The daily activities that occur in law firms and corporate law departments are divided into two categories: case and matter management. Activities pertaining to case management are those directly related to litigation, criminal representation, contract negotiation, etc. Activities pertaining to matter management cover everything else. They include things like business intelligence and marketing.
In the old days, it was normal for law firms to run half-a-dozen or more software packages that kept case and matter issues separate. Today, software developers are coming to realize that integrating case and matter management in a single software solution is the better way to go.
NuLaw is one example of an integrated case management application. Built on the popular Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) platform, NuLaw includes robust matter management tools suitable for any modern law firm or corporate law department. The core of the software is still case management.
Law Firms Are Businesses
If you are of the opinion that case and matter management should continue to remain separated, please consider this: law firms are businesses. Some attorneys might still prefer to think of what they do has more of a public service than a means of making a living, but you can’t argue the fact that a lawyer unable to make money practicing law won’t be able to do it for very long. He has to pay his bills one way or another.
The fact that law is a business dictates that there is more to practicing law than meeting with clients and litigating cases. The business side of things has to be attended to as well. That is where matter management comes in. Matter management encapsulates a lot of the business aspects of practicing law. As such, it makes no sense to keep them separate from case management unless absolutely necessary.
Few would argue the idea that there are clear and distinct differences between some aspects of case and matter management. Take marketing, for example. Marketing what a law firm does is distinctly different from the actual cases it litigates. Furthermore, attorneys litigate while marketers market. Things do not work when they switch roles. However, that does not mean litigation and marketing never overlap. They do.
Have you ever seen TV commercials describing how personal injury attorneys have won so much money for so many clients? Right there is an example of integrating case management with matter management. Advertising on TV is definitely a marketing strategy, but the marketing department relies on the attorneys and their track records to have something to market.
Integration Improves Productivity
Once you understand that case and matter management overlap, you come to realize that integration improves productivity where overlapping occurs. This is easily observed in the dashboard view so many modern case management apps now offer. The dashboard view gives you instant access to those key data points most important to what you do. Someone else in the office might need different data points. She can customize her dashboard to give her what she needs at a glance.
Dashboard views are possible because case and matter management are integrated into a single application. Data can be pulled from multiple sources to tell anyone in the office just what they need to know at any given time. This makes attorneys, support staff, and administration more productive throughout the day.
Multiple software applications that separated case and matter management used to be the way to go. They are no more. Today, a single application that consolidates case and matter management into a unified, cloud-based environment is the way to go.