A Legal Matter is thought of to be any Legal Project that is different from a Litigation Case. A Legal Matter could be a Legal Consultation, Agreement Drafting, Company Incorporation or NDA Generation.
How to access it
From the main menu "Matters-> Matters".
Add/Edit a Legal Matter
From the Quick Add, choose Matter.
The Add form of a Matter has the basic data that needs to be inserted. The mandatory fields are the ones in red only. After adding a Matter, it will be designated by a Case ID that is automatically generated by the system. Once the user clicks on the Case ID from the grid, the Matter form opens where the user can be view/edit the Matter data.
Also from the action wheel next to a Legal Matter entry, choose View/Edit
A Legal Matter form has a lot of important data to be tracked such as
- Area of Practice: A defined drop-down list. Types can be for example Legal Consultancy, Drafting Agreement, Generation of NDA and similar.
- Matter Workflow: A Workflow should be defined in the Admin & Setup-> Workflows. It is thought of as the action that transits the matter from one status to the other. For more info, visit the Configure Workflow page in the Admin & Setup. Matter statuses are reflected on the Matter Board.
- Status Comment: It is a small text field that resembles the last updated status of the matter in brief.
- Matter file/Reference number: It is the internal numbering of a matter that is different than that of the court. This is the firm's reference of file number of the matter.
- Matter Stage: A defined drop-down list that depicts that legal technical stage of the matter. It is also track through a Matter Stage History Report.
- Dates such as Arrival Date, Filed on Date, Due Date and Closed on Date. The Filed on Date should always be greater than the Arrival Date. The Due Date is always greater than the Filed on Date. When the matter is successfully added, the matter will have a new field called Closed on Date. The minimum that the Closed on Date can be is the Filed on Date.
- Matter Priority: A defined list that is hard coded. Priority serves the color coding on Case Boards.
- Assigned Team: Medium to Large teams may wish to divide the Legal teams based on their specialty. Teams are managed through the Admin & Setup-> Assigned Team. By default all Users belong to an Assigned Team called All Teams.
- Assignee: The App4Legal user who is assigned on this matter who compulsorily has to belong to the above chosen Assigned Team. This is managed through the Admin & Setup-> Users & Permissions section-> Manage Users. Within the User form, go to Personal information and choose the Member of field to be the appropriate Assigned Team so that the name of the user appears in the drop-down list.
- Client: A Client could be either a Company or a Contact. The Client can also be added on the fly.
- Matter Details such as Subject, Description and Latest Development.
- Matter Value: Matter Values are associated with 2 Reports in the Reporting Module called Matter Value Tiers and Matter Value per Client.
- Estimation of effort: It is where an effort could be estimated versus the actual Time Logs that are recorded on the matter. This could work as an assessment of the performance on this matter.
- Privacy: A Legal Matter can be marked as Private and hence it will not appear to other Users on App4Legal. If a user is the creator of the matter and marks it as private, he/she will be the owner of this matter. The private matter could also be shared with other specified users. Users who are marked to Override Privacy will be able to see any private object in App4Legal.
Add configurations on the flyAll drop-down lists in App4Legal are configurable through the Admin & Setup. Luckily, some configurations can be configured on the fly. For instance, in the Legal Matter form, a user is adding data and wants to have a new Area of Practice swiftly. There is a blue plus sign that can assist the user to add a new value to the Area of Practice drop-down list on the fly.
Values that can be similarly added on the fly in a Legal Matter form are:
- Area of Practice
- Matter Stage
- Matter Contact Roles
- Matter Company Roles
- Other Roles
Manage Matter Custom FieldsVisit the Configure Matter page in the Administration & Setup for more info.
Relate Companies and ContactsIn the Companies & Contacts section in a matter , the user can relate a contact or a company to the Legal Matter and specify the role with comments.
Roles are defined lists from the Admin & Setup. Also Roles could be added on the fly as discussed in above bullets.
Add Outsourced Lawyers
In case there is a need to Outsource the Legal Matter to an external counsel, in the Outsource to Lawyers section you can track such information.
In case there are Contributors on the Legal Matter, in the Contributors section you can track such information.
Add NotesIn the Activity section, notes can be added to the matter such as any development or MOMs or similar. Notes are tracked in a chronological order. Once the Activity section is expanded, the first Note is expanded by default. Notes can also be added on behalf of another user and with an appropriate date. A note can have an attachment on it that will appear in the Related Documents under Notes file. A URL can also be linked to a matter note.Through our Outlook Add-in feature (App4Legal for Outlook) , emails can be uploaded as matter notes as well. Visit our Outlook Add-in page for more info.
Note that if the Customer Portal feature is active and the matter originates from the Customer Portal, users have the option to select if this note is visible of not from the Customer Portal side.
Track Matter Stage HistoryChanges on matter stages are tracked in a report within the history section. All what the user has to do is just change the matter stage of a Legal Matter and accordingly the counters of the report will be activated. A matter stage report tracks for how long the matter lingered in a certain matter, by whom it was moved and when. Records can be edited in case of a mistake using the action wheel next to every entry. The report can be exported to excel using the top right action wheel.
