Using Milestones and Task-Based Workflow Templates for Intake, Litigation, and Docketing - Tutorial Follow
This tutorial will help familiarize you with the power of the Law Ruler milestones and the task-based workflow template builder. Law Ruler milestones are a totally customizable and flexible workflow builder that will ensure that your firm never misses a beat in any case. In the age of online reviews, this is key.
⚡ Milestones are a powerful feature that allows your firm to use Law Ruler for litigation, docketing, tasks, and case management. They may be configured for each practice area to create a series of tasks automatically 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.
With Law Ruler, your firm could create a blueprint to run each practice area for your staff. It will automatically create tasks based on rules and always keep each case moving forward. Simply put, create a milestone workflow for each practice area and reuse it on every new intake/case.
Please review this video:
Law Ruler features powerful workflow automation to automate your intake and case management processes. At Law Ruler, we want you to rule your processes, not let them rule you. 😊 Our workflow template builder feature allows your team to set up each practice area with its own workflow template that is governed by milestones and their task lists.
Also, our workflow builder allows your team to clone workflows from one practice area to another to save time and effort. Within each milestone, there will be a list of tasks (Task List Items) that will be created automatically as the case progresses and these tasks will be auto-assigned to the configured user(s) or role(s) defined in each workflow.
The output of our workflow automation will be a series of tasks (Task List Items) that will be visible to the assigned users in the workflow inside of each lead/case.
⚠️ Setting up and making changes to the milestones and task lists requires user admin-level permissions. Also, any tasks that are triggered by a Key Date will remain open when you mark a Milestone Step as done because date trigger fields work independently of milestone and subtask triggers. Date fields never go away since they could happen in the future, long after the early Milestone Steps are marked as Completed.
Law Ruler progress milestones are color-coded as follows:
- Not Started milestones = Gray
- In Progress milestones = Yellow
- Completed milestones = Green
Screenshot Example of Milestones in Use in Law Ruler:
Milestone progress may be changed by left-clicking on each milestone:
⚠️ Please note, if you mark a milestone as Not Started, you are resetting that milestone. This means that once that milestone is marked as In Progress, all "to-do" tasks that are not related to a key date will be retriggered, even if those tasks were previously marked as completed or deleted. Any tasks related to a key date will not be affected.
Milestones are the foundation of each Workflow Template for each practice area.
- They are used to determine which tasks are created and when they are created. The progress bar/milestone bar will show the current progress on each intake or case.
- Tasks may be triggered by specified case dates known as "Key Dates" or when milestones are marked as started, or 1 or more subtasks that are triggered when a previous task is completed.
💡 Please note that Key Dates 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.
- Workflow Templates ensure that your team is always moving forward on each intake or case with automated task creation and due dates for the appropriate user(s) or the role(s).
Screenshot Example of Tasks that were Auto-Created by a Workflow Template:
Deleting Tasks in Leads/Cases (and their Subtasks/Reminders/Events)
Depending on the configuration of your milestone templates, each task could have related 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 parent task when that task is deleted inside of Law Ruler from a lead/case record. This is a time saver and keeps things simple for your staff.
Reverting Completed Tasks in Leads/Cases
You can also revert a completed task to make the task "In Progress" again by clicking on the reverse arrow icon to the right of your completed task. Please note, if a task is reverted, any subtasks related to the parent task will not be modified. In addition, if the task that was reverted was the last task in a milestone step, the milestone step will be marked as "In Progress".
Creating Your First Workflow
First, let’s go set up a workflow (This requires admin-level user permissions)
Go to: Setup > Case Types, Milestones, Task List Items
You first want to decide how you want your milestones to be used. Some firms work in a very linear process where the next step cannot be started until the current step is completed. However, other firms may need to have multiple steps in progress at the same time. Law Ruler offers the flexibility to serve both needs.
