What criteria should your law firm consider when comparing matter-management software?
In August last year, The Law Society Gazette chaired a legal IT roundtable that was partly focused on the importance of law firms choosing the right matter management systems.
Also discussed was how online tools are helping firms to make the most of their agility and innovation to compete in a changing market. However, one of the key findings was that small law firms in particular often struggle to navigate the complexities of the IT market if they don’t seek out reliable specialist advice.
Main IT challenges
Joanna Goodman summarised the event for the Gazette. She observed that most of the law firms gathered around the table (“ranging from sole practitioners to firms with multiple offices… from across the country”) were now using “some form of practice management or matter management system”.
The biggest challenge they faced was selecting the right system for their business. Some had chosen solutions that were too complex for their needs. Others struggled to make best use of IT they had invested in because they hadn’t first identified their true business needs at outset. Investing in the right technology, tightly aligned to business needs and fully supporting user requirements, was identified as the best way to fuel growth in turnover and client base.
So, if you’re not already using it, how could matter-management software help your law firm? Matter-management software is typically used as a generic file management system by commercial and litigation lawyers seeking a way of working that’s less prescriptive than full-blown case management.
To avoid having to undertake training to learn how to use it, you can choose software that can be operated through widely used email and information management solutions (eg Microsoft Outlook). You should be able to adapt and customise the matter-management software to the way your law firm works, not have your working practices dictated by the software.
When considering matter-management software options, find out which ones can fully support all of your firm’s internal processes. You should also be able to create your own workflow processes within the software, so you get results much quicker and easier when compared to a traditional case-management system.
Speed and convenience
The software organises information by matter, granting quick and easy access for each case. All matter changes will be logged, so you’ll know who did what and when. The software should also conveniently bring together contacts, meetings, tasks, expenses, notes and documents specific to that case.
This convenience and speed could save a lot of time and effort, ensuring much greater efficiency, productivity and profit, which frees up time and resource that could be better used to help grow your law firm.