The next level

DarrenGowerCharlotte Parkinson, of Modern Law Magazine, spoke to Darren Gower, Marketing Director of Eclipse Legal Systems, about the need for a joined-up IT strategy.

The scope of change in the legal services market is far from slowing down and the market is still witnessing a number of new entrants into the market, as well as a sustained level of exits. In light of such fundamental change, many firms are looking to new ways of running their businesses, whether as Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) or through new, pan-sector partnerships and alliances. Though the initial uptake of applications for ABS licensing was slower than anticipated, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) have hinted that they anticipate the pace of applications to pick up now that the new process has had a chance to bed-in to the legal sector. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) have also recently been granted approval to license these new business structures. The ICAEW anticipates swathes of applications following official licensing approval and this decision could certainly change the shape of legal services on a scale which has not yet been seen in the sector to date.

But whether your firm is an ABS, traditional partnership or anything in between, the increasing reliance on a full spectrum, joined up technology offering is a key component in the chain of your firms offering and it’s certainly not going to go away. Whilst some firms remain set in their ways, resisting the need to accept that continual review and often fundamental operational changes are now a necessary factor in the daily running of modern law firms, others are beginning to wake up to opportunities born through times of such significant change. Effectively utilising your firms Practice Management Software (PMS), as part of a strategic business or operational shift, can assist in overcoming a whole range of issues that would be encountered if the firm was operating across a number of varying systems. Ranging from secure file opening and flexible CRM systems through to ongoing matter management and the ability to visualise key practice performance indicators, a joined-up software offering is of paramount importance to the future success of your firm.

Not only can a coherent, full spectrum software offering pay dividends for those who work within the firm, saving time and money, the likelihood is that if the inner-workings of your firm are well run and coherent, your clients will also reap the dividends. Technology can drive your firm’s competitiveness and in light of the flux in the market, could be the enabler you have been looking for to propel your firm to the next level.

Darren Gower, Eclipse Legal Systems, comments:

“One of the biggest issues we see – when being engaged by law firms of all sizes – is a piecemeal approach to software. Different departments using different software systems often creates chaos – there is no central pool of data or history to analyse, making your data – what should be gold dust! – nigh on impossible to utilise. By implementing a single solution across the practice, firms are assured of consistent data, a standardised quality approach, and access to meaningful – and usable – information for cross- and up-selling purposes.”