Matter management software: what is it and which is best?

Guides
August 26, 2022
min

If there’s one thing that in-house legal teams and law firms have in common, it’s that they find matter management painful. Luckily, we’re in 2022, and there’s a better way to manage legal matters. 

That’s right. It’s time to find matter management software to do the heavy lifting for you. 

This post discusses what matter management software actually is, who needs it, and which matter management system is best for you. Let’s dive in. 

In-house legal teams also look for solutions to help them manage contracts - if that's you, get in touch to find out more.

What is matter management software?

Matter management software is legal technology that assists with the broad management of legal matters, including tracking case information, managing billing and organising legal projects, amongst other things. 

The purpose of matter management software is to provide a single source of truth for legal matters, making it easier for legal teams to access and collaborate on legal tasks and manage their matter portfolio. 

But to truly understand what matter management software is and does, you first need to understand what a ‘matter’ is in the legal world. 

What is a legal matter?

A legal matter is a broad term for any legal case, dispute or project that arises relating to either legal process or legal practice. Unlike case management tools, matter management tools are designed to manage every aspect of the legal practice, not just cases within legal proceedings. 

With that in mind, it’s unsurprising that finding a matter management tool that performs well in every way is no easy feat. 

What does matter management software do?

Matter management software is one of the most comprehensive solutions for legal teams on the market, since the features deliver value across a wide range of legal practice tasks. Here are just a few examples of what matter management software can be used for:

  • Manage deadlines: matter management systems capture and track key dates to help legal teams meet their deadlines with greater ease and consistency
  • Assign tasks: matter management software enables legal teams to assign colleagues or vendors to matters quickly and collaborate with them within the platform
  • Track the status of matters: the software typically enables users to track the progress of certain matters and tasks relating to these
  • Set permission controls for matters: certain matter management tools allow legal teams to control the user access settings for individual matters
  • Centralize and organise files: matter management systems serve as a centralized repository for matters and all documents relating to them, including emails, case files and more
  • Track progress against KPIs: due to the wealth of data captured by matter management software, these tools are useful for tracking progress against your legal department’s KPIs

Who uses matter management software?

Matter management software is typically used by in-house legal teams or law firms, as well as any specific vendors or external counsel that they provide access to (like ALSPs, LPOs and so on).

Unlike contract management software which is typically rolled out to business departments as well as legal teams, matter management software is more often reserved primarily for legal teams due to the nature of the matters it’s designed for. 

While contracts typically touch most business departments, legal matters often don’t, so it’s common for legal teams to work in silos on these, with some exceptions. 

Benefits of matter management software

1. Greater accuracy 

Manual data entry isn’t just tedious, it’s risky, too. Rather than entering all of the details associated with a particular matter manually, which can result in human error, most matter management systems will capture matter data automatically. This helps to ensure greater accuracy when managing matter data. 

2. Reduces risk 

Everyone in the legal profession knows that messy processes create risk. By storing all of your matter data in one centralized place and monitoring the progress of matters in real-time, legal teams and law firms can reduce the risks associated with missed deadlines or mismanaged files. 

3. Prevents data loss

Unlike a system that relies on storing physical documents in filing cabinets or saving documents on shared drives, matter management software ensures that all information for a specific matter is stored securely. This makes it less likely for important evidence, case documents and other files to get lost or damaged. 

4. Enhanced collaboration

One of the biggest benefits of matter management software is that it enables internal and external teams to collaborate more efficiently on legal matters. This is usually achieved using features like task assignment and custom workflows. 

5. Standardizes processes

Implementing matter management software can also improve legal operations processes by standardizing them. In most systems, matters are created using a standardized template. This means that all users are encouraged to enter and track the same data, as well as linking or uploading the same sets of documents. 

These benefits are similar to those offered by other types of legal software solutions, too. To find out how to manage other legal processes in a more efficient way, like contract management, hit the button below. Alternatively, read on to compare the best matter management software providers.

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What are the best matter management software providers?

1. Clio

Clio is one of the top-rated matter management systems according to G2. The cloud-based oftware is designed to serve law firms and assist them in organizing their cases, contacts, billing and calendars - all in one place. The solution is generalized but is suitable for most legal matters, as it offers a wide variety of features. Clio is backed by the same investors as Juro.

