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A rare situation where customizing a matter management system makes sense

Thomas Miller & Co., the venerable giant of insurance services for shippers, decided in 1997 to start developing Oasis, now an impressive, customized case and work-product management system (Legal Week, Vol. 7, Nov. 17, 2005 at 22). Thomas Miller’s approximately 85 lawyers and 150 other transport specialists use it to handle transport liability claims.

Oasis allows users to access about one million cases, in less than a second! Around 39,000 of those cases are currently open. It also holds 12 million pages of documents, adding about 1,000 a day – mostly e-mails – and an additional 1,000 work product a day.

In general, I guide law departments away from customizing a matter management system. Doing so is fraught with challenges and too many systems designed just for internal counsel can be licensed, one of which is likely to meet nearly all of any law department’s needs. Thomas Miller, however, operates in a specialty niche, has huge volumes and complexity, and has found Oasis to be its watering hole of deliverance.

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