Much like a carpenter has several variations of the same tool for different needs in the workshop, collection professionals must have technology to suit their particular vertical in debt collection. In addition to many of the traditional collection functions, legal debt collection software is fortified with additional features and protective parameters to help collection professionals navigate the particulars of legal debt collection.
“A few years ago, attorneys played a very different role from other collection operations,” said Deborah Collins, chief operating officer of Quantrax Corporation. “All that has changed. Thanks to the CFPB, the rules have changed. Law firms are now held to the same work standards and compliance requirements as other agencies. Legal collection software cannot handle today’s compliance requirements. As a result, collection software catering to the specific needs of legal collection professionals is arguably more viable than conventional legal collection software.”
Aside from bearing the added stress of the CFPB, legal collection software can also help collection professionals with workflow and business processes that make legal collection such a unique entity.
“Individual law firms have various litigation processes requiring their legal collection software to have an adaptive toolset to meet those operational needs,” said Lex Patterson, president of DAKCS Software Systems. “Legal collection software’s greatest improvement is to utilize the integrated tools in a software solution to positively impact their business workflows and increase the productivity. Solution examples include:
• Ability to attach courts, attorneys, and process servers to legal suits.
• Create and track multiple accounts within one suit.
• Ability to customize screens to fit your type of business.
• Track important legal dates such as date filed, date served, judgment date, etc.
• Use of legal transactions including user defined charge codes and dates to reconcile legal costs and charges.
Margaret Darden Hubbard, chairman/ president of Hubbard Systems explained the unique compliance demands of legal debt collection and how upgrades can be written into legal collection software to safeguard against exposure. Hubbard specifically cited an example within the trust accounting feature. Legal collection software can, “individually track the disbursement, reimbursement and the recovery of court cost and other cost expenditures, ensuring the proper record of trust accounts,” according to Hubbard.
Legal debt collection is known for the vast amounts of documentation it accrues. Incompatibilities in software can cripple a firm costing great deals of time and money. Chris J. Roberts, president/chief operating officer of Sentinel Development Solutions stated integration with interfaces and interface formats so that information can be readily transferred is imperative to successfully managing all vital data in legal collections.
An account being worked by a legal collection professional can see many updates of its lifespan. Legal debt collection requires particularly careful tracking. Jefferson K. Kim, president of CDS Software, listed several abilities legal collection software possesses to improve the process.
“The capability to set up and track judgments, said Kim. “The ability to set up separate sets of interest accrual on the various categories of debt (principal, fees, etc., as permitted). The ability to apply payments to specific defendants associated with a legal case. The ability to automate and track legal dates, such as hearing dates and other court dates, dates served, etc. The ability to set up, and apply, various court costs, attorney fees, etc., based on predefined court fees configured by specific court locations.”
Making do is not an ideal philosophy when utilizing any type of collection software. To borrow an old adage from carpentry, there is a tool for every job. Choose yours wisely.