Legal case management
The terms legal case management (LCM), matter management or legal project management refer to a subset of law practice management and cover a range of approaches and technologies used by law firms and courts to leverage knowledge and methodologies for managing the life cycle of a case or matter more effectively. Generally, the terms refer to the sophisticated information management and workflow practices that are tailored to meet the legal field's specific needs and requirements.
As attorneys and law firms compete for clients they are routinely challenged to deliver services at lower costs with greater efficiency, thus firms develop practice-specific processes and utilize contemporary technologies to assist in meeting such challenges. Law practice management processes and technologies include case and matter management, time and billing, litigation support, research, communication and collaboration, data mining and modeling, and data security, storage, and archive accessibility.
Case management software
Legal case or matter management software has three main functions:
- to organize and manage the individual cases or matters that clients have hired the firm to perform, including the assignment and performance services by the firm's staff
- to record the services that the firm performs and expenses that the firm incurs in performing services for clients, including the information required issue bills to clients
- to organize, manage, consolidate, share, and protect the firm's information resources and work product
Some case management software either performs the firm's accounting or interfaces with firm's accounting software.
Some case management software is marketed to specific segments of the legal marketplace. Segments can be based on the size of the law firm or on the firm's law practice areas (for example, civil litigation, criminal law, real estate, tax law, etc.).
In-house legal departments
In-house legal teams (in the public and private sectors) have their own needs: generally these require less emphasis on billing and accounts (since clients tend to be internal), and even more on traceability, real-time integration and configurability. The need to improve productivity of the team and reduce costs to taxpayers, or the business, is often a key driver. Some in-house teams have reduced their external legal bills by using case management software to increase their capacity and bring case work in-house.
Case management in the U.S. federal courts
As electronic court systems continue to increase their online presence, many now require case filings to be accomplished electronically. Many legal software vendors' products include the ability to take advantage of such electronic filing by pulling data from the case management product and pushing it into court filing systems.
Legal-project management meets traditional project management particularly in the area of electronic discovery. E-discovery in particular has a set of regularized, repeatable, and measurable practices and has been subject to great cost-control pressure for the past few years, making it a specialty within law amenable to traditional project management. The practice of legal-project management varies from the schema in Steven Levy's book to law-firm-specific regimens such as Seyfarth Lean to corporate initiatives such as Cisco’s core-and-context approach to legal work.
In litigation, the discovery process often results in enormous amounts of information that must be managed, and with the revision of the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 2006 to include electronic means of discovery came a new subset of case management systems that incorporated those changes, often dubbed 'electronic evidence' or 'e-discovery' management systems. Since the new rules took effect, e-Discovery firms as outside service vendors have flourished.
Case management and the regulation of mediation in Australia
In Australia, mediation as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method is designed to avoid resorting to formal court-based adjudication and is now also being applied to criminal matters. Traditional theories of criminal justice view the matter as one between the offender and the state.
[W]hat was born of resistance and opposition to the formal justice system has been extensively integrated and co-opted into the system."
The term case management is also used to refer to systems in which court or tribunal officials assume closer administrative control over the litigation process than is traditionally associated with common law litigation.
Case management in the State of New South Wales includes governing civil court proceedings by court management rules, which are the Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW) and Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW). The overriding purpose of case management in the Civil Procedure Act 2005 is 'to facilitate the just, quick and cheap resolution' to the matter at dispute in the civil court proceedings (s56(1), Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW) ).
