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10 min read

How Legal Intake is Different than Legal Project Management

In-house legal teams are often on call, fielding requests from across the business  – and from all angles. When you’re bombarded with emails, phone calls, and Slack messages, keeping track of all your priorities is no easy feat. 

In a time when legal teams are being asked to do more with less, streamlining legal intake and project management processes is critical for teams looking to work faster and get more done.

But what exactly are legal intake and legal project management, and what are the different ways teams can approach these processes? Is intake enough for the modern in-house legal team or is a more robust project management tool a must have? 


What is legal intake?

Legal intake is the process of gathering the need-to-know information about legal matters and requests to review agreements, IP concerns, HR issues, compliance questions, or marketing materials. You can think of your legal intake process as the front door of your team. To arrive at the legal team, everything must go through the front door. 

But the front door looks different for different teams. For some, it can be as manual as keeping an eye on their inbox and jotting down requests in a spreadsheet. Others might use tools like Zendesk or Google Forms. And for those looking for a more automated, turnkey solution, there are tools designed specifically for legal teams.

No matter the process, in order for it to truly work, it’s critical to get the info you need up front. Forms are a handy way to do this, helping you capture the information you need at the start to prioritize and execute on the request, skip the back-and-forth, and save time for both your team and the requester. And to make sure everyone's on board with the new process, try embedding or linking the form in tools your team already uses, like Slack or your intranet.

It’s easy for legal teams to overlook the intake process and spend their budget elsewhere or try to create workarounds with existing tools, like a CLM. However, this can only take you so far. Without a proper intake process, you can end up wasting precious time hunting down the information you need or creating manual workarounds to fill the gaps of a product not designed for intake. 

A standardized intake process with a purpose-built tool helps you stay focused, save time, and get more done.


What is legal project management?

Intake is just the beginning. The real legal work starts once a request comes in.

Once the request has been submitted through your intake process, a legal team member can kick off the project management process. They'll review the request, prioritize it, and assign it to the right team member.

As with intake, there are countless ways to handle legal task management. Some legal teams stick to old-school methods like spreadsheets, notepads, or even whiteboards. And while they can make it work, they often outgrow it or simply grow tired of spending time managing it.

Others might use project management tools like Jira, Asana, or to cut costs. But while these might save on expenses, they don't always save on time. These general-purpose tools don’t cater to the unique needs of a legal team, leaving some teams managing agreement tasks in their CLM and everything else in their project management tool. 

Moreover, using a tool the entire company can access makes some legal teams nervous. To avoid others stumbling across sensitive information, they may choose to handle these types of tasks in yet another location. 

Using tech to improve legal intake and legal project management

Intake is just the beginning. Using a single tool for legal intake and all the work that follows reduces the risk of requests falling through the cracks. 

And with the right legal project management tool, you can create repeatable workflows to take the manual effort out of time-consuming projects and ensure a consistent quality of legal output. Look for a tool that gives you a bird’s-eye view of everything on your team’s plate, so you can easily report on your overall business impact.

There are many options out there when it comes to intake and project management, but not all are created equal.  While manual project management or workarounds with existing tools like a CLM can be low-cost and familiar processes for many legal teams, they’re often not scalable solutions for the modern in-house legal team.

When evaluating intake tools, consider the time it will take to customize and maintain a tool to suit your workflows. Evaluate the company’s focus — will future enhancements be built to suit the needs of your legal team? Or will you have to further invest time and energy in customizing the tool?

Unlike a CLM or a one-size-fits-all project management tool, LinkSquares Prioritize is purpose-built for legal intake and project management. It has everything you need to manage intake, contract requests, and all your legal priorities —  all while staying connected to your CLM. 



Legal intake and project management are the dynamic duo of the legal service process - while they're two different things, the success of one depends on the other. So if you want your legal team to zip through requests and keep the business engine humming, it’s time to standardize your legal intake and project management. 

See how LinkSquares Prioritize can help you manage intake and all your legal priorities – request a demo today.

Ashley Gaines is a Product Marketing Manager at LinkSquares.