This is the latest article in a series discussing what is possible to achieve by using the Microsoft 365 platform for legal matter management in conjunction with the OnePlace Solutions products. Over the coming weeks the following articles will be published, revisit the blog:
Managing information requires strong governance across the organization. Information governance is essential across all organizations, and nowhere is it more important than in a legal context.
However, many organizations fail to apply adequate information governance across the board because of the perceived time and resources required to do this effectively. And, with manual processes, information governance becomes even more challenging.
Automation helps solve these challenges by letting lawyers and other employees initiate business processes and workflows in a controlled manner while also delivering a more streamlined user experience.
When a new legal matter arises, or a project is commissioned, organizations need a process to create a repository for all the documents, correspondence, and other information relating to the matter. An automated process for provisioning Microsoft 365 locations helps ensure a consistent approach for each type of legal matter, such as intellectual property, litigation, or tax. Each business requirement will be different, and workflows may need to interface with finance, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and the like. However, automating the provisioning process will save significant time and deliver greater consistency and information management capabilities.
For an automated workflow, an end user may complete a form with details about a legal matter, including the matter name, parties, type of matter, and some related details. Based on that information, the system creates the infrastructure in Microsoft 365, including an area to save content associated with the legal matter. To simplify this further, OnePlace Solutions provides the ability to present a form for the user to complete from within Microsoft Outlook.
The legal matter management system will systematically grow with respect to the number of legal matters over time. When provisioning legal matters, a new area is created for a matter with a predefined set of locations to store content regarding that matter. This could be one or more libraries in SharePoint where the team can store emails and documents. However, as time goes by and more legal matters are created in SharePoint, the organization could end up with thousands of new areas, creating complexity, and making it difficult for users to access the information they need when they need it.
This creates a need for intelligence around finding these locations. Users don’t want to navigate thousands of areas to find what they need; they want a personalized and simplified interface that gives them access to their matters or matters relevant to their role. Without this, employees will struggle to easily save and classify content or access matter content in the future.
OnePlace Solutions simplifies this potential complexity by personalizing the legal matter management systems to the individual and their job function. This means the noise of irrelevant matters is removed, allowing the user to engage with the system more effectively. For example, the user could be presented with ‘My matters’ or all matters based on a specific legal matter type.
Microsoft 365 is a powerful platform, delivering enterprise-wide consistency for better collaboration, information management and governance; however, it is not an out-of-the-box, dedicated legal matter management solution.
For most law firms and corporate legal departments, the key barrier to using Microsoft 365 as a legal matter management platform is simply a lack of inherent know-how. This blog series will provide information and guidance on how to use Microsoft 365 for modern legal matter management to deliver workflow efficiencies, cost savings, and greater productivity.
OnePlace Solutions enables people in business to do more simply. To learn more about how OnePlace Solutions can help your law firm or legal department work more effectively without investing in expensive bespoke solutions, or help your organization leverage Microsoft 365 as a platform for legal matter management contact the team today.
Microsoft 365 provides the ultimate platform for legal matter management, with document management, collaboration, workflow, and records compliance at its core.