The idea of a template of activities in a Matter is attractive. In implementation they are difficult to manage and may not do what you expect. I have written about Chains for years in all forums and with all clients. I will keep this post short though.
A typical Chain concept would be preparing for Trial. We have a trial date set. There are a series of Due Dates that are attached to that date. Perhaps 60, 90 and 180 days before you want to ensure tasks are complete. You set up the chain, with the trial date as the base date. You fire the Chain and add the tasks. You then open each task and change the staff to the appropriate staff. A chain must have all of the same staff on all of the records.
The trial date changes..as they so often do. You open the trial date, change the date and expect all of the tasks to move along with the trial. You get the prompt that subsequent dates will update. This leaves the tasks on the original dates and not attached to the now moved trial date. Not what I would want.
So what is a firm to do? I see 2 options:
- If the trial changes – you have to add a new chain. You then have to worry about what was done on the previous chain and decide whether you should delete the original chain and all of the events. Either way, you have some manual comparing to do
- Form Styles can act as check lists. You could have the Trial form style track all of the key steps
- Manage the tasks and the trial separately. If the trial moves, perhaps you should analyze each task and update accordingly. This is simplified if you use process based tasks – which is a series of smaller tasks that make up one process task.
Time Matters is such an easy and effective tool, you can manage your business without these chained records. When you learn to leverage the important features of Time Matters you will be empowered to manage you data.