Custom Field Record Types
When creating custom fields you will need to select what type of record the custom field applies to. The various types are as follows: Matter, Contact, Company, Practice Area, and Client. You will see these different types listed across the top of the Custom Field Settings page, as shown below.
Let's walk through each of these different types and when to create fields for each.
These will likely be your most commonly used fields. You will create matter fields for any data that pertains to a case or matter. This could be questions you ask during intake, case information that needs to merge into a document or email, or internal data regarding a case that you want to use for reporting.
When creating a matter field, it is important to note that these fields will only be accessible on your matters, and you will not be able to populate them on a contact, or use them in a contact type object in Lawmatics. Remember that every matter will have a primary attached contact, but not every contact necessarily has a matter. Therefore, contact fields can be accessed on both contacts and matters, but matter fields can only be accessed on matters.
Matter fields apply to the matter, as opposed to the individual person, so each time a new matter is created all of your matter fields will be a clean slate for that new matter.
After you have created matter custom fields, you will find them in the custom fields section on the details page of any and all of your matters, as shown below.
Remember that some fields come built-in to Lawmatics already, so you should not create custom fields for practice area, marketing source, matter owner, etc. Learn more about standard built-in fields here.
Contact fields apply to the individual person, as opposed to the case. The idea with contact fields is that if the same person were to hire you for multiple matters, their person information would stay the same for each matter, but the matter fields would be a clean slate on each.
Keep in mind that all of your basic contact information comes built-in already, such as name, email, phone, address, birthdate, etc. Do not create custom fields for any of these items.
You may wish to collect additional contact information, such as emergency contact information, property owned, immigration status. These items could all be created as contact custom fields.
In Lawmatics, not only can you create matters and contacts, but you can also create company type contacts, as well as company matters. You may have certain information that only pertains to companies, and is not relevant for individual contacts. This information should be created as company custom fields.
Some company fields that you might create include Board Members, Date of Incorporation, Type of Business, Patents, etc.
Remember that you will only this fields on company records, shown below, and on company matters.
If you have multiple matters for one company, the company fields will automatically remain populated for each matter.
Practice Area Fields
Practice area fields apply to matter records, but only for one specific practice area. When creating a new practice area field, you will be prompted to select which practice area the field applies to.
The most important thing to remember with practice area fields is that they can only be used for the one practice area you have selected. If the field needs to be used for more than one practice area, then you must make it a matter field as opposed to a practice area field.
The only time it makes sense to make a practice area field is if that field only applies to one single practice area. When you create a new matter, you will not see any of your practice area fields until a practice area is selected on that matter. Then you will be able to access any practice area fields that have been selected for that practice area on this matter.
So if you have practice area fields created for Criminal Law and Personal Injury practice areas, and a new Estate Planning matter comes in, you will not be able to populate the fields for Criminal or PI on this matter.
Also, if using practice area fields on a custom form or document, you can only use fields from one practice area. Additionally, that form or document could not be submitted by matters of any other practice area.
Client fields are no longer used in Lawmatics, since matters are now used for both your leads and clients. Please do not create any client custom fields, any fields that apply to clients should be created as matter fields.
Can I change the type of a custom field after it has been created?
No, you cannot change the type of a field after it has already been created. If you wish to change the type, you would need to delete the incorrect field (keeping in mind that any data populated into that field will also be deleted) and then recreate a new field as the proper type.
I have created a new matter field but I don't see it in my list of matter fields in the custom form editor or in the merge fields list for a document, why?
If you just recently created the new field, you may need to refresh your page before seeing it show up in the form or document editor. If you have tried that and still don't see the field, verify that you are searching for the correct field name. Also verify that the form or document you are editing is the corresponding type as the field, i.e. a matter form for matter fields.
Can I use company fields for matters?
Yes, both company and contact type fields can be edited on matters. You will only see company fields on a matter that is a company matter.