I have been practicing privately since I became a member of the Philippine bar on May 6, 2014, although from June 2, 2014 to August 1, 2016, I was employed by the Children’s Legal Bureau, Inc.
From the very start, my “databasing” of the cases I am handling was solely through the folders that I create for each case. Initially I had the case folders numbered, with a “Table of Contents” which had to be periodically updated. After a while, it became too time-consuming to update the Table of Contents, so I switched to simply having an alphabetical folder structure, where all the clients whose surnames start with ‘A’ get subfolders under the folder ‘A’ which is in turn under the ‘Case Files [Active]’ folder. Later I had the entire documents folder synchronized with my Google Drive account so I could access my files anywhere.
The problem with this folder solution is I could not get a ‘snapshot’ of the status of my practice at the moment. Sometimes, it would even take me months to realize that a folder which is supposed to be already transferred to the ‘Case Files [Terminated]’ folder remains in the ‘Case Files [Active]’ folder.
I wanted a solution which I could use right away or with minimal modifications. My aim was to see (1) the number of active cases I have at the moment; and (2) know the current status of each case, i.e. the latest incident or the next schedule.
The first fact I could determine right now by counting the number of subfolders under each branch under the ‘Case Files [Active]’ folder. The second I could know by getting the actual case folder and reading the “Case Incident Form” in the latest volume.
I have heard about ClinicCases for sometime now. As its website states, it “is [a] web-based case management software designed specifically for law school clinics”. It is written in PHP and MySQL and would need a webserver to run.
It allows me to create “cases”. Each case could contain information such as the name of the client and other particulars about them, the case type, the clinic type, which court the case is pending, etc. as well as the disposition. Documents could be uploaded for each case. Events could also be created, and a calendar showing the upcoming events is available. There is also a handy tool to create time reports for each case.
Some of the information for each case could be shown in a table which the system generates. There is an Advanced Search which would allow you to search through the table based on a specific condition. I find the option to only show cases lodged with a certain court particularly useful.
If you are a solo practitioner or a small firm looking for a possible option for your case management, ClinicCases may be useful for you.