To allow your staff to have multiple milestones in progress at the same time, turn on the setting "Allow non-admin users to move around Milestones without completing all tasks" in the upper left-hand corner of the page. To disallow your staff from moving on to the next milestone until all tasks in the current milestone are completed, leave this setting off.
If this setting is on, it will also allow your staff to mark any milestone as "Not Started" regardless of where that milestone step falls in your process. If this setting is not turned on, your staff will only be able to mark a milestone step as "Not Started" if all previous steps have been completed.
After you have decided how your process will be handled, let's get started building out your milestone steps and task list.
Choose a case type and click "Edit Template" to the right of the case type name to get started.
Next, once you go into a case type, you will see the existing workflow template. If you are editing an existing template that has milestones and task list items, then it will display the # of Tasks configured at the top of the screen. If the workflow template is empty, then you could begin adding milestones and task list items or clone a template from a different case type (explained below).
A preview of how the milestones will appear in your intakes and cases is displayed in the Milestones screenshot below. Below the milestones preview, you will see the actual list of milestones for the workflow template for this case type. It is in the list of milestones that you will make all of your changes to the workflow template.
Screenshot Example of an Existing Workflow Template for the Auto Accident case type:
If you would like to “Add” a milestone, then press the “Add a Milestone” button in the top-right corner of the list. This will open up a popup that allows you to name your new milestone.
There is a maximum character limit of 25 characters for each milestone name.
Please note: When you are finished editing your workflow template for this case type, you will need to apply the changes in the Milestones screen by pressing the “Apply Changes” button.
Screenshot example of adding a milestone to the Auto Accident case type:
If you would like to “Edit” an existing milestone then click on the"Edit Milestone Name" link to the left of each Milestone in the “Milestones” column in the list. This will open the Update Milestone popup where edits could be made. Also, any edits to milestone names will be retroactive on all intakes or cases after they are applied.
Please note: When you are finished editing your workflow template for this case type, you will need to apply the changes in the Milestones screen by pressing the “Apply Changes” button.
Screenshot example of editing a milestone from the Auto Accident case type:
If you would like to “Delete” an existing milestone then click on the trash can icon to the right of the milestone. ⚠️ Deleting milestones is permanent after your milestone changes have been applied.
Screenshot example of deleting a milestone from the Auto Accident case type:
Are Milestone Workflow Changes Retroactive?
Milestone changes are only retroactive if you choose "All Records" when applying your changes.
⚠️ Choosing the "All Records" option may reset the progress of certain milestone steps. For example, you may have lead/case records where all milestone steps were already completed. Making a change to milestone templates for those case types and applying them to all records may retroactively show steps as Not Started if new milestone steps/to-do items were added. Use this option very carefully.
However, if you wanted to apply your changes to "New Records Only" then select that option. This option has less of an impact since it only affects new records or specific records where you reset the case type.
⚠️ If you change the case type on any existing record, the milestone progress will be reset and the new milestone template you created will be applied. There is no way to roll this back so use it carefully if there has already been significant work performed on a case.
How to Manually Apply a New Milestone Template to Specific Records
If you need to apply your milestone template to specific records, you have 2 options. The first option is to reset the lead/case record's case type, which will reset your current milestone progress. Another option, is to use the Apply Milestone Changes button located inside a lead/case record. This option will apply the newest milestone template, but will not reset all of your milestone progress. Only some of your milestone progress may be reset, depending on the changes you made to your template.
You Must Apply Your Changes to Milestone Templates
⚡ When you are finished editing your workflow template for each practice area, you will need to apply the changes in the Milestones screen by pressing the “Apply Changes” button.
You will have the option to apply your changes to "New Records Only" or "All Records". If you choose to apply your changes to "New Records Only", your new milestone template will only apply to new records that are created after your changes have been applied and/or any existing records where the case type is reset. Any existing records will still have the old milestone template displayed.
If you choose to apply your changes to "All Records", your changes will be applied to all new records as well as all existing records. When choosing "All Records", you will also have the option to apply filters to pinpoint specific records that should have their milestone template updated.
