Structure and routine: the antidote to stress and chaos – and the key to effective matter management for corporate legal teams

The ability to default to agreed rules and standards can be reassuringly grounding, maintaining order and control when usual business conditions and processes have been disrupted. And now, more than ever, corporate legal teams are realising the importance of formal structure in matter management, especially where colleagues may be working off site.

The calming order of consistent filing practices

Where previously lawyers have self-governed, looking after their own work and logging developments in their own way, a more standardised and systematic approach encourages professionals to record matter activity and to file emails and documents in a more formal and consistent way.

This has all sorts of operational benefits for the whole team – as well as for business clients. As long as it is made easy and intuitive for lawyers to record matter status information and file the latest correspondence and documents properly as they go, legal operations will be able to monitor progress – and professionals will be able to locate and pick up each other’s work more readily as and when required.

This contrasts with common ad-hoc methods which typically see individuals each recording information in their own way in their own folders – on their own local hard drive, within their email account, or somewhere on a shared drive (not always immediately discoverable if each lawyer uses their own filing protocol, and if remote access depends on a cumbersome VPN connection). This haphazard behaviour often sees lawyers having to set aside three hours on a Friday to catch up with filing, and trying to decipher their scant notes to report back on matter progress at team meetings.

Capitalising on existing investments in Microsoft 365

So what is holding teams back from formalising and streamlining matter management – something that can substantially hamper their productivity and efficiency?

Well, historically, corporate legal teams have felt badly served by IT solutions. Any systems with a legal leaning have tended to be designed predominantly for private law firms. More generic document management systems, on the other hand, have failed to cater for the specific demands of a legal setting. Although Microsoft SharePoint may have been readily available within the organisation for instance, without the right IT support in-house legal teams may have struggled to know how best to incorporate the repository as part of matter management.

But these barriers no longer apply. Repstor, a Microsoft Gold Partner, specialises in optimising Microsoft 365 for legal use – particularly in end-to-end matter lifecycle management. Using a secure, proven, cloud-based software platform that most organisations have already invested in, we help corporate legal teams standardise and transform the way they log, manage, store and access their work, whatever their location.

This means that they can perform at their most productive wherever professionals are.

Reducing resistance

As recording and filing become instinctive and ‘in stream’, and matter archives become pooled, professionals are able to look up previous case files for precedents – and to save reinventing the wheel. If a lawyer isn’t available for whatever reason, a colleague with access rights can call up the latest files, notes and email correspondence, to check the current status of a matter and, if appropriate, progress it in their absence. At a time when colleagues are not conveniently within ear shot at the next desk, easy look-up and the means of intuitive, ad-hoc collaboration matter more than ever.

When Eversheds Sutherland adopted our technology, making Microsoft 365 and Outlook its default platform for matter management, it found it was saving an hour of fee-earner time per day, just from chasing matter updates, finding the latest versions of documents, and switching between different systems to get the job done.

Legal professionals have found the Repstor/Microsoft 365 approach to matter management ‘transformational’, according to the company’s Legal Operations Manager. Today the company has 800 open matters being handled through the system, and lawyers are marvelling at how they ever coped without it.

Adding visibility for the business

Business clients benefit greatly from systematic matter management, too – especially where they have access to self-service portal and/or automatic notification system which updates them on the evolving status of a matter (with the added benefit that lawyers no longer have to service routine queries). Reporting is made effortless too, as metadata about matters is captured continuously across the lifecycle of an engagement.

A further considerable benefit of going down the Microsoft 365 route is that the platform is being updated all the time with the latest technology advances – including artificial intelligence and workflow automation – so as a choice for matter management it is reassuringly futureproof.

We recently delivered a short webinar ‘Transforming Legal Operations with Microsoft 365’ featuring a presentation by IATA’s assistant general counsel, Dane Clapson.  Catch the webinar on demand here

Leigh Smith, Principal Consultant, Corporate Legal, Repstor

Repstor Gears up for Continued Fast Growth in Legal & Professional Services Sectors with Series of New Appointments in the UK & US

Microsoft 365

Belfast, UK –  January 26th,  2021 – Repstor, the Microsoft 365-based information and matter management specialist preferred by professional services firms globally, has kick-started 2021 with an expanded team, reflecting the company’s confidence in another strong year ahead.

