Did you know that you can automate certain tasks in PracticeMaster, such as generating a document when a new client is saved or adding a fee when a calendar record is updated? Using WorkFlows, you can streamline your day by automatically starting designated tasks based on the creation, changes, or deletions of other records.
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In a law firm, there can be an overwhelming amount of information to manage – matter information, contact information, upcoming meetings, research, emails, and documents galore. But there is hope! PracticeMaster can help make you more organized than you’ve ever been before. PracticeMaster provides the tools you need to manage it all.
Calendar – View not just your calendar, but your firm’s calendar. View appointments for a specific client or matter, an employee, or view appointments based on any information in the calendar record such as dates, calendar codes, and location.
Contacts – Don’t just search your list of contacts; see all contacts for any matter at a glance, and every matter in which a particular contact is associated.
Document Management – Specify how you want to name and file your documents, and then let PracticeMaster do it for you! Optionally use Fujitsu® ScanSnap™ to scan and import documents. Quickly see all documents for a case, or different versions of the same kind of documents across all your cases.
Matter Manager – Tie everything for a matter together in one place: calendar records, contacts, email, meeting notes, documents, billing summary, and more!
Conflict of Interest – Maintain ethical walls by searching files, documents, email attachments, and contacts for key words. Optionally limit results to certain files, and more.
Timers – Use timers to track your time, phone tasks, and research. Switch between timers as needed, and then process timer records into fees!
Filtering – Add filters to your files so that you can easily see only those records that you want to see.
QuickViews – QuickViews combine a filter, column layout, and sort option into a tab at the top of the List tab of any file, which allows you to quickly switch your view depending on the records you are working with. Add Smart tabs to provide an additional level of record sorting.
Integration – Integrate calendar records and contacts with Outlook. Install the PracticeMaster toolbar in Outlook®, Internet Explorer, Microsoft® Word, Excel®, PowerPoint®, Adobe® Reader or Acrobat®, and WordPerfect® to save documents and research to PracticeMaster, or to create journal entries, calendar entries, or fees from within the other software. Integration with CalendarRules™, NetDocuments®, and more is also available!
Areas of Practice – Areas of Practice provide a way to save separate information for different types of matters, without having the clutter of everything all in one file or set of files.
Report Writer – Create custom reports using the fields in PracticeMaster.
WorkFlows – Help automate your workload by creating WorkFlows to automatically start tasks or notify other users based on specified events.
Document Assembly – Help automate form letters by creating document templates that pull information from any file in PracticeMaster. Once created, simply select the client and the template, and it does the rest.
For a complete list of PracticeMaster features, refer to Knowledge Base Article R11548, “PracticeMaster Feature Comparison.” For more information about PracticeMaster features or to purchase a license of PracticeMaster, contact your consultant, or contact our Sales Department at (402) 419-2200.
Every time you open a new matter, what other tasks do you need accomplished? Many items on your to-do list are likely predictable and repetitive. There are people to email, documents to collect, records to update, and the list goes on. Although PracticeMaster can’t do everything on your to-do list, WorkFlows automate many tasks so that you can spend more of your time on the things that need your personal attention.
PracticeMaster WorkFlows react to tasks or activities and start a chain of events that you define in advance. For example, every time you schedule a client meeting, you can use a WorkFlow to assemble an email to the client with meeting details and directions to your office.
You can use WorkFlows to help make sure your office procedures are always followed. For example, if it is your policy that internal meetings are not billed to a client, set up a WorkFlow that will display a popup message when an employee converts an internal meeting to a fee: “You have billed for an internal meeting. Please confirm this is correct.”
WorkFlows can help you keep clients and colleagues informed. When an important milestone in a matter is reached, such as a deposition or court date is set, a WorkFlow can make sure you email all staff and clients involved to let them know. It can also schedule the next calendar milestone, update fields in a file, such as date last contacted or a change to the status, and more. If you use PracticeMaster Platinum, WorkFlows can also send eNotes (with linked PracticeMaster records) around the office to keep everyone on the same page.
