Managing the Flow of Communications in Amicus Attorney
Learn how to leverage Amicus Attorney to stay on top of all your communications. Track email, phone calls and messages in one place. Know whom you are waiting to hear from – with information that’s completely integrated with your files.
About Free Training Friday: Since the beginning of 2017, we have been holding these free, 30-minute training hosted by our industry-leading experts and innovators who will teach you about AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, the Abacus Private Cloud, and now, Results CRM and OfficeTools Software. If you would like to request a topic, please firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello and welcome to today’s Free Training Friday. My name is Kalei White. I am a marketing coordinator here at AbacusNext and today, we have Dave Lamb. He’s a senior software trainer here at AbacusNext and he’ll be going over how to manage communications within your Amicus Attorney. This will be about a 30-minute webinar with 10 minutes left at the end for question and answer, so please feel free to submit any questions that you have into the question portion of the go-to webinar control pane. This session is being recorded, so don’t worry about taking notes or anything like that. We will be sending you the recording later today. That’s about it. Without further ado, I’ll let Dave take it over. Hey, Dave.
Thanks very much for the intro and welcome to Free Training Fridays. I just want to say that the screen you’re looking at now, I’m not sure if that’s a desktop or if that’s all the things from my desktop that fell on the floor, so one day, I’ll figure out what that graphic is all about. Anyway, we are going to be talking about managing the flow of communications in Amicus Attorney. In this session, we’re going to focus on managing outstanding communications because that’s really important.
Now, the leading … I’m going to bring up another slide here and this is by a famous lawyer that you may recognize. “The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for tomorrow, which can be done today. Never let your correspondence fall behind. Whatever piece of business you have in hand before stopping, do all the labor pertaining to it, which can then be done.” I’m sure you've heard of this lawyer, Abraham Lincoln.
One area that legal professionals really get into trouble with is communication. Abraham Lincoln’s advice is still valid today. Never let your correspondence fall behind. Now, in his day, he didn't have to deal with phone calls and phone messages and e-mails like we do today but poor communication with clients can lead to all kinds of issues and legal professionals deal with a high volume of communications. It always seems like the phone is ringing and the inbox is full.
Amicus Attorney helps you manage your communications to avoid some of the most common pitfalls. Now, let’s get our language grade first. In Amicus Attorney language, communications are phone calls, phone messages and e-mail, and of course, communication management is an integral part of Amicus Attorney. Now, let’s go into, first of all, contact card, so we’re going to go into the People module. We’re going to open Janet Baily’s contact card and turn on the contact card. Just let me expand it. You can see that one of the areas that we have is communications. Under here, this is a nicely broken down list. By the way, our developers taught me that a list like this is called granular and that’s a lovely word to use. It’s granular list. The reason that it is broken down, of course, is because communications are so important.
I can see all of my phone calls and phone messages with our client, Janet Baily. I can see all of my e-mails that’s incoming or outgoing e-mails, all of my communications, again, phone calls, phone messages, and e-mails. I can also see all calls and messages, all e-mails, all communications, so no matter which firm member has sent or received an e-mail, made or received a phone call, I will see them all here, a centralized location for all of the communications that have to do with Janet Baily, with any of our contacts.
Let’s go into the Files module now. In Files, again, let’s open Janet’s file. Just like we had in the People module, we have the same centralized communications records here under Communications. Again, I can see all of my calls and messages to any of the people on this file, not just Janet but Mr. Brackman and Mr. Kipling. Anyone who has a role in this file, we have a record of their communications, all of my e-mail, again, incoming or outgoing, all of my communications. Again, in Amicus Attorney language, communications are phone calls, phone messages and e-mails and all calls and messages, all e-mails, all communications with anyone on this file.
In both the contact card and on the file, a central location to see all of the communications and those communications contain communications that you've dealt with and outstanding communications. How can you tell the difference? Let’s take a look at all communications on Janet’s file. We can see that each one of these communication records and that each have a nice little icon, a little phone call means this was a phone call, either incoming or outgoing, a phone message, and e-mail with a nice little sign here. If it has a checkbox, it means it’s been dealt with. No checkbox means that it’s outstanding.
We can see communications on the contact card. We can see communications on the file but of course, you can manage your communications there but one of the best places to manage all of your outstanding communications is in the communications module, so let’s go there in communications. Now, by default, when we open the Communications module, we open to the outstanding tab. Here, we can see all of our outstanding phone calls, our outstanding phone messages, and our outstanding e-mails. Here on the left, you'll see that we have some filters to see exactly what you want.
