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Keeping track of details, documents, and deadlines is a priority for attorneys and other professionals who manage bankruptcy cases. Manual methods for compiling and documenting client and case data are time-consuming and increase the chances of human error. Bankruptcy software automates data entry and legal calculations, so law firms can manage bankruptcy cases more efficiently.
This guide explains the features and benefits of bankruptcy software and the various factors you should consider to make a smart purchase that meets your budget and needs.
Bankruptcy software helps lawyers, law firms, and other legal professionals guide their clients through the bankruptcy process. It offers the necessary legal forms, maintains court compliance, allows electronic filing of court forms, and provides bankruptcy case management functionality. The software speeds up case management by automating data entry and legal calculations.
Common features of bankruptcy software
While features vary from product to product, bankruptcy software typically offers some or all of the following functionalities:
Prepare and file documents remotely. Digitally transmit forms, claims, and petitions to all the case management/electronic case file (CM/ECF) courts.
Collect, upload, store, and share all documents in a centralized location so everyone involved can access important case documents, messages, and contacts.
Access a secure client portal to share legal documents, case updates, and more with your clients, co-counsel, and other associated individuals.Communicate directly with clients, schedule meetings, and record client and case details.
Automate calculations for means tests, exceptions, and repayment plans. Use case data metrics to calculate the filing chapter, commitment period, and presumption of abuse.
Auto-populate legal data into forms and schedules, reducing the amount of manual time spent on repetitive tasks.
Legal forms library
Use pre-designed, industry-specific forms to simplify bankruptcy filing preparation and eliminate the risk of human error.
What type of buyer are you?
Bankruptcy software addresses the needs of law industry professionals. Understanding which buyer category you belong to will help identify the software solutions that best meet your needs.
Solo practitioners: Attorneys with a solo practice manage both legal cases and business operations. To increase practice efficiency, look for tools that automate repetitive tasks such as form filling, calculators, and task management. Bankruptcy software with a legal forms library reduces manual time spent researching and acquiring industry-specific forms, leaving more time to focus on your clients and case load.
Small firms: Firms with fewer than 10 attorneys need solutions that streamline bankruptcy case management. Look for features that provide necessary forms and ensure court compliance, such as electronic filing, form automation, and legal form libraries.
Midsize and large firms: Midsize firms generally have more than one office location and 11 or more attorneys. Large firms may have numerous locations and law professionals. Both have complex needs due to size and case volume. Look for tools that replace manual tasks and save time for administrative staff. Utilizing features such as forms automation, calculators, legal form libraries, and document management frees up valuable time to attend to clients or perform other tasks.
Benefits and potential issues
Bankruptcy software offers multiple benefits that help law professionals work more efficiently.
Reduce case preparation and filling time: Electronic filing allows digital document transfer to courts and other applicable regulatory authorities. Use pre-designed, court-compliant forms to simplify case preparation. Save time by auto-populating legal data in recurring fields, such as debtor's identity, jurisdiction-specific data, and case numbers.
Simplify legal calculations: Automate legal calculations for means tests, exemptions, commitment periods, and repayment plans. This tool also utilizes vital data, such as current monthly and disposable income, to measure factors such as presumption of abuse. Attorneys and staff spend less time performing calculations for each form in the bankruptcy case.
Update bankruptcy rules and forms automatically: Automating updates and changes to forms and rules simplifies the document management process and ensures ongoing court compliance. Whenever the courts update forms or federal rules change, your form library updates all affected forms, including revised consensus and form feature updates.
Key considerations when purchasing bankruptcy software
Each bankruptcy software system has its own target end users. Some allow only attorneys to file petitions, while others allow paralegals, petition preparers, and virtual assistants to file under the attorney's license. Some solutions include do-it-yourself (DIY) functions for private citizens but lack the process automation that attorneys need. Before making a purchase, verify that the software's features fit your needs.
Market trends to understand
Here are some market trends related to bankruptcy software that you should be aware of:
Cloud-based software solutions improve case management efficiency. Attorneys, paralegals, and other key stakeholders can remotely access forms and data from a variety of devices and locations. This helps bankruptcy attorneys work from anywhere while staying connected to their firms and clients. Access cases, key documents, client information, and more without having to make a trip back to the office.
Artificial intelligence (AI) reduces time spent on repetitive tasks. AI technology analyzes data in order to recognize patterns and draw informed conclusions. Law firms save valuable time by automating form creation, calculations, time tracking, and legal analytics.