CLM, MM, ELM: What is it and what’s the difference?

What is CLM, MM or ELM? Exploring in house legal software can feel like alphabet soup. Find out what these mean, the benefits and which is right for you.

As legal operations software continues to evolve and innovate, the offerings available to in-house legal teams grows at rapid speed.

So do the acronyms – CLM, MM and ELM among them. What exactly is CLM, MM and ELM? What do these mean, and how do you know which is the best for your in-house Legal Department? We answer the hard questions below!

CLM: Contract Lifecycle Management

What is a Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software?

A legal CLM software stands for Contract Lifecycle Management. A CLM software solution handles your most common type of work - the contract lifecycle.

What does a Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software do?

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) refers to the process of digitizing, automating and managing contracts through every stage. The contracting process includes:

  • Contract initiation
  • Contract creation
  • Contract authoring
  • Contract negotiation
  • Contract approval
  • Contract execution
  • Contract compliance
  • Contract renewal
  • Contract storage and maintenance

This could include agreements made with your customers, partners, vendors or employees. The aim is to achieve greater efficiency and collaboration.

The Association of Corporate Counsel benchmarks estimate that the average in-house lawyer handles 173 contracts each year – more than three a week. Indeed, 97% of Legal Departments handle contracts in-house, surpassing all other work types tracked by the ACC, including:

  • Document review and drafting – 88%
  • Legal research – 79%
  • Litigation management - 65%
  • Discovery and data collection – 57%
  • Intellectual property services – 44%

Given this workload and concentration, it stands to reason that a CLM is often a Legal Department’s first foray into LegalTech. According to the ACC, 41.3% of in-house legal teams have adopted CLM systems, exceeding every other technology category except for electronic signatures.

Furthermore, according to research by Forrester, inefficient or manual contract agreement processes create problems for 98% of organizations. Hence an efficient, effective and modern contract management system is important in helping businesses save time, money and minimize risk.

Benefits of Contract Lifecycle Management software

There are many benefits a Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software solution can bring to your in-house Legal Department including:

  • Increased efficiency and transparency
  • Saving the sales and legal teams time on contract administration, so you can concentrate on important work instead of admin tasks
  • A central online legal software for all contracts
  • Improved governance

Contracts may be a cornerstone of a Legal Department’s work, but they are far from the entirety of an in-house lawyer’s workload. For that, it’s time to think more broadly and consider an in house legal software.

CLM - contract lifecycle management software

MM: Matter Management

What is a Matter Management (MM) software?

MM stands for Matter Management. A matter management software is legal technology that handles ALL types of legal work.

A Matter Management (MM) software solution covers the matter lifecycle of any type of corporate legal project, including contracts but also enveloping litigation, transactions, compliance and more.

What does a Matter Management (MM) software do?

A modern matter management system provides one central, cloud based legal software that tracks all work for a Legal Department. This legal matter management system focuses on the four primary steps of a legal project, as outlined by the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium:

  1. Intake
  2. Planning
  3. Execution
  4. Review

As milestones, these four steps are critical. But it’s what lies between them – and the interplay among them – that can truly transform Legal Department service, performance, results and more.

Benefits of a Matter Management software

A legal management software provides a single source of truth for all legal matters. It can help your Legal Department to:

  • Manage deadlines - capture and track key dates, so you never miss another deadline
  • Track the status of all your matters without the need to send constant emails
  • Assign matters to team members in a timely manner
  • Make data-driven decisions
  • Access all information and documents from one central online legal hub
  • Enable your legal team and internal clients to collaborate more efficiently
  • Standardize and improve legal operations workflows

laughing happy team

ELM: Enterprise Legal Management

What is Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) software?

ELM stands for Enterprise Legal Management. An ELM software solution handles all aspects of the Legal Department. It helps manage a team's legal operations.

Enterprise Legal Management software (ELM) addresses the entire ecosystem of a Legal Department. While Contract Lifecycle Management and Matter Management tools address finite pieces of the Legal Department, an Enterprise Legal Management solution aims to encompass the entire puzzle.

What does an Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) software do?

The best Enterprise Legal Management software solutions provide a single legal-centric system to manage a legal team's:

  • People - including lawyers and staff, as well as internal clients and stakeholders
  • Work - including the functionality of CLM and legal matter management
  • Process - including the means to receive, review, assign and resolve legal matters
  • Budget - including Legal Department spend and e-billing
  • External Resources - including law firms and alternative legal service providers (ALSPs)

Beyond simply tracking these subjects, an ELM solution offers powerful analytics and reporting capabilities. This allows true knowledge management and offers in-house users opportunities to spot trends, identify and eliminate risks, and demonstrate the Legal Department’s monetary and strategic value to the C-suite and board.

Benefits of an Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) software

Some of the benefits of an Enterprise Legal Management solution include:

  • Improved efficiency – helps streamline a Legal Department’s legal operations
  • Streamlines collaboration – acts as a single source of truth for corporate Legal Departments
  • Powerful data analytics and insights into legal spend

However, ELM software can be complex and difficult to use and expensive.

using a matter management software

Which in house legal management software is right for your Legal Department?

As you explore in-house legal department technology offerings, know that all three types of tools – CLM, matter management and ELM software – can provide meaningful benefits within your in-house team. What’s critical is to understand which in house legal management software tool is right for your specific needs and circumstances. Your Legal Department need not go from zero to 100 by transitioning from spreadsheets to a complex enterprise legal management solution - a modern matter management system that captures some of the ELM tools you need may lead to a smoother adoption, while still managing your workload and providing critical intel via real-time data analytics and reporting.

You can certainly start with one piece of the proverbial puzzle. Just take caution to plan accordingly with a legal technology roadmap so that as you add additional elements, everything fits together. By taking the time to assess your Legal Department’s goals and priorities – and your users’ attitudes and aptitudes – you can ensure you have the right in house legal software in place for the right reasons.

Where Legal Departments stumble navigating the alphabet soup of CLM, MM and ELM is in the capricious purchase of a legal operations software that sounds great – but doesn’t quite fit your needs. It's worth the time to make sure any LegalTech purchase is purposeful. On the march to improve your legal process, productivity and impact, one acronym covers them all: ASAP.

Tip: If you're on the hunt for new LegalTech software, check out our blogs: Evaluating LegalTech tips and Does your legal technology match your business needs to help you along your journey.

Modern matter management for Legal Departments

Download our modern matter management for corporate legal departments eBook now to learn more. This eBook outlines:

  • Some of the signs you need a modern matter management solution
  • Key features to evaluate
  • How to implement modern matter management for your Legal Department

Download the Modern Matter Management eBook now >

To learn more about our matter management software, speak to the Xakia team today for a demo.

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