Getting Started with Workflows

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Building on its CARET Legal legal calendar and task management capabilities, Workflows now allow the automatic creation of events (aka appointments) and tasks assigned to staff across the firm.  We offer reusable workflow templates that can be organized by practice area.

  1. Create and Manage Workflow Templates in Firm Settings
  2. Trigger a New Workflow from any Matter
  3. Track Workflow Progress

Capability is limited to Enterprise Plus & Enterprise Advance users.


Do all events get created up front when I start a workflow?

Separate dependency settings can be assigned between each step in a workflow template.  There are two main dependency settings: create subsequent steps as soon as the parent is created, or when the parent is marked done.  This allows you to create dependency settings such that future steps will not appear in the calendar or task list until the previous steps are done.

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How does a workflow know to continue when dependent on an event (aka appointment) being completed, when there is no way to mark an appointment done?

If a template is set up with a dependency relationship that requires that an event complete before moving on, then we consider it to be complete 1 minute after its scheduled end time.  If the appointment was from 10AM -11AM, at 11:01, the workflow considers the event to have taken place and moves on.


How come I can’t set a specific date when adding a step to a workflow template?

Workflow templates are intended to be reused for similar matters throughout the firm.  This means the workflow templates make use of variables and dependency settings.  When a workflow is triggered by a firm member, they will be able to choose the starting point and all subsequent steps will be scheduled based on that date.


How come I can’t select a specific firm member when adding a step to a workflow template?

Workflow templates are intended to be reusable.  In order to handle staff turnover and to scale for larger firms, workflow templates include firm member Roles rather than specific people.  All new steps added to a workflow template will be assigned to the role of Responsible Attorney by default.  The roles can be adjusted and can include any of the three main ATTY roles on a matter (Responsible Atty, Billing Atty & Originating Atty) plus any Firm Collaborator roles.  

Individual steps in a workflow template can have any combination of the roles.  So, a task could be assigned BY a role of “Responsible Attorney” and assigned TO a firm collaborator role of “Clerk” for instance.

When a workflow is triggered by a firm member, the person playing the specified role on the matter will be automatically prefilled.  If any roles are not prefilled, the user can enter them, and they will be prompted to save that person with the selected role on the matter for use in future.

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What is an Anchor event and why is it important?

The first step added to a workflow template is automatically assigned as the anchor step.  This is considered the “known date”, and when a workflow is triggered by a firm member, they will be prompted to specify the anchor date, and all other events will be scheduled around it.  If the first step remains as the anchor, it means everything will happen sequentially after the anchor date when the workflow is triggered.

Subsequent steps in a workflow template can be promoted to act as the anchor date instead of the first one. Only one step in a workflow template can act as an Anchor.

In an example of a real estate transaction, you might mark the 2nd step in the workflow template as the anchor date because that signifies when the actual closing date happens, and you want to make sure that the first step in the template gets scheduled a set number of days before the Anchor.

Why do dependency settings differ when steps are before (to the left) and after (to the right) of an anchor?

Since the Anchor date is considered the one “Known Date” in the workflow, it means that it is that date the firm member will be prompted to select when a workflow is triggered.  Steps that appear directly to the LEFT will be scheduled BEFORE the Anchor, while any steps that flow to the RIGHT will be scheduled AFTER the Anchor.


Can I use the same workflow template for more than one practice areas?

Yes - Each template can be set up for use across multiple practice areas.  No limit to the number of practice areas.

Templates can also be cloned, so if you want a slightly different version for a similar practice area you can easily make tweaks and save as a new version by cloning an existing one.

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Who can create workflow templates?

The management of Workflow template is accessed from Firm Settings, so not all firm members are permitted to make changes. The firm can adjust permissions to allow additional firm members access to Firm Settings as desired.



Who can trigger or start a new workflow?

Any firm member can start a new workflow from a Matter.  They simply need to navigate to the Workflows tab on the matter and click the ‘+’ button to the right.

(Workflow tab is only visible on the matter with Enterprise Plus and Enterprise Advance)

A new workflow can only be kicked off from an existing matter at this time.


What Time Zone is used for workflow-created events and tasks?

When setting up a workflow template, events can have a start and end time, and tasks can have a due time.  The Firm Time Zone will be used in both cases and will appear in brackets in the UI to make it clear.  If all firm members are in the same time zone, then it has no bearing.  Only when some firm members are located in a different time zone from the firm will the settings come into play.


How are Business Days Calculated in a workflow template?

The dependency settings in a workflow template allow for a user to select Business Days or Calendar Days in the calculations.  Business Days will exclude Saturdays and Sundays and the statutory federal holidays tracked in CARET Legal.

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What happens to an already-triggered workflow when changes are made to its workflow template?

Workflows will continue to follow the workflow template as it existed at the time the workflow was triggered.  Any newly triggered workflows will follow the newly configured workflow template.


Can the same workflow be run multiple times for the same matter?

The same workflow template can be started multiple times for a given matter.  Each instance would show as a new row on the Workflows tab on the matter and their progress would be tracked independently.


How many steps can be added to a workflow template?

Workflow templates can contain any combination of events and tasks.  There is no limit to the number of steps that can be added to any workflow template.


What happens when a workflow template is marked as Inactive?

When a firm member triggers a new workflow from a matter, they will only be able to pick from the list of Active workflow templates.  Marking a template as inactive has no bearing on any ongoing workflows using that template.  Inactive workflow templates will not be visible for selection when triggering a new workflow from the matter.


What gets tracked in the Activity Log?

Workflow-created events and tasks appear in the activity log for the firm member not as “created by workflow”.

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Activity Log tracking when workflow template created, edited, cloned, deactivated. Activity Log tracking when a workflow is started and when a workflow is cancelled. 


Do Advanced Originating Options have any impact on workflows?

No Impact - When a firm member kicks off a new workflow, the Attorney and Firm Collaborator roles are prefilled where possible.  In the event a Matter is setup with Advanced Origination Options, it is possible that there might be more than one firm member listed as the Responsible Attorney or the Originating Attorney.  The above settings have no impact on workflows, and at workflow instantiation, we will use the values as listed in the upper left quadrant of the matter.




Can a Workflow Template be set to schedule two tasks at the same time?

Yes - Workflow templates can be setup with parallel steps so that two tasks could both be set as dependent on the previous step, and they could then get scheduled simultaneously.

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Do Workflows have a Start and End Date?

When working with workflows, the most important date is the Anchor Date. This is the known date where workflows are built around and can either be the start date, end date, or somewhere in the middle.

When a workflow is kicked off the firm member is asked to select the date of the anchor event, and all other dates are scheduled around it.  By default, workflow templates are set with the first step as the Anchor.  The firm could however promote any other steps in the workflow template to act as the anchor.  This means the anchor step could be first or last step, or somewhere in the middle.  As a result the Anchor Date as entered could potentially be the start or end date.  When viewing the Workflow tab on the Matter, the Start Date column indicates when the firm member kicked off the workflow.  An additional column also shows the Anchor Date.  

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How do I delete a workflow instance from a matter?

Once a workflow has been started on a matter, we do not permit deletions.  A running instance of a workflow on a matter can be cancelled to prevent creation of additional events or tasks, but we do not support deletions of running workflow instances at this time.


How do I delete a workflow template?

Workflow templates can be marked as Inactive, so they no longer appear in the list, but we do not permit deletions of workflow templates at this time.


How do I insert a step before the first one in a workflow template?

A new ‘+’ now appears to the left of the first step in a workflow template to insert a new step before the initial one.

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