In the case of | Aon Risk Services Australia Limited v Australian National University (2009) 258 ALR 14, a majority of the High Court noted that the purposes of civil procedure rules of facilitating the just resolution of the real issues in civil proceedings with minimum delay and expense:
"reflect principles of case management by the courts. Such management is now an accepted aspect of the system of civil justice administered by courts in Australia. It was recognised some time ago, by courts here and elsewhere in the common law world, that a different approach was required to tackle the problems of delay and cost in the litigation process. In its report in 2000, Managing Justice: A review of the federal civil justice system, the Australian Law Reform Commission noted that: "Over the last ten years Australian courts have become more active in monitoring and managing the conduct and progress of cases before them, from the time a matter is lodged to finalisation"
Federal Court of Australia
The Assisted Dispute Resolution program was introduced into the Federal Court in 1990 after a number of cases failed to reach resolutions having several directional hearings. In those cases the parties were not able to isolate the issues requiring determination. With the new program, judges can refer the parties to a court registrar for mediation. This is stated at Section 53A(1) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976:
(1) The Court may, by order, refer proceedings in the Court, or any part of them or any matter arising out of them:
(a) to an arbitrator for arbitration; or
(b) to a mediator for mediation; or
(c) to a suitable person for resolution by an alternative dispute resolution process;
in accordance with the Rules of Court.
(1AA) Subsection (1) is subject to the Rules of Court.
(1A) Referrals under subsection (1) (other than to an arbitrator) may be made with or without the consent of the parties to the proceedings. Referrals to an arbitrator may be made only with the consent of the parties.
It is not necessary to have the parties consent to the mediation process and a judge can direct the mediation. In this sense, case management is designed to identify and define issues in dispute and to reduce delays, costs and unnecessary pre-trial activities.
- Community of practice
- Competitive intelligence
- Complexity theory and organizations
- Computer-supported collaboration
- Corporate memory
- Enterprise content management
- Enterprise search
- Enterprise social software
- Expert system
- Information management
- Intellectual capital
- Knowledge ecosystems
- Knowledge base
- Knowledge management for development
- Knowledge sharing
- Knowledge transfer
- Law practice management software
- Legal matter management
- Organizational learning
- Personal knowledge management
- Procedural knowledge
- ^ In the U.S., the term 'case' is customarily applied to a matter in which there are opposing parties or which involves a conflict between parties Capturing More Time ... And Keeping Your Clients Happy While Doing It, Law Practice Today, March 2007.
- ^ a b Legal Project Management: Control Costs, Meet Schedules, Manage Risks, and Maintain Sanity, Steven B. Levy, DayPack Books (2009) ISBN 1-4499-2864-1
- ^ Kate Teh, Telegraph Media Group on www.iken.biz January 2014
- ^ See, e.g., News Release, Electronic Case Filing in Federal Courts Reaches Milestone, November 21, 2005."Federal Judiciary News Release". Archived from the original on 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- ^ U.S. Courts, About Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF), July 2009."US Courts". Archived from the original on 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- ^ Legal Project Management: Bringing Process to Practice Peer-to-Peer, 2010, Randal Girouard, Sarah Brown
- ^ SeyfarthLean: Using Lean Six Sigma and Project Management Methodologies to Create a Shared Value Proposition
- ^ Business Times (London) Online, Mark Chandler
- ^ FRCP
- ^ See Kaplan, Industry Research Report, A Conversation with Corporate Counsel: e-Discovery Trends and Perspectives, Fios, Inc. and Ari Kaplan Advisors, 2008.
- ^ Blake, Are You Litigation-Ready?, Law Practice Today, April 2008
- ^ Sarre, R. and Earle, K. (2004). Restorative Justice in Key Issues in Criminal Justice Sarre R, and Tomaino, J. (eds) Key Issues in Criminal Justice, Adelaide: Australian Humanities Press
- ^ Astor, H & Chinkin, C. M. (2nd Edition, 2002). Dispute Resolution in Australia. Sydney Australia.. LexisNexis Butterworths
- ^ Boulle, L. (2005). Mediation: Principles Process Practice. 2nd Edition. Queensland, Australia. LexisNexis Butterworths.
- ^ "summary Aon Risk Services Australia Limited v Australian National University  HCA 27". Sterling Law. 4 January 2022. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
- ^ "Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) s 53A". www.austlii.edu.au. Archived from the original on 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2017-03-07.