Key Dates, System Categories and Litigation/Docketing in Law Ruler Follow
This tutorial will also help familiarize you with how to set up and use the Key Dates feature for litigation, docketing, and case management in Law Ruler. The focus of this tutorial will be specific to using Key Dates which are frequently used as date triggers in Milestone Automation.
Milestones may be configured for each practice area to automatically create a series of tasks using open-ended logic based on custom Key Dates in a case, milestone completion, subtasks to trigger when prior tasks are completed, or a variety of other configurations.
Key dates are a feature that allows your firm to create an unlimited number of Key Date fields that can be added to the lead or case screen for each practice area. You may use Key Dates as a placeholder to keep track of important dates throughout the life of a case. And, more importantly, you may also implement automation for Key Dates to use them as date triggers to automatically create tasks for litigation, docketing, and case management.
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Table of Contents
Inside Law Ruler, you may add an unlimited number of Key Dates for each practice area to completely customize your case management experience. Although Law Ruler comes equipped with default system dates, some firms will want to create their own to either supplement or replace the default system dates. Got multiple SOL dates? Multiple discovery dates? Multiple trial dates? Law Ruler has you covered.
Let’s get started. On the blue left-menu, click on the “Setup” gear icon. Then, click on the “System Categories and Key Dates” link in the Setup menu. Then, click on the “Key Dates” tab at the top of the System Categories screen.
To begin setting up Key Dates for each practice area, you will either need to have access to the “Allow editing of System Categories” permission or be an administrative user. If you need access and do not have it, then please contact your firm or IT administrator.
After you are in the “Key Dates” tab then you will see two tabs: “Key Date Names” and “Default Settings by Case Type”
Screenshot of the Key Dates administrative screen:
- Key Date Names – these are placeholders that will appear on the screen for specific practice areas, as configured. Key Date Names are the actual Key Dates that you may create to be used throughout the system and may also be used for Milestone Automation as date triggers.
- Please note that you cannot delete system default Key Date Names from the system, however, if you do not want to include them in screens for specific case types, then they may be removed.
- First, you must add the Key Dates Names in this screen to make the Key Dates available throughout the system. This is where Key Dates are maintained. They may be added to any case, but they have to exist first in this administrative screen.
- Second, you may add any Key Dates to each practice area to be placeholders for when your team is ready to begin working on a case and follow it through to close.
- Third, you could also use any Key Dates for Milestone Automation as date triggers.
- Default Settings by Case Type – this is where you may create Key Date layouts for each practice area. You do not have to create case type-specific rules here, but if you want to customize your experience then it is highly recommended for efficiency. Otherwise, the same Key Dates will be visible in every practice area and not differ for each practice area. This feature will allow you to override system defaults and customize the case management experience as needed for your firm. This is highly recommended.
- For example, for your Auto Accident practice area, you may want to set up a Key Date template for various settlement conferences or discovery due dates as part of ongoing litigation.
- The Auto Accident layout would not be applicable to mass tort, employment, bankruptcy, family law, or other unrelated practice areas. Thus, you will probably want to set up separate Key Date templates for each practice area. If you do not want a templated approach then you may also manually add Key Dates to any lead or case at any time at your own discretion, but that approach will be less streamlined.
Key Date layouts should be created for each practice area in Law Ruler. This allows your firm to streamline the important dates for each practice area without having to repeatedly add them individually inside of each lead or case in the system. This technology is here to make your firm more efficient and save your staff time while remaining organized. After you have created a Key Date layout for each practice area in the Key Dates administrative screen, they will automatically update the Key Dates tab screen inside of each lead or case in Law Ruler.
Screenshot Example of a Key Date Layout inside of a Case for the Dog Bite Case Type:
What If I Need to Clear a Key Date?
