The value of legal is driven by its ability to support the day-to-day running of the business while being a strategic business partner and enabler. But to achieve this, your legal function needs to be running in top form.
That’s why, for good reasons – which we dive into next, we’ve compiled a list of the ways your matter management approach could be creating inefficiencies and how to overcome them, so your legal function can fast-track saving time and delivering more value to the business.
Why you should prioritize effective matter management
To start things off, let’s dive into the ‘why’. Are any of these scenarios familiar to you?
- You’re relying on emails to receive and collaborate on legal requests as well as sharing progress updates on each matter
- You find it difficult to gain visibility and control over all matters, making it hard to triage, prioritize, act on and distribute work across the team
- Working on and progressing matters involves a long list of steps and different systems which can be time consuming
- You’re seeing duplicate work occurring in your team, where it could have otherwise been repurposed or templated
- Important information or data is difficult to hand-off, search, and find when you need it – or worse, information is lost or displaced
- Working with outside counsel is time consuming because the information is scattered, collaborating is difficult, and keeping track of legal spend involves tedious manual processes
- Compiling data to report on matters and legal team work is either impossible or extremely time consuming
Each scenario represents areas where your legal function could be wasting time that would be better spent practicing the legal work they’re trained to do, or experiencing legal waste.
For example, The 2023 In-House Legal Technology Report reveals 37 percent of legal teams spend three hours a day or more going back and forth with the wider business, and 61 percent spend over an hour a day or more jumping between systems to gain a complete view of their work to determine priorities. Meanwhile, 28 percent report spending three hours a day or more searching through emails and/or other systems to determine contract, matter history, or advice from outside counsel. This is especially alarming when we consider the average global annual salary range for in-house legal professionals is between USD$176,500-$554,901 (2022 In-House Counsel Compensation Survey, Major, Lindsey & Africa).
Then there’s the element of risk that your matter management approach could be impacting on the business as a result of data getting lost in the cracks while being stored and easily reused from a single source of truth. And if we haven’t convinced you yet, this might! According to The 2023 Law Department Management Benchmarking Report (ACC), more than half a legal team’s work is staying in-house, and efficiency, cost reduction, and compliance are the top three biggest deciding factors when purchasing legal technology.
Overall, this means there is an appetite for legal functions to do more with less. Or, in other words, to deliver more value for less. And this can be achieved by saving time (which = money).
Now that we’ve hopefully fueled the needs and motivations for effective matter management practices, it’s best we get into how this can be achieved!
Five time-saving tips for legal matter management
- Configure a legal request form (or intake) process with matter fields that are designed to capture the information your legal team needs right from the start, so you have all the information and context you need to triage and do the work, with far less time-wasting and back and forth
- Consider a tool or process that enables the wider business to access important legal information such as an FAQ or a self-serve function for those lower risk tasks, so the ‘legal front door’ is easy to use and manage, allowing you to focus on more high-value strategic work
- Where possible, ensure your systems and workflows are integrated, to create a single source of truth and to help reduce jumping between systems or consolidating data. For example, matter management and contract management in one system has tremendous efficiency gains
- Ensure your matter management system supports your internal matter workflows as well as the work you do with outside counsel, to make it easier to share information, collaborate and manage legal spend
- Monitor productivity and identify where heat loss may be occurring with matter specific reporting and insights, such as matters by type, volume, and department
But guess what?
Even in following these time-saving tips, your approach to matter management is likely to be missing one key ingredient: the ability to streamline your workflows and consolidate the number of systems in use.
The 2023 In-House Legal Technology Report found legal teams on average are using 4.1 technology solutions. And the problem with managing matters with this approach is relying on multiple systems (at a cost to legal) to gain visibility, gather information, store documents and data, collaborate both internally and externally, and to generate reports and track legal spend. Meaning, you’re still doing more with more, rather than doing more with less. Meanwhile, the risk remains from data being stored across multiple platforms, or getting lost between the cracks, and pressure is on the business to learn different systems and ways of engaging with legal.
The good news is that with the right approach, effective matter management can be achieved.
Achieving effective legal matter management with a legal workspace
Since we know that delivering more value is the objective, and saving time (and spend) is the method, we can pivot our focus towards a more effective approach to matter management, one that incorporates those time-saving tips and fast-tracks you to delivering more value to the business.
Enter, matter management in a legal workspace – where matters are managed along with contracts, e-billing, and external spend in one system, or workspace. And here’s why a legal workspace like LawVu is an effective approach to matter management: Firstly, a legal workspace utilizes one source of truth rather than multiple systems, meaning all your work is tied together in one place, including matters and their related documents and data. Not only does this mitigate risk in having everything stored and completed in one place, but it saves time (and money) in not having to switch between or pay for multiple systems to do the work.
What’s also valuable is that you can manage contracts and matters together, which makes sense given they’re the bread and butter of your attorneys’ day-to-day work! And speaking of attorneys, LawVu’s legal workspace enables you to unite all your matter management workflows regardless of whether the work is being outsourced or not, so you can easily raise work and collaborate with external counsel while also digitizing and consolidating invoices and legal spend in one system with in-house matters.
Lastly, managing all your work in one place means that your data is both easier to access and far richer as it incorporates all the work legal does. This means your data becomes actionable, so you can identify areas of heat loss and realize opportunities where efficiency and productivity can be gained. Or, in other words, areas where you can do more for less. You can also participate in data-driven planning, strategic conversations with the business, and prove the value of legal more easily.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, we’ve fueled your motivation to prioritize effective matter management with five time-saving tips and shown you how a legal workspace approach to matter management can fast-track you to delivering more value to the business.
Ready to learn more about saving time and delivering value with legal matter management?
You can learn more about how a legal workspace approach to matter management can help you save time and deliver more value to your business sooner by clicking here.