Screenshot example of applying your changes in the Auto Accident case type:
What are the Tasklist Items?
Tasklist items are real tasks that will be automatically created by Milestones that are assigned to the user(s) or role(s) configured inside of each milestone when they are triggered. For example, for intake tasks, you may want to put them in the Initial Investigation milestone in the screenshot provided. Put Trial Preparation items inside of the Litigation or Trial milestone. You may want to configure settlement-related task list items in the Settlement milestone. Be creative and design the process around how you want your firm to operate.
- Each milestone has its own task items inside each case type workflow template.
- Each task list item has its own trigger and requires an amount of time to calculate the task due date.
- Each task list item could be assigned to 1 or more user(s) or role(s).
- Each task list item could have an attached document or document template (Mail merge data into it) if any.
- Each task list item has its own email and/or text message task reminders if any are configured by clicking the reminder [ ] checkbox or not.
- Each task list item could have a UTMBS activity code added to it from the drop-down if any.
- Each task list item could be billable to a client or not billable to a client by clicking the [ ] checkbox or not.
Screenshot Example of Editing a Task Template/Task List Item:
To create a task list item, you will need to:
- Decide when the task is due
- Enter a time value for calculating the due date
- Select the number of days, months, years when it is due
- Add a trigger to create it
- Decide who it is assigned to
- Complete any additional information as needed
- Choose a reminder and if they are email and/or text message reminders (optional, but recommended)
How are Task List Items triggered?
The actual tasks are created for your team when the task list item template is triggered. For example: if you set up a task list item to be triggered when the Initial Investigation milestone is started, then the actual task will be created and assigned to the user(s) and role(s) at that time, with any due dates calculated for you based on how you set it up.
Law Ruler allows you to set up three different types of triggers for task list items:
- Start Milestone as Trigger - these are good for tasks that are not dependent on a date
- Date Field as Trigger - these are good for litigation and docketing and allow custom date triggers. Please note that date field triggers operate independently of Milestone Steps since they could be way in the future, long after a Milestone Step is marked as Completed.
- The Task is Done as Trigger - these are subtasks and are good for tasks not dependent on a date
- Start Milestone as Trigger – this refers to when each milestone is marked in progress in an intake or case. When an intake or case is first created, the first milestone will automatically be started by default, and any tasks that need to be created will be created, depending on the milestone template and how it is configured.
- Only the first milestone starts by itself, so your team will need to activate any later stage milestones by marking them as “In Progress” or “Completed” from inside each intake or case or by completing all tasks in the milestone that your team is currently working on.
- Competing all tasks in a milestone phase will automatically begin the next milestone and create any related tasks for the next milestone that is started.
- You must finish all the tasks before you can move to the next milestone or an admin user could skip ahead. Please note, if you do *not* want the first milestone to automatically start, then you may turn it off within each practice area in the Add/Edit Milestone settings screen.
Screenshot Example of Editing a Task Template/Task List Item with Start Milestone as the Trigger:
- Date Field as Trigger - All system dates could be used as a date trigger or you may add your own custom case dates as Key Dates and use them in milestone automation. This is particularly useful for litigation, docketing, and trial or other complex workflows that depend on a date trigger that will operate independently of Milestone Steps.
- Using this will create any of these tasks with this trigger when the date field is reached +/- the amount of time configured.
- For Task List Items triggered by the Date Field as Trigger, you must select which Date Field will trigger the task to be created. Key Date fields may be used as date triggers for triggering a series of tasks during litigation or docketing.
- To create new/custom Key Dates that will appear in the Date Field as Trigger dropdown, please visit our Key Dates configuration screen in the System Categories and Key Dates screen. Review the Key Dates tutorial to learn more.
Date Field Triggers in Law Ruler:
- ⚡ Don't See the Date Field that You Need? Add Custom Date Fields
You may create custom date fields to be used as triggers in the Key Dates screen so if the list below does not contain what you need, then add them to the Key Dates screen by pressing
"Manage Key Dates" inside of the Add/Edit Task List Item screen.
