Legal Department ‘Boring but Beautiful’ Reports

The devil is in the detail? Legal reporting of yester-year included long lists of matters. Today, beautiful analytics abound, but we still need details!

Legal Dashboards and Reports can provide powerful information for in-house legal decision making. But when it comes to understanding the details of each legal matter, which dispute, regulatory review or major acquisition is going to impact the strategic goals of the company, you need to disseminate information in volume and fast.

Xakia Concise matters list

Recall that General Counsel are expected by their stakeholders - Board, C-Suite, Business Unit leaders - to be across the detail of any impactful legal matter at any moment. Lawyers are excellent at retaining vast quantities of information, distilling them down into salient points and delivering appropriate advice in context ... but every human has their limitations.

To ensure that this information is at hand, Legal Department best practice is to generate regular (we recommend monthly) reports that capture the details of key legal matters.

Key information in Legal Department Matter Reports

Critical information to be included in Matter Reports:

  1. Matter name: short, unique matter name for ease of recognition, such as a project name, or the parties to the dispute.
  2. Matter description: 1-2 sentences that outline the legal matter at stake or question that needs to be addressed by the Legal Department.
  3. Matter status: Not Started / In Progress / Awaiting Action / Completed - and any relevant updates since the last reporting period.
  4. Matter Manager: Who is responsible for this matter? Who should we address questions to if further information is required?
  5. Matter Requester: Which Business Unit or individual owns this legal request?
  6. Cost information: What do we expect this to cost and what has been incurred to date?
  7. Confidentiality: If confidential, this should be clearly flagged and - if appropriate - the information redacted as required by legal professional privilege and the report audience.
  8. Date information: Provide some context about when this was received and when it is required. It allows the audience to understand any level of urgency in the issues being addressed.

Options for legal updates

To get informative legal updates from your legal team, you have three options:

  1. Manual request: Send a request to your team asking each person for an update / list of the three most important / impactful matters. This will require you to sift through emails, documents in differing formats or 1:1 conversations and manually collate that information (even if it is just in your head) to capture the essence of what you need. 
  2. Central document: You may have an excel spreadsheet or a word document that gets updated periodically - weekly, monthly or quarterly - by everybody on your team. Perhaps you redline it, or perhaps you just have a column for "latest update". Cumbersome collaboration may result in over-writes, duplication or lost history. 
  3. Automated report: Using a matter management system that records your matters and updates (like Xakia) you can generate reports with simple filters to find matters with the appropriate level of strategic or legal importance, legal content, billing information or whatever is relevant to your audience. Set this report to 'recurring' and you can be certain that you will have the report delivered on time to your inbox, and without any additional effort required by you or your team.

Make it beautiful

We know that it is easier to digest and retain information when it is presented in a beautiful, uniform format. Take the time to ensure that your report delivers accurate information in an attractive way, and both you and your stakeholders will be more likely to engage with the content.


Get powerful reports with in-house legal software

To learn more about Xakia's in-house matter management and legal analytics software - purpose built for teams of 2 to 20 - and how it can help you manage your small legal department, get in touch with the team today for a demo OR start your free 14-day trial here.



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