5 Key Features for Evaluating a Legal Intake and Matter Management System

February 22, 2024

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The legal department is no stranger to the constant inundation of requests, causing substantial friction in the intake and management of matters. This is usually characterized by large volumes of emails and messages, leading to wasted time on unfocused resources and the doubling of work. The sheer volume of requests is so overwhelming that it often leads to lawyers spending more time navigating the intake and triage process rather than focusing on resolving the actual requests themselves. As a result, legal teams are hindered in their ability to showcase how they support and drive business scalability and growth.

However, legal intake and matter management systems seek to resolve these issues by:

  1. Meeting business users where they are through a legal front door
  1. Centralizing all matters, documents, approvals and conversations for a single source of truth
  1. Providing visibility into the volume, status, cycle time and type of requests coming in  

Learn more about why legal teams are prioritizing intake and matter management.

These systems are pivotal in managing the day-to-day operations of the legal department, and as such, their features should be spotlighted to ensure that teams are selecting the right tool for their unique challenges and requirements of their organization. In this blog, we'll explore the five key features crucial for legal professionals seeking the ideal legal intake and matter management system.

What are the top 5 features for legal intake and matter management software?

1) Integrated & Customizable Intake

a) Business Communication Channels (email, Slack, Teams, business portals, Salesforce)

Integrating request intake is foundational in modern legal intake and matter management software as it presents a streamlined and centralized method for overseeing diverse communication channels across the business. Centralized channels for legal requests are introduced when the volume of legal work becomes so high and impossible to manage, that the legal team is pressured to rethink how they can streamline their service intake. By meeting the business where they are, users can readily access legal services through a centralized ‘digital front door’, allowing the legal team to streamline and effectively manage requests across the business.

Legal requests are no longer being manually captured and managed in a legal inbox, Slack channel or spreadsheet and can provide exponential capability when combined with automated triage. Additionally, adoption and navigation challenges are a thing of the past by allowing business users to continue to work from their preferred methods of communicating with legal.

Checkbox’s Intake and Matter Management software captures requests from anywhere with its native integration with email, Slack, Microsoft Teams, business portals and Salesforce to provide business users with an unprecedented user experience and efficiency, whilst providing the much-needed automated intake and visibility for the legal team.

b) Intake Forms

Customizable forms make the intake process much quicker, as it enables business users to input all the information legal teams need to begin working on legal requests. Legal requests are submitted via a standardized form, enabling legal teams to start seeing some consistency with legal requests. The forms provide a streamlined way to capture information, build in controls and validation, and automates the reporting of metrics including the volume & type of requests. Not only does this reduce the amount of time it takes to collect all the valuable information needed to resolve a request, but it also reduces the back and forth when met with incomplete and inconsistent information. These forms not also capture valuable data for reporting and analytics, but also key data to go beyond just intake to enable automated triage.

Checkbox offers a user-friendly experience for legal teams to manage their request intake through customizable, logic-driven forms that can also be deployed on channels such as email, Slack, Microsoft Teams, business portals and Salesforce. These forms feature decision rules to power automated triage but also to connect with automated solutions built on Checkbox (e.g. contract generation, approval workflows, compliance checks).

Checkbox’s Intake form and workflow for automated NDA generation

c) AI-powered intake

The recent developments in AI offer opportunities for legal teams to revolutionize their intake and triage. By leveraging AI-powered intake, this enables an intelligent, conversational experience to interpret and intake requests, distinct from early chatbots that are reliant on stiff, restrictive logic and standard query-to-answer matches to provide set responses.

Checkbox’s integrated intake and AI Legal Front Door takes this further, allowing legal teams to not only are able to capture requests, but automatically provide answers to frequently asked questions, seamlessly link to self-service workflows to collect approvals, submit disclosures, generate documents, and assign work to the appropriate lawyer.

Checkbox allows teams to build AI legal chatbots on channels such as email, Slack, Teams, company portals and more. This provides an immediate, personalized and conversational experience for the business to navigate their requests and allows lawyers to spend less time answering repetitive requests and more time on special projects and complex matters.

Checkbox’s Legal AI Chatbot available on Slack, Teams, email and company portal

2. Automated Triage & Assignment

What many legal teams often lack is a sophisticated intake and triage system capable of effectively managing the diverse channels through which the business engages with the legal department. This gap results in challenges in identifying the most suitable lawyer to handle specific legal requests, leading to wasted time from unfocused resources, the handling of non-legal requests and doubling up of work. Automated triage and assignment systems play a pivotal role in addressing this issue, becoming a fundamental aspect of evaluating legal intake and matter management software.

