As a Bankruptcy Attorney your case management and petition preparation options are fairly limited. With any practice area specific tool, it’s often hard to find features you need to manage your business, that are also built to prepare and e-file your cases. Especially one that is specific to your local jurisdiction and court system.
If you practice Bankruptcy you know that filings have been on a decline, and now more than ever, attorneys must be diligent about the way they run their practice.
Jubilee, couples best-of-breed petition preparation and e-filing tools with commanding case management tools. I was almost surprised when I demoed the product, as its feature set contended with some of the leading practice management platforms.
The thought process behind this as explained by Keith Crusius, President of LegalPRO Systems was quite spot on. With over two decades of experience in the bankruptcy space with its desktop product BankruptcyPRO, the team wanted to build an online version that expanded beyond just creating the petition. To give clients one powerful place to accomplish everything they needed to in their law firm. To work and gracefully move from one area of the client cycle into the next.
To that end, LegalPRO hired lead developer Carlos Sarmiento and spent over four years working from scratch to build a system with two core requirements: First, it had to be easy to use; second, it had to be fast. On the issue of speed, LegalPRO realized that one complaint of using online software was the sluggishness that occurs when posting and retrieving web page data. This issue is solved by using the latest technologies, creative programming, and constant vigilance. If updates or new pages seem slow it’s right back to the drawing board to fix it. As for the ease of use, Keith pointed out that their very first filing last year in Jubilee, from a firm in Florida, was done from start to filing – by a paralegal who had never before used the software – without a single call for support; it was that simple to use.
Build and Manage a Track
To begin, the application has more advanced Lead Management features, something I’ve been talking a lot about lately!
Enter a contact into the system as a prospect, then manage that lead until they become a client by using a ‘Quick Start’ intake form, or expanding to add full details if you have the time.
At any moment, view a list of the firm’s unretained leads. For bankruptcy attorneys, this is a critical designation so you need not re-start the intake and calculations process over again if they pass a certain date. The system also runs an automatic conflict check, and USPS address validation fetches city, state and zip with every new contact entered as a safeguard.
For bankruptcy attorneys who have branched out into other practice areas, or for a multi-discipline practice with a bankruptcy team Jubilee allows for other matters to be created. With a simple setting, firms can add other practice areas. Perfect for solos now taking on other case types, or the natural crossover into Family Law and Criminal Defense.
One feature I loved most, was Jubilee’s creative use of menus. As you open each matter, they move into tabs. Which gives you the option to move back and forth between files seamlessly. Once a file is open, a secondary left side menu expands, colored in bright blue with contact, and filing information.
As you would expect, data entry happens once, and is aggregated to all corresponding forms, including the built-in Means Test Calculator, so you’re never losing time with duplicate entry. You can preview the Petition at any time to see how things are moving along.
Advanced Chapter 13 Features and Integrations
An integration with the NDC (National Data Center) gives attorneys a heads up before they get a notice about a client’s payments being late. The ability to avoid just one Chapter 13 Plan failure saves the law firm countless hours of time and headaches. This, like many features of LegalPRO’s product line, resulted from a client request. With thousands of clients across the entire United States, LegalPRO believes they have a solid feel for the needs of bankruptcy firms and is always very attentive to client suggestions.
A ‘Plan manager’ offers up a Pro-Forma of who needs to be paid and by when. The advanced Chapter 13 Plan Calculator gives you a plethora of options including stair step payments and has easy import options to work with integrated third party credit reports.
Jubilee covers over 85% of the jurisdictions in the US. If you report that yours is not included, turnaround is between 7-10 days. The same is true with local forms. If you find that anything for your location is missing, they will build them out form you.
The team took the long way home in this area, leaving no stone unturned. With eFiling accommodations such as partial or emergency filings, which give you the ability to file events, income, debtor records, certificate of counseling records and more as separate documents. If something doesn’t match up, an ‘Issue Detection’ warning will appear and provide a list of documents to double check. Once finished, turn the filing into a client document that’s ready to send out instantaneously.
Industry Standard Practice Management Features Abound
The team is constantly building new features, on top of this already robust and lightning fast platform. Some of the existing tools include a complete Calendar system to support multiple calendars, plus a file specific ‘Time Tracker’ which can auto-start a timer that records activity on any case when you open it, then prompts you for a description when you close out.
Additions Yet to Come!
Jubilee will expand its offering to include a robust invoice and billing system to give those time captures a home. And, LegalPRO has almost wrapped up testing on its Jubilee Notices feature to capture and calendar all the ECF notices coming in from the courts.
After seeing Jubilee in action it’s clear that LegalPRO takes its product development and support efforts seriously. Headquartered in San Antonio, the team visits and studies their clients, and invests in the technology infrastructure they will need five years from now, not just today. On the support side, the team comprises experienced bankruptcy paralegals and LegalPRO prides its self on personal phone support and by email and an online forum. Always keeping compliance and form updates in mind, Jubilee is up to date and available in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico.
For a demo of Jubilee, visit them at www.jubileebk.com