WorkFlows are highly customizable and nearly limitless. Each WorkFlow can launch up to 10 activities, including adding or changing records, processing calendar plan templates, running reports, starting a backup, and more. WorkFlows can also create the scenario(s) that will launch additional WorkFlows. WorkFlows can be automatic, with or without confirming that the WorkFlow will launch. You also have the option to set up a user activated WorkFlow that launches when you manually activate it.
Other examples of WorkFlows:
For more information and ideas on WorkFlows that you can use in your office (including instructions for setting them up), check out article R11307, “All About WorkFlows,” in our Knowledge Base.
When entering fees in PracticeMaster, an automatic WorkFlow can be configured with a filter to only trigger when fee descriptions exceed 300 characters for a specific range of matters or clients.
To create a WorkFlow that prompts the user when a fee description is too long
You now have a WorkFlow that is automatically triggered when the length of a fee description exceeds a set number of characters for a particular Client ID range. A prompt is displayed letting the user know that the description is too long for that client and reopens the record for editing.
Note: WorkFlows are a PracticeMaster-only feature. Fees entered or edited in Tabs3 will not trigger the WorkFlow.
I have a WorkFlow that runs every time anything is changed in a client record. Is there a way to set it up so the WorkFlow only runs when a specific field is changed?
WorkFlows can be configured to be run only when a specific field is changed. WorkFlows have the ability to be designed for very specific scenarios, such as when it’s difficult to remember a seldom used step or to correct errors in initial data entry (e.g., changing a client to be Inactive and having a message pop up to verify this is correct).
The Fields section of the WorkFlow Definition window can be used when a specific field needs to be the trigger for the WorkFlow.
A WorkFlow can be set up to create a People record every time a contact is added with a Category of Witness. When a People record is created, it requires a Client ID be selected for it to proceed. Once the Client ID is selected, the record can be created and saved automatically or be left open for additional information to be added before saving the record.
To automatically create a People record based on a Witness Contact Category
You now have a WorkFlow that will automatically create a People record for you when a contact is added as a Witness.
WorkFlows can take advantage of filtering to ensure they only run when they’re intended to. Filters are used to limit the records you want to display or select and can be used to limit the records shown in PracticeMaster files, Report Writer, Word Document Assembly, Outlook Synchronization, and WorkFlows. Filters can be simple comparisons, or advanced expressions capable of complex functionality.
Let’s take a look at the Filter Editor, and then a few scenarios where you might want to add a filter to your WorkFlows. To add a filter to your WorkFlow, open your WorkFlow via Maintenance | WorkFlows. In the WorkFlow Definition window, select Filtered Records, and click the Filter button.
In the Filter Editor, you can click New Row to add a simple row, or click New Advanced Row to create a more complex filter.
Below are a few scenarios where filtering the records that run the WorkFlow can help prevent the WorkFlow from running too often.
Whenever we add a new Contact, our WorkFlow to create a new client record always triggers. However, we only need it to run when the contact has a Contact Category of “Client”.
To create a filter so the WorkFlow only triggers for a Contact Category of “Client”
I have a WorkFlow that starts a fee record when we save a Document Management record. However, we don’t need fees to be created for documents with a DocType of “LTTR”.
To create a filter so the WorkFlow won’t trigger for a DocType of “LTTR”
Our firm has a WorkFlow that recreates calendar records every time they’re deleted to prevent employees from accidentally deleting other people’s appointments. However, we do not want it to run when employees delete their own records.
This is a slightly more complicated scenario, but we can add an Advanced Row to compare the User ID assigned to the Calendar record with the User ID that is currently logged in by utilizing the UserID$ function. The UserID$ function always specifies the User ID logged into the software.
To create a filter so that employees can delete their own calendar records
For more information on filter expressions, including using them in WorkFlows, take a look at Knowledge Base Article R11493, “All About Expressions.”
This can be accomplished by creating a WorkFlow that prompts the user if they’d like it to run when a Document Management record is created with a particular Document Type (e.g., “Form” or “Proposal”). Fee and email values will be entered automatically.
Once the WorkFlow completes, the document can easily be attached to the email.
