CLM, MM, ELM: What’s the Difference?

Exploring LegalTech can feel like alphabet soup: CLM, MM, ELM. What exactly do these acronyms mean, and how do you know 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?

CLM: Contract Lifecycle Management


What is a CLM?


CLM stands for Contract Lifecycle Management. A CLM handles your most common type of work.

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) refers only to legal contracts workflow, review, negotiation and storage. An important function, to be sure. 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.

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

CLM - contract lifecycle management software

MM: Matter Management


What is MM?


MM stands for Matter Management and handles ALL types of legal work.

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

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.

That’s where ELM comes in.

ELM: Enterprise Legal Management


What is ELM?


ELM stands for Enterprise Legal Management. ELM handles all aspects of the Legal Department.

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

ELM provides a single legal-centric system to manage:

  • People - including lawyers and staff, as well as internal clients and stakeholders
  • Work - including the functionality of CLM and 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, ELM 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.

using a matter management software

Which Legal Management Software is Right For Your Legal Department?

As you explore legal technology offerings, know that all three types of tools – CLM, matter management and ELM – can provide meaningful benefits within your in-house team. What’s critical is to understand which legal management software tool is right for your specific needs and circumstances. Your Legal Department need not go from zero to 60 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.

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

Download the eBook now >

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

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