Amicus

The management and tracking of clinic cases is accomplished through a computer case management software system called Amicus Attorney (“Amicus”). Case management software is an invaluable tool in the promotion of efficiency and quality in the representation of clients.  Amicus allows clinic staff and student attorneys the ability to access quickly client information and determine the status of a case. All deadlines and work done with respect to a particular client, including all telephone conversations and correspondence to and from the client and IRS personnel, must be recorded in Amicus.

All messages taken by the clinic administrator or GRA’s are recorded in Amicus.  If you are out of the office, the message is also sent to your preferred email address so that the you may be made immediately aware of any client or IRS contact.

You will use Amicus to log all your activity (time spent, phone calls, appointments, etc.) with regard to your clients. Your College of Law Login ID will be your Amicus user ID, and you will be provided with a unique password for Amicus.

Your course grade will be based in part on how thoroughly and accurately you maintain your Amicus files. Amicus allows your supervisor to monitor your progress by reviewing the Amicus entries you make for each assigned case during the required weekly meetings .

The client’s Amicus File Summary is the default view when opening a client’s file in Amicus. This summary contains an overview of the facts, issues, status and taxable years involved in any given case. It also contains the previous student attorney’s suggested method of resolution and recommendations as to how to proceed. The summary serves as a guide for how to proceed, but you should not rely on it as an infallible course of action. It is possible that the File Summary may have pertinent information missing. Take a fresh approach to the case and determine what the next action should be, consult your supervisor and proceed accordingly.

During the semester it is your responsibility to continually update the File Summary for all significant developments. These include: petitions filed, documents submitted to the IRS, statutory notices received, etc….

Tools

All phone calls received from or placed to clients should be recorded in Amicus to create a record of communication with the client. In addition to recording the fact that a phone call was received or placed, the information exchanged should be included in the description at a level that future student attorneys and supervisors can understand the nature of the call.

  1. From the client’s file, click on the telephone icon in the client’s address/telephone info on the left side of the file; This will open the Phone Call Details dialog box;
  2. Select To or From in the upper left corner;
  3. Click on the person icon and select the proper contact;
  4. Change the date if call is being entered after the fact;
  5. Choose Spoke, Left Message, No Answer, etc. from drop down menu;
  6. If you spoke, include a brief summary of the information exchanged in the Phone Call Details dialogue box.
  7. Select Do a Time Entry at the bottom of the Phone Call Details dialog box;
  8. Enter time rounding up in 10ths of an hour in the lower right corner (.1 = 6 mins. i.e. 10 X 6 = 60 mins. or 1 hour);
  9. Click OK;
  10. If asked Do you want to combine them? regarding multiple time entries, always choose No;
  11. Click OK in the right corner of the Phone Call Details dialog box; and
  12. Choose Save and Close at the bottom right hand corner of the file when exiting.

Note: Record all attempted contacts whether or not successful, and never delete a phone message in Amicus.

Entering Time Spent on a Case

Keeping track of the time you spend working for a client is an ethical responsibility. The importance of developing good timekeeping and reporting habits cannot be overemphasized. As an attorney, or any professional services provider, you will ultimately be compensated based upon the amount of time you bill and recover from clients. In that regard, it is imperative that you not only enter all your time spent working on a project but that you also adequately describe the work performed. To do otherwise leads to incorrect invoices and disputes with clients as to the value of services provided.

Failure to properly report time also leads to distortions in firm management. For example, if you underreport time actually spent, your employer will potentially assign additional work based on an incorrect evaluation that you do not have enough to do. Intentionally failing to report time (“eating time”) often occurs where there is a budget established for the work involved. While this will cause you to appear efficient (within budget) with regard to your employer, all the excess time spent which you have “eaten” will leave you with little else to do for your employer or yourself outside of work. It is much more important that you report all time spent regardless of any budget so that your employer may adjust budgets (bids) for similar work to be performed in the future.

Amicus will prompt you for a time entry associated with completing a “To Do,” and a time entry will be created automatically from selecting “Do a Time Entry” during a phone entry. In order to create a time entry for other client work performed (in the Clinic or at home) and your time spent in the Clinic not working on a particular client (billed to the Firm Administration file):

  1. Select Time Spent from the brad at the top of the right side of the client file (or the Firm Administration file as the case may be);
  2. Select My Time;
  3. Click New to the left of the My Time brad;
  4. Change the date in the upper right corner if entry does not coincide with when time was incurred;
  5. Enter a description of time spent in the Activity Description; if you spoke, briefly describe what was discussed, don’t just write ‘spoke’.
  6. Enter the total time spent next to the stop watch in tenths (.1 = 6 minutes);
  7. Click OK.;
  8. If asked Do you want to combine them? regarding multiple time entries, always choose No; and
  9. Choose Save and Close at the bottom right hand corner of the file when exiting.

If  you have time that cannot be attached to any file in particular, use the ‘Firm Administration File”.  DO NOT enter class time.

Posting Your Time
  1. Go to Timesheets.
  2. At the top of the screen select Action.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select Post or Post Range. “Post Range” allows you to post all unposted
    time at once per month.
  4. If time cannot be posted because it is not associated with a file, Amicus will produce a pop-up message asking you how you would like to proceed. Follow instructions accordingly.
  5. Post your time continuously. At the end of the semester all time should be posted.

To Do’s may be entered via the Amicus calendar or while in the Amicus client file. The main difference is that when entering a To Do in the calendar, you will have to associate it with a specific client file, otherwise it defaults to personal. To enter a To Do while in the Amicus client file:

  1. Click on the brad at the top of the right side of the file;
  2. Select Events;
  3. Select All File Events (This will allow you to see all past file To Dos and Appointments);
  4. Click on the New button to the left of All File Events;
  5. Enter a title for the To Do;
  6. Keep the default date of Today (otherwise the To Do will not show up in your calendar as a current To Do);
  7. Enter a deadline, if applicable;
  8. Set the Priority from the drop down menu;
  9. Enter any notes for further explanation;
  10. Select Do a Time Entry at the bottom of the Event Details dialog box;
  11. When prompted “Do you want to save changes?“, click Yes;
  12. Enter time rounding up in 10ths of an hour in the lower right corner (.1 = 6 mins. i.e. 10 X 6 = 60 mins. or 1 hour);
  13. Click OK;
  14. If asked “Do you want to combine them?” regarding multiple time entries, always choose No;
  15. Click OK in the right corner of the Event Details dialog box; and
  16. Choose Save and Close at the bottom right hand corner of the file when exiting.

Note – When you check off a To Do as done, you will be prompted to create a time entry. Always select YES at this prompt and enter your time spent and a description of the work performed in completing the To Do or an explanation as to why the To Do is no longer applicable. When prompted as to whether you wish to combine time entries, always choose No.

Amicus contacts are centrally maintained and not specific to each case. Please do not add any contacts or change any name, address or phone number in Amicus. Please give all updated or additional information to the administrative coordinator for entry into the Amicus contacts. In the interim, you may wish to include a note about the change or addition on your Summary page.