Since launching to the legal market in 2021, the matter management platform Dashboard Legal has built a loyal following among law firm associates, who find it a superior alternative to updating and circulating checklists in Microsoft Word or Excel, says founder and CEO Mat Rotenberg.
But the company kept hearing from law firm partners that what they wanted from the product was high-level snapshot views showing them a quick overview of the status of all their matters and of how work is allocated among associates, Rotenberg says.
In response, Dashboard Legal has now released a new partner view feature. Drawing on the information provided by associates through their checklist entries, it allows partners to easily filter matters:
- By lawyer and professional, to see who is doing what and how busy they are.
- By matter, to get a snapshot of what is going on in order to make decisions about needed course corrections or resource allocations.
This new feature builds on Dashboard Legal’s core product, which is a matter and project management platform that includes checklists that update in real time, chat channels and collaborative notes, and integrations with Outlook and document management systems iManage and NetDocuments, so that relevant emails and documents can be available within matters.
Rotenberg distinguishes Dashboard Legal from other project management applications such as Clickup, Asana and Microsoft Teams, which he describes as bloated and complex. By contrast, he says, Dashboard Legal is focused on elegance and simplicity, and, unlike those other tools, it is built specifically for legal work.
He also distinguishes the product from transaction management products such as SimplyAgree or Closing Folders, which he says focus only the final 1% of a matter, of taking it over the finish line, whereas Dashboard Legal spans the entire matter.
“What we’re focused on is the 99%, all day, every day, before you get to that finish line, and really bringing in some project management methods and best practices from other industries and figuring out a way to build it specifically for lawyers,” he says.
Partners Wanted Matter Snapshots
While that concept was attractive to associates, it was less so to partners, who care less about the nitty-gritty details and are more interested in the higher level view of where a matter stands.
“What we found was that the partners were asking for something else,” Rotenberg says. “What they really wanted was snapshots. ‘What’s been going on with my matter? What are things that are coming due? Who’s working on what?’ And they have, like, 25 seconds to come in and see that.”
The resulting partner view feature that Dashboard Legal built is a team view and resource management tool designed specifically for partners, Rotenberg said.
“They can could come in and see who’s working on what across matters and allocate resources in the moment — as opposed to based on billables, which just look backwards. They get a snapshot of their matters. What have we accomplished this week? What’s coming due? What do we need to make sure it happens in the next 10 days so things aren’t slipping through the cracks?”
What is most innovative about this, Rotenberg believes, is that the data is fed in real time to the partner view directly from the associates’ use of the platform. That, in turn, drives greater partner use of the platform, creating a “flywheel of adoption” where both associates and partners benefit from each others’ use of the platform.
Beta testing of the partner view prior to its formal launch proved that partners liked and engaged with the feature, Rotenberg says. Now that the feature is formally available, he is planning further enhancements, including the ability to set up weekly emails with updates on matters and charts providing a visual overview of activity.
“We’re really excited about the potential to solve both an associate problem and a partner problem with the same exact tool, which I think is a hard thing to balance,” Rotenberg says.
The Dashboard Legal Dashboard
When a lawyer logs into Dashboard Legal, the dashboard displays all of their matters as boards. Within each board, users can have one or more checklists, which users can create from scratch or take from a template library. Also within a board, users can access all the related documents from their DMS, view other team members, and chat with other team members.
Boards can be color-coded, sorted and searched. Users can also set up boards within boards, such as discovery board within a litigation matter.
In addition to the boards view, a task view aggregates all of the user’s checklist items across matters into a single view. Users can sort tasks by matters and filter by due dates and other parameters.
The partner view adds the ability to see who is doing what, either by matter team or by individual attorney or professional, and how busy they are. Partners can also get high level views of matters and see progress on tasks for specific matters or across matters.
Partners can also combine elements. Perhaps they want to see the status of a particular matter, plus the specific activity of the senior associate and two other associates. They can add multiple elements to get the view they want.
“It’s really flexible, but what we’re really trying to deliver is that snapshot view to give the partners just what they need really quickly to allocate resources and to see what’s going on with an individual matter.”
Dashboard Legal was a contestant in the 2022 ABA Techshow Startup Alley, which I oversee. It won second place — missing first place by just one vote.