Repstor, which recently made the Deloitte Top 50 Rapid Growth Tech Company list for the fourth year running, has appointed seven new consultants to the team to address the soaring interest in its software among legal and professional services firms on both sides of the Atlantic.

Alison Thorpe has joined as Sales Manager for Repstor’s UK Legal operation, and will spearhead new business development team in this important and fast-growing market for Repstor. Alison joins the company from Eclipse Legal Systems, where she was a Sales Consultant, with other career highlights including the Regional Sales Manager role at Prosperoware.

New products consultants Eve Boardman and Chris Colahan strengthen Repstor’s professional services-focused team in the UK.

Colin Truesdale, whose impressive career includes more than 12 years in Product Marketing and Managing Consultant roles at Kainos, and four years as Training Manager at Meridio, has joined as Head of Pre-Sales. Colin will be responsible for actively driving and managing the pre-sales process within customer opportunities in Legal and Professional Services.

Based in England, Juelma Isabel Nunes joins as an Inside Sales Executive, to support business expansion in the UK.

In the US, a strong and fast-growing market for Repstor’s legal and professional services solutions business, Repstor new appointments include Brad Teed, an experienced solutions architect, product manager and former CTO and Abby Moore, a skilled project manager, to drive business expansion State-side from their base in Texas.

Commenting on all of the new appointments, Alan McMillen, Repstor’s CEO, says, “On behalf of all at Repstor, I warmly welcome these impressive individuals to the company, and look forward to the additional sales growth and customer success they will help to drive in 2021, both in the UK and internationally.”

After a busy and successful year for the company in 2020 despite the difficult climate, Repstor continues to enjoy strong and growing demand for its Microsoft 365-based information management solutions. These help knowledge workers, especially in the professional services sectors, to streamline content and information management from within familiar existing applications including Outlook and Teams.

“We’ve seen all kinds of professional services teams seek to consolidate and digitally simplify the way they manage their projects and caseloads, as the pandemic has deepened and caused operational chaos for firms,” Fergus Wilson, Repstor’s CTO, notes.

“Teams of professionals already loved what we do, but continued lockdowns and remote working have brought forward transformation plans. Specifically, the pandemic has prompted consolidation of information management platforms, and rising interest in secure hosting in the cloud. We’re helping them to standardise more of what they do via the investments they’ve already made in Microsoft 365.”

As well as the recent Deloitte accolade, Repstor has also been named in Gartner’s recent Market Guide for Corporate Legal Matter Management, which recognises companies that have achieved visibility and traction in this sector.

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Repstor Clocks up 4th Consecutive Year of Recognition in the Deloitte Top 50 Rapid Growth Tech Firms

BELFAST, December 21st 2020 – Repstor, the Microsoft 365-based information management specialist preferred by professional services firms globally, has been named in the Deloitte Top 50 Rapid Growth Tech Firms for the fourth year running. The news marks the culmination of a busy and successful year for the company, despite the difficult climate.

The Deloitte Fast 50 awards celebrate indigenous Irish technology companies that have demonstrated exceptional growth in turnover, which Repstor continues to show.

2020 has been another successful year for the company, as all kinds of professional services teams have sought to consolidate and digitally simplify the way they manage their projects and caseloads.

Pandemic-related lockdowns have placed new emphasis on remote working and information access, while a surge in use of Microsoft Teams has driven strong demand for Repstor for Teams™, launched in August at this year’s virtual ILTA>ON international legal technology event.

Repstor has also hosted multiple series of timely webinars this year, providing practical advice for legal and professional services teams looking to bring coherence and compliance to email and document management, particularly as professionals were dispersed to work from home.

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards is one of Ireland’s foremost technology award programmes. It is a ranking of the country’s 50 fastest-growing technology companies based on revenue growth over the last four years.

Announcing this year’s winners, Peter Allen, Partner at Deloitte (NI) Ltd, said: “The pandemic has presented huge challenges to the way we work and live, and technology has responded to provide innovative solutions.  Although the economy has come under severe pressure, this crisis has presented unprecedented opportunities for NI tech businesses to shine.”

