader concepts such as coordinated Intake and change management,” says Leah Brach, LegalServer Customer Support Specialist. “We also incorporated more ‘office hours’ sessions than ever before to give attendees the chance to work through issues and questions in a one-on-one environment.”

national training with xander

The most popular features we trained on were Guided Navigation and Reports. Simulated labs allowed Users and Administrators to practice building and modifying Reports. Sessions were led by the expertise of LegalServer staff, and augmented by teamwork between Users from different organizations.

A deeper understanding of the software’s Reporting capabilities will help provide better data for grant funders and drive important decisions for agencies.

Leah Brach headshot
Sessions ranged from beginner to advanced topics to suit the wide variety of participants. As always, the LegalServer team enjoyed being able to connect with attendees in person and facilitate networking between LegalServer users.
Leah Brach
Customer Support Specialist

A point of emphasis at this year’s conference was to give trainees additional time to network and collaborate with allies from other organizations. The sense of community was apparent with these folks as they worked together to get the most out of LegalServer and help each other serve their clients better. “We’ll definitely be doing more of this at future trainings,” concludes Brach.

Vivian Hessel headshot
It was great to see so many people coming together to share ideas about new ways to use LegalServer. We all want to serve more clients and do our work more efficiently, and the conference was a great opportunity for people to learn ways to do both.
Vivian Hessel
Chief Information Officer

Thanks to all who attended this year’s National Training, and we hope to see you again next year! For information about additional training opportunities, or to demo our time-saving software, please contact us.


How Public Defenders Use Software to Serve Clients Better

Sep 24, 2019

Attorney Patrick Feldman works in a high-volume criminal defense firm in the Pacific Northwest. He handles a number of public defense cases each year, and was frustrated by a lack of specialized tools to help manage those cases - until he found LegalServer.

“We transitioned to LegalServer from another platform used by many public defenders across the U.S.,” says Feldman. “There are multiple features built into LegalServer that now allow us to be more efficient in case handling.”

case management

Since adopting LegalServer, Feldman and his colleagues have found it much easier to serve clients - and not just when they’re in the office. “With LegalServer’s web-based system, we can now obtain and update case information while in court, saving a lot of time in not having to re-type,” he adds.

Feldman says correspondence has improved as well. “Built-in email allows us to more effectively capture client communication in case records,“ he says. LegalServer also includes tools that allow for SMS (text) messages, VOIP telephone, and voicemail integration, along with built-in web messaging.

Patrick Feldman headshot
The reporting engine built into LegalServer has made a big difference for us.
Patrick Feldman
Criminal Defense Attorney & Public Defender

No two organizations run the same way, so each LegalServer implementation is unique. LegalServer onboarding specialists collaborated with Feldman’s team to ensure their requirements were met, resulting in case management software that bends for the user - not the other way around. “Working with the expertise of the LegalServer team to configure the system to our specific needs gives us a platform that is much more usable to how we operate,” says Feldman.

Once the configurations were done, trainers walked Feldman and his team through the entire system before going live. While using the software in the wild, support specialists were never far away. “LegalServer staff went above and beyond to make sure we were suitably trained and kept in close contact after we were live to ensure a smooth transition,” he says.

With streamlined workflows, easy data access, and better communication, Feldman and his colleagues are saving plenty of time - and that means they can serve indigent clients better. If you’d like to see how LegalServer can transform your public defense operations, please reach out to us.


How Community Legal Aid SoCal Saves Time with LegalServer

Sep 18, 2019

With 30 attorneys, 100 staff members, and four locations across Southern California, Community Legal Aid SoCal is one of the largest non-profit legal agencies in the state. To optimize services for clients at such a large scale, CLA SoCal tapped LegalServer to transform its case management game plan.

CLA SoCal logo

Since going live earlier this year, the organization quickly put LegalServer’s configurable Intake tools to use, helping preserve its most precious asset - time. “The Pre-screen form is fantastic in streamlining our intake process,” says John Cross, Database Manager, Community Legal Aid SoCal. “It keeps us from creating intakes and saving data for clients who end up not being clients.”

prescreen module

By cutting down on wasted effort, CLA SoCal is able to dedicate more time to its mission of serving low-income people’s legal needs. But freeing up hours in the day isn’t the only advantage of their tailored case management system.

LegalServer’s easy-to-use Reports - which provide internal insights and generate important data for funders - are proving to be another big benefit. “Before we only had one person who could create and run reports,” explains Cross. “Now it is a lot easier for more people to run multiple reporting scenarios.”

legalserver reports

John Cross headshot
The reporting engine built into LegalServer has made a big difference for us.
John Cross
Database Manager

Over the past two decades, we at LegalServer have learned that combining time savings with better data collection and reporting is a winning strategy. Using this proven approach, CLA SoCal’s impact on its community - through advice, counsel, clinics, workshops, and direct representation - is amplified.

If you’d like to see how LegalServer can empower your agency with better software, please let us know.


Who we serve

Why LegalServer

LegalServer is a leader in technology solutions for those who provide legal assistance to low income and vulnerable populations, and therefore understands the nuances, complexities, and challenges present within this unique legal service delivery model. Everyone deserves equal protection under the law.

We know that you want to make a difference in society and help people who cannot afford legal representation or those marginalized by another person, institution or organization. To optimize great legal services, advocates need a case management platform that can simplify and organize work.

Case information presented in a user friendly and intuitive way not only saves time but helps for making more informed decisions faster. The LegalServer time savings calculator shows how you can seize more control.

We understand ways technology can slow down the importance of your work which is why with over 300 implementations of LegalServer since 2002, we have a proven process for a positive transformation.

LegalServer staff have decades of combined experience applying technology solutions for attorneys who help society. Our encouraging and compassionate team will help you improve your processes while enabling you to configure LegalServer to match the way you desire operating.

Get a Demo of LegalServer

Some of our clients

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vlsh logo
dcbar logo
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denbar logo
mvlslaw logo
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LegalServer clients are making a difference

  • Christopher M. Jones headshot
    LegalServer is easy to administer and customize in-house to meet our specific needs. We easily onboard new users without heavy investments in training.
    Christopher M. Jones
    Executive Director
  • Alice Morey headshot
    LegalServer was relatively easy to learn when we started. Our transition was pretty seamless and the staff has been very happy with LegalServer’s user friendliness and ease of adding fields to case reports when new data is required.
    Alice Morey
    Managing Attorney
  • M. Brian Miles headshot
    We’re getting great value for what we paid for LegalServer. They provided very attractive pricing that met our budgetary constraints.
    M. Brian Miles
    Managing Public Defender
  • Christy Sobolik headshot
    LegalServer's configurability allows us to track a wide variety of information needed for different funders, as well as for internal goal-setting and evaluation.
    Christy Sobolik
    Engagement Coordinator
  • Rebekah Kopec-Farrell, J.D. headshot
    The LegalServer Onboarding and Support staff is very knowledgeable, accessible, and responsive. During Onboarding they clearly understood the dynamics of what we do and worked with us to configure LegalServer in a way that meets our needs.
    Rebekah Kopec-Farrell, J.D.
    Director of Legal Services
  • Peter James headshot
    Working with LegalServer's onboarding team greatly improved our transition to the new system. They were always responsive, flexible and ready to find creative solutions. As a result, we had a smooth transition to LegalServer and feel set up for success in the future.
    Peter James
    Senior Manager of Research & Evaluation

Time Savings Calculator

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