On the Case Progress Timeline itself, you will see a left-to-right chronological progression from the date the case was opened (either when you created the case file in MerusCase or the custom date you may have entered in Case Info under Date Opened) up through the current day. If the case has been closed, the end of the Timeline will be the date entered in Case Info under Date Closed.
Each segment of time on the Case Progress Timeline is a Phase, which denotes a distinct period of billing in the case (e.g. Pre-Trial versus Trial). Phases allow you to structure billing according to a case’s progression, per your or your billing contacts’ needs.
Different Progress Templates can have entirely different Phases with different customization. Any Administrator or Power User with Accounting in your firm can go into any case and customize a Template on the said case, as well as switch which Template is on any one case. Administrators can additionally make sweeping changes that affect all cases a Template is on.
Selecting a Different Template
MerusCase automatically chooses the most specific Progress Template available, which will be one of the case type specific Templates for the case’s type. If there are no such Templates, it will be one of the default Templates. If you have no Templates whatsoever in your firm, the Timeline will simply note the open, closed, and last modified dates for the case.
To select a different Template, click on the Case Progress Settings button and select one of the options appearing there by their title. The options available here are all Templates with Default set as their Case Type in your firm and any Templates with this case’s type set as their Case Type. Whichever one is currently selected will have an Active tag next to its name.
The number of Phases is customizable, as is the name, description, maximum billable time (in hours), and duration of any given Phase. This can be done broadly for all case types or certain case types (see the section below) or on a case-specific level. For the latter, click on the Options button in the top right of the Timeline, select Create Custom Phases (This Case Only), and confirm with Create Custom Phases for this Case Only when prompted to.
The Template on the Timeline won’t appear to have changed, but it is now fully customizable. If you ever wish to undo your customizations, click on the Options button and choose Delete Custom Progress Settings.
To now add a new Phase click on Add Phase and select a placement option to add a new one on the Timeline. Simply click on any Phase on the Timeline to open said Phase’s editing area.
- Name: Title of the Phase.
- Description: Info about what the Phase consists of. This is for your own records.
- Start & End Date: Dates for the Phase’s beginning and end.
- Limit Billable Time During this Budget/Phase: While you may already be using Billing Rules to limit budgeting, you may use this toggle alongside them to limit how many hours can be billed during this Phase for this case.
- Maximum Billable Time (Hours): The limit, as explained above. This limit is only enforced if the above option is checked and there is a ‘Ledger Total: Per Case Phase/Budget’ Billing Rule in place.
- Comments: Any comments you wish to attach to the Phase that you don’t want to put in the Description field.
Click Save to finish your editing, Cancel to undo any changes you’ve made and exit out of editing, or Delete to delete the Phase altogether.