Matter Management: Best Practices for Your Legal Documents and Data
Please be advised that these free recorded webinar presentations have been edited from the original format (which might include a poll, product demonstration, and question-and-answer session). To set up a live demo, please complete the form to the right.
Spending too much time tracking down contracts or litigation documents? Are you missing key due dates? Looking for security, centralization, and oversight? CSC® can help. Join us for a free webinar discussing best practices and demonstrating our CSC Matter ManagementSM platform.
In this presentation, we'll cover:
- Matter management and technology options
- Contract renewals, searching, and reports
- Litigation routing, response dates, and collaboration
- Document retention and data capture essentials
- The right data security questions to ask of a vendor
Our solution was ranked #1 in matter management by readers of the New York Law Journal for three consecutive years, and helps you streamline your compliance and cut risk through a combination of collaboration, document management, and alerting capabilities.
Anu: Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, "Matter Management: Best Practices for Your Legal Documents and Data." My name is Anu Shah, and I will be your moderator.
Joining us today are Ciela McDevitt and David Jefferis. Ciela is the Corporate Solutions Manager for the Corporate Legal Solutions division of CSC, and has over 14 years of experience. Ciela is responsible for customer satisfaction, technology training, and new services.
David is the Senior Sales Engineer for Compliance and Governance Services at CSC. With CSC for over 11 years, he has significant experience providing training, implementation, and consultative services to clients at CSC Matter Management and CSC Entity Management Solutions.
With that, let's welcome Ciela and David.
David: Great. Thanks, Anu. It's very exciting to be here. We're right in the middle of the Groundhog Day and Valentine's Day, which is just a great time of year. So we're very happy to share some time with our audience today.
Ciela: Thank you, David. Thank you, Anu. We're going to get started with an agenda to review what we'll be going over today. You may have joined us today because your legal department manages a lot of documents, and you're wondering if there's a better way to find them when you need them and run reports on their key dates and other information, or maybe is to learn a different approach. Perhaps you're asking yourself, "Are we doing everything we can to protect our data?" We hope to answer all of your questions and provide a well-rounded framework to begin your conversations on matter management internally.
So what is matter management? Matter management is a legal project management tool that allows users to manage documents, data from the documents such as name, expiration, type, or responsible party, allows for team member communication and collaboration, and provides reporting on various data points specific to any contract, service or process, or legal document.
David: What we'll do next is talk about maybe what are some of the common challenges that organizations face that do not have a system, which given the fact that half of our audience is in that boat, it would, I think, make sense to talk about some of these challenges.
We certainly work with a lot of prospective organizations that are, again, in the situation where they do not have a solution in place, so these are some of the things that we hear quite often.
One of the great challenges of not having a system is that there is no central repository. There is no one-stop shop where we can go to take a look at our litigation cases, contracts, any legal critical documents and matters that the legal department has a responsibility for.
If you are also bringing invoicing into the equation, which we'll talk about to some extent today in terms of spend management, again, without any billing platform, you've got invoices that are who knows where and have they been approved? It becomes a great challenge. Confusion reigns supreme here where folks aren't quite sure, again, "Where is the latest contract? Do I have the latest contract? When is the answer day for that litigation? Has this invoice been approved? Has it been paid?" It's just very challenging to track this information without a system to really help you in that regard.
Another one of the challenges that we want to talk about quite a bit that you're seeing toward the bottom of this slide is security. One of the most popular things that I hear . . . it shouldn't be this way, but one of those common things that I hear when we ask clients, "How do you share litigation with outside counsel? How do you share contracts with folks outside of your organization?" we just hear time and time again that they're using email as a means of collaborating and sharing information. As many of you may suspect or know, email is not the most secure technology in the world, so that definitely introduces quite a bit of risk into the equation.
Another quick thing I mentioned is the lack of auditing. Not having a clear understanding from a security standpoint who can access the documents, who's looked at them, who's changed things, it can become maybe a bit of a guessing game in terms of having those controls around your legal documents in your department.
We're going to shift gears a little bit, and Ciela is going to talk about some of the considerations for evaluating a platform.
Ciela: David and I are frequently on the other side of these questions where clients or prospective clients are evaluating CSC matter management. So, we get to hear variety. What we've put together here is a checklist of the best examples that help to move the teams forward in the decision-making process. This is a great slide to print out from the deck. We'll go through some specific questions on each category, starting with technology that meets the company needs.
David: When evaluating a provider in looking at a matter management solution, effectively the providers are going to fall into a couple of camps: providers that offer software solutions and providers that offer what is often referred to as software as a service or a browser-based platform.
