Structure and routine: The keys to effective matter management for corporate legal teams

A group of professionals set at a desk in an office conference room and smile

In-house legal teams can now leverage familiar Microsoft 365 applications to formalize matter management.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt and change the ways companies operate, corporate legal teams are realizing the importance of formal structure in matter management, especially for colleagues working remotely. By setting and adhering to a shared set of rules and standards, in-house teams can maintain order, consistency, and control — even when usual business conditions and processes are in flux.

Standardizing filing practices

Traditionally, lawyers have self-governed, looking after their own work and logging developments in their own way and in their own folders, local hard drives, and email inboxes. Even today, when many lawyers use a shared drive, they often use their own filing protocols, making it difficult for others to locate important files.

Remote work and lack of access have also been obstacles to standardized best practices, especially for lawyers struggling with VPN connections. Some lawyers choose to go to their offices at the end of the work week to access the secure network and record their time, file reports, and submit other work. But because of the lag time, that information isn’t always as complete or accurate as if it had been remotely submitted it right away.

At a time when many colleagues are still physically remote from one another, organized, timely collaboration matters more than ever. When lawyers record their matter status information and file their correspondence and documents consistently and on time, legal operations can efficiently monitor progress, and professionals can more easily locate, access, and collaborate on work. By streamlining the recording and filing process, professionals can remotely search through matter archives more efficiently than before, and locate case files for precedents more quickly. Professionals with access rights can obtain the latest files, notes, and email correspondences to check the status of a matter and, if appropriate, move it forward.

With a systematic matter management process, reporting becomes far easier as well, as metadata about matters is captured continuously across the lifecycle of an engagement. Corporate legal teams can then use this data to gain deeper insight into their work and performance. In-house teams can even create self-service portals and notification systems to send automated updates and pre-written responses to clients — saving both teams and clients time and effort.

Enhancing your corporate legal department’s investment in Microsoft 365

If formalizing and streamlining matter management can improve your team’s productivity and efficiency, why aren’t more corporate legal teams adopting this approach? Ultimately, the answer boils down to a lack of adequate matter management technology.

Generic document management systems often fail to cater to the specific demands of legal teams, and even most legal-specific software has historically been designed for private legal teams rather than corporate legal departments. Even Microsoft SharePoint, one of the most popular cloud-based platforms for corporate legal departments, doesn’t quite meet all legal needs to serve as a matter management solution.

However, Microsoft has recently solved this issue by building a strategic partnership with Intapp to increase cloud adoption and optimize Microsoft 365 for corporate legal use. Using Microsoft Azure, a secure, proven, cloud-based software platform, our Intapp solutions — including Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal — seamlessly integrate with Microsoft 365 and help corporate legal teams make the most of their Microsoft investment. Corporate legal teams can now easily standardize and transform the way they log, manage, store, and access their work — whether they’re remote or in the office. As an additional benefit, the Microsoft 365 platform consistently updates with the latest technology advances, including AI and workflow automation — helping in-house legal teams keep up with current trends and best practices in the legal sector, and making it a reassuringly futureproof choice for matter management.

Learn more about how Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal can support your corporate legal teams and improve matter management.

Written by:

Leigh Smith

Principal Consultant, OnePlace for Collaboration & Content

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