To automatically create a fee and start an email every time Document Management records are added with certain Document Types
When run, this WorkFlow will start an email to which the document can be attached. To attach the document to the email, select the PracticeMaster tab of the email, click Attach PM Document, and then select the new Document Management record from the list.
Note: This WorkFlow can be created for each Document Type, as needed.
This can be accomplished by creating a WorkFlow that will automatically trigger whenever a calendar record with a particular calendar code (e.g., “FC”) is marked as completed. The WorkFlow will create a calendar entry populated with field values specified in the WorkFlow itself. For our example, the calendar entry will include the following:
To automatically create the next Calendar entry every time one is completed in the set
You now have a WorkFlow that will create a customized calendar entry based on the completion dates of the prior task. This can be reapplied as many times as is necessary for the series to be completely automated as things are marked completed.
A User Activated WorkFlow can be created and then run on selected records in the Client file. By not specifying a User ID in the WorkFlow, and instead having the WorkFlow use the User ID of the currently logged in User, anyone can run the WorkFlow. You can use the Search box or create a filter to display the desired clients prior to running the WorkFlow.
To create a WorkFlow that adds a User ID to the User/Group field of the linked Contact records
This WorkFlow is now ready to be run for selected clients.
PracticeMaster Reminders do not synchronize over to Outlook. However, a WorkFlow can be set up that will automatically create additional calendar records as “reminders” in PracticeMaster when a certain calendar code is used. Because we are creating separate calendar records, they will then synchronize over to Outlook.
To create a WorkFlow that adds additional calendar records based on Calendar Code
The specified user will now have an automatic reminder set up for one week prior to a record with a Calendar Code of “Hearing”.
You can turn any number of tasks into single click functions using WorkFlows.
When the User Activated check box is selected in a WorkFlow, the WorkFlow will be included in the WorkFlow group of the Quick Clicks pane for the selected file. This allows you to manually run the WorkFlow on demand for the selected records.
For example, let’s say that when a client calls in to set up an appointment, you want to quickly and easily add a calendar record. A User Activated WorkFlow can be created in the Client file so that when the client calls in to make an appointment, you can click the WorkFlow and have the calendar record automatically created with the Client ID, Description, Calendar Code, and Alarm already filled in.
To create a User Defined WorkFlow
Keep in mind that WorkFlows that do not have the User Activated check box selected will not be available in the WorkFlow group of the Quick Clicks pane, and will only run when triggered. However, you can optionally make WorkFlows that automatically run when records are added, changed, or deleted also run on demand by selecting the User Activated check box. This can help provide more flexibility in a WorkFlow that sometimes needs to run automatically and sometimes on demand.
You can create WorkFlows so that each time you add a record to the Calendar with the Client ID field populated, the Primary Timekeeper’s name will be added to the beginning of the Description field.
To create a WorkFlow that adds the Primary Timekeeper’s name to the Description field
You can create a WorkFlow so that each time you add a record to Document Management with a Document Type of subpoena (e.g., SUB), you will be prompted to run Word Document Assembly. This allows you to keep taking advantage of Word Document Assembly automatically running, but provides the option to click No to the prompt once you are done.
To create a WorkFlow that prompts you to run Word Document Assembly
A WorkFlow can be configured to edit a field provided there is a consistent character (or set of characters) indicating where the fee’s description begins. For our example, we will use “***” as an indicator. With a WorkFlow set up to automatically edit the description field of a new fee, the journal record will retain the original text, but only the text after “***” will be included in the fee. Additionally, if an attorney wants an entire journal record’s description included, they simply have to omit the character (or set of characters) from the description.
For example, let’s say a journal record that you will convert to a fee includes the text “could not find precedence.” You don’t want your client to see this on their bill. With this WorkFlow, you could change the description to “could not find precedence *** Research,” and when the WorkFlow runs, “Research” is all that will be included in the Fee Description.
To set up a WorkFlow that automatically trims the Description field
Note: This WorkFlow will run for any new fee entry provided that, in this example, there is *** present.
Note: In order for this WorkFlow to run properly, Description Field must be specified as the Default Description for Convert to Fee Settings (Maintenance | Preferences | Convert to Fee Settings).
