Read the previous parts of the series below, and stay tuned for upcoming blog posts exploring best practices and brand new features from Filevine
Part I - Introducing The Power of The Vine
Part III - 5 Steps for Smoother Implementation
Part IV - How-Tos in The Vine
Introduction to Sidebar
Now that we've covered how to manage and set up your tasks in Filevine, let's take a closer look at how you can improve communication using the activity feed and Sidebar.
Each item in the activity section is called an artifact in Filevine, and each artifact has a thread attached to it. The thread is where all communication about that item should take place, especially if it's related directly to that item. Here's what you can do using the thread:
Have a conversation
Assign or reassign a task
Convert a note into a task using the "@" symbol
It is recommended to always reassign using the thread. This way, you can track who has been assigned the task and when they were reassigned. For example, if Alyssa originally tasked Joel with a task, and Joel reassigned it to you, and you completed the task and reassigned it back to Alyssa, you can see this clearly just by looking at the artifact's thread.
The thread is also useful for resetting due dates. You can use the asterisk symbol to set a new due date. Additionally, you can include other individuals in the thread by using the plus sign before the @ symbol. You can also upload documents or attach links to the thread.
After learning how to manage and assign tasks in Filevine, let's explore how to take communication to the next level with the activity feed and sidebar.
Utilizing The Vine in Your Firm
The Vine is an innovative feature of Filevine that allows law firms to easily manage their cases and tasks. By utilizing the Vine, firms can ensure that all team members are on the same page and have access to important information. Here's how:
Step 1: Assign tasks and track progress
Assign tasks to team members using the @ symbol.
Reassign tasks using the thread attached to each item in the activity section.
Track progress and due dates using the asterisk symbol.
Step 2: Keep a record of case history
The Vine allows firms to keep a complete record of a case's history, including who worked on it and when.
By having this information readily available, team members can quickly answer client questions and provide updates on case status.
Managers can also easily review case histories, even if they were not involved in the case from the beginning.
Step 3: Provide transparency and accountability
The Vine provides transparency and accountability by allowing team members to see what tasks have been completed and who completed them.
This ensures that everyone is up-to-date on case status and that all team members are accountable for completing their assigned tasks.
Having a complete record of case history also allows firms to provide transparency to clients, adjusters, opposing lawyers, and judges.
Overall, utilizing the Vine in Filevine can help law firms work more efficiently, communicate more effectively, and provide better service to their clients.
Managing a lot of information in a single place can become confusing and overwhelming, especially if you have to scroll through lengthy conversations. That's why using the Copy Link feature can be a great way to streamline communication and ensure that your view doesn't get muddled.
How to Use Copy Link
The Copy Link feature can be found in your main menu or at the bottom of the toolbar for the task itself.
The link will start with your Filevine prefix of your URL and be clickable for internal staff only.
This activity feed is for internal communication only. If you need to share something externally outside of Filevine, you would want to use a share link.
Sharing Externally with Share Link
If you need to share something externally outside of Filevine, you would want to use a share link. This link can be found in the support page.
Discussing a Specific Document
If you are communicating specifically around a certain document and you don't want to leave that document to go back to the activity to talk about it, you can use the document menu from any location in which you have a document, whether that's in a section or your doc section.
By utilizing these features, you can effectively manage communication and information within Filevine without feeling overwhelmed.
If you're using Filevine, you're probably working with a team. Communication is key to getting things done, and Filevine has a lot of powerful tools to help you stay on top of everything. One of these tools is the "Note This" feature. Here's what you need to know:
Open your main menu in Filevine.
Click the "Note This" option.
A mini activity box will pop up where you can assign a task or mention someone.
If you just want to inform someone without creating an actionable item, put a plus symbol in front of the at symbol to mention them. For example, "+@John just wanted you to know that this is happening."
The "Note This" feature is available at any document menu, making it easy to keep everyone in the loop.
The Power of "Note This"
The "Note This" feature is a powerful tool that allows you to quickly communicate with your team without leaving Filevine. Here are some of the benefits:
Assign tasks or mention someone directly from the mini activity box.
Keep long conversations out of the task thread, but still accessible in the document menu.
Mention someone without creating an actionable item by using the plus symbol in front of the at symbol.
Stay organized and keep everyone in the loop.
By using the "Note This" feature, you can streamline your communication process and get more done in less time.
Using Sidebar to Keep Conversations in One Place
When you have to switch between different applications to have conversations with your team, it can disrupt your workflow and reduce productivity. This is where the new Filevine feature, Sidebar, comes in handy. Sidebar allows you to keep all your conversations in one place, without having to leave the app.
Here's how to use Sidebar:
Start a sidebar from any existing artifact in Filevine by clicking on "Add to Sidebar" located on the top right of the screen.
You can add multiple artifacts to any conversation.
Once you start the sidebar conversation, you can decide who should be part of that conversation.
Anyone on the team of the project can be included in the conversation and discuss the artifact, keeping all the conversations together without having to add them to the thread.
For example, let's say you need someone to approve a cost and send it to a Joel. Joel takes a look and realizes it's a big cost and decides to loop in his team for further discussion.
Instead of having to go back and forth in the thread, Joel can start a sidebar conversation and include his team to discuss the cost at length. Then, Joel can easily provide his approval or denial without cluttering the thread with back-and-forth discussion.
Using Sidebar can help streamline your communication with your team and keep all the conversations in one place, improving your productivity and organization.
Why Use Sidebar in Filevine?
During the webinar, Ryan and Liz discussed the Sidebar feature of Filevine, which has received mixed reactions from users. However, Ryan noted that the company is constantly improving the feature and will soon allow users to opt-out of using it if they don't like it. Here's why they believe it's a powerful tool:
Cost Approval Example
Sidebar can be useful for discussions that you don't want to be part of the official chronology of a case.
For instance, if there's a $10,000 cost for an expert to appear at trial, it might be more appropriate to have that conversation in Sidebar than in the vine itself.
Having this conversation off to the side allows for a more informal and focused discussion that doesn't clutter up the main case thread.
After the discussion is complete, you can choose to make the Sidebar part of the main vine or delete it entirely.
Less Formal Communications
For less formal communications within a case, Sidebar can be a great tool.
It provides a space to have a conversation that may not need to be part of the main case thread.
These conversations can be about anything related to the case, such as strategy or updates, but don't necessarily need to be part of the official record.
The Benefits of Sidebar
Sidebar is a powerful tool for having focused and informal conversations related to a case.
It allows for a more streamlined case thread by keeping discussions separate from the main record.
It's also flexible, as you can choose to make Sidebar conversations part of the main vine or delete them entirely.
Overall, Sidebar is a fantastic feature of Filevine that users should explore and consider using in their workflows.
Liz even mentioned that she has started to use it internally and may not go back to using Slack. So, if you haven't tried Sidebar yet, give it a shot and see how it can improve your team's collaboration and productivity!
Explore the previous parts of these series here, and learn the full benefits of automation and customization within Filevine.