Vendors of software have conjured these two terms to imply a difference. In Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, June 2008 at 52, both terms — matter management and legal spend management — appear but my feeling is there is much ado about nothing. All matter databases worth talking about keep some information about what the law department spends on at least some of the matters. Legal spend management has a broader reach but all spending relates to matters. The two terms as they refer to software have no distinctions.
As to the clumsy and ugly term “matter-centric,” how do I really feel about the word? The neologism appears in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, June 2008 at 51. All matter management systems focused on, hold your breath, matters. Matters are the center of a matter management system (See my post of April 17, 2006: how accounting standards dictate some matters.). What does the new term add? We might just as well talk with fresh amazement about legal-centric law departments.