Starting life as a two-person practice in autumn 2000, Express Solicitors is now one of the Manchester area’s leading Claimant Personal Injury firms with a complement of over twenty staff in two offices. The firm was founded by James Maxey – now Managing Partner – at a time when the PI funding area was undergoing major changes. With a solid background gained at a Top 500 Manchester firm, James saw a clear niche in the marketplace for a responsive, progressive and tenacious PI claims firm.
From its conception, Express quickly trebled its headcount, with Robin Patey joining as a second Partner, along with three dedicated fee earners. At this stage, the firm realised it needed a software system to enable it to more efficiently handle caseloads and to continue to provide its clients with a service of the highest quality. The firm’s initial choice of software proved to be a disappointment – James Maxey comments:
“We selected a system based on an impressive sales demonstration… but shortly after implementation, it became apparent that ownership was a very different experience to the preview. Rather than struggle on with what was an unstable and glitchy system, we made the decision to replace it and subsequently came across Eclipse Legal Systems.”
The sheer weight of cases being taken on by Express dictated the need for a specialist system – one with a proven track record. Discussions with Eclipse – and with a selection of the firm’s reference sites – convinced James Maxey that the Proclaim Case Management software system was the right choice.
Proclaim provides a complete solution to the working needs of partners, fee earners and support staff in a huge range of law firms. A powerful case management database with integrated document production & management, reporting, time recording and diaries, Proclaim has been developed with ease of use firmly in mind. A range of productivity tools enables users to spend less time processing each case, whilst maintaining consistently high standards of service. James Maxey comments on the implementation:
“The system was mercifully straightforward to put into operation – all our staff found it easy to get to grips with, and tailor, which meant that the whole firm ‘bought in’ to the system very swiftly. In fact, such is its ease of use, once a couple of staff had undertaken initial training with Eclipse, they were subsequently able to run training courses for their colleagues in-house.”
Express Solicitors now has twenty users on the Proclaim system, in both its Manchester and Bolton offices, and sees daily benefits from the software. According to James Maxey:
“Proclaim provides a fantastic level of control for our fee earners – not only is every single action taken on a case automatically logged, but its inbuilt ‘reminder’ system ensures that key steps are never missed. The system provides guidance at pre-defined stages of files, but also allows users the freedom to approach tasks in their own way… it gives a framework for progressing cases, but unlike some systems, it doesn’t force users down a particular path.”
The software’s inbuilt reporting features ensure that the Express Partners are kept abreast of trends and workloads. A huge range of standard reports is included within the system – all of which can be tailored or added to at any time. This flexibility allows Express to ensure that nothing slips through the net, and to quickly create and store bespoke reports to aid management of the firm, e.g. the number of cases opened in a particular month, which cases have been issued but not served, all cases with more than £3000 WIP, etc.
All this data is available from the desktop… and can even be accessed remotely via laptop, should James Maxey need to access information whilst out of the office. He explains:
“I can access everything I need without leaving my screen – from checking individual fee earners’ diaries, to redistributing cases if workloads become unbalanced. Proclaim provides superb management tools, but unfortunately does nothing for my fitness as I no longer have to walk around the office to gather information!”
Proclaim’s Document Scanning facility has been another huge benefit to Express. Every item of incoming correspondence is scanned into the relevant case history, providing an at-a-glance on-screen record of the complete range of actions taken and received. James Maxey comments:
“By storing this information electronically we no longer have to keep huge numbers of archive boxes, freeing up office space for our staff. It’s also a vastly more efficient way of logging case histories… spending hours leafing through paper files is now a distant memory.”
Proclaim has played an important role in the growth and success of Express Solicitors – not only has the system created a more efficient working environment, but the structure and safeguards provided by it have also been integral in helping Express to achieve and maintain its Lexcel accreditation. James Maxey has the last word:
“Proclaim has been a major factor in improving our internal procedures and driving the growth of this firm. I can honestly say that the purchase price has been long since justified – in fact, I find it difficult to envisage how the firm would run without it!”