Over the years I’ve been asked hundreds if not thousands of questions about Time Matters, one in particular that often surfaces especially when individuals are evaluating the program is related to what type of environment it can work in.
“Can Time Matters be used in a litigation practice?”
“Will it work in our personal injury firm?”
“We specialize in intellectual property law, will Time Matters be a good fit?”
The simple answer is “yes” in all of these cases and many more – in fact, while Time Matters is predominantly used within the legal market, I’ve personally seen it successfully implemented for use within consulting groups, services firms and even a chemical manufacturing company.
While adapting or aligning Time Matters to unique environments admittedly requires some time and energy, the end result – a workspace that accommodates how you and your firm work – is well worth it. Here are a handful of areas that can start you down this path.
While one of the benefits of Time Matters is that it can store and manage almost any type of information related to a firm’s work and operations, there may be types that your firm simply doesn’t have a need for. To help reduce some clutter, you can disable unnecessary record types by going to “File > Setup > General > Program Level > Lists” and un-checking the record types you do not wish use:
These may be re-enabled at any point in the future, but will keep these record types from being displayed in menus, lists and other areas of the application in the meantime.
While you’re in this area of the application take note of the button named “User-Defined”:
This is a sometimes overlooked aspect of the program that can be extremely useful, as the name suggests it’s a means to create additional record types (up to five) and use them to store information that doesn’t fit cleanly into one of the pre-defined record types – for example an itemized list of client assets, or something broader to the firm like marketing or business development projects.
Another small item that is usually worth looking at are Classification Codes. Each record type has its own set of codes, and is what you can use to help organize information in the way you’d like within your firm. Editing Classification Codes can be done by going to “File > Setup > Codes > Classification Codes” – when you get there you’ll see that you have a drop-down menu for each of the different record types (including the user defined ones):
And tools to delete, edit or add codes:
Lists within Time Matters are similar to a spreadsheet in that the columns can be changed, which provides the opportunity for you to organize and display information in a manner that best suits the needs of your firm and staff.
Customizing lists to remove columns of information you don’t need or add ones that you do can be done simply by right-clicking in the title area of the list view and selecting either the “Edit Columns” or “Remove Columns” option:
Record forms are at the very heart of Time Matters and have a degree of flexibility that some might argue is what makes the program so adaptable to so many different environments. Each record type has a default layout (or “form style”) but can also have additional layouts created to accommodate unique variations of any given record type.
For example, if your firm handles different types of cases you might naturally want to tailor each form so the fields best align with the practice area, or you might want to have spaces to note particular things related to an individual – areas of expertise for an expert witness perhaps.
On any given form there is the ability to do such things as selecting the overall layout it will use:
Naming and choosing the field structure of each area:
As well as defining the individual fields themselves (including attributes like if they’re required or should be included in detailed auditing):
Editing forms can be done by going to “File > Setup > Templates > Form Styles” – similar to Classification Codes, when you get there you’ll see that you have a drop-down menu for each of the different record types (again, including the user defined ones):
I wouldn’t feel right about finishing the post without mentioning the toolbar, primarily because of the number of instances I’ve seen over the years where it hasn’t been tailored and the poor user has been left staring at all sort of icons that they never use. Customizing the toolbar is extremely easy, simply right-click in the toolbar area and select the “Customize” option:
In the customization window you’ll see the means to add or remove the items you want and organize them, and also create multiple toolbar sets if you want to create and have access to different collections of items at different times:
In the end you can take what might look something like this:
And end up with something that’s far more targeted like this just as an example:
The flexibility and capability to streamline and automate Time Matters go well beyond this, but hopefully I’ve been able to provide you with a glimmer of what’s possible at a foundational level. As I noted previously, tailoring the program will take some time and energy, but will yield results that can allow you and your firm to work more efficiently and effectively, so an investment that’s well worth making.