And what this slide looks to do in a concise fashion is sort of describe some of the challenges that software would entail. It would involve a considerable amount of IT involvement from your organization to get it off the ground and running. Also, at that point, you have responsibilities for hosting and maintaining the platform. There could be fig licenses and user fees or restrictions around who can access the platform. And then typically with the software, option enhancements are not automatic and you might have to pay for upgrades, or even find yourself in a situation where you are on an older version that maybe is no longer supported by the vendor. I've come across that with some organizations that I've worked with where, again, they're just out-of-date.
On the web-based side of things, again, there are some great advantages on the browser solutions where IT is not really involved in terms of the implementation. Upgrades typically come automatically, and you are often not restricted as far as users are concerned.
Now I mentioned that the IT folks would not necessarily need to be involved with implementing a browser-based platform. That said, where they should be involved to a large extent is really kicking the tires and peeling back the onion, in terms of the security that the vendor provides around a solution, which is what this slide now speaks to.
So a couple of very critical questions to pose to the vendor are where are my documents and where is my data being stored? Who can access this information, not only within my company, but outside of our organization as well? What controls do we have? What can we put in place to maybe give users limited access to a portion of the documents or a portion of the data we're managing within the matter platform? What protections are in place, so to speak, in terms of securing information within the solution? And then lastly, what information is encrypted? Which I think is a concept that even if you don't use that term on a daily basis, you're probably familiar with.
For example, if you were to make a purchase on Amazon, just as an example, and provide your credit card information, that very secure credit card number is not traveling in the internet in plain text where it can be intercepted but, again, it's encrypted along the way so that it is not something that can be easily accessed or not accessed at all. Again, you want to make sure that your information is encrypted within these types of solution.
So, with that said, with that kind of understanding of where security weighs in, Ciela is going to talk about some of the document management considerations.
Ciela: That's right. Document management bare essentials, and some questions to ask. Since this is the most common challenge, you definitely want to ask questions of your potential vendors, things like is there a central repository or one place I can go to find a document? How long are documents stored? Are documents indexed in a logical fashion so I can see documents relating to a specific agreement or service or process? What type of files or documents will we need to store? And that's something you can ask internally before you even starting the conversation with the vendor. Then once you get into that conversation with the vendor, asking, "Does the application support all the files that we would need it to?"
Document searching, spending too much time finding documents being the most common challenge across all different types of organizations, this is a key consideration. Ideally, it's nice to search in numerous different ways. So things like document title, by company name or individual, by a keyword or phrase that's in a document, the date that the document was uploaded or last edited, or any data field tracked within the system. All good questions to ask.
David: Absolutely. We'll look to weave that into our online presentation in just a bit. One of the other considerations that we'll talk to you now is the ease of reporting. What good is a platform if you can't get information out of it? This is where reporting really comes into play. Really, what you should be looking for is a system that allows you to easily build reports with a very intuitive user interface.
I have seen platforms, clients have shared with me some other systems that are on the market where it's really daunting to try to put together the report and locate information. A better platform will make it very simplified in terms of generating reports that allow you to focus on key information, maybe looking at trends of growth of litigation maybe in certain jurisdictions, or understanding when there are expirations coming due for contracts, things of that nature.
You certainly would want the ability to report on any field in the platform, make sure that users only have access to the right set of reports, be able to essentially privatize reports that are only available to certain individuals, and then certainly save reports and even schedule reports, which is a popular capability where you can have the system, in a proactive fashion, send your reports electronically, which can become really an alerting mechanism so that you don't have to log in every time you want to see information in a more proactive fashion. That information could be sent to you securely from these types of solutions.
Another consideration as you start to evaluate matter management solutions would be integration. We live in an increasingly interconnected world and our applications really need to be the same way. How does the system, if at all, interface with other solutions? How do we get information into the platform? How do we get information out of the platform, so to speak?
And again, we'll focus more specifically on CSC's Matter Management capabilities later on in the presentation, but I think I will take this opportunity to speak to a couple of examples of integration that we offer because I think it helps bring into focus what we're talking about with integration.
So a couple of examples that I will provide that our solution allows for with integration would be, first and foremost, email integration. A majority of the work that we perform is happening in email, and ultimately a lot of these email correspondences relate to a matter, a piece of litigation, a contracted deal, so with our solution, you can effectively click a button and save that email conversation and its attachments within our solution.