- Date Created (Lead) – this is the date that the lead/intake was first created (automatically generated)
- Date Created (Case) – this is the date that a lead/intake was made a case (automatically generated)
- SOL Date – Statute of Limitation date for the intake or case. If you have multiple SOL Dates, then add more date fields in Key Dates
- Date of Incident – the date that the incident occurred
- Case Opened Date – the date that the law firm entered that the case was opened
- Claim Filed Date – the date that the law firm entered that the claim was filed
- Lawsuit Filed Date – the date that the law firm entered that the lawsuit was filed
- Discovery Due Date - the date that discovery is due. If you have multiple discovery dates, then add more date fields in Key Dates
- Trial Date – the date that the law firm entered when the trial begins
- Closed Date – the date that the law firm entered when the case is closed
- Other Key Dates? Law Ruler may be configured for any custom Key Dates for litigation/docketing
Screenshot Example of Editing a Task Template/Task List Item with Date Field as the Trigger:
- The Task is Done as Trigger (Subtasks) - For the Task is Done as Trigger type task list items (subtasks), you will need to decide which task needs to first be completed before the subtask will be created. Pick the task that needs to be done first to set up a subtask.
- Thus, when the original task is completed, the subtask will create automatically.
- Set up a chain of subtasks if you have a process-oriented workflow that you need to accomplish.
Screenshot example of editing a Task List Item with Task is Done as Trigger (Subtask):
Users and Roles in Task List Items
Each task list item could be assigned to 1 or more user(s) or role(s).
Currently, we have these roles available in the system:
- Lead Assignee
- Lead Owner
- Case Manager
Documents and Document Templates in Task List Items
Each task list item allows a document or document template to be attached to it.
Documents may be attached to each task list item if you want your team to have any visual aids. To do this, you would upload a document by clicking the “Browse from computer” button inside the task list item.
In addition, any existing document templates that you have configured in Law Ruler could be added to a task list item by clicking “Choose Existing Document Template.” Adding a document template to a task list item will allow you to mail merge client information from the database into any intake or case that this task list item is inside, and the document/document template will appear in the documents tab in each intake or case after the task list item is activated.
Reminders in Task List Items
Each task list item allows a reminder to be configured. Task reminders are optional and could be configured for either email reminders, text message reminders, or both. If you would like to configure a task reminder for a task list item, then click the "Add" Reminder button as shown in the screenshot below.
- Each reminder requires you to decide when the reminder should be sent to the user(s) assigned to the task list item and if it will be an email or text message or both.
- You may choose to have the reminder be sent before, after, or at the same time when the task list item is due.
- Also, you need to choose how many days/weeks/months/years that the reminder will be due.
Screenshot Example of Adding a Task Reminder to a Task List Item:
Reverting Changes to Workflows
Need to revert the changes made to a workflow template? Law Ruler has you covered. Any time you make edits to an existing workflow template, Law Ruler gives you the option to revert those changes by clicking "Revert Changes". This way, you could revert back to the previous version if needed.
⚠️ Milestone changes cannot be reverted once your changes have been applied.
Cloning a Workflow from One Case Type to Another
Would you like to clone a workflow for a specific case type and copy it to another case type?
Go to the case type that you want to clone, click to “Edit Template” then in the top-right corner:
Select the destination case type to clone this template into from the drop-down and press “Copy”
Screenshot Example for Copying/Backing up a Workflow Template for the Auto Accident case type:
Accessing the Milestone Progress Report
Using Law Ruler's Progress Report, you will be able to review the progress of your milestones at any time.
⚡ You must be a user with administrative and/or reports access, or you will not be able to see the report menu options. Please ask your firm administrator or IT department if you need assistance.
Navigate to Reports -> Progress Report: Milestones/Tasks
If you need further assistance, then please contact Law Ruler Support to assist you further.
🤗 Thank you very much for choosing Law Ruler!