Specialized Tools & Data Integration to Power a Managed Assigned Counsel Office
“Case management is an essential tool for data organization in order to effectively enhance client representation,” says Kenneth Hardin, Executive Director at the Harris County Managed Assigned Counsel (MAC).
“Here at the MAC, we are not satisfied with only fair representation. We desire high quality representation. Our ability to provide that to people who cannot afford an attorney is only as good as our ability to connect MAC services to those in need, manage our capacity to meet those needs, and generate reports on our effectiveness in doing so.”
Harris County is the most populous county in Texas and the third most populous county in the United States. Its county seat, Houston, is the largest city in Texas and fourth largest city in the United States.
Harris County has two offices - the Public Defender’s Office (“PDO”) and the Office of Managed Assigned Counsel (“MAC Office”) - that provides attorneys to people accused of crimes who cannot afford an attorney. PDO has internal attorneys - all county employees - who directly represent clients. The MAC Office has a smaller internal staff who appoints external contract attorneys (“MAC-Appointed Attorneys”) - none of whom are county employees - that are paid a fee to represent clients.
LegalServer provides the MAC Office with a comprehensive set of tools to manage case assignments and services associated with representation of clients by MAC-Appointed Attorneys, including immigration, investigation, and social services. With LegalServer, the MAC Office can manage important information about each MAC-Appointed Attorney’s case or MAC service provider, including the types of cases handled, number of cases assigned, and case status. The MAC Office also benefits from LegalServer’s robust built-in reporting to get real time views into MAC-Appointed activity.
Automated Case Integration with the Harris County Court System
Cases assigned in the Harris County Criminal Courts automatically populate LegalServer, leveraging LegalServer’s robust Application Programing Interface (API) architecture.
Time-saving automations for the MAC Office include:
- New case creation in LegalServer when the case assignment is made;
- Updating cases whenever there is a change in the case data;
- Confidentiality protection, which allows API calls to LegalServer if there is a nondisclosure or sealing done to restrict access on certain cases;
- Creating new user records whenever a new MAC-Appointed Attorney is assigned to a MAC case.
New cases are automatically created in LegalServer with the case, client, events, charges, bonds, holds, and sentencing details. LegalServer’s integration automation will also check the Harris County Court system every five minutes for updates. Initially, the integration handled over 13,000 cases, with the ability to scale as needed.
With an internal staff of only 21 people managing close to 30,000 case appointments per year for over 200 MAC-Appointed Attorneys, the MAC Office would be completely overwhelmed without an efficient case management system. Now, having a direct connection with the Harris County Court system, the MAC Office is better equipped to manage the ever increasing need for case appointments. MAC Staff will also be better prepared to react quicker to resolve assignment issues or conflicts.
If you run a Managed Assigned Counsel office, set up a demo to see how LegalServer can help.