If you enter in the wrong value for a key date, you can also remove that value by using the "Clear" option. First you will want to click on the calendar icon next to your key date. Then, click "Clear"
You may find that even though you have an excellent Key Date layout, you might need to manually add one or more dates for certain cases on the fly. It is possible to add Key Dates on the fly by pressing the “+ Add Key Date” link inside of the Key Dates tab inside of each lead or case in Law Ruler, as shown below. Choose the Key Date that you want to add, and it will be available to add a date whenever you are ready to populate that information. This is useful if a settlement conference or ad hoc mediation event pops up and you need it to be added to an individual case.
⚠️ If you do not see the Key Date that you need to add, then you will need to go back to the Key Date administrative screen by clicking on “Go to Key Date Setup” and add it as a “Key Date Name” to make it available in the system.
Screenshot Example of Adding a Key Date on the Fly inside of a Case:
Deleting Key Dates in Leads/Cases
Depending on the configuration of your milestone templates, each key date could have related tasks, subtasks, task reminders, calendar events, document automation, and other reminders. To keep your milestones running smoothly, Law Ruler will automatically remove all of the subordinate tasks, events, and reminders related to your key date if the key date is deleted inside of Law Ruler from a lead/case record. This is a time saver and keeps things simple for your staff.
The Key Dates are not just visual but also used to always work for your firm in the background by using powerful automation. For example, if you wanted to have a series of tasks and task reminders for Statutes of Limitation (SOL Date) or even multiple SOL Dates, or multiple discovery due dates, you could configure Law Ruler to automatically create all of these tasks for your staff by adding a date to the Key Date field on the screen in any lead or case. Of course, this is conditional upon the automation being set up and activated for this to work as described.
To access automation for Key Dates, press the “Go to Key Date Automation Setup” link from inside of any lead or case in the Key Dates tab. This will bring you to the Milestone Automation setup area that also includes Key Date automation.
💡 Please note that Key Dates triggered tasks work independently of actual Milestone Steps since they are triggered by dates, not milestones being started. Thus, Milestone Steps that are marked as completed will not stop Key Date automation that is triggered by a date.
For more information on working with Milestone Automation, please review the tutorial that focuses on Milestone Automation as date triggers.
Example Screenshot of a Task Template in Milestone Automation that Uses a Key Date as the Trigger:
For convenience and ease of use, you may also add Key Dates to the top of the lead and case screens. The Key Dates for each lead or case will always be available in the Key Dates tab screen, but you may also add them to your lead/intake or case forms. In addition to that, as mentioned above, you may add them to the top of the lead and case screens. This may be accomplished by using the Law Ruler Form and Screen Layout Builder.
Let’s get started. On the blue left-menu, click on the “Setup” gear icon. Then, click on the “Intake/Case Form Builder” link in the Setup menu. Then, select the case type layout to edit.
To modify the Lead and Case Forms and the Screen Layout Builder in Law Ruler, you must be an administrative user. If you need access and do not have it, then please contact your firm or IT administrator.
- As an example, let’s pretend that we want to add the Key Date of Date of Incident to the top of both the lead and case screens.
- Select the Auto Accident case type (or similarly named case type).
- Then, select the Key Date of your choosing from the dropdown menu on the left side. You may also use keyword searching such as searching for the term “Date” to find your Key Dates without a lot of scrolling.
- Press “Create Field”
- Click the checkbox for either “Intake Screen” or “Case Screen” or both to make this field appear at the top of the lead/intake and case screens. The choice is yours. Some mid-size and larger firms will want certain information to only be visible once a lead/intake has been made into a case. Boutique firms allow most of their staff to see everything.
- By default, the “Intake Form” and “Case Form” checkboxes are selected.
- If you do not need to duplicate these Key Dates in the form, then we recommend that you uncheck these two boxes.
- Press “Submit” and then you can go into this practice area and look at any lead or case and you will see this Key Date field at the top of the screen.
- 💡 Don’t forget, this is not limited to only Key Dates --- You may add any field in Law Ruler to the top of the lead or case screens by following the same process.
If you need further assistance, then please contact Law Ruler Support to assist you further.
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