Track Matter Audit Report
An Audit report tracks basic changes on a matter. It can store information such as the variation of the assignee, who changed the field and when.
The user can relate Documents to a Legal Matter such as MOMs, Agreements, Proxies, Legal information etc.. Documents can be arranged in folders. Privacy can also be applied on a folder and the privileged user can control with whom to share the file.
Files and Folders can be categorized by Type, Status and optional Comments. Document Type and Statuses are managed via the Admin & Setup.
Documents can be related by either physically applying documents can be added by 2 ways. Either by the drag-and-drop procedure
or by uploading the files.
Note that if a File/Folder is added/uploaded with spaces in its name, the system will automatically replace the spaces with underscore for technical reasons. After the File/Folder is added, they can be managed using the action wheel on the grid.
File/Folders can be
- Shared With: Folder can be set as private that means only the creator can see it and with chosen App4Legal users if needed. Folders that are locked are designated with a lock sign. Users who are set to Override Privacy can see all private objects on App4Legal.
- Copy Path: Folder/Files paths can be copied in order to be shared with colleagues for fast access.
As an alternative to manually adding Files/Folders, and if there's an already implemented Document Management System, you may map a URL to the Legal Matter documents to any Network Drive or Web link.
- A Dropbox account can also be connected to App4Legal were all the documents uploaded in App4Legal can also be uploaded to the Dropbox account as well.
- Inline Edit of Office Documents:
App4Legal's Documents module offers a very nice feature that allows the user through App4Legal to edit Office documents. This feature is supported only on IE 11. All what the user has to do is click on an Office Document such as a Word document. The user can edit the Document and click Save, the Document will be saved directly in the Documents module.
If a user has the Document open and is editing it in the meantime, if another user tries to open the same Document the system will prompt a message informing the user that the Document is already in use.
Tasks can be related to a matter or not. Tasks can be added from the Related Tasks tab via the Actions button-> Add Task, from the Tasks grid or from the Quick Add drop-down list. If the Task is being added from within the Related Tasks tab in a matter, the associated matter is selected by default.
In the Related Tasks of a matter, you can search for a task based on its description. For more info about the Task module, visit the Manage Tasks page.
The Related Reminders on a matter are tracked in a dedicated tab. If the reminder is being added from within the Related Reminders tab in a matter, the associated matter is selected by default. A reminder can be added from the Actions button-> Add New Reminder.
Reminders list can be exported to Excel. The user can also search for an existing reminder using the search field in the Related Reminders tab. The action wheel next to every reminder entry is useful to apply additional actions such as View/Edit, Dismiss, Delete and Postpone.
You may wish to relate a reminder to a matter at any time, you can directly go to the bell-shape icon on the top right of the screen, click on it. A list of pending reminders will appear in case they are previously added. At the bottom of the list, there is an Add action.
The Add action will redirect the user to the reminder add form.
Choose the reminder type and choose the desired matter in the related matter section. For more info about the reminders, visit the Manage Reminders page.
The Related Expenses on a matter are tracked in a dedicated tab. Record Expense can be done
1- Through the Related Expenses tab on a matter via the Actions button-> Record Expense
2- The Quick Add drop-list
3-The Expenses drop down or grid in the Money module.
4- From the action wheel next to a Legal Matter on the grid
If the Record Expense is done via the Expenses tab in a Case, then the Related Case and Client are selected by default.
- This Case is Internal and all expenses related to this case are not billable
- The Time tracking related to this case is billable by default
The Status of your Case if you want it billable or internal will be impacted based on your choice.
Via the Expenses tab, a "Statement of Expenses" can be generated on this Case. Expenses may also be exported to an Excel sheet. For more information about the Expenses, visit our Manage Expenses page.
Log Time on a Legal Matter
Logging Time on a Case is done in many ways
1- Through the Time Logs tab in a Case via the Actions button->Log Time
2- Through the Time Tracking grid
3- Through the Manage Timer on the top right of the screen:
4- Through the action wheel on the grid via Log Time action or Start Timer
Once the Timer is stopped, the Time Log will be directly associated with the specified matter or task. Time Logs can then be managed through the Time Tracking grid.
If the Log Time is done via the Time Logs tab in a matter , then the related matter is selected by default. Time logs can also be done on a task. If time is logged via the Time Logs tab in a matter, then the task has to be also related to this specific matter.
Time spent on is a defined drop-down list that can be managed from the Admin & Setup. If a user didn't find a match among the defined values, then using the blue plus sign, a new value can be added on the fly.
Time Logs can be either billable or internal. If the internal flag is chosen, hence these Logs will not be fed into the Invoice creation in the Money module. Moreover, the number of hours spent will be multiplied by the User Rate per Hour. The comment inserted related to this time log will be concatenated with the time spent on and inserted as a description of the Invoice item.
Logged Time is considered to be the effective estimation of effort. Hence, in the matter form, under effort you will find that the system will calculate the total effective effort and compares it with the estimated effort for better assessment.
