An Update on Microsoft’s Practice Management Product for Lawyers

In a recent post here, Microsoft Readies Launch of Practice Management Product for Lawyers, I wrote about Microsoft’s forthcoming launch of a practice management product for lawyers. I speculated that the launch would be of Matter Center for Office 365, which Microsoft previewed at last year’s International Legal Technology Association conference. I further speculated that the launch had been slated for January but had been delayed and would probably be in April, around the time of ABA Techshow.

Recently, at LegalTech in New York, I ran into Tejas Mehta, Microsoft’s group product manager for Matter Center, and I asked him about these issues on which I’d speculated.¬†Microsoft has been fairly tight-lipped about this whole project and Mehta did not share much. He did, however, provide a bit more information involving two points.

First, he indicated that Microsoft would most likely not sell Matter Center for Office 365 directly to law firms. Rather, the product would be made available to law firms through licensing arrangements that would bundle it with third-party products. As an example of such a product, he named Lexis for Microsoft Office. So, presumably, that means that Lexis will at some point offer a ramped-up version of Lexis for Microsoft Office that includes the added features of Matter Center.

(I also had the opportunity at LegalTech to sit down with Sean Fitzpatrick, managing director of North American research solutions for LexisNexis Legal & Professional, so I asked him about this. He declined to say anything about it and neither confirmed nor denied that it was coming down the pike.)

The other piece of information I gleaned from talking with Mehta is that the Matter Center launch probably will not be in April, as I had speculated. He was not specific about when it would launch, but he suggested that the more likely venue for a launch would be the 2015 ILTA conference that opens Aug. 30 in Las Vegas.

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  • Its very rare that Microsoft targets a specific niche or segment, so I was a little surprised by the news. But anticipation is building up and there is lots of curiosity what this practice management tool is all about and how it will transform lawyers conduct their business.