5 Top Reasons to Implement Matter Management in 2021

Matter management, or legal matter management, involves managing all activities surrounding corporate legal practice – keeping track of case details, documents, and invoices that are an integral part of your department’s day-to-day legal operations.

Taking a traditional, manually driven approach to matter management is no longer an option if you want to meet the pressures to do more with less and provide the responsiveness and accuracy your clients deserve and demand.  It’s important to evolve corporate Legal Operations, and while matter management is and always has been particularly important for your Legal Ops department, it’s more important now than ever before to do two things:

  • Take a deep, relaxing breath, and say goodbye (and good riddance) to 2020 (we’ve waited until a few months had passed, just to be sure it was over).
  • Take a centralized, streamlined approach to matter management as we move deeper into 2021 and begin to recover from the unforeseen disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the perfect moment for matter management

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As organizations across industries settle into a sense of normalcy, efficiency and responsiveness have taken on a new level of importance. The pandemic caused changes that nobody could have anticipated, and it’s paramount to cast an eye over your day-to-day operations and solutions and analyze and appraise each one.

An effective matter management solution should support all corporate legal matter types, which can include a variety of tasks, including contracts and transactions, claims, governance and compliance, intellectual property, and more.

The return to work and to the office requires a heightened focus on your solutions and strategies.  As your employees adjust to a new work environment that balances both traditional in-office spaces and working from home capabilities, there are new challenges to face to ensure business continuity. Old hurdles such as using disconnected systems should be a receding blot in your rear-view mirror!

A centralized matter management hub is more important than ever

Your matter management system should be the central hub for all legal matters in your organization.

As your team operates across remote and in-office workspaces, or hybrid variants?  You need to ensure that all team members have immediate and equal access to relevant materials, documents, status updates, and case details. Having a set of disconnected systems for information retrieval can result in your team having to navigate a complex web of scattered data, wasting time, effort, and money.

When employees use separate, disjointed applications and outside software, you could also face issues like duplicate work. This posed a problem even when most of your employees worked at the same physical office – it will only be heightened now. At a time when efficiency is key, precious hours could be wasted redoing work that was already completed. Eliminate this possibility and spend that time focusing on more valuable tasks.

Employees need to feel valued – and valuable

The pandemic and related lockdowns have left most individuals world over in a fragile, or at least unusual, state of mind. From dealing with job uncertainty to juggling WFH and homeschooling, new challenges have sprung up that can test the most confident and committed of people. It’s not just considerate but crucial to keep this in mind when you think of factors such as employee morale.

Squandering your employees’ time can have another effect that’s disagreeable at the best of times – increased employee frustration. Aside from duplicate work, disorganized matter management processes may result in your employees being tied down to tedious, repetitive manual tasks that could easily have been automated, or performing complicated workarounds that require hours of unnecessary effort.  That, in turn, leads to a lack of engagement and even difficulties in the retention of talented staff.

Reduce human error

While this isn’t tied entirely to 2021, it stands true – paper-based and manual matter management processes leave far more margin for error. However, this does tie in with the previous point: a frustrated or bored employee is more likely to make mistakes than one that is actively engaged in her/his tasks. Missed deadlines, inefficiencies…they’re understandable, perhaps, but readily avoidable. Circumvent costly mistakes altogether by automating these processes, including document maintenance and billing guideline enforcement, for instance.

When you consider the potential costs of these sorts of human errors, then the events of the past year and the need for greater accuracy in Legal Ops do make this relevant to 2021 and beyond: Can your organization afford the kind of mistakes in matter management it might have been able to shrug off in the past?

You should already be there

As we said at the very beginning, if you don’t have a matter management solution in place already, you’re playing with fire. The easiest answer as to why you should have one?  It helps your company’s financial health and insulates it from risk, but as you can see, the benefits extend far beyond that. You need complete visibility and control over the entire matter lifecycle.

It can be argued this is as much a matter of ethics as it is business: Are you really giving your clients the best possible service if you’re not using the best available tools?

As you deal with the new challenges that 2020 has presented, you probably have enough contributors to your headaches.  Effective, streamlined, and transparent matter management shouldn’t be one of them.

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