Case and Matter Practice Management Software
I am a firm believer that every lawyer and law department can benefit from a computer-based system for managing their practice. In fact, in the world of private law firms, not having a computerized management system puts a firm at greater risk of malpractice claims. Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company has created its own software subsidiary - primarily to assist its insureds with the adoption of technology to improve their practices and reduce risk. There is no question that corporate legal departments can also benefit from this kind of technology.
First, some discussion of terminology. I prefer to talk about "practice management systems," rather than "case and/or matter management." In the old days, case and matter management programs managed information on your cases and matters. That was great. It beat doing it manually or trying to do it with systems that weren't designed with the needs of legal professionals in mind.
However, there's more to managing a corporate legal department than managing case and matter information. As far as I'm concerned, the ideal system should integrate all major aspects of your practice into one coherent system, even if parts of it come from different vendors, databases, etc. This is hardly an original idea, but it's not something that's necessarily easy to accomplish, especially for small legal departments with limited resources. The good news is that, as the options available from legal technology vendors mature, they are moving in this direction. See the Ultimate Practice Management Page for my thoughts on what the ideal system would do.
This area includes the following:
General Thoughts - Some thoughts on the current state of the available technology and what might be coming in the near future.
Overview of the Products - What vendors sell practice management systems designed with the needs of in-house departments in mind?
The Survey - What information is available about the various systems? What will they do for you, what will they cost?
The Real Story - Experiences - both good and bad - of those who have actually used the systems.
How to Choose - a practice management system and how to make it work for you.Last Updated: 03/30/01