Note: Before saving the Fee, the additional text will still be shown. The additional text is only removed after the save has been completed.
Alternative Methods: As an alternative, you can use the statement comments attribute in the Journal record for text you don’t want printed on a statement. Using statement comments suppresses the text from printing on a final statement, but displays in red in the Journal and Fee records. Additionally, in draft statements and reports, statement comments will be shown with a strikethrough character (e.g., could not find precedence). To use statement comments, select the desired text, right-click in the Description or Comment field of the journal record, and then select Statement Comment.
Another option to prevent text in the Journal record from being included in the fee description is to specify a different Default Description such as Tcode/Activity Code Description in the Convert to Fee Settings (Maintenance | Preferences | Convert to Fee Settings). This option uses the selected Tcode’s default description for the fee instead of the text from the Journal record.
You can set up a WorkFlow so that every time a client record is added, the contact record is updated with “Client” as a Contact Category in addition to any other contact categories already assigned. If the contact already has a contact category of Client assigned, it will not be added again.
To create a WorkFlow to add “Client” as a Contact Category when a client is added
A WorkFlow can be created that will add the User ID to the desired calendar records. This WorkFlow will not run automatically, but will run when you click the WorkFlow in the Quick Clicks pane. This allows you the flexibility of selecting only the records to which you want the user added.
Tip: Once the WorkFlow has been created, it can easily be updated for similar scenarios in the future. For example, if you need to add another new employee at a later time, simply edit the existing WorkFlow for the new User ID.
To create a WorkFlow to add a particular User ID to calendar records
To run the WorkFlow, simply open the Calendar file, select the desired calendar records, and then click the WorkFlow from the WorkFlows group of the Quick Clicks pane. All of the selected calendar records will be updated with the new user.
A WorkFlow can be set up for a particular Calendar Code so that whenever the alarm is cleared, PracticeMaster sets the alarm to a new value for you and updates the description to the next action item. For example, when a “1 day” alarm is cleared, PracticeMaster can set the alarm for “1 hour.” This can be desirable if you like the alarms but don’t want to create separate calendar entries for each action item of a task or event.
To create a WorkFlow that sets a new alarm when an alarm is cleared
You now have a WorkFlow set up so that when you clear the one day alarm on a record with a Calendar Code of “Trial,” it will reset the alarm to be displayed one hour before the trial time to remind you to leave.
Yes, there is! A WorkFlow can be created to automatically open the desired reports as well as the website to which the reports will be submitted.
When the WorkFlow runs, you will only need to enter the optional report criteria (e.g., client range, date range, etc.) and click Print to run and save the report. The website will open, and you can then upload the necessary reports.
To run multiple reports and open a specific website
The Prompt Before Running and Automatically save and close check boxes may be desirable to use as a permanent setting depending on the purpose of the WorkFlow. However, we recommend using these check boxes to test the WorkFlow before considering it complete. It is important to test your WorkFlows as part of the creation process to make sure they work as expected. If you make modifications, test the WorkFlow again.
Prompt Before Running
The Prompt Before Running check box is located in the WorkFlow Definition window. If the Prompt Before Running check box is cleared, then the WorkFlow will run automatically when it’s triggered. When this check box is selected, a message will be displayed ask ing the user if they want to run the WorkFlow. Selecting this check box can be helpful when you are testing WorkFlows because you can see right away if the WorkFlow is triggered when you expect it to be triggered.
Automatically Save and Close
The Automatically save and close check box is located in the WorkFlow Action Wizard window when you select the Create New Record or Change Record action. If the Automatically Save and Close check box is selected, then new records and changes to records will be saved and closed without seeing the changes. If this check box is cleared, then the new or changed record will be left open for review with changes in green. Clearing this check box can be helpful by leaving the record open after the WorkFlow has run so that you can verify the correct additions or changes were made. If this check box is selected, you would have to find the record and open it to verify the WorkFlow worked as expected.
Client lookup fields use the Name Search field to find clients. Reports sorted alphabetically are also sorted on the Name Search field. However, this field does not get updated automatically when the Client Name is changed.