Another classic example of integration is the ability to feed data documents from a solution like CSC Matter Management into another system. Maybe there's a downstream claim system or enterprise legal management system, so we offer numerous options for securely integrating and feeding data documents from our solution into another platform.
The last option that I'll speak to is what we call web forms. We often have clients that have a community of users that they actually don't want to permission into the matter platform, but they do want them to be able to essentially feed requests or feed documents into the solution. So we have a technology called web forms where the system can build a very simple web page that you can host that allows users to go ahead and actually fill in information, maybe even include attachments if you allow that, and essentially feed information into the matter management platform, sort of opening it up to a wider audience, but doing it under a very secure fashion.
Really, that's a segue into talking about collaboration, the ability to work not just within the legal department, but bringing this type of a solution to a larger part of your organization that Ciela will speak to.
Ciela: I'll start with the questions that you want to ask your team internally. And one of the best questions is "Who needs access and why?" This is a good question for a couple of reasons.
The first thing is the more people that get use out of the system, the easier it is to get approval. It's also a really good question for security purposes. As an example, using CSC, the CSC system provides unlimited users and each user has their own role-based permission set, so they only have access to see what they've been given access to see.
When you get to the stage of talking to vendors and asking them questions, a couple of options would be is there an audit trail to see who did what and when? Also, does the system have email reminders, something that you can either remind yourself or someone else?
The next consideration is scalability for a long-term solution. Usually, once you put something into place, you want to keep it that way because user adoption is, again, one of the other common challenges. Scalability is a common pitfall with homegrown systems. They don't adapt quickly to growth. Also, the system can become outdated quickly when the designers and the programmers have changed roles.
David: That's something that, unfortunately, we do hear from clients where they built something that maybe worked for them years ago, but now it's starting to not necessarily meet the requirements. They might find themselves in a position where it's not so easy to get an improvement or an enhancement to that particular homegrown application. More commonly, a vendor platform is going to improve and evolve over time.
One of the other considerations that we'll speak to now is this concept of configurability versus customization. And this is where we get into semantics a little bit, but when you talk about something being configurable, it means that you as the end-user have the ability to make changes. You can create fields. You can modify screens and views and really tweak the system on the fly as you see fit. A system that is customizable, by definition, is a solution that requires the vendor to get involved to make those types of modifications, where maybe there's coding that has to take place or upgrades and improvements.
Ultimately, clients are looking for systems that are configurable, where you are in the driver seat, so to speak, where you can, on the fly, create fields, report screens, and, again, have the ability to make the system conform to the needs of your organization, in terms of the information that you want to track them in the platform.
And then certainly, again, there wouldn't be costs associated with that configuration versus platforms that involve the vendor to make that custom change, there could likely be a fee associated with that type of work from the vendor.
Now we talked about e-billing and spend management in passing earlier on in our comments, but certainly, this is a common component of most matter management solutions. We talked about the fact that within these types of platforms, a matter could be a number of different things, like a contracted deal, a piece of real estate, but probably, more often than not, a matter is a piece of litigation. That's probably the most common type of matter that we see our clients managing. There's often a need to work with outside counsel on these matters and then you're looking to be able to manage to spend with your outside counsel.
E-billing is a means of securely receiving invoices electronically, getting out of that manual paper process, which introduces a number of instant improvements. One of the things that most e-billing systems can do is allow you to set up what are often called billing guidelines to make sure that vendors' invoices are meeting certain criteria in terms of negotiated rates or things that maybe you don't pay for. That way, instead of having to manually read through the invoice line by line to see if there are discrepancies, the system can go ahead and do that work on your behalf.
Another key capability with most of these e-billing tools is the ability to create approval of workflow, where if an invoice perhaps exceeds a certain dollar threshold, it can trigger an email to an initial approver. Once they provide the review and approval, it can automatically then trigger an email to a second individual and really have an automated workflow capability to make sure that invoices are being approved by the right users within the organization.
Ultimately, most of these platforms can then feed approved invoices directly to an accounts payable system to even add more efficiency to the process of getting invoices paid. These are some of the great benefits of having an integrated e-billing solution within your matter management platform.
So, with that said, we've talked about a lot of considerations, but one of the things that came back from our audience, clear as day, was cost. What is this all going to cost? That's what Ciela is going to speak to us about.
Ciela: That's right. Not that anyone has ever forgotten to ask this question, we still included it because what we've done is added some price-clarifying questions. What is the fee structure? Is it based on users? Is it based on documents? The number of matters? You can also ask when you're viewing a demonstration, "Are all the features included?" Then, especially with anything that's software-based, are upgrades included or is there an additional fee?
