Matter management is the core of your business. In this article, we will explain how to make the most value of our matter-centric approach to it and how to best utilize Matter365 and Office 365 features.
Creating a Matter
To create a new matter from any page of Matter365 application, you can use a shortcut from the application header.
Additionaly, on Matters page you can click Create new Matter button.
Options to create a new Matter
In both cases, the following dialog will appear, and you can enter some basic information about the Matter you’re about to create.
Matter creation dialog
Create new Contact – If you didn’t already create Contact(s) you would like to tie to this Matter, you can do it here.
Client – Dropdown menu of all Contacts entered in Matter365 by anyone in your organization.
If your Matter is going to have more clients, here you should select the main one (default one).
– Click on this button will run a conflict check for selected client. This feature is explained in detail here
Responsible attorney – Main Matter owner, responsible for the Matter.
Matter name – Give a meaningful name to the Matter you are creating.
– Pick one of the default Matter types, or add a new type in Matter365 settings. More on Matter types here
–Pick one of the default Matter sources, or add a new source in Matter365 settings. More on Matter sources here
Description – Free-form field to add any relevant information about the Matter.
Owners – Add people from your company that will work with you on a Matter.
Owners can manage who are the persons working on a matter, they can manage Matter contacts, change Matter general info, set default billing rate for Matter members, or delete a Matter.
Members – Add people from your company that will work with you on a Matter.
Members can set their own default billing rate for a matter, but they can’t administer other things mentioned above, that owners can.
Both owners and members have full control of Matter documents, tasks, notes, Matter inbox and calendar.
Guests – Add people from outside of your company, that will be able to see Office 365 resources like Planner or OneDrive, but won't have access to Matter365 application.
– Add other previously created contacts as Judge, Opposing attorney, Witness or some other role on this matter. More on Contact types here
All created matters by default have matter status set to Active.
You can read more about different matter statuses here.
After confirming the dialog, a new Matter is created and you are redirected to a Matter dashboard page.
Full name of any matter will be saved in the following format: MATTER ID-CLIENT NAME-MATTER NAME (Client name and Matter name are set in Matter creation dialog, while Matter ID is not customizable and will be assigned automatically).
What happened behind the scenes is that there is:
- a new Outlook inbox created for that Matter,
- new Outlook calendar for Matter appointments and meetings,
- new OneDrive folder for documents of the Matter,
- new Microsoft Planner for task management,
- new OneNote notebook,
- and a new SharePoint site.
All Matter owners and members can access and use any of these.
Matter dashboard shows some basic info about your Matter presented in tiles.
Here, you can see Matter details, recent documents, status of all tasks on a Matter, important links you will often use, billing and invoicing details.
From navigation menu, you can navigate to display all of the documents in a Matter, Calendar events in Outlook, Tasks in Microsoft Planner, Contacts involved in a matter, Time Tracking records and Expenses for work done on a Matter, and Notes in Microsoft OneNote.
Matter settings page
To open Matter settings page, click on Settings in the
right corner of Matter dashboard and select Edit.
Entering Matter settings page
On Matter settings page, Matter owners can change Matter general info like description, status, type, source etc.
They can manage external Contacts that are involved with a Matter, but also manage members from inside a company that are working together on this Matter, and also set their default billing rates.
Matter members can see all of this data, but they can’t manage it. Although, they can set up default billing rate for themselves on that Matter.
Matter settings page
How a Matter you created utilizes Office 365 applications
New SharePoint group is created, all of the Matter members are included, and you can see a new SharePoint site created for your Matter.
You can also use SharePoint to view Matter documents, although it’s probably more transparent to do it through OneDrive.
More useful info on getting familiar with SharePoint can be found on Office 365 official website, here
SharePoint site created on Matter creation
For every Matter, there is a separate OneDrive folder created. All of the members on a Matter can contribute to it and manage the documents in it.
More useful info on getting familiar with OneDrive can be found on Office 365 official website, here
Matter documents in OneDrive folder
All of the created Matters have their own Outlook inbox created. In your Outlook, that inbox will be shown in form of a Group. These Microsoft Groups are used so your personal inbox wouldn’t get clogged with multiple emails from different Matters, and also so all of the other members working on a Matter would be up to date with the correspondence happening around them.
More on Groups in Outlook can be found on Office 365 official website, here
Matter Groups in Outlook
Same as for Outlook inbox, a separate Calendar is created for every Group. In your Outlook Calendar, you can choose which Group calendars you want displayed at the time, and events in them will be colored differently so you can easily separate them from the events in your personal calendar. Also, all of your co-workers on a Matter can easily check when the important events for that Matter are scheduled for.
Matter Calendar and personal calendar in Outlook
After creating a new Matter, a new plan in Microsoft Planner is being created for that Matter. Members and owners of that Matter will be able to access the mentioned plan, and participate in creating and editing tasks that need to be done for the law case they are working on.
There is a convenient view of My tasks that groups all tasks from different Matters assigned to yourself, or you can navigate to a specific Matter and see all of the tasks for that Matter, assigned to various people working on the case.
More info on Microsoft Planner and how to get familiar with it can be found at Office 365 official website, here
My tasks in Microsoft Planner. Plans for different Matters are shown on left hand side
For every created Matter, there is a new OneNote notebook created. This notebook is available to all of the Matter owners and members to share notes between each other. When you visit your OneNote homepage, all of these different notebooks will be sorted like shown on the screenshot below.
More info on OneNote and how to get familiar with it can be found on Office 365 official website, here
Matter notebooks in OneNote
On Matter creation, a new Team will be provisioned to enhance collaboration between you and your team members. You can use it for workplace chat, video meetings or file sharing. Inside of every team, you can create different chat channels.
Teams and different chat channels in a single team
Have in mind that creating a new Teams account might take up to 15 minutes since new Matter is created in Matter365.
More info on Teams and how to get familiar with it can be found on official Teams site, here.
Collaborating with people from outside of your company
It’s possible to add people from outside of your company to your Outlook Group as guest users. They won’t be able to use Matter365, but they will be able to access various Microsoft applications such as Planner, Calendar, SharePoint etc. – if you give them access to. This is a very useful feature if you’re occasionally collaborating with outside associates.
You can add guest users either through Matter365, or through Outlook. Below we will illustrate all different possibilities.
On Matter creation, you can use add guest button.
Adding guest users on Matter creation
After Matter creation, you can still add guest users at any time. To do so, go to Matter settings, and in Guests area, click Edit, and then Add new guest button.
Adding guest user from Matter settings
Remember that you are always in control of what applications those guest users will have access to.
You can also add guest users through Outlook, as shown on screenshot below.
More info on how to add an external associate to an existing Group can be found on Office 365 official website, here
Guest member added to a Matter Group in Outlook Example of guest member collaborating on a Matter in Ofice 365 Planner