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Microsoft’s in-house legal software is now widely available
Global News

MS logoMicrosoft’s Legal & Corporate Affairs Group (LCA) has worked over the past two years to create a tool that would organize its legal matters and enable collaboration on documents within the familiar Office 365 tools that attorneys use the most. This has led to the creation of Matter Center for Office 365, an Office 365 Add-in currently in use internally at Microsoft which is now being made available to legal professionals at law firms and in-house departments of all sizes.

Microsoft has already shipped Matter Center to IT solutions providers who specialize in serving the legal community. These Microsoft partners are now offering Matter Center on a limited basis, and will begin offering it broadly in the coming weeks.

The partners include Epona, Handshake Software, LawPoint365, Perficient, Ubiquity Wave, Project Leadership Associates and the PayneGroup. Microsoft Services will also offer for-fee consulting and support services for Matter Center beginning in September. And finally, the company will be making Matter Center available broadly through GitHub before the end of 2015.

Once installed, Matter Center allows people to create or view legal matters directly from from Outlook; tie Word, Excel, OneNote and other files to those matters; and securely collaborate with other legal professionals inside or outside their organizations. There are a few benefits that make Matter Center stand out:

  • Access anytime, anywhere—Like Office 365, Matter Center is available across PCs, tablets and phones, across Windows, Apple and Android devices, and allows access to matters and documents either online or offline using OneDrive for Business.
  • Real-time collaboration—With the automatic version control feature of Office 365, users can simultaneously edit documents with multiple people inside or outside their organization.
  • Intuitive search and data visualization—Users can easily search, preview and find matters and related documents across all cases directly within Outlook and Word. Power BI can be configured to visualize matter data.
  • Pinning and tagging—Frequently used matters and documents can be tracked or pinned and connected to Delve to provide personalized experiences about which team members are working on them.
  • Compliance with security standards—Matter Center allows users to control who can access, review or edit a document and provides all the same enterprise-grade security, management and administrative controls as Office 365.
  • Better flexibility and control—By offering Matter Center through an open GitHub repository, customers and partners can build or extend the solution to meet specific customer needs faster.

As part of developing Matter Center, LCA conducted a preview program with nearly 200 law firms, partners and others in the legal industry, as well as Microsoft’s own in-house counsel. As a result of the feedback received during the preview, the company has improved the solution over the last year. LCA currently has early pilot customers including Olswang; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Ragen Swan; and Shook, Hardy & Bacon.

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LCA is committed to continued investments in this modern, world-class collaboration solution. And as it makes Matter Center available to its customers and partners, it is also rolling out the latest version to more than 1,200 Microsoft legal professionals globally.

Visit the Matter Center website for more information on the solution and how individuals and organizations can start using Matter Center.

Running Matter Center in the cloud will require Office 365 and Azure subscriptions. Matter Center has been designed to support multiple deployment configurations as well, whether on-premises or hybrid cloud. There is additional information on Matter Center capabilities, case studies from partner law firms and a complete list of partners making Matter Center available here.

 

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