With CSC Matter Management, as an example, we base our fee on the number of matters. Documents, users, and training is all unlimited and included.
Expertise and support is something to be mindful of when evaluating matter management vendors. Some service providers cap training hours. Not something that we do here at CSC, but we have seen this list with other vendors. Also, your team may have specific needs on how training is handled, so if you think there are any special concerns, it doesn't hurt to ask.
David: One other thing, Ciela, that I might add to this is we saw from our one of our polls that user adoption was one of the key concerns. Certainly, you should be then looking for a vendor that if someone is not sure about how to do something, they can pick up the phone and get an immediate accurate answer. And that's going to definitely increase the amount of the users that are going to feel more comfortable with the platform and be more inclined to continue using the solution, and not just let it die on the vine.
Ciela: Thank you. Canceling service is a question that we hear all the time. When you find a solution that you really like and part of that buying decision is, "What if something changes going forward and we have to cancel service?" so it is a good question to ask.
The CSC Matter Management application is unique in that we don't require a contract or set term for service. In reviewing other contenders, it's a good idea to know what's required on your end. So is there a contract? Also, if you were to cancel service, will you be able to get your data and documents out of the system in a convenient and usable way?
As an example of this with the CSC Matter Management solution, all the data and documents are always yours. Documents can be emailed out in batches and data can be exported into Excel, which is a really usable format.
Tips for implementation. All of these tips are coming from the CSC team that brings on new matter management customers, so they have a lot of experience with customers and organizations that are new to using matter management. So we'll go through these.
The first is to assign a primary point of contact. Now that doesn't necessarily mean that we would be training just one person. Often, we're training a large group of people and there are a lot of people involved in the customization, and that's okay. But having one lead person to help us schedule the meetings, to go through with questions, that really helps to avoid communication delays. And I have to imagine that would be the same with just about all matter management providers.
The next thing is decision-makers debriefing the end users. So once the decision has been made on a vendor for matter management, have a meeting with all of the users and have the executives or the people that made the decision set forth their goals and their best practices for using the system. That way, the users, when they go into training, have a really clear intention on how they're going to be using the system.
Also, discuss what data points the system should capture and make required. Think anything that you want included in the report would probably be a required field. And then consider a data import for your existing information and documents, and then think about who on your team could work on putting this information together.
David: Those are excellent steps. One of the questions that I sometimes get in my role is, "How long does it take to implement this type of a platform?" And commonly, when I posed that question to our implementation team, the number one thing they come back with is, "How much availability does the client have? We are ready to go. We are ready to start working in the system." Having that dedicated lead contact that Ciela mentioned, I think, is critical, because that way you're going to have the smoothest implementation possible.
So, with that, at this point what we'd like to do is talk in more detail about CSC Matter Management, which we'll talk about at a high level on these next two slides, but then we'll look at in more detail in a demonstration.
Fundamentally, CSC Matter Management is a legal project management tool that can be used for managing any type of legal documents. It has collaborative capabilities and a very robust reporting engine built-in as well.
One of the things that we sometimes get question about, "What types of matters can I manage in the application? What if I have leases or contracts or agreements or real estate or intellectual property?" It could be anything. The slide speaks to a few of the more common examples, litigation and contracts among them, probably the two most popular. But at the end of the day, our platform has been built in such a customizable, configurable way that a matter could be really anything that you need it to be.
The next slide talks in a little bit more detail about some of the features that are available within CSC Matter Management.
One of the things that I want to talk to, because I think this question has come up sometimes, is that the SOP that CSC receives as your registered agent can be integrated directly into CSC Matter Management. In that example, if SOP is received on your behalf, our team is able to automatically create a matter for you within our solution. That's something that you have to do in a manual fashion, which is something that we hear quite often where clients are receiving SOP from their vendors and then emailing it to someone, manually creating matters in downstream systems, which is incredibly time consuming and inefficient. Effectively, we can integrate and automate that process for you with our SOP delivery.
A few other capabilities to speak to here, and we'll see a number of these in the demonstration. The ability to integrate emails with the platform and having robust searching. We talked about, again, the number one pain point of our audience being the time spent searching for information, so we'll talk about that. And then having ability to also have an integrated spend management capability with the CSC e-billing functionality.
Anu: Great. Thank you, again, Ciela and David. That is all the time we have today. As a reminder, if you would like to be contacted by a CSC specialist to review your specific needs, please select one of the options on your screen. And if we didn't get to your question, we will contact you with the response after the webinar. Thank you to everyone who joined us. We hope to see you next time.