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Empowering your in-house legal team to collaborate on matters using Microsoft Teams

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Follow this 7-step plan to help your dispersed legal team collaborate more effectively and securely using Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams usage has exploded with the increase in remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The surge in Microsoft Teams adoption use is unsurprising: The platform is designed for remote collaboration, supporting both formal and ad hoc communications as well as document-sharing for maximum productivity.

At Intapp, we help legal teams optimize Microsoft Teams for productivity and information control. We’re also experienced Microsoft Teams users ourselves, having moved all our activities — including software development — into the cloud in adherence to stricter security protocols.

In this new series of how-to articles, we’ll address some of the most common questions information managers have as they try to strike the right balance between quickly delivering flexible support for the way people need to work, and maintaining information policy compliance.

In this first article, we’ll discuss the challenges corporate legal teams face with remote workforces, and how connecting Microsoft Teams to office-based document management systems (DMSs) can help.

Enabling Microsoft Teams-based matter collaboration

Legal professionals need to remotely create and collaborate on documents using Microsoft Teams. However, doing so without following proper procedure can create chaos in matter management.

Discussing, creating, and sharing matter-related information via Microsoft Teams’ chat facility may move workflow forward temporarily, but unless these actions are linked back to the core matter management repository, their longer-term value will be compromised, and in-house legal teams could soon lose control of matter status and information compliance.

Here’s a better process for using Microsoft Teams:

  1. Start by mapping the content destined for collaboration in designated teams. Create connections so that related files and correspondence — and any updates — remain closely linked.
  2. To maximize flexibility, allow teams to be created on demand or automatically for active matters, and use the platform’s security controls to determine who can see certain teams and gain information access.
  3. Restrict access as needed to sensitive matter content stored in your central DMS. For instance, you may want to ensure that only lawyers working on a specific matter can see certain information or join a particular team.
  4. Set visibility and privacy levels for matter-linked teams. You can make teams either discoverable (searchable) or hidden. You can also make them public and open for others to join, or private, requiring membership to gain access. You can even have full visibility into who asks to join a team or gain access to matter-related information.
  5. Make the most of Microsoft Teams by using it to collaborate, discuss matters, and share related information, as well as file, co-author, and edit documents.
  6. For even richer functionality, professionals should connect in other Microsoft 365 facilities, such as Microsoft Planner, so they can more easily manage and track tasks.
  7. Legal colleagues should continue to use Microsoft Teams as the default collaboration forum so they can extract recent information and output it back to the DMS.

Optimizing the performance of Microsoft Teams

A rapid yet controlled deployment of Microsoft Teams to remote legal professionals protects your office-based DMS as the default content store across the matter lifecycle. It also enables maximum collaboration, document co-authoring, and other key activities by your dispersed teams.

Using Microsoft Teams as the basis for controlled and secure collaboration is a more practical solution than trying to set up virtual private networks (VPNs), which are not designed to be used en masse and are liable to crash if overstretched.

The performance of Microsoft Teams is optimized as a cloud-first collaboration platform, attracting heavy investment from Microsoft. Content and services can be cached closer to users, allowing them to accelerate data center access and response times.

Best of all, you can enhance your document management system and improve collaboration by integrating Microsoft Teams with Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal and with Intapp Workspaces. Both products — part of the Intapp Collaboration & Content solution — provide a unified engagement overview to help your teams work smarter, not harder.

Learn more about using Microsoft Teams to empower your in-house corporate legal teams with Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal and Intapp Workspaces.