Automating Calendars and Matter Management in the Law Firm
In many firms, an enterprise-level calendar, docket and matter management system is the one missing component of their overall technology solution. Most Law Firms have invested significantly in network infrastructure, Time & Billing, Document Management and Word Processing, but a strong Calendar and Matter Management System is often not included in the central workflow.
The control and organization of matter information such as activities, deadlines, contacts, related parties, assignments, custom fields, notes, etc has primarily remained the responsibility of each individual attorney. This is inefficient and generally adds unnecessary overhead costs for both the attorneys and the firm.
There are a number of reasons often cited for this lack of investment in a centralized Calendar and Matter Management solution, such as:
- It is difficult to obtain a consensus from the attorneys. The needs of individual attorneys and practice groups can vary significantly and it is difficult to find a solution which can be customized to meet all needs
- The Attorneys are comfortable with Microsoft Outlook and don’t want to give it up
- Many proposed software solutions don’t fit into the firms technology
- The firm can’t find software that is easy to use, yet still accomplishes what is needed
- Budget. Since the Attorneys seem to be functioning, other projects have taken priority
Regardless of the specific reason, the end result is that critical matter information is scattered into a variety of places such as Outlook calendars, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Document Management repositories, individual to-do lists, physical paper files, and “in their head.” This makes it difficult (if not impossible) to access, share, organize, and print matter information.
Recently, there have been some noteworthy industry changes. Over the last few years, for example, document management vendors, in particular, have focused on helping firms to more easily consolidate matter information (i.e. “matter centricity”) as it pertains to documents and e-mails.
This is a welcome improvement, but to really make a difference and help attorneys and staff, all matter information should be readily available not just documents and emails.
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