The Top 5 Challenges in Matter Management for In-House Legal Teams

February 22, 2024

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Having an effective matter management system is an essential cornerstone for any successful legal team. It is a fundamental solution to many challenges that legal teams encounter daily for handling matters efficiently, collaborating seamlessly with business users and within legal, gaining visibility for legal impact and much more. This is especially valuable for in-house legal teams who often face the challenge of achieving more with fewer resources. Businesses are requiring increasing amounts and growing types of legal support where this demand however, does not often translate to more resources in the legal department to meet that increase.

By improving how they handle legal matters, in-house legal teams gain a significant advantage, enabling them to navigate hurdles and deliver impressive results even when resources are limited, solidifying their crucial role within the organization.  

What are the top 5 challenges in matter management?

1) Large Volumes of Requests

Handling a high volume of legal requests emerges as a primary hurdle for legal teams, especially for organizations that are growing rapidly. The continuous influx of requests inundates departments, arriving from various corners of the business—be it through Slack, Teams, email, or other preferred communication channels—creating an almost unmanageable workload for the legal team. This overwhelming number of requests poses a challenge in managing the sheer volume efficiently, straining the team's capacity to sift through and prioritize them effectively. Legal requests are not effectively allocated based on lawyer capacity, expertise and matter type, leading to wasted time from unfocused resources, handling non-legal requests and doubling up of work. Consequently, this impedes the team from managing their other duties, resulting in missed deadlines and strained relationships with other organizational departments.  

To address this widespread issue, implementing a matter management solution becomes imperative. These systems not only streamline the process but also assist in categorizing and prioritizing requests based on priority and urgency. Requests can also be routed automatically based on the matter type, lawyer expertise, capacity and business unit. By doing so, this allows legal to cut down on large volumes of emails or messages and empowers the team to handle requests more efficiently, ensuring that critical tasks do not get overlooked.

Additionally, a request management system not only streamlines intake and triage especially for a high volume of requests, but also offers a systematic approach to tracking and managing requests at scale.

Checkbox's matter management software

2) Resource & Budget Constraints

Another daunting challenge for legal teams is resource and budget constraints. In fact, a 2021 study from Deloitte cites resource and budget constraints as one of the most significant challenges since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Limited resources coupled with increasing demands from the business places an immense pressure on legal teams to achieve the coveted dream of doing more with less. This not only hampers the ability of the legal team to handle legal matters efficiently and effectively, but also jeopardizes the legal team’s perceived impact and reputation in the business, if they’re not able to achieve such demands.

In the face of these budgetary constraints, matter management systems, equipped with the ability to capture data end-to-end from request intake to resolution, offer a comprehensive overview of the department's workload. They serve as a repository of data that provides insights into the volume, status, cycle time and type of requests. By harnessing this data-driven approach, legal departments can pinpoint areas prone to delays, inefficiencies or misuse of resources.

By leveraging matter management systems, legal departments can advocate for budget allocation more effectively. Armed with concrete data showcasing the challenges and the potential benefits of strategic investments, they can articulate their needs more persuasively to the business. This data-driven approach not only facilitates better resource allocation but also enhances the department's credibility by demonstrating a proactive and strategic approach to managing legal matters within budgetary constraints. Matter management systems become indispensable tools in navigating resource limitations, fostering efficiency and securing the necessary budgetary support for the legal team's success.

3) Inefficient Collaboration

Inefficient collaboration presents itself as a significant hurdle for in-house legal teams, both internally among team members and externally with other departments. Siloed workflows and disjointed communication often hinder seamless collaboration, impacting the efficiency and effectiveness in the way legal matters are handled. Poor collaboration can lead to conflicting strategies on how to resolve legal matters, undermining productivity and risking poor relationships with other departments in the organization.  

Matter management systems serve as a catalyst in breaking down these silos. They provide a common platform where legal teams can collaborate effortlessly, fostering transparency and enabling real-time sharing of information. Through integrated communication channels and shared access to matter-related files and information, these systems facilitate smoother interactions, allowing for a more cohesive and collaborative approach to handling legal matters.

By streamlining workflows and enabling the efficient management of legal matters, these systems enhance the department's ability to respond promptly and effectively. This reliability and agility in addressing legal needs not only boost efficiency within the legal team but also rebuild trust and support from other departments. It positions the legal team as a reliable and strategic partner, fostering stronger interdepartmental relationships and making collaboration more appealing and productive for everyone involved.

Matter management systems play a pivotal role in fostering collaboration. They bridge the gap between departments, facilitate smoother interactions and enable legal teams to become proactive and responsive partners within the organization, strengthening relationships and enhancing overall operational efficiency.

4) Lack of Visibility

Of the top challenges faced by legal, the lack of visibility into routine legal operations takes center stage. Without adequate systems in place, there is a notable absence of data capture, often leaving teams operating in the dark, with no insight into the volume, type, status, time taken for workflows and legal requests. Consequently, measuring and communicating service quality becomes an elusive task, leading to ambiguity and uncertainty about performance.

The need for visibility across workload goes beyond just understanding the volume and status of legal matters but enabling strategic decisions, driving business outcomes and demonstrating legal impact. Visibility is pivotal in pinpointing areas prone to delays, inefficiencies or misuse of resources. This enables the legal team to analyze patterns, identify bottlenecks and justify the resourcing needs of the department. Additionally, measuring key legal team metrics allows legal to clearly communicate the performance and impact of the department in how they help further business goals. Without it, the legal team is left unable to effectively highlight workload or operational issues but more importantly, showcase the value they bring to the table.

Additionally, these systems enable the ability to measure legal service quality by gauging metrics for responsiveness, resolution times, satisfaction rates and more.

Checkbox's intake and matter management dashboards

5) Demonstrating Legal Impact

Another paramount challenge for in-house legal teams lies in highlighting the positive impact they have on the organization. As the heartbeat of legal operations, showing the value and contributions legal provides becomes a complex task without streamlined processes and comprehensive data.

Without a matter management system, quantifying and articulating the tangible benefits and positive outcomes legal brings to the organization becomes a challenging task. Traditionally, they lack the systematic means to capture and analyze crucial data, hindering the ability to illustrate efficiency gains, risk mitigations or cost savings that legal interventions may have generated.

This absence of a centralized system hampers their ability to track key metrics, such as request volume, turnaround times, or the impact of legal advice on business decisions. Consequently, they struggle to produce concrete evidence of their contributions to the organization's bottom line or overall strategic objectives.

In this case, matter management systems act as a repository that provides proof of legal’s impact through tracking and reporting their achievements and the value they add. These systems help to quantify the impact of legal teams by providing data-backed insights into the efficiency gains or risk reductions achieved through their efforts.

Designing your in-house legal intake and matter management processes

Crafting an effective in-house legal intake and matter management system involves leveraging innovative solutions tailored to address specific challenges. Checkbox serves as a prime example, offering a versatile toolkit to navigate these hurdles effortlessly. By strategically designing workflows using Checkbox’s advanced ticketing system and AI capabilities, legal teams can revolutionize their legal processes through the creation of tailored solutions that precisely align with departmental needs.

Designing your in-house legal intake and matter management processes revolves around utilizing adaptable tools. Tailoring the platform to your department's specifications enhances productivity and streamlines operations. This is where Checkbox can be an invaluable asset to legal teams, empowering them to harness advanced functionalities, allowing for the seamless handling of tasks and challenges. By thoughtfully designing and customizing workflows within Checkbox, legal departments can elevate their efficiency, responsiveness and overall effectiveness in managing legal matters.

Interested in learning more? Meet with our legal technology consultants to see how Checkbox can solve your matter management needs.

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