We’re going to take a look at outstanding calls. We’re going to uncheck messages, uncheck e-mails, and these are my outstanding phone calls but wait just a moment. If you are familiar with Amicus Attorney, you might ask, “Hey, when I do phone call, either receive a phone call or make a phone call, isn’t it already dealt with?” Yes, but you can actually change the status of a phone call to outstanding. You might do this if you require more action to be taken or you don’t want to mark the call dealt with until you, say review or change the notes on the call, or you decide if you want to do a follow-up or not.
Now, from here of course, I can open the record. Just double click and open the record and there is my phone call. Any communication record, double click to open. Once I open this, of course, I have the option to change the notes. I can type in there. I have the option to do a time entry. I have the option to do a follow-up. I have the option to mark it as dealt with. This is how you can change the status of a phone call. Let’s say, for example, I want to make a brand new phone call to someone. You can do this in many, many places in Amicus. I’m going to go back to my People module. Let’s say I’d like to call Janet. I’m going to right click and I’m going to phone call.
Now, Amicus can’t dial the phone for you but it does pretty well everything else. It’s come up with the phone call detail and I would like to tell people in training that Amicus isn’t psychic but it make some pretty good assumptions for us. One is that I’m calling Janet but if this was a phone call from Janet, I can change that. This is her primary phone number but if I was calling her and I needed to reach her, say at her cell, I could select cell. It knows that the phone call is from me and by the way, during this session, I am Heather, so it’s from Heather.
This is Janet’s file. It knows the call is made today, 2:05 p.m. The clock is running and of course, the clock is running because I’d like to be able to make a time entry to bill my client for this time. While we’re speaking to Janet on the phone, we do have a call history available to us and there is my calls with this person and so these are all of the phone calls that I've made to Janet, very, very handy. The reason for this of course, is that if Janet says to me, “Hey, nobody called me last week,” I can say, “Well, look at that. On December the 1st on Friday, yes, Janet left a message at 12:16 to call me.”
We can look up all of the communications, not just phone calls but all communications with this person. That includes, of course, as I said, phone calls, phone messages and even e-mails. Janet is talking on the phone to us and says, “Did you get my e-mail this morning?” We can open that up and we can take a look at the e-mail and we can speak to Janet on the phone while we’re looking at the e-mail all from one interface.
Now, what I can also do here is of course I can make my notes. Sorry, I am subjecting you to my typing. Then, we’re going to save our phone call. All right, so we’ve saved our phone call. Again, as we’ve said before, our phone call is going to be available on this contact card. Just a moment. Oops. I just got to start my Amicus. Sorry for that. This is because of my little demo database. It sometimes does things that I don’t like. Once we’ve made a phone call, received a phone call, you're going to be able to see a record of that on the contact card on the file as we saw before.
Let’s go to contact card. Let’s go to Janet’s contact card. I think we have some phone calls there. I’m just going to start up my little tutorial. By the way, on offside, the tutorial database that I’m using today is available to you all. It is like a, we might call a sandbox version of Amicus. You'll open it up and you will be in a little office, an Amicus office of Heather Gavel and Heather has files and contacts and phone records. It’s a great place to come in and learn Amicus. For example, if you'd like to learn how to delete files or place appointments on other firm member’s calendars, it’s great to do that without having to do it with your own database. Learning things like how do I delete contacts and delete files is probably not something you want to do on your firm’s database. This is a great place to learn how to do that.
All right. We’ll go back into people. We’re going to go into Janet Baily and again, into communications. Here’s the phone call. You'll notice it is marked dealt with. I can change the status of that phone call. Where did my phone call go? There it is, my phone call detail. [inaudible 00:12:34] buried somewhere. Just a moment. Let’s go ahead and pull up another one. It just moved to my other screen. There we go. Okay. I've made a phone call and at any point then, I can change it from dealt with to outstanding. I might say I’m not sure what I want to do after this. I’m still not quite finished with the call. I've made it outstanding. That’s how you can change a phone call into outstanding.
Let’s go back into our communications. We’re going to filter the calls and here are two phone calls that are now outstanding. How do I deal with outstanding phone calls? Notice the check box isn’t checked. Anywhere in the system where you see the phone call, you can open it up and if I’d like to do, say a follow-up for this, click follow-up and what a follow-up does is it puts an event on my calendar by default at to-do but you could switch to an appointment. It fills in as much information as it can for me. It fills in a fair amount. It gives it a nice title. In this case, call Frank Sydenham. I like that. I’ll leave it.
