Many entrepreneurs and organizations have built and are gaining market traction with valuable case management systems to help legal professionals manage files, calendars, notes and business processes. Competing systems have different strengths to pursue law firms of various sizes and practice areas, and they can augment and amplify their product by providing rules-based deadlines to their clients and practices.
LawToolBox can fill this gap and provide rules-based deadlines to integration partners who build to the LawToolBox Deadline API. After an introductory meeting, LawToolBox can provide new partners with API credentials, which they can use to explore API functionality and incorporate the LawToolBox deadline system on the inside of their own system. The end-user of the third party system experiences a seamless UI where they can calculate rules-based deadlines and add those deadlines to their calendars without ever leaving the integration partners solution!
The LawToolBox API has been designed so that we own all the complexity, and minimize the burden on integrators. Past integrations have been done in as short as one week-long sprint. The basic flow is straight forward:
1. Generate OATH Token. Partners use their credentials to generate an OATH token that they use to communicate to the LawToolBox API (the token will periodically expire so partner needs to implement a flow to refresh the token as necessary). The partner uses this single token to communicate on behalf of every end-user account they activate.
2. Implement Flow to Auto-Regenerate Token if it Expires. We suggest that you implement a flow where if your auth token expires for any reason, it will auto renew. However, please don’t auto generate hundreds of firms or otherwise load test our servers.
3. Account Activation. Partner can implement a flow where their end-users can activate a LawToolBox account with just a few clicks
LawToolBox and the integration partner will work out a method for LawToolBox to be notified of the account activation, including through an email notification to the LawToolBox sales team.
4. Each New Account Must Be Assigned to a Pricing Package. We also recommend a flow to use the pricing packages to dynamically surface expected pricing that we will offer them. This process is required so that LawToolBox can audit transactions on commission payments.
LawToolBox aligns its pricing with the partner so for example if partner only bills annually, the partner will only present the annual Lawtoolbox billing option. The first year of use is a minimum of a one-year obligation even if billed monthly (with the only exception being if the end-user terminates its agreement with our partner the LawToolBox obligation also terminates).
5. Partner can Empower End-User Can Flag Commonly Used Rulesets for Easy Access. The most common implementation we’ve seen is that even though LawToolBox has hundreds of Rulesets (calculators) firms like to identify the 4 or 5 Rulesets they commonly use for easy access.
6. Set Up One LawToolBox Matter for each RuleSet Attached to Each Third-Party Matter. Most matters will only ever exist in one Ruleset for the entire life of the matter (e.g., the Smith case could only be attached to the “CA Superior Court – Civil – San Francisco” ruleset).
In this example the Smith matter would only have one LawToolBox matter attached to it. However, some matters start in State Court and then are removed to federal court (e.g., the Jones case could only be attached to the “CA Superior Court – Civil – San Francisco” and then removed to federal court). In this example, the Partner could replace the reference to the Jones matter with a second reference to LawToolBox matter for subsequent deadlines in federal court).
7. Calculate Primary Deadlines. There are a class of deadlines that typically occur only once in a case. For example, there is only one “Commencement date”, and only one “Discovery Cutoff”, and only one “Trial Date”. For the rule-set that the case is assigned to, the integration partner uses the API to retrieve the applicable “trigger dates”.
In some instances, the API will provide information that tells the partner to ask for more information such as:
8. Calculate Repeating Deadlines. There is another class of deadlines that can occur many times over in a case. LawToolBox calls these repeating calculators. The most common examples are when more than one complaint, counterclaim or cross-claim is filed in a case it is used to track the extra or additional instances (Jones Complaint v Acme, Jones Complaint v Smith, etc), or for motions (Jones MIL, Jones SJ on Damages, Jones motion to continue trial, etc), or for discovery (Jones ROGS to Acme, Jones ROGS to Smith, etc.). Here are some sample categories of repeat calculators in California Superior Court:
9. Here is an example of a repeat calculator flow:
The end-user might need to ask how the legal paper was served if toggles are required:
Lastly, the integration partner will ask the end-user to either enter a new description for a repeat calculator or select from one the existing names in a list by the API:
10. Adding LawToolBox Deadline to Partner Calendar. Once the LawToolBox API returns the calculated deadlines, the Partner surfaces the deadlines and allows the end-user to select which deadlines to bring over to their calendar, and even allows users to convert events like “hearings” or “trial dates” into time-bound appointments so the end-user won’t have to do it after the import:
11. Additional API Features. Partners also implement an integration that allows end-users to edit or delete existing trigger dates (and if edited the method allows for the entries on the end-user calendar inside the partner product to also move together with associated dependent deadlines). There are also flows to accommodate and roll-out existing deadlines impacted by rule changes.
There are lots of new and powerful upgrades coming to our API partners, but we’ll keep them secret until we can show our partners first! We have lots of great partners that have implemented this approach, but we’re always looking for new motivated partners with a strong market presence to work with, and we’d love to hear from you!