Commenting on Repstor’s continued success in the rankings, Alan McMillen, Repstor’s CEO, said: “We’re delighted to be among such great company in being named in these awards once again, and to have achieved so much during such a difficult year. We look forward to serving our customers and further expanding our business in 2021.”

Last month, Repstor was named in Gartner’s latest Market Guide for Corporate Legal Matter Management, which recognises companies that have achieved visibility and traction in the market.

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Scheduling Teams file administration: maintaining the authority of the main system of record

Teams is a natural hub for collaborating on client engagements, projects and legal matters. This is fine as long as important dialogues and updated documents are routinely filed back to a central repository providing a ‘single source of truth’. Here’s how to achieve that.

I’ve noted in previous articles about Teams that, if companies can establish reliable integration with their chosen systems of record or document management system, the Microsoft platform becomes a very powerful workspace. It can now be a space where client engagements, projects or matters can be discussed and progressed very efficiently, irrespective of where co-workers are located.

This integration is important to close the content management loop. It helps ensure consistent and compliant filing – so that the latest documents and relevant discussions are easy to find again, and so that there is no confusion over the current status of the client work.

Repstor for Teams™ supports all popular scenarios for professional services content filing, and for core systems integration. If organizations want to default to Microsoft and Teams for all document management (for legal use, for instance), we can support that and keep everything organized, traceable and compliant. But if the priority is to maintain consistent use of an existing system of record, while benefitting from the easy everyday usability of Teams, here’s how we can help maintain information compliance – without this becoming an administrative burden for users.

Flexible control

Rather than discouraging people from storing documents in the Files area of Teams, we make it possible for co-workers to keep documents there while they are working and collaborating in Teams, while making sure that content is saved off to the main system of record automatically. We provide a range of controls so managers can determine whether this happens immediately, every hour, or once a matter or engagement comes to an end. These flexible controls mean that knowledge workers can operate in a way that’s convenient and easy for them, but without creating longer-term information management issues.


We also provide the ability to schedule the clean-up and deletion of Teams-based content, so that documents and message threads do not linger indefinitely in redundant ‘teams’. Again, this enables greater freedom for colleagues to be productive and efficient in their work, without the worry about information housekeeping when the given client activity has ended.


When new documents are created and added to the core system of record or document management system, Repstor for Teams makes these readily discoverable in Teams. Thanks to the deep integration we provide between Teams and back-office records, we make it easy for authorized members of a current team to search directly for any content linked to a current matter/engagement/project, and bring it through to the current team area for discussion or editing. Importantly, we close the loop here too, ensuring that any updates to those documents that are made in Teams are reflected in the main system of record.

Filing relevant chat threads

In addition to any documents held in the Files area of Teams, we also provide easy controls to enable significant chat threads to be captured and stored to matter or engagement-related records.

Again, these controls can be adapted to suit each organization’s particular needs. Repstor for Teams can extract entire topics that are deemed to be important, or look for threads that have been tagged as something to be saved. This selective conversation capture ensures that peripheral chats with no value are not stored.

Once a topic or thread has been tagged as important and ‘to be saved’, any additions to that conversation will be saved automatically. This is all transparent to participants, so they know a particular conversation thread will be captured and stored.

By providing flexible, automated controls like these, Repstor makes it easy for professional services teams to work in the way that feels the most natural to them, wherever they are, while maintaining information compliance continuity.

Why it’s time to digitally transform matter intake

In a recent webinar, the General Counsel of a major UK bank perfectly captured the current mood among his peer group: he had no intention of resuming his two-hour commute to the centre of London, he said, after months of working from home. He is far from alone, and this has ramifications for the way corporate legal teams operate – redoubling the business case for process modernisation, to bring the function more in line with how other departments such as IT, facilities management, and HR operate.

Take the age-old issue of matter intake. For the longest time, the business and the corporate legal function have long enjoyed the informality of a quiet word in the right ear, a nod that some new advice is needed. This ad-hoc way of working has been convenient for business users, able to tap directly into the expertise of their favourite lawyer, while legal professionals have enjoyed their knowledge being sought out; that sense of providing personalised value.

But maintaining these casual, ad-hoc interactions is more cumbersome when people are working from home. There is a further factor at play now, too. Most industry sectors have been hit hard economically by the events of the last six months, putting the pressure on managers to rein in costs and drive new efficiency into everything they do.