A WorkFlow can be created to update this field automatically when the Client Name is changed in PracticeMaster.
To create a WorkFlow that will update the Name Search field
You now have a WorkFlow set up that will automatically update the Name Search field without user interaction any time the Client Name field is changed, provided the change is made in PracticeMaster.
Note: If the Client Name is changed in Tabs3, the WorkFlow will not be triggered to run. However, the WorkFlow can optionally be run manually via the Quick Clicks pane in PracticeMaster.
There are a variety of options available to handle this. WorkFlows can be set up to copy any information from the originating record to another location. For example, if a calendar record is deleted, then the WorkFlow can be set up to copy the Due Date, Calendar Code, Description, Comments, Start Time, and more to the new record. The WorkFlow can even be set up to show who made the deletion.
Note: You can optionally set up access rights to only allow certain users rights to delete records. This can help alleviate issues with unauthorized deletions. Access rights can be set up in System Configuration via File | Open | Access Profile.
The following is a list of options where WorkFlows can help track deletions:
Regardless of which option you choose, a new record will be added to PracticeMaster. The goal is for the WorkFlow to record all critical information that was removed by the deletion. A WorkFlow will need to be added to each file in which you want deleted records tracked.
You can find more information and additional options for using WorkFlows to track deleted records in Knowledge Base Article R11732, “Using WorkFlows to Track Deleted Records.”
When you’re creating a new WorkFlow, the Event Type determines when you want the WorkFlow to run. You can select one or more Event Types depending on when you want the WorkFlow to be triggered.
Keep in mind that Event Types can work in tandem with a Filter or specified Fields to further narrow down what triggers the WorkFlow.
This can be done by creating a WorkFlow that will automatically trigger whenever a client is added with an Area of Practice (AOP) of Criminal Law. The WorkFlow will create a calendar entry populated with field values specified in the WorkFlow itself. For our example, the calendar entry will include the following:
To automatically create a Calendar entry every time a Criminal Law client is added
You now have a WorkFlow set up that will create a customized calendar entry every time a new client is saved with Criminal Law selected as the Area of Practice.
Although Tabs3 Billing has the option to change fee rates via the Change WIP Transactions program, cost rates cannot be changed using this program. As a work-around, you can accomplish the cost rate change by creating a user activated WorkFlow in PracticeMaster. This type of WorkFlow runs only when initiated by a user, which means you can choose to run it for only the costs you want to change. The WorkFlow will change the Rate of the selected costs, recalculate the amount, and then automatically save the costs.
Tip: Once the WorkFlow has been created, it can easily be changed for future scenarios. For example, if you need to adjust cost records to a different rate, simply edit the existing WorkFlow for the new scenario.
To create a WorkFlow in PracticeMaster to change the rate of existing costs
To run the WorkFlow, simply open the Cost file, select the desired cost records, and then select the WorkFlow from the WorkFlows group of the Quick Clicks pane. All of the selected costs will be updated with the new rate and recalculated amount.
This was the first month of Working with WorkFlows! Did you find this article helpful? Have any article suggestions? Leave us a comment below!
What are expressions, and how can your firm use them to improve your day-to-day activities in PracticeMaster? An expression is a set of criteria you define that tells the software what records to display, and in some cases, how to display it. Filters are the most common expressions, but expressions can also be used in Report Writer reports, WorkFlows, Word Document Assembly, and Outlook Synchronization.
So how can you learn more about expressions? Knowledge Base Article R11493, “All About Expressions,” provides the basics on expressions by breaking information down to explain what an expression is, where it’s used, and common terminology. This article also shows you how to create both simple and advanced expressions, provides filter examples, and has tips for making the most of filter expressions. To go one step further, for a list of more than 60 filter expression examples, including the file and scenario in which it would be used, visit Knowledge Base Article R11515, “Filter Expression Examples.” Take a little time to check out these resources so you can put this powerful feature to work for you and your firm!
Our Knowledge Base can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at support.Tabs3. com. You can also access our Knowledge Base while in the software by selecting Help | Internet Resources | Knowledge Base.