What is matter management?

Legal matter management covers the entire range of tasks originating from an organisation’s internal legal processes and external matter management systems.

Traditionally, matter management has involved managing all the activities and strategies involved with outside counsel engagement and eBilling. But in many cases, it simply was not enough. Today, the modern approach to legal matter management covers the entire range of tasks originating from an organisation's internal legal processes, including research, claims, compliance, disputes, litigation, contracts and intellectual property, as well as the more common aspects associated with, for clarity, external matter management systems. By starting all legal affairs as internal matters, the organisation can better prioritise and allocate work, in some cases assigning work that would otherwise be directed to external counsel to be handled internally by their most talented lawyers or dedicated shared service teams.

Internal matter management describes processes and tools that help legal ops teams optimise legal service delivery.

By structuring legal intake, relevant legal service data can be gathered upfront, reducing inefficient and time-consuming back and forth between employees and legal teams. And by creating a single, central workspace in which to review requests and facilitate complex tasks, these teams can provide faster, more accurate fulfilment.

Simply put, matter management empowers organisations to better address and resolve internal legal issues—quickly, reliably and consistently.

Occasionally, the terms matter management and case management are used synonymously. But the reality is that they describe different approaches, and different actors.

Matter management, as described above, is a comprehensive approach to managing legal work encapsulating both internal legal and external matters. Most legal issues tend to originate as internal matters and the organisation can use that insight to then engage external counsel where necessary. The most effective strategies rely heavily on “matter management” software to streamline, coordinate and support these tasks. But the majority of matter management software was designed with an external law firm vendor focus, as such these systems are not ideal for capturing the internal genesis behind a matter and further, empowering the organisation to engage internal stakeholders to address issues first and to only engage external counsel when needed. Perhaps most importantly in this regard, matter management describes these processes in relation to any business or organisation.

Case management, on the other hand, refers specifically to the tasks and strategies used by law firms and other legal organisations. Case management provides support solutions for lawyers who need to be able to organise and navigate the large amounts of documents used in litigation. But while case management tools may be invaluable for legal organisations, they are not designed for use among other industries.

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