User Rate per Hour is defined in the Money Module. For more information, check the Money Setup page. However, the predefined rates can be overrode via the Specific User Rates grid. This grid is specifically used to define the user rate that are specific to this matter only. Specific rates can be added via the Actions button-> Add User Rate. The added Users are managed in the grid. Editing the value can be done by double clicking on the grid itself.
In the Related Matters within a matter, relation can be created between one matter and another. In the Relate to Matter field you can look up for the matter to relate and add relation.
Group Matters by a Matter Container
Cases can be grouped by the Case Container feature. The Case Container is common for both Litigation Cases and Legal Matters. A Case can be related to a Container within in its form or from the Case Container form. From the top of the Case grid, choose Actions->List Case Containers to go to the grid of Case Containers. Managing of Case Containers is possible through the grid.
The user can add a new Container using 2 methods:
1- From the Actions button in the grid-> "Add Matter Container".
In order to edit a Matter Container, click on the action wheel next to the Container ID and choose View/Edit or Delete. A matter container has a status and matters can be added to it via the edit form of the Container. The search feature is useful to search for an already inserted container in the grid.
2- Adding a Container on the fly from the matter form. Look up the Container from within the matter container tab, choose and click Add Container so that this matter will be grouped in this chosen Container. If the matter container doesn't already exist, start typing the name of the container and the system will prompt to add it on the fly.
Manage Filters on the grid
App4Legal offers the ability to save predefined filters. For instance, a user uses the Advanced Search to apply a certain filter on matters in App4Legal database. The user wishes to apply this filter every time the grid was accessed. Managing filters is easy and is done via the matters grid.
Once any filter in the Advanced Search is applied, all what the user has to do is Add Filter. Then later on, whenever the filter is chosen from the list of filters, the Advanced Search filters automatically apply and the grid is filtered automatically.
If there is a need to edit or delete any filter, click on Manage Filters.
If a filter is chosen and you wish to update the filters applied in the Advanced Search, it is possible. Go to the Advanced Search, apply your new filters and choose, Submit and Update Filter.
If you do not wish to impact the filter, you can just click on the regular Submit. It will not take any action over the Filters.
Search for an existing Legal Matter
There are 3 methods to search for an existing Legal Matter: Quick Search, Advanced Search and Universal Search:
- In Quick Search, from within the matters grid, you can type any string from the Subject of the matter and hit enter from your keyboard to generate your search results.
- Using Advanced Search, you can run your search on a specific field from the matter form. You'll have the possibility also to modify the operator of search for each field (i.e. equal, begins with, contains, >, <, and more). The Advanced Search menu is hidden by default; you need to click on the link Advanced Search from the Companies grid to view it.
- With Universal Search, you can type any string from the Subject of the matter and hit Enter from your keyboard to generate your search results. The Universal Search looks into all the App4Legal database.
Set Partner SharesPartner Shares has to be activated first in the Money Settings. For more information visit the Money Settings page. Companies/Contact should also be flagged as Partners from within the Money Module. For more information visit our Partners page.
Once the Partner Shares is activated and the Partners are defined, through the action wheel on the top right of the Case, Shares of Partners can be predefined so that it take action in the Invoice module. The total of Shares shouldn't exceed 100.
Export to Word
Via the action wheel on the top right of the matter, a matter can be exported to Word.
Or from the action wheel next to a Legal Matter on the grid
The most important data is visualized in a Word document.
Delete a Matter
From the action wheel, there is an option to delete a matter. A matter if not related to any Money object such as Expense, Bill or Invoice, may be deleted from the system along with all the related metadata.
Delete action can also be done at the level of the Legal Matter using the action wheel.
- Show SLA Elapsed Time
From the action wheel on the top right of the Legal Matter, when the SLA functionality is activated you can see the activity on the SLA if it's met or breached.
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Convert to a Litigation Case
If for any reason a Legal Matter needs to be converted to a Litigation Case, it is possible to be done via the Action wheel next to a Legal Matter in the grid.
or from the action wheel on the top right of the Legal Matter form
The system will then migrate the Matter to the Litigation Matters grid while maintaining its data.
Export to Excel
The matter grid can be exported to an excel sheet at any moment via the Tools button on the grid-> Export to Excel. Also, search results can be exported to an excel sheet separately.
You may wish to Archive Cases in order to decrease the size of entries on grids. Archiving is done through the Matter Board.
Archiving is done based on the Default Archive matter status that is defaulted in the Setup & Configuration-> Default Values in the Setup & Configuration under System Preferences box. Multiple Statuses can be set. Once the Archive Matters is clicked the system will prompt a message to make sure that the user wants to Archive Matters having the specified Status(es).
In order to Unarchive Matters, you need to go to the matters grid-> Advanced Search-> Archived field choose it to be Yes and click Submit.
It will display all the Archived Matters. Then on the grid, mark the matters that you wish to unarchive, click on the Tools button -> Unarchive.
This action will retrieve all the marked Archived Matters back to the grid and Matter Board.