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When Criminal Defense & Civil Legal Aid Intersect, LegalServer is There

Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo (LABB) is unique in their holistic approach to handling both criminal and civil cases for those who can’t afford legal representation in Western New York.

Far West Texas Regional Public Defender logo.

LABB’s comprehensive set of services help those who have been incarcerated or have criminal records get back on their feet by overcoming civil legal issues such as housing rights and family matters. To manage LABB’s varying degree of case types, they found only one platform on the market equipped to manage it all: LegalServer.

Our staff has benefited tremendously from using LegalServer, because it has enabled us to create a complete digital file.

Headshot of Sarah Ryan.
Sarah Ryan, Chief Attorney of Criminal Defense Unit
Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo

LABB recently launched a Holistic Representation Program within the Criminal Defense Unit, where social workers evaluate clients’ needs and make referrals to LABB’s Civil Legal Services unit - as well as other external civil legal aid agencies - using LegalServer’s automated processes to connect people with services like housing and employment assistance.

One Automated System Handles All Teams’ Workflows

LegalServer’s suite of tools and automations have streamlined their office’s complex workflows while creating a fuller, data-driven picture of each case, according to Sarah Ryan, Chief Attorney of LABB’s Criminal Defense Unit.

“When our office began using LegalServer, we were able to capture & store much more information, including but certainly not limited to expanded demographic information, generated documents, communications (emails), and case notes,” she says.

Screenshot of discovery item dialog in LegalServer.

“The ability to track the discovery information in LegalServer has been a game changer in many ways, Ryan continues. “It allows us to not only record when discovery comes in but what the discovery actually contained, and then have a link to the material through an integration with our document management system.”

Online Intake Saves Months of Time

Nadine Patterson, Deputy Executive Director of LABB’s Civil Practice, says that LegalServer’s Online Intake is her favorite feature.

Online intake streamlines the process of opening cases, saving our intake people a tremendous amount of time.

Headshot of Nadine Patterson.
Nadine Patterson, Deputy Executive Director - Civil Practice
Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo

“In the last year, of the 4,055 Civil Unit applications, 924 were done by the applicant through our LegalServer online portal; the balance were paper applications,” Patterson notes. “The online applications were processed and transferred within 24 hours. The paper applications took up to 30 days to input and process.”

Chart showing time savings provided by LegalServer's online intake.

Easy Reports & Document Integrations

“With the built-in LegalServer reports, staff attorneys can easily manage their own caseloads, and management can easily supervise the staff attorneys and support staff and isolate areas that need attention,” Patterson says. “Being able to easily manipulate reports to match the data requirements of our funders has saved a tremendous amount of time.”

LABB is also benefiting from document automation using LegalServer, utilizing automated templating for an uncontested divorce packet where we pull-in client, family and court information into the documents from LegalServer.

Headshot of Nadine Patterson.
Nadine Patterson, Deputy Executive Director - Civil Practice
Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo

Simple tasks that used to take a lot of time are now reduced to seconds, Patterson concludes. “With the ease of finding information in LegalServer, if a client calls we are able to instantly see who has the file and what is going on.”

With a unified approach to case management, LABB provides better access to justice and due process to the most vulnerable individuals, children and families in their community. Book a demo of LegalServer today to see how we can help your agency.