Established in 2001, St Helens Law is an expanding high-street law firm providing the full range of legal services. The firm has over 25 staff, and works proudly to its mission statement of: “…delivering, without compromise; a quality, client-focused legal service by using modern technology and respecting the traditional values of the profession.”
Deborah Murphy, Director, talks us through the firm’s IT strategy and details how St Helen’s Law utilises Case and Practice Management software to stay ahead of the competition.
Three of the four partners who formed St Helens Law (myself included) had used the previous incarnation of Eclipse software – “Chase” – at our last firm. We didn’t need any convincing to implement Proclaim at the new practice, as we were extremely happy with our experience of Eclipse’s systems.
We opened the office in December 2001 with just four users on Proclaim. As well as the core Case Management software, we also implemented the Proclaim Accounts solution to give us an all-in-one Practice Management system.
Once the right information is entered into the system, Proclaim gets on and completes much of the routine work that would otherwise bog us down. For example, we use lots of standard letters and “linked actions” which automatically create and distribute documentation at pre-defined case stages.
The options that Proclaim provides for communicating with clients is a huge benefit for us. For example, our fee earners can utilise SMS text messaging to contact clients, and this is a tool we all use every day. It’s a great help, when you can’t get hold of someone, to know that you’ve sent them a text and they’ll get in touch when they can. We also use email heavily, and these ‘instant’ contact methods are proving to be very much the way forward for us.
In general, the way in which Proclaim acts as a central repository for every element of case-related data is very important. We never have to physically leave our desks (not good for the waistline…) as we can scan hard-copy documentation, and receive faxes and emails directly into the relevant cases. For me, as head of our Personal Injury team, being able to view all case activities, and ‘at-a-glance’ progression and case status for all fee earners, is invaluable.
Since our modest beginnings, we’ve expanded into a multi-discipline firm offering Personal Injury, Wills, Probate and Estate Planning, and Conveyancing (both Domestic and Commercial).
Proclaim gives us an all-encompassing system for these work areas, providing core tools such as task diarising, generation of documents, costs calculation, etc. From here, Proclaim’s toolkit then gives us the option to tweak and manage the system in line with our ongoing needs and changing business requirements. For example, I personally tailor the Personal Injury system and have built in workflow steps which automate day-to-day activities and free up more of my time to manage our fee earning teams. At the moment, I am redrafting some of our standard ‘library’ documents and will be able to make these available across the firm’s departments for the benefit of all staff.
We are continually developing as we go along, fine-tuning processes and ensuring that we stay one step ahead – Proclaim can be tailored to suit, so it suits us perfectly!
Our mission statement focuses very much on delivering a quality service, by utilising all the tools that technology can give us. The automation and consistency that Proclaim brings are vital in enhancing our speed and maintaining high standards. At the same time, we must not forget that clients are not ‘standard units’, and Proclaim enables all documentation and client communications to be personalised – avoiding the ‘just a number’ feeling that legal services can sometimes imply.
As mentioned, a key facet of Proclaim is the choice it gives in terms of how to communicate. In addition to traditional mail, we can use SMS text messaging and email, straight from the desktop and tightly integrated with the appropriate case(s). We also use Eclipse’s FileView tool which allows our private clients and case referrers to securely view live case progression online via our website. This really cuts down on the volume of calls we receive, and provides a great level of transparency.
We want to continue providing a quality service, nurturing happy clients, and increasing the scale of our operations. The legal world is ever-changing, and whatever opening arises we hope to be able to grab it… being up to date with technology is a great way of making sure that we make the most of opportunities.
Our medium-term aims with Proclaim are to utilise more of its in-built reporting features, and to really maximise the potential of data import and export routines. We already share case data with one of our service providers (Box Legal), and the scope for increasing this with other stakeholders is very exciting.
Proclaim plays a vital part in our day-to-day operations, and our strategic direction. As a fee earner tool, customer service aid, and business management system, we cannot recommend Proclaim highly enough!Published Jan 06, 2010