Written by:

Grant Yuill

Head of Marketing & Customer Engagement

Legal software’s value comes from its capacity to support the day-to-day operations of the business while also serving as a strategic business partner and enabler. However, in order to accomplish this, your legal office must be in top shape.

That is why, for excellent reasons – which we will discuss next – we have developed a list of the ways your matter management method may be causing errors and how to solve them, so that your legal team can save time and give more value to the business.

Why Should You Prioritise Effective Matter Management? 

Let’s start with the ‘why’. Are any of the following situations familiar to you?

  • You depend on emails to receive and collaborate on legal requests, as well as share progress reports on each case.
  • You struggle to get visibility and control over everything, making it tough to triage, prioritise, act on, and distribute work throughout the team.
  • Working on and developing things requires an extensive array of stages and numerous systems, which can be time-consuming.
  • You observe duplicate work occurring in your team, where it could otherwise be recycled or templated.
  • Valuable information or data is difficult to hand-off, search, and retrieve when you need it—or worse, information gets lost or moved.
  • Working with outside counsel is time consuming since the information is fragmented, collaboration is difficult, and keeping track of legal spend requires complex manual processes.
  • Compiling data for reporting on cases and legal team activity is either impossible or excessively time consuming without the integration of management software to automate and streamline these processes.

Every situation depicts an area where your legal function may be wasting time that may be better spent performing the legal work for which they have been trained, or experiencing legal waste.

For example, according to the 2023 In-House Legal Technology Report, 37% of legal teams spend three hours or more per day going back and forth with the rest of the business, and 61% spend more than an hour per day jumping between systems to gain a complete view of their work and determine priorities. Meanwhile, 28 percent say they spend three hours or more per day searching through emails and/or other systems for contract information, matter history, or guidance from external counsel. This is especially troubling given that the typical global yearly wage range for in-house legal professionals is between £140,000 and £437,500 (2022 In-House Counsel Compensation Survey, Major, Lindsey & Africa).

Then there’s the chance that your matter management approach will have an impact on the business as a result of data lost through the cracks while being stored and easily used from a single source of truth. And if we haven’t convinced you already, this could! According to The 2023 Law Department Management Benchmarking Report (ACC), more than half of a legal team’s work is done in-house, and efficiency, cost reduction, and compliance are the three most important reasons in adopting legal technology.

Overall, this indicates a desire for legal functions to accomplish more with less, hinting at the importance of leveraging automation and management software in law firms. Or, in other words, to provide more value for less. This can be accomplished via conserving time (which equals money).

Now that we’ve hopefully sparked the desire and drive for excellent matter management practices, let’s look at how to achieve them using management software and automation to streamline operations!

#1. Configure a legal request form (or intake) process with matter fields that are meant to capture the information your legal team needs right away, so you have all of the information and context you need to triage and do the work, with significantly less time-wasting and back and forth.

#2. Consider a tool or process that allows everyone in the company to access essential legal information, such as a FAQ or a self-service feature for those lower risk jobs, so the ‘legal front door’ is easy to use and administer, allowing you to focus on more high-value strategic work.

#3. Wherever possible, link your systems and workflows to provide a single source of truth and avoid the need for data consolidation or jumping between systems, an action that paves the way for billable efficiency and automation in law firms. For example, combining matter management with contract management in a single system results in huge efficiency gains.

#4. Ensure that your matter management system supports both your internal matter workflows and the work you perform with outside counsel to make it simple for you to share information, collaborate, and control legal spend.

#5. Matter-specific information and insights, such as matters by type, volume, and department, can help monitor productivity and determine where heat loss is occurring, guiding law firms towards best practice in management.

However, guess what?

According to the 2023 In-House Legal IT Report, legal teams use an average of 4.1 IT solutions. The problem with this strategy is that it requires many systems (at a cost to legal) to obtain visibility, gather information, store documents and data, interact both internally and outside, generate reports, and track legal spend. This means you’re still accomplishing more with more, rather than less, calling for streamlined processes and best practice in legal departments. Meanwhile, the risk of data being stored across numerous platforms or falling through the cracks persists, pressuring the legal department to learn new systems and ways of interacting with legal, emphasising the need for automation.

The good news is that with a proper approach, employing management software and best practices, effective matter management can be accomplished, ensuring streamlined operations and maximised billable hours.

Because we know that the goal is to deliver more value, and the technique is to save time and money, we are able to change our emphasis to a more effective approach to matter management, one that incorporates those time-saving ideas and accelerates your ability to deliver more value to the organisation.

Manages matters, contracts, e-billing, and external spend in a single system. And here’s why Denovo software is a successful method to matter management: For starters, it has a single source of truth rather than many systems, which means that all of your work, including matters, associated documents, accounts and data, is linked together in one location. Not only does having everything kept and performed in one location reduce risk, but it also saves time and money by not having to switch between or pay for various systems to do the task, making a strong case for automating and streamlining billing processes.

What’s also helpful is that you can manage contracts and cases simultaneously, which makes sense considering that they’re the foundation of your solicitors’ day-to-day operations! Speaking of solicitors, Denovo’s software allows you to integrate all of your matter management workflows, whether they are outsourced or not, so you can easily raise work and collaborate with external parties while also digitising and consolidating invoices and legal spend in one system with in-house matters.

Finally, managing all of your work in one place makes your data more accessible and richer because it includes all of the work that legal does. This means that your data becomes useful, allowing you to identify regions of heat loss and chances for increased efficiency and productivity. In other words, areas where you can accomplish more with less. You can also participate in data-driven planning, strategic interactions with company leaders, and more easily demonstrate the value of legal services.

So there you have it. We hope that our five time-saving tips have inspired your motivation to prioritise good matter management and demonstrated how a legal workspace approach to matter management may help you deliver greater value to the business.

We can help you save time, streamline processes, and offer more value to your company now. Contact us to learn more.

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