Having worked as a bankruptcy practitioner for more than 17 years, I’ve learned how important it is to maintain an efficient workflow. As an associate attorney at one of the nation’s largest consumer bankruptcy firms, to being a managing partner of one of Chicago’s largest bankruptcy firms, the only way to maintain a high degree of productivity was to delve into the features of Best Case and figure out how technology could work to my advantage.
To ensure I could keep up with the rapid pace, I made it a mission to figure out the shortcuts and tools that could help increase my efficiency.
Below is a list of tools within Best Case by Stretto that I’ve found the most helpful in boosting productivity.
Save time by using templates that are pre-populated with repetitive information found in your cases. A client created from a template contains data that was specified by you in the template.
- Reduce manual effort re-typing redundant data
- Save time drafting petitions
- Ensure your client files include important elements and data
Quick tips to remember when creating templates:
- Set up at least eight templates – Include variables of C7/C13, individual/joint, clients with/without real estate and more with varied fee language
- Draft your most extensive templates first, then copy and trim them according to each template
- Enter more lines of data than is reasonably common; it’s easy to cut out the unnecessary parts when drafting the petition
- Use remarkably extensive descriptions of personal property
- Apply your exemptions (if you alternate between federal & state elections, create a template for each)
- Include prompts for your clients (or junior associates) in the petition
- Pre-populate values for property
- Leave extensive generic descriptions in your property schedules
- Include items that are only applicable in a small percentage of cases
- Forget to update your templates to the latest form set or when there is a substantial practice change
Reduce repetitive data entry by creating Macros for entering common words or phrases. Macros are limited to 60 characters and can be activated by holding down the Control key + the number or letter key that is assigned by the user.
- Save time and eliminate keystroke errors (Ex: CTRL+W could be programmed to enter “Workmen’s Compensation Lawsuit – 100% exempt” into a text field)
Quick tips to remember when creating macro words or phrases:
- Discuss and program your macros prior to petition creation
- Set up macros that are intuitive between the selected key and the description being entered
- Print out a copy of you macros and pin it next to your monitor
- Use a macro for information found in every petition; use a template for that
- Abbreviate phrases to the point of being unrecognizable
Common Text Blocks
Quickly insert a large amount of text with a keystroke. (Ex: A text block can be programmed to insert “The debtor(s) shall provide a copy of their annual federal income tax return to the Trustee on or before April 20th of each tax year while the case is pending. The debtor(s) shall pay to the Trustee any non-exempt monies from each annual tax refund in excess of $1,200.00….”). Common Text Blocks have a 1200+ character limit, allowing users to write very extensive blocks of text. Common Text Blocks can be associated to specific forms and schedules.
- Save time and eliminate keystroke errors
- Ensure that important language and provisions are consistent across your clients
Quick tips to remember when creating Common Text Blocks:
- Discuss and plan your common text blocks prior to creation
- Use titles that are descriptive and intuitive
- Link your Common Text Blocks to the specific schedules or forms where they would be entered
- Use Common Text Blocks even if the language has missing information, as they still save a lot of data entry work and keep your language consistent
- Use data tokens to pull data into the text block (Ex: name, address, etc.)
- Use a text block for information found in every petition or for data if under 60 characters (unless you’ve used the maximum number of Macros)
- Forget to fill in any blank fields – If you don’t have the specific information and need to file, adjust the language to accommodate
- Use substantially similar names for multiple Common Text Blocks
Credit Report Import
Save up to 60 minutes of data entry by importing Credit and Financial Reports from CIN Legal Data Services. Creditor, judgment and lien data can be imported directly into Schedules D, E/F and G. This is a HUGE time-saving tool that will not only save time but eliminate errors that go along with manual data entry. Two types of credit reports are available to fit your needs and the cost can be billed to the client.
- Reduce data-entry time by importing creditor, tax liens and judgment data directly into your petition
- Increase the accuracy of your data and eliminate human errors linked to forgotten debt or typos
- Preferred and Premium Reports contain additional features such as a post-bankruptcy credit score, 8 year prior bankruptcy, liens and judgments search
- Minimize arguments over sufficiency of notice by using both creditor reported and bankruptcy-specific address (available on Preferred and Premium reports only)
- English and Spanish versions of the credit report are available
Quick tips for importing Credit and Financial Reports:
- Use a Financial Report to receive the most, quality information
- Import both the bureau reported address and the bankruptcy-specific address
- Download only those creditors with balances reported, unless you have a good reason to give notice to a zero-balance creditor
- Assign each creditor to the appropriate schedule
- Immediately after the download, go to the creditor schedules and:
- Add creditors provided by the client that are not reported
- Add appropriate additional notice parties
- Link secured debts to scheduled collateral
- In C13 cases, select appropriate Plan Treatment; in C7 cases, select intent
- Accept a big pile of bills from a client
- Accept multiple free credit reports from the client
- Blindly import every creditor line item from the Credit and Financial Reports
Invite clients to complete a secure web-based questionnaire specifically created to integrate with Best Case Bankruptcy on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. Clients can be invited by the attorney via email or a self-signup form that can be integrated on your firm’s website. Client-entered data can be previewed by the attorney and then can be imported directly into a new or existing Best Case client file upon completion.
- Save a huge amount of time in petition drafting
- It shields the firm from liability because the responses to the questions were provided by the client and you have an electronic file to prove it
- Cost is free to invite clients and only $8 per download if you decide you want to use the information (this is much less than what you’d pay a support worker)
- English and Spanish versions of the questionnaire are available
Access any form or schedule with one key. Navigate through the petition without having to reach for your mouse. Once you are familiar and comfortable with these shortcuts, you will be surprised how much time is saved.
Now that you’ve learned about my favorite shortcuts and tools, you’re ready to start saving a substantial amount of time!
Want to learn more about these and other time-saving features?
Read more in this series:
Save Time and Avoid PACER Fees
Maximize Your Productivity
Improve Your Bottom Line
Draft a Petition in 30 Minutes
George Vogl joined Best Case as a Senior Product Specialist in early 2018 after practicing consumer bankruptcy for seventeen years, most recently as a managing partner of one of Chicago’s largest bankruptcy firms. As a longtime Best Case user, George is committed to sharing his knowledge of best practices and efficiency tips with customers to help them maximize the benefits of their software.