legal matter management
The term matter management is often used interchangeably to mean case management or document management. However, matter management is a practice of its own, referring to the activities involved in managing corporate legal work. It therefore encompasses document management and contract management as well as other sub-practices.
Matter management is the process of gathering, tracking, assigning and reporting on legal work including matter name, type, legal service providers and in-house counsel working on the case, budgets and invoices. A matter can be a simple task requested of corporate counsel, or a complex legal project. For example, legal research, contracts, disputes and litigation, intellectual property or M&A. Matter management enables more effective organisation, collaboration and reporting of a legal department’s work and associated costs.
how legal ops teams use matter management software
Why is matter management necessary? As business has become more global, complex and regulated, so has the scope and volume of legal work. Corporate legal teams are dealing with a huge amount of work. Effectively managing matters with spreadsheets and tools like SharePoint can become unwieldy, especially for larger matters. Legal departments will often implement a matter management system to solve this challenge; automating and streamlining matter related tasks.
Matter management tools and their functionality vary greatly, but at a bare minimum they need to go beyond basic document storage and collaboration features to allow both in-house and external counsel to open matters of various types, assign budgets and billing guidelines, assign timekeepers to matters and sub-tasks, and report on who worked on what, for how long. Efficiency can be further improved by using a matter management tool that integrates with tools the legal department is already using on a daily basis, like Microsoft.
Other features include RFP tools, law firm reviewing functionality, and integration with contract or document management systems. Matter management systems work best when used with legal spend management or legal e-Billing software, as granular information on legal costs can be tied to the matter for more insightful reporting. The security certifications of matter management software in use must also be considered, due to the sensitive nature of legal matter data.
+ provide consistent, centralised and detailed tracking of a legal department’s work. This means matter complexity, type, length, cost, external legal providers and documents are all stored in one database. This consistency enables analysis and data-driven decision making on future matters, budgets, legal department headcount and risk.
+ improve productivity by automating repetitive, manual tasks such as compiling reports and searching for documents, so that lawyers can focus on high-value legal work.
+ improve visibility of matters and give quick and easy access to matter statuses and areas for attention.
+ facilitate more efficient matter collaboration internally and with external counsel.
how busylamp approaches matter management
BusyLamp legal matter management software – Matter.Space, delivers efficiency, collaboration and strategic reporting benefits in an easy to use tool that provides a single source of truth for all matter information, integrates with Microsoft, and meets the highest data security standards. Matter management tools are at risk of being over-engineered with complex workflows and customisations, which leads to poor adoption of the tool. To ensure user adoption and return on investment for the legal department, the BusyLamp software not only integrates into the existing Microsoft environment and other tools, but is very easy to use with a number of features, such as intelligence full-text search, that make searching for information quick and easy. The out-of-the-box matter management solution uses best practice and common workflows, but can be configured and customised if needed. Regardless, the interface is intuitive with little training required.
In addition, to deliver maximum collaboration benefits for the legal department, BusyLamp has focussed on delivering the same experience for law firms using the system as their corporate counterparts; they see the exact same interface. This encourages law firm usage of the tool and the legal department can reach their goals faster.
BusyLamp reporting is equally easy to use, with dashboards relevant to the individual; whether that be the paralegal or the General Counsel. Reports can be scheduled and delivered by email at an interval of choice, or created using the reporting wizard in just a few clicks.