Matter vs. Case Management: A guide for Legal Departments
Matter vs. Case Management: A guide for Legal Departments
by PracticeLeague

August 05, 2021 | 8 Min Read

Virtual Environment

Legal Matter Management – essential for every legal department

Think of all the functions that a corporate legal department has to perform – contract lifecycle management, due diligence, dispute management, knowledge and document management, management of intellectual property, litigation management and collaborating with outside counsel, the list endless. Together, they are referred to as matter management. In a nutshell, matter management refers to all internal and external activities involved in managing corporate legal practice.

Matter Management Vs Case Management

As discussed in the preceding section, matter management is the sum total of all the functions that a corporate legal department performs in the course of their functioning. A “matter” could be something as small as replying to a legal notice, or as massive as acquiring an entire company and fulfilling the legal obligations thereof. A matter lifecycle includes every single task that is required for the smooth completion of that particular legal objective. Legal departments are responsible for the end to end performance of each and every task in this process, thus aptly calling it “legal matter management”.

On the other hand, case management refers to all the tasks performed in the resolution of a particular dispute, from drafting and filling to legal research, managing case information and litigation reporting, billing and invoicing and collaboration with other counsel working on the same case.

Thus, while case management is leveraged by attorneys who work on large-scale, document-intensive litigation, matter management is a more comprehensive concept and refers to the many activities involved in managing every aspect of corporate legal practice, both internally and externally. Case Management is one of the many aspects of matter management.

Challenges in matter management – accessibility, accuracy and effective collaboration

Scattered information & Data Silos:

Information is of little use if it cannot be leveraged at the right time. The traditional methods of physical storage meant that a lawyer would have to waste hours sifting through various documents in order to retrieve any information. While this practice improved slightly with electronic storage and document sharing over email, the problem of data being inaccessible to all members of the company persisted. Matter management tools leverage on-cloud storage to enable uninterrupted access to company data at all times, greatly increasing the visibility of matters and case information.

Barriers to effective collaboration:

When different teams and individuals work on a single project sequentially, it leads to delay and inefficiency caused by duplication and repetition of work. Similarly, working and coordinating across different platforms gives rise to multiple chains of communication, where data is often easily lost. Matter management tools consolidate all these procedures into a single platform, where team members can easily communicate with each other as well as share and retrieve documents and data. More importantly, as all data is stored at a central location, every member of the team can work on it simultaneously.

Relying on time taking manual procedures:

Whether it is drafting of humungous contracts, or preparing claim documents to be filled with the court in the course of litigation management, attorneys deal with time taking and highly repetitive procedures on a daily basis. The complete dependence on manual effort naturally also increases the chances of human error, leading to a work environment characterised by constant stress. A robust matter management solution helps automate all these tasks, thus enabling corporate legal departments to invest their time towards the growth of the company.

The multiple benefits of a matter management software

Document management:

Think of the oceans of valuable information that is present in a company’s documents – pricing information, internal company memoranda, minutes of board meetings and countless other highly important details. Efficient legal matter management softwares enable the organised storage and retrieval of all these documents, saving hours that would otherwise be spent in locating these details. Finding the right information becomes a matter of minutes with a quick keyword search and custom- based filters with the right matter management tool.

Automation of administrative tasks:

For every commercial transaction that a company enters into, there are hundreds of smaller, repetitive administrative tasks that must be completed for the process to go smoothly, like the filling of tenders and forms and the ironing out of finer legal issues. Each one of these smaller functions are a time consuming, yet extremely vital part of the process. Today, matter management tools enable legal departments to integrate and automate these tasks by leveraging machine learning. In effect, this means that counsel now have more time to devote towards resolving issues, dispute management and customer pain points.

Easier collaboration:

May it be in the management of commercial contracts or a heavy duty litigation, corporate counsels are required to constantly stay in touch with their counterparts across law firms and opposing legal departments. Even internally, the legal department needs to coordinate with members of different teams for updates and approvals. Having a single integrated platform, where all relevant information can be easily linked and retrieved with updates and notifications available in real time, fosters effective collaboration.

Effective management of timelines:

There are many similarities between project management and legal matter management; in effect, all lawyers perform the role of project managers, with each new matter or task being a new project. Managing timelines for tasks and deadlines is crucial when it comes to running of legal departments. Tools for matter management combine the efficiency of task-oriented planning with allocation of milestones, real-time notifications and reminders for next steps, consequently enabling lawyers to meet their timelines easily.

Increased efficiency and productivity:

Legal departments work every day to safeguard their organisations against any potential risk that might arise in the future, while simultaneously being responsible for the smooth execution of all commercial transactions. One of the biggest advantages of a matter management tool is the integration of multiple tasks into a single process, so that legal departments do not waste time switching between countless tools and procedures. From management of contractual obligations to keeping track of an ongoing litigation, a robust matter management tool integrates all these tasks on a single platform.

Today, there exist multiple branches of tools catering to the matter management needs of different types of organisations. Effective collaboration, tracking and auditing of developments across all legal functions of the company and compliance with all taxation related regulations are some of the top priorities for heads of legal departments.

In order to choose the right matter management software, legal departments must first analyse their own requirements; for example, a company with a large number of taxation related compliance and litigation must pick a tool like Practice League’s Razorcube with its integrated functionalities for tax litigation workflows. An effective matter management tool automates and integrates all the different tasks performed by the various stakeholders of a company’s legal departments into one, single platform.

At Practice League, it is our endeavour to assist legal departments via innovative tools designed to increase productivity and establish their position as an integral part of the organisation. Get useful insights for the modern day General Counsels.

Share Post :