Based upon the information captured from intake channels and forms, requests can be routed automatically based on the matter type, lawyer expertise, capacity, business unit and more. As a result, legal teams can get more organized and cut down on large volumes of emails or messages where previously, is difficult to coordinate and requires manual triage.

Example of the intake, triage and management process for generating a contract

3. Management & Collaboration

With lawyers primarily working on requests out of email, the limited functionality of inbox for information storage (e.g. contracts, files), search and retrieval, collaboration, and audit trails leads to issues with having management and control over all matters. This leads to issues of visibility and communication inefficiencies between the lawyer, legal support staff and other business teams. Intake and matter management systems facilitate management and collaboration by enabling users to gain visibility and share comments, updates and pertinent details related to specific matters, fostering centralized communication over all matters, documents, approvals and conversations. This unified approach ensures that all stakeholders are aligned, mitigating the chances of miscommunication and facilitating a cohesive work environment.

Checkbox’s robust ticketing system enables legal management to gain a single source of truth by facilitating a connected legal services hub that enables lawyers to still work in their own way via inbox or other channels, whilst providing the visibility from automated ticket creation, linked inboxes, attachments, tasks, integrations and audit trails. By consolidating all matter interactions within a singular interface, Checkbox simplifies the process, allowing legal to gain visibility and control over all matters and to enable better collaboration with the business.

Checkbox's matter management software

4. Comprehensive Reporting

Without a legal matter management system in place, the entire or parts of the intake, triage and management process, from the capture, filtering, assignment, update or resolution of requests is done manually or offline. As a result, there is no automated data capture, meaning there is no visibility for legal into the volume, status, cycle time and type of requests, making it impossible to measure and communicate legal workload & impact and plan for resource allocation.

Of the top five features for these systems, this feature takes center stage as given its ability to measure and communicate legal team impact to leadership. This feature is so important for the legal team because it paints a detailed picture of the quality and speed of legal services delivered. Providing comprehensive reporting is key to the success of legal departments given the ability to elevate the current perception of legal (often a bottleneck to business operations) but also to identify opportunities for improvement and communicate and advocate for more resources where they require more support and can further business impact.

An intake and matter management system should support multiple views of comprehensive reporting for the different types of stakeholders like general counsels, legal ops, lawyers or business users. For legal managers, like general counsels, chief legal officers or legal ops, these roles value visibility into the volume, status, cycle time and types of requests so they can accordingly identify opportunities for resource allocation and optimization or gauge the impact of the legal team on the greater business. Meanwhile, lawyers can leverage their own customized dashboards to see requests that are assigned to them, and the conversation, terms and decisions associated with each request. On the other hand, non-legal personnel from other business teams benefit from seeing the requests they have submitted and what their status is on being completed or if their involvement in matters such as a sign-off from procurement or compliance.

By digitizing the end-to-end intake and matter management process, the Checkbox platform captures data of a request’s journey to resolution. Through Checkbox’s customizable dashboards, tailored reporting views can be created uniquely for each organization and for each key stakeholder to provide full visibility over the legal department. By digitizing the end-to-end intake and matter management process, the Checkbox platform captures data of a request’s journey to resolution. Through Checkbox’s customizable dashboards, tailored reporting views can be created uniquely for each organization and for each key stakeholder to provide full visibility over the legal department.

Checkbox’s custom dashboards and analytics

5. Task & Workflow Automation

Traditional matter management systems lack the native capability or integration with workflow automation software to provide a platform that touches all aspects of delivering legal services, from request initiation to resolution. Without a way to automate manual, time-consuming administrative work, legal teams are still hindered in their ability to progress matters to timely completion. Some examples of common corporate matters involve contracting, employee matters, intellectual property and more. Without task and workflow automation in place, the manual resolution of matters can be time-consuming and prone to error, exposing the company to risk, costly mistakes and legal liabilities. Legal is being blamed as a blocker for key contracts, deal deadlines and opportunities, the company is posed to many risks given the lack of critical controls, and there is a struggle of scale given the increasing amount of business support in the company but decreasing or flattening legal headcount. Learn more about what is legal workflow automation.

Checkbox’s workflow automation solution is part of its legal service hub offering together with intake and matter management, and its AI chatbot offering. Get an in-depth analysis of your legal processes and see how Checkbox can help by scheduling a consultation with our legal technlogy experts today.

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