For in-house legal teams, which need to be able to demonstrate the value they provide in facts and figures, this leaves no choice but to revisit process digitalisation. If ever professionals needed to be able to deliver more with less – and be discerning and efficient about how work is allocated and resourced, as well as fastidious in measuring progress and productivity – it is now.

Making Microsoft 365 the means of change

Matter intake – the point at which new work comes in – is an obvious place to start with process digitalisation, offering quick wins. Studies suggest that as much as 20 per cent of a corporate legal team’s time is spent on the admin surrounding intake, triage and allocation of new legal instructions from the business – clarifying what’s required and confirming verbal instructions – where there is no standardised process in place. (That’s not including the time spent delivering frequent ad-hoc matter updates expected by the business.)

It is no coincidence that Microsoft 365, the mainstream cloud-based productivity and collaboration platform, has risen to new prominence for legal operations over recent months. That’s as teams have realised just how well it lends itself to streamlined, trackable matter lifecycle management across any combination of locations – starting with matter intake.

Capturing the full requirements needed to process routine legal requests (straightforward contract work, NDAs and simple advisory requirements, for instance), and bringing this activity more in line with administrative processes elsewhere in the business, is fairly easy to achieve. Using structured self-service digital forms, for instance, can prompt the business for the information they need to provide up front – saving on legal professionals’ valuable time that would otherwise be spent capturing any missing details.

Recording the value of legal services

Digitalising matter intake doesn’t need to take away from personal relationships that have been built up with the business, of course. And it may be that this self-service process is reserved for only certain kinds of engagement. But note that one of the big benefits of making things more official from the outset is that each interaction between the business and the legal department is recorded. This makes it easier to account for those lost days spent on ‘5-minute jobs’, and demonstrate the true value the legal department provides to the business.

This is exactly the kind of scenario we can help with, building on organisations’ existing investments in Microsoft 365 applications – to formalise matter intake processes, and sharpen matter lifecycle management, transforming business engagement and document and email management, while also delivering powerful matter analytics.

We’ve produced a rather helpful eBook on it all too which you can download here

Leigh Smith – Repstor

Accelerating digital transformation with Microsoft 365

A practical guide for law firms.

A handy walk-through for law firms looking to consolidate their document, email management and collaboration strategy to support multiple use cases and more flexible working.

Read More Here

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The digital transformation imperative for corporate legal operations

A practical guide to delivering measurable progress.

Up until very recently corporate legal departments have prided themselves on maintaining the status quo: preserving traditional ways of working and assigning continued value to the informality of adhoc advice; of providing a personalised service to the business which isn’t always logged and formally accounted for.

In 2020, many of these old methods of managing matters were challenged, redoubling the case for digital process transformation in line with other functions across the enterprise. The practical challenges of closing offices and letting professionals take their work home have prompted legal operations to review long-standing process pain points – most notably linked to matter intake and triage; filing of matter-related content and correspondence; and matter analytics and reporting.

Click the link below to access our E-Book on how Repstor can help legal operations deliver process modernisation without over-extending their budgets or disrupting the way lawyers instinctively want to work.

Download The E-Book. 

Accelerating Digital Transformation Post-COVID

A practical 8-point guide for professional services firms looking to consolidate their content access and collaboration capabilities to support more diverse and dynamic working models. Read more below.

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Repstor Features in Gartner Market Guide for Corporate Legal Matter Management

Repstor recognised as leading matter-centric document and email management provider

Belfast, November 5th, 2020 – Repstor, the Microsoft 365-based matter management specialist, has announced that it features as one of the select vendors in Gartner’s latest Market Guide for Corporate Legal Matter Management, which focuses on companies that have achieved visibility and traction in the market.

The Guide explores the importance of matter management and its relevance within the broader enterprise legal management (ELM) suites. The Guide also makes a number of strategic recommendations for law firms looking into matter management solutions.

“Gartner is clearly one of the most authoritative analyst houses when it comes to technology so it is an honour to be recognised in this Guide,” comments Sheila Gormley, Exec VP Legal Solutions, Repstor. “It shows that Repstor is a genuine and trusted vendor for corporate legal matter management and gives us great confidence as we look forward to another year of growth.”

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