A fascinating paper by Charles Christian and Mark Craddock in which they describe how the latest advances in integrated technology are being used to provide the answer to the problems of e-mail and the need to create a joined-up, matter-centred, knowledge-sharing organisation.
The matter-centric model
What is meant by it? Basically a matter-centric system has to pull all the relevant information together from different sources (e.g. back office financial and time recording systems, case management files and any third-party sources) and present it in an appropriate form to lawyers, employees and clients, to expose all of the right information about a matter where and when it is needed.
Meeting the challenge of e-communication
Because e-mail communication forms the backbone of so much interaction, the management, storage, accessibility, security and integrity of such documents is vital. One therefore has to control e-mail but also use it in such a way as to gain major efficiencies in management and practice. The matter-centric model works in the context within which lawyers work: each document, spreadsheet or attachment is profiled against a client and a matter for easy viewing. E-mail therefore congregates around the matter, rather than being exiled to the archive and can be stored in many locations or against multiple matters. It therefore becomes a reliable and easily accessible means of communicating, informing, transacting and/or contracting without the constant fear of non-traceability.
Moving from proprietary systems to the open platform
The .Net Framework and API technology as the underlying Microsoft technology acts as a connectivity platform which pulls all the information together from best-of-breed applications, meeting the lawyer's needs in an organised way.
A joined-up practice management blueprint
The paper ends with an overview of software which achieves this - OMS Matter Centre.
Creating the matter-centred practice