⚙️ Features

These features include case tracking dashboards, custom smartfields for important case details, timelines to track developments in cases and matters, and the ability to add unlimited amounts of text, audio, and visual files to each individual case. 

One of the biggest advantages of Clio’s matter management tool is that it offers unlimited document storage and can be integrated with popular accounting software, such as QuickBooks and Xero. 

💰 Price

Clio’s matter management software is available in four different plans:

  • EasyStart: $39 per user per month 
  • Essentials: $69 per user per month 
  • Advanced: $99 per user per month 
  • Complete: $129 per user per month 
🌟 Reviews

Clio is one of the top-rated matter management platforms according to G2. The software is rated 8.9 out of 10 for ease of use, 9.2 for quality of support and 8.4 for ease of setup, based on independent reviews. 

🏆 Best for

Clio is the best matter management software for law firms seeking a reputable and trusted platform to manage all aspects of their legal matters. In fact, Clio even partners with the Law Society to serve the largest independent body of UK solicitors.

According to Clio’s LinkedIn page, they have received the approval of over 65 bar associations and law societies around the world, with a global customer base of 150,000. This, paired with their high customer ratings, makes them the best matter management software for law firms overall

2. Smokeball 

Smokeball is a cloud-based contact and matter management system that aids small law firms in managing matters, tracking time and expenses and processing bills for clients.

⚙️ Features

The platform is described as the first and only cloud-based legal practice management software that automates time recording and activity. Smokeball does this by automatically recording and reporting the minutes spent within the platform and certain other tools, like Word and Outlook.

This is a significant benefit of this matter management software since it ensures accurate and trustworthy time and activity tracking. 

Smokeball also offers document automation functionality, but this is considerably more limited than that offered by tools that specialize in automating and drafting legal documents, like Juro. 

Unfortunately, the legal software provider also locks important features like OCR, custom reporting and dashboards behind their most expensive plans, which restricts functionality further. 

That said, Smokeball is likely still one of the best matter management software solutions for small law firms that may not require access to this functionality.

💰 Price 

Smokeball offer three different plans for customers:

  • Start: $29 per user per month 
  • Grow: $99 per user per month 
  • Prosper: $149 per user per month 
🌟 Reviews

Smokeball is rated 4.8 out of 5 overall on G2. More specifically, the matter management tool is rated 9.3 for ease of use, 9.8 for quality of support and 8.8 for ease of setup. This makes Smokeball one of the best-reviewed matter management software providers for customer service.

🏆 Best for

Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of Smokeball’s independent reviews on Capterra were from companies with fewer than 50 employees. This suggests that the software is best suited to smaller law firms. It is also among the best solutions available if you’re seeking unrivalled customer support. 

3. Lawvu

LawVu is another matter management software tool that seeks to improve visibility into legal matters. However, Lawvu is designed specifically for in-house legal teams, rather than law firms, unlike most matter management systems. 

⚙️ Features

The platform provides a secure storage system for matters, spend, documents, contracts and other information owned by in-house legal teams.

The system enables users to manage intake from other departments, assign tasks and track matters with ease. It also enables users to track time and fees, but only for an additional cost. 

Like most matter management software, LawVu also enables users search and filter matters to quickly retrieve relevant information from matter files. The software also includes some features that enable legal teams to collaborate more efficiently with internal teams and external counsel. 

The tool also offers some CLM functionality, which most other matter management tools do not. However, this is not as advanced as the contract management software solutions that specialise in managing contract workflows from start to finish. 

💰 Price 

LawVu does not publicly advertise their pricing, and they do not advertise specific plans. Instead, they say that their pricing can be tailored to meet individual business requirements.

🌟 Reviews 

LawVu is rated 4.8 out of 5 overall on G2, and is scored 8.7 out of 10 for ease of use. However, there are only six reviews currently available for the platform, so it is much less widely reviewed than most other matter management software. 

🏆 Best for

LawVu is a great matter management system for in-house legal teams, as it was designed specifically for in-house counsel rather than those in private practice. This means that the features are better suited to this use case than some other matter management software.