There’s a file. It’s going to go on my calendar and the only thing it didn't know is when I said that I’m going to call back, I’m going to set that call back for Monday and okay, and click okay, and you notice now that that phone call record is no longer in my outstanding list because I dealt with it. Other ways that you can deal with your phone calls, of course, is that you can do a phone message from here. That will mark it as dealt with or if you just want to make changes, say to the description, to the notes that you put it, mark it as dealt with. Click okay, and it’s done. That’s a nice easy way to deal with phone calls. Again, by default, when you create a phone call record, it is mark dealt with but you can uncheck that box if you need to deal with it later.
Okay. There are some alerts. There is an alert for phone calls that if there’s … I’m sorry. There’s no alert for phone calls. The alerts that we get in the Communications module are for phone messages. Let’s talk about phone messages for a moment. Phone message. These are my phone messages. Again, we’re in outstanding. These are all of my outstanding phone messages. Phone messages in Amicus are messages that had been sent to me from someone else. Let’s just go through how we can send, receive, and deal with a phone message.
I’m going to create a new phone message. I take the phone call. It’s not for me. It’s for someone else. Who is it for? Well, I’m actually going to send it to myself so that we can see it, and who is it from? If it’s from one of our contacts, you can pick them from the list or you can simply type their name in if there’s not a contact. Let’s say this one is from George M. Smith. We just take, “Mr. Smith, what’s your phone number?” 122-9087. Okay. Is this associated with a file?” Let’s say it is. Then, we take the notes. George needs a callback. Now, because this is just a little bit of training, I know none of you ever run into this situation when you're dealing with somebody. He needs a callback now. We’re going to mark it as urgent and please call.
Now, this is pink because I’m not sure if anybody here that’s with us remembers back, when we used to have those pink phone message slips. I sure remember those pink phone message slips that you would fill out, then walk to somebody’s desk and put it on their desk, well, that’s what this is. Now, there’s two ways that I can send this. I can click send. This will transfer our electronic phone message over to the firm member specified here.
I also have a send an e-mail. Send an e-mail is really cool. For example, the person I’m sending this phone message to isn’t in the office but they do have their phone and they do have access to their e-mail, so I can send an e-mail. Now, because Amicus doesn’t know about Mr. Smith, it asked us, would you like to add this person to Amicus? I’m just going to say no. What’s going to happen are a couple of things. One, back in the office of the person receiving this phone message, they will get this big, sticky, “You have a new urgent phone message,” and so they’ll see this here on their screen.
The person sending the phone message will get this. They will get an e-mail pop up that’s already addressed to our firm member with the subject phone message from and the following message was taken when by whom. It’s urgent. Please call. You could type this in whatever message you want. Please deal with this. Then, you can send that off. The recipient of the phone message gets an e-mail, has all of the information they need to phone our person because again, as I've said before, how important communications are, what we don’t want is we don’t want people leaving a phone message with us and we get back to them two days later and say, “Gee, sorry. I didn't get back to you. I was out of the office.” Sometimes, that is just not viable to do. This will really help if it’s really urgent and somebody’s out of the office. We simply send that out.
Now, back in the recipient’s office, the person receiving the phone message, you'll notice that here’s my list of phone messages. If it’s in red, it is urgent and you can see I have several urgent phone messages. How do I deal with these outstanding phone messages? Let’s open it. What can I do? I can follow up. Just like we could generate a task to be on our calendar to remind us to do a phone call, this will remind us to deal with this phone message. I could forward this and make it somebody else’s problem, like taking that little paper slip from your desk, putting it on someone else’s desk and say, “Hi. Guess what I have for you. Now, this is your problem,” or I could say, “Gee. I better phone Mr. Smith,” click the phone call icon and yes, we’re making the phone call.
Those are several ways to deal with the phone messages. The other way is say I already dealt with this. I could say the call was returned or I could just mark it as dealt with, so if I have to take any other action, if I’d already returned the call, say I was out in the field, returned the call from my phone, call was returned or marked as dealt with. That’s how we can deal with outstanding phone messages. Again, I made a phone message for myself. Generally, you don’t create phone messages for yourself. Someone will take a phone message and send it to you. We’ve seen how we can deal with outstanding phone calls and outstanding messages. Let’s go to our next communication type, which is e-mails. Now, your Amicus can link to your Outlook or your exchange inbox and when Amicus pulls them in, they appear here under outstanding. E-mails that you send from Amicus are automatically flagged as dealt with, of course. Here in the Communications module, you can see all of your outstanding e-mails. There is a preview pane at the bottom. I’m just going to drag it up so that when we click on an e-mail, just like Outlook, you can actually see the contents of that e-mail.
