File inception - a big discussion point

December 06, 2019

As case management software has become more widely used throughout law firms, the question of who should be responsible for the process of opening a new file (known as file inception) has become an increasingly big discussion point, particularly when the implementation of a new piece of workflow software is being considered. In the past, law firms relied upon centralised file inception, often handled by the accounts department. But in most modern firms, legal software is used by everyone and the job of file inception is rarely limited to one individual or department. However, the broadening of responsibility for this process can introduce certain diplomatic issues, as different members of staff often have contrasting priorities.

Marketing vs fee earners vs compliance

The ongoing shake up of the legal sector has introduced more competition and consequently placed a greater emphasis on marketing. Most business savvy legal entrepreneurs know that marketing additional services to existing clients is far more effective than trying to find new clients. As such, collecting information about clients which can assist in “upselling” to them further down the line has become a priority for legal marketing teams, and this can be done effectively during file inception. However, the downside of collecting more client data at this stage is that it can delay the process of getting on with the actual instructions, a bugbear for many fee earners. Furthermore, storing more data about clients can create extra work in terms of compliance with the data protection laws.

Keeping things simple

Although there is no single solution to this multi-faceted debate about file inception, engaging all the relevant teams early on in the adoption of new legal software can help, as can ensuring ease of use of the system. 

The user friendly and intuitive case management software from SOS helps reduce difficulties in getting to grips with a new way of opening files. We also provide hands on training to ensure that any transition is as smooth as possible.


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