4. Cloudlex

Cloudlex is the matter management software designed specifically for managing personal injury matters. The software acts as a platform for personal injury firms to manage, share and store their case files, organize matter details (like medical information, contacts, photographs and insurance details) and track crucial deadlines. 

The system is renowned for being user-friendly and intuitive, providing easy access to matter files. Cloudlex is also popular for its customer support, according to independent reviews on G2

⚙️ Features

Cloudlex offers a wide range of features designed to aid law firms in managing personal injury matters. Users have access to secure storage for all case files, calendar management features, settlement calculators, custom workflows and more. 

Cloudlex also improves visibility into matters with dashboards that enable law firms to review their trends in case openings, closings and referrals over a period of time. Like most matter management software, this particular tool also enables users to track the progress of certain matters to understand which phase of litigation they are in. 

💰 Price

Cloudlex offer three different plans for their matter management software, however, they do not have transparent pricing. This means that prospects will need to request a quote from the software provider to find out more about pricing. 

🌟 Reviews

Cloudlex is rated 4.7 out of 5 overall on G2, with scores of 9.3 out of 10 for ease of use, 9.5 out of 10 for quality of support, and 8.9 out of 10 for ease of setup. 

🏆 Best for

Cloudlex is the best matter management software solution for law firms specializing in personal injury, as the tool has been designed with matters of this nature in mind. However, the tool will likely be unsuitable for law firms and in-house teams specializing in any other areas. 

5. SimpleLegal

SimpleLegal is yet another matter management software designed for in-house legal departments. The tool seeks to streamline legal operations for corporate legal departments by helping them centralize their matter data and report on legal spend - all in one platform. 

⚙️Features

SimpleLegal offers many of the same features that other matter management software providers do, like reporting, spend tracking, development records and customizable workflows. 

Each matter created in SimpleLegal can be tagged with various smartfields, which makes it simple to navigate through different legal matters, even in large quantities. 

SimpleLegal’s matter repository also enables users to filter matters by practice area, date opened, last billed, vendor, matter name and more. This makes it quick and easy for legal departments to find and access important files as and when they need them. 

💰 Price 

SimpleLegal offer two different plans for users: Standard and Enterprise. However, there is also variable pricing to consider, which is based on usage, legal spend and open matters. This means that the prices for SimpleLegal are:

  • Standard: $12,000 annually plus variable pricing
  • Enterprise: $36,000 annually plus variable pricing
🌟 Reviews 

SimpleLegal is rated 4.5 out of 5 on G2 overall. More specifically, the tool is rated 9.1 out of 10 for ease of use, 9.1 out of 10 for quality of support and 8.4 out of 10 for ease of setup. 

🏆 Best for

SimpleLegal is best suited to in-house legal departments. However, due to the company’s variable pricing model, this matter management software can quickly become expensive when used extensively. This means it’s likely better suited to businesses that use it on a smaller scale or who have the budget to accommodate the software. 

Which is the best matter management software in 2022?

When it comes to choosing the best matter management software solution for you, there’s no simple answer. Certain systems, like Cloudlex, excel in certain use cases. Meanwhile, other systems, like Smokeball, are designed to best suit smaller law firms. 

However, if you’re looking for the most well-rounded matter management software on the market, Clio is likely your best bet. Not only is the software one of the top-rated solutions, but it’s also suitable for both law-firms and in-house legal teams. 

When deciding on a matter management tool that’s right for you, it’s important to consider the following things:

  • What your budget is 
  • Whether you work in-house vs private practice
  • Which specific features you’d benefit from 
  • Which integrations you’d need 
  • How many users you’ll have 

There are plenty of legal software solutions on the market, so it’s important to evaluate them before signing an order form. 

There are also plenty of legal technology platforms that manage other legal documents too, like contracts. If reducing contract admin also sounds like a priority to your business, get in touch below.  

Need help managing contracts, too?

Juro is the all-in-one contract automation platform that helps visionary legal counsel and the teams they enable to create, execute and manage contracts in one unified workspace. To find out more, fill in the form below. 

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