Just like phone calls, just like messages, there are several ways to deal with an e-mail. If it’s the kind of message that you just need to read and no response is required, then, again, our little box here, you can simply click that box, mark it as dealt with and it’s gone from your outstanding list. Now, if you need to take action, what can you do? Well, you can right click and reply. You can forward. Make this somebody else’s problem. You can open the e-mail and take a look at the details and from here, you can do … Just like you can do in Outlook, you can reply and you can forward. These, of course, will mark the e-mail as dealt with.
You can also do, yes indeed, you can do a follow-up and again, it makes an event in your calendar so you can deal with this later. If this is not the kind of e-mail that you need to deal with immediately, you can do a follow-up and again, this is so that you don’t forget. When we say to people, “You know, I’m taking a look at your e-mail. I’ll get back to you tomorrow,” put a follow up on the calendar so you don’t forget. Of course, we can do our time entry here too. Whatever we wish to do, I’m going to mark it simply as dealt with. Click okay and that is now again gone from the outstanding list.
We’ve seen how you can manage your outstanding phone calls, phone messages, and e-mail, and the centralized place to do that is here in the Communications module. Remember also that you can take the same kind of action on any of these entries, phone calls, phone messages or e-mails from the People module and from the Files module, and if we go back to our office, if you're onto our home screen, we also have a nice little reminder here that I have phone messages to return. That’s a nice reminder when we open this at the beginning of the day. Click here and it takes us directly to the Communications module filtered for messages.
That’s pretty well what I wanted to cover today, specifically taking a look at managing those outstanding communications because ultimately, what we’d like to do is we don’t want to leave them outstanding for long. We want to take some kind of action and to do that, as I said, the best place to go is under Communications and outstanding where they are all presented to us in a centralized location. Then, you can take your time and decide how to deal with them. Deal with them right away, put a nice reminder on your to-do list, or say, “Yeah, I've dealt with that.”
Right now, what we’d like to do is we’re going to run a couple of short little polls for you to fill out, which we would appreciate you doing and then, I’ll be back and we are going to have question period where you can ask me some questions. Here we go. There’s our quick poll. While we’re doing that, I’d like to just do a little plug for Amicus Attorney training. We do offer customized training for your firms and you can book that on our website, www.abacusnext.com and we will cover anything you want to do whether it’s a full two hours of new user training.
If you'd like to do some of the specialized features in Amicus like learning how to save time by automating your document production, document assembly. You're learning how to, again, save time by automating the processes that you use with linked events and precedents or customizing the program or learning how the administrator functions work. This is one on one with the trainer where you get to ask questions. It’s all customized for you. We highly recommend training for your firm. It’s probably one of the best investments that you can make. We’ve had our little poll. Have we got any more polls?
Yes. Thank you, guys, so much for answering that first poll. It really helps us with the scheduling of what the topics are for these weekly webinars. The next question has to do with Abacus Private Cloud. You may or may not have heard of it before but we’re wondering if you'd like to know more about it. Basically, AbacusNext offers a private cloud solution that enables you to work anywhere on any device and you can open any application that you need to run your business.
It’s also a highly secure solution for keeping all your data and your client data safe. We also help you to manage all the technical aspects to help your space run and keep it running. If you'd like to learn more about the Abacus Private Cloud, what it is, what it can do for you, just let us know and we will contact you. That’s it for the polls. We don’t want a death by poll questions. Now, we’d love to take any questions that you have for us about Amicus.
Can you give a little overview about the Amicus Mobile App?
Okay. There is an app coming out, a mobile app. It’s going to be coming out very, very soon because we’re going to be launching our newest release very, very soon. They’re working very hard over here for that. The app will be for iOS and also for, of course, Android where you'll be able to log in with an app on your device and do a lot of the functions in Amicus, time entries, and look up other entries. We also, of course, have, for people who want mobile access to Amicus, we have Amicus Anywhere.
Amicus Anywhere is a really cool hybrid of say a web based application and a server based application. What Amicus Anywhere does is it uses a little, what we call a re-layer up in the cloud that you open Amicus Anywhere on a web browser, you log in with credentials and you establish an encrypted connection to our little re-layer and you can see your files and contacts, your calendar, make time entries, do a lot of the things you can do on your desktop on that web browser called Amicus Anywhere. Again, it’s all encrypted and there’s never any information on the device. This will be the same with the mobile app, is it reaches out to your information on your server, whether that be in private cloud or on your own server. It relays it up to the re-layer down to your device where you have great mobile access to it. Then, when you log out, there’s no information left on that device at all, so it’s a great and secure way to access your data when you're on the road. Right now, we have Amicus Anywhere but in our newest release, it’s coming out very, very, very soon. You're going to have the actual app for it to work and it’s going to be great.