Exploring User Configurable Data Fields

Kelley Howell, Consultant Manager, LexisNexis: 

We have many training sessions, online videos and help and of course conferences and they all include the ever popular topic of gathering data, creating custom data fields and reporting on it all. 

Let’s start off from the beginning; how do you know or decide what custom fields to add to your matter screen? 

The best advice we can give is to begin with the end in mind, ask yourself:

  • Why is it important to collect this data? (If it’s not important, don’t muddy up the screen)
  • Who will be consuming this data and how? (Examples: Will you use the data during invoice review or will it just be something you want to include in a report? – And if it’s neither, like we just said previously, don’t bother!)
  • What would an ideal report include?  (If it’s not standard in CounselLink, you will need a custom field)

If you need sample guides around what other customers configure, just ask your CounselLink account manager or business consultant for a copy of our standard matter templates which include custom field examples for specific types of matters. 

Now you have your list of fields you would like, how are they going to look?

There are many options when it comes to creating fields in CounselLink.  And did I mention that you can create these fields yourself!?  Check out the how-to video on LexisNexis University.  Or our help files if you prefer looking at documentation. 

Some field types include open text, drop down lists, radio buttons, email addresses, percentages, etc.

Not only do you get to pick the type of field you want to set up, you can also make these fields dynamic based on other criteria.  A couple of good examples of rules you can create are:

  • Hide a field from all offices except for your confidential office in CounselLink
  • Make a field required only if a certain matter type is chosen
  • Only show a field to your power users

We talked about matter related custom fields,  but what about other areas to include custom fields in? 

Think about if fields at any of these levels would be valuable to your set up; matter, matter close/disposition, invoice, contact, matter participant, law firm and law firm office levels.  Matter close/disposition is an often overlooked category but can help capture important data at the time the matter is closed out.  How about a rating for your primary law firm on the matter?

Do you have any tips before I get started? 

A few things our CounselLink consultants and customers have run into and shared are:

  • A drop down list vs. a text field is always the best choice whenever possible so your data is consistent
  • In the layout mode you can drag and drop where you want your data displayed including creating sections to make everything look really nice and organized
  • And don’t forget to publish every change!  Even if it’s a simple addition to a drop down list, everything must be published

Have fun customizing your pages!