Matter Status

Modified on Thu, 19 Jan 2023 at 05:32 PM

When you create a matter within Actionstep you may notice that it defaults to the status of Active. An active status implies that work is and will likely continue to take place within this matter. There are a number of alternate statuses throughout Actionstep such as Inactive and Closed. Understanding the distinctions between these statuses can help you use Actionstep more effectively.


Which Status Should I Use?

There is no set protocol within Actionstep for when to use a status. You can choose to close, delete, mark as inactive, or convert to a template as you see fit.  Each status is unique and includes certain considerations like access to historic records and visibility in your Actionstep system. We recommend creating company-wide best practices for when to apply each method. Some examples of these may include 

  • Only delete a matter if it was created by mistake and will be replaced with a new matter. 
  • Mark a matter as inactive if you haven't heard from a client for 30+ days
  • Mark a matter as inactive if there is no task or action which needs to be completed for this matter in the next 60 days but future activity is expected
  • Mark a matter as closed if a customer has indicated they no longer wish to work with your company.
  • Mark a matter as closed if a conflict of interest has been found and your firm has chosen not to move forward with a customer.
  • Matters associated with unresponsive sales prospects should be marked as inactive but not closed unless the customer asks not to be contacted again
  • Create a template if the same team will be assuming the same roles in multiple cases

Company procedures for when to close a matter can, and should, be built into a workflow. Inactive steps can be built into a workflow but are often more difficult to predict. Workflows cannot be preconfigured for deletion. For these reasons, procedures for when to make a matter inactive and when to delete a matter are great topics for Wiki articles


An 'Active' matter status represents matters that are open and currently being worked on.


Inactive matters are typically used to indicate matters that have no tasks to complete soon but which may in the future, or matters that have otherwise temporarily stopped progressing.

Tasks can reactivate matters. Inactive matters are designed to reactivate once an incomplete task becomes due. So, for instance, if you need to assist your client in renewing their visa in 6 months you may choose to temporarily move a matter to inactive but create a task to begin the visa renewal process again in 3 months. Users moving a matter to inactive indefinitely should check to see if there are any incomplete tasks associated with the matter which may cause the matter to become active again in the future.

There are three ways to move a matter from active to inactive: 

  1. Set a step to change a matter to inactive from within the workflow.
    To do this, go to Admin > Matter Types > {your matter type} > Workflow > {your step}
    The status on the workflow step set to inactive in admin
  2. Manually change a single matter to inactive.
    To do this, select the information icon next to the matter name on your matter overview screen
    The 'edit' button on the matter properties modal on a matter
    then select "edit",
    The status set to inactive on the matter properties screen
    Choose "Inactive" from the Status dropdown and select "Save".
  3. Marking a matter or multiple matters as inactive from a matter list view.
    Check the boxes next to all matters you would like to mark as inactive. After selecting at least one matter you will see a "Change" dropdown appear. Select the "Mark as Inactive" option.
    The bulk 'mark as inactive' dropdown on the matters list
    You will be brought to a screen displaying all the matters you have chosen to mark as inactive. Confirm your choices and select "Submit".
    Mark as inactive confirmation screen


The ability to close a matter is set in the step. To change a normal step to a close step you'll need to go to Admin > Matter Types > {your matter type} > Workflow > {your step}

Here you'll choose between Active, Inactive, Closed, and Template for the 'Matter Status' field. This indicates the status a matter will be in when you move to this step. Matters can only be closed by switching to a close step.

The status on the workflow step set to active in admin



The template status works a little differently than other matter statuses within Actionstep. When you mark a matter as a template, you're indicating that some of the data from that status should be used to create new matters. The fields that can be saved to a template are as follows:

  • Parties
  • Custom Data  

This differs from the matter type (or workflow) functionality. E.g., in a workflow, you are creating a field within a matter type that prompts you to enter information, whereas with a template you are creating a template to populate some of those fields.

Creating and Applying a Template

  1. Create a template.
    You can create a template by changing the status of a matter from Active to Template. This can be done while creating the matter or after the matter has already been created.

    Changing status to template
  2. Apply the template.

Searching for Matters by Status

The status that a matter is set to will affect its visibility throughout the program. This should be taken into account especially when deciding whether the status of a matter should be changed to Inactive, Closed, or Deleted. 

By design, only matters with certain statuses are displayed in default list views, panels, and searches within Actionstep. For easier access to some of these secondary statuses, you may want to consider creating custom list views with locked filters set by status.


Search Matters & Contacts" Window

The search bar in the top bar

Matter searches are returned based on a hierarchy. If there are Active matters that meet the search criteria, only they will return in search results even if there are Inactive or Closed matters that also meet the search criteria. If there are no Active matters, only Inactive matters will be returned. If there are no Active or Inactive matters that meet the search criteria, only then will the search return Closed matters.

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