Immigration Practice News

March 2013 (Vol. 4, No. 3)

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Immigration Case Management: Tracker by Douglas R. Penn DESCRIPTION Tracker 7 is a solid, immigration specific, case management tool for small and solo attorneys. Its features include: integrated forms and processes, one-time data entry, management of deadlines and reminders, standard and customizable e-mail and document templates, status updates, visa priority tracking, reporting tools, and access to links and resources for immigrationrelated issues. Tracker 7 is a cloud-based case management application that allows users to log in remotely from a computer. There are advantages and disadvantages to being a cloud-based application: Advantages Much of the back office IT workrelating to maintaining current forms, updated processes, and client data backup- is handled directly by Immigrant Tracker. Immigrant Tracker updates the forms on an ongoing basis and alerts users when a form has been updated. Data is stored on Immigrant Tracker's server and not on the firm's server; however, this does not eliminate the need for a firm to have its own backup system. This system allows an attorney or paralegal to log-on to Tracker 7 from any computer and have full access to data and case information with form generation and editing capability. I have found this accessibility useful in allowing staff to work from home, and it has become a part of my firm's contingency planning. This does require disclosures to clients and training and procedures on internet security for staff. Disadvantages There is an appreciable lag in printing and saving forms in .pdf format. This is especially noticeable when transitioning between using Tracker and using locally installed applications. ACCURACY AND QUALITY Tracker 7 clearly is designed with the recognition that most clients will have multiple processes. It is simple to create a new process for a client and build the new forms quickly and accurately. Additionally, updating information for derivative family members is also convenient. BREADTH TOOLS /FUNCTIONALITY Report generation is very good. There is a good selection of standard reports that are useful internally within the firm and externally with clients. Reports include staff productivity and workload reports, upcoming deadlines, and contact information. Data entry during client intake is straightforward. There is a good mix of set fields to be completed and open space for notes and comments. In addition, e-mail templates can be easily customized to meet your firm's specific needs. You can also create custom letters, although this is more cumbersome than the e-mail template creation. EASE OF USE Once properly trained, Tracker 7 is fairly straightforward and intuitive to use. Information is easy to enter and generally very easy to edit and update. After the client's records have been entered, there are multiple ways to access, search, and sort the client's data. Tracker 7 has one weakness. Electronic filings (principally with the Department of Labor, but also the State Department's DS-160 and USCIS' few electronically fillable forms) are not as easy to use. TRAINING To utilize Tracker 7 most effectively, training is essential. Training sessions take the form of webinars. Standard training sessions are free, but they also offerprivate webinar training sessions or even in person training sessions, for an additional fee. PRICING MODEL The pricing module for Tracker 7 is based on a quarterly license fee of $315 for each user, regardless of the number of cases. While this pricing structure does not let you pass along the cost to the client, it is a stable pricing model, which makes budgeting easier. CUSTOMER SERVICE Immigrant Tracker's staff is always responsive and knowledgeable, and provides excellent customer service. BEST FEATURES One of Tracker 7's greatest strengths is the ability to quickly and easily import data from linked client records. Tracker 7 also has a robust system for locating client records. It integrates well with Microsoft Office products and can be used to supplement system backups. Tracker 7 also provides additional IT functions that can be very useful when starting a solo or small immigration practice. 6

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