Matter management vs. case management

Lauren Jennings | December 10, 2020 | Articles

Matter Management (also referred to as Legal Matter Management) is the process in which matters and related data, such as type of legal work, attorneys on the case, budgets, and invoices, are gathered, tracked, and reported on by the legal department throughout the matter lifecycle. Think about a matter like a project, a way to categorize your expenses and better understand where your money is going.

Are Matter Management and Case Management the Same?

Matter management and case management are often used synonymously, but are the two really the same? Yes and no.

Matter Management vs. Case Management

Case management is typically leveraged by attorneys who work on large-scale, document-intensive litigation. When handling these types of litigation (common in class action and mass tort cases), teams of attorneys from a number of law firms must work together to manage an enormous volume of paper and electronic documents. To better track and manage these documents, a dedicated case management system can bring organization to the process.

Matter management tends to be more comprehensive than case management and refers to the many activities involved in managing every aspect of corporate legal practice, both internally and externally. As a result, matter management software is more robust, providing functionality beyond the key document storage capabilities of case management. It allows users to create and open a matter, assign attorneys and timekeepers to matters, and report on who worked on what matters and for how long, to name a few. This gives legal departments the key insights needed to help the business achieve its strategic objectives.

Legal Operations Software for Matter Management

Both case and matter management systems can be customized to work in law firms and corporate counsel environments. Selecting a system will ultimately depend on how much customization is needed for your specific team.

However, for in-house teams, adopting a legal operations platform for matter management is a requirement to succeed in today’s data-driven landscape. A solution like SimpleLegal simplifies the way in-house departments operate and complete their day-to-day tasks while promoting collaboration and efficiency. But even more, it brings consistency to how legal tracks the impact, complexity, practice area, matter attributes, documents, tasks, providers, and people related to internal and external matters. Plus, it gives you full visibility into the matter lifecycle and associated spend.

How to Make the Most Out of Matter Management Software

For in-house counsel and legal ops teams, matter management software is the full package. If you want to take advantage of all it has to offer, use these key features.

Work smarter with Robust Document Management

Hunting down a document is frustrating. Spending hours combing through different file folders looking for a specific version of a particular file is downright unproductive.

With SimpleLegal matter management software, you can keep your documents organized through our integrations with Box or iManage or use our built-in document management system.

Let’s say you have a dispute with a vendor regarding contract language for a certain time period. With traditional document storage, such as Google Drive, you’d have to dig through several versions of a contract, then hunt down a specific clause. With SimpleLegal’s matter-association and full-text search, you can quickly locate all documents associated with the matter at hand and do a quick search for keywords to find the clause in question. Plus, you can review past versions and audit trails to narrow down who made changes to the document and when.

Align with Finance

Often, cross-collaboration between legal and finance is difficult. But you can’t get much work done if finance doesn’t know what you’re spending money on or why.

Greg Bennett, legal operations manager at Workday, leverages SimpleLegal’s matter management solution to keep finance on the same page. “Thanks to SimpleLegal’s Tableau add-on, we’ve centralized access to data for both legal and finance,” says Bennett. “ Tableau’s data visualizations make viewing and interpreting data more intuitive so both departments have a clear and consistent understanding of how legal uses its budget. We’re finally speaking the same language.”

Matter management software lets you dig into the details of your legal spend. Reports allow you to break down spend into categories, such as practice area and timekeeper level, making it easier for you and finance to analyze budget allocation. Plus, historical data helps you more accurately forecast future budget needs.

Automate Admin Work

Every day, your legal department deals with the back-and-forth between your team and outside counsel, processes countless documents, spends time on data entry, and handles many other highly manual administrative tasks. By leveraging robust matter management software, you can automate arduous admin work.

Take invoices, for example. Your department can’t run without them, but manual invoice workflows are error-prone and time-consuming. If you don’t have a matter management system, your process might involve email or even paper invoices. But with a platform like SimpleLegal, you can not only automate who receives invoices and when, but you can also automatically enforce your legal billing guidelines. So, if a law firm submits an invoice that does not adhere to your guidelines, the system will reject it automatically, preventing you from overpaying for work.

“Before SimpleLegal, billing and reporting was a mess,” says Alexandra Bedon, a paralegal at Young Adult Institute (YAI). Prior to implementing SimpleLegal’s matter management system, Bedon had to print invoices and walk them over to the correct approver. Now, YAI uses an invoice approval workflow automation that sends the invoice to the correct approver.

Legal Ops Teams Need Matter Management

Ready to streamline your legal ops work? Discuss your needs and goals with a SimpleLegal matter management expert by reaching out and scheduling a demo.