Established in the late 1800s, Frearsons Solicitors is one of Lincolnshire’s most respected law firms, providing the full range of private client services. Frearsons numbers 50 staff, and has been a user of Eclipse’s software solutions for almost 15 years.
Michael Phelps, one of the firm’s 4 partners, talks us through his experience of Eclipse and Proclaim.
When was Proclaim implemented, and how was the selection process managed?
The practice had been using Eclipse’s previous generation of software (‘CHASE’) for several years, and in 2000 Eclipse announced the arrival of ‘Proclaim’.
We had used CHASE to the full, and were keen to see what Proclaim offered over and above that system. We did also take a prudent approach and investigate alternative solutions on the market, we felt this was an important benchmarking exercise prior to making a commitment.
On first sight of Proclaim, it was apparent that the system presented a generational leap over CHASE, but importantly managed to retain that system’s ‘feel’ and its core user-friendliness. Proclaim displayed a flexibility and a potential for volume case management far in excess of any rival systems.
What day-to-day benefits do you see from Proclaim?
First and foremost, Proclaim is extremely easy to use for our fee earners. This means that they can run their caseloads through the system in a logical and comfortable way, without having to navigate hurdles and ‘virtual traps’! Proclaim strikes a very good balance, allowing users freedom to work in their preferred way, but also within the specific quality parameters that Frearsons as a practice prides itself on.
All case information is stored in a central area and available directly from a ‘home’ screen. Searching for client data is fast and intuitive, and ‘one-click’ production of documentation is a great productivity tool that allows fee earners to concentrate on fee earning rather then being typists!
Elements such as automatic creation of diary entries and reminders are invaluable it is these things that make sure cases are kept on track, quality is maintained, and client satisfaction remains high.
To what degree have you tailored Proclaim in line with your bespoke needs?
The beauty of Proclaim is that the system can constantly evolve. We’ve had Proclaim now for the best part of 10 years, and it has grown and developed organically as our requirements have changed. Proclaim comes as standard with its own toolset, enabling pretty much any element of the system to be tailored. Data fields, screens, reports, workflow steps they can all be moulded to a practically unlimited degree.
This results in a system bespoke to us, and which our in-house IT manager can administer extremely effectively. Team this with the availability of frequent enhancements and version updates form Eclipse, and you have a very powerful system.
We have taken the position of making Proclaim work for us not vice versa. We began by stripping our business processes ‘back to basics’ and seeing how these could be translated into Proclaim workflow steps. This exercise was invaluable, and enabled us to really fine-tune the way we manage cases, and build a system that removed any non-value-adding administration.
Do you use Proclaim for ongoing management reporting facilities and statistics?
Proclaim has an integrated report creation tool which is thankfully very easy to use and get great results from. We have been able to create a library of standard reports which give us a clear view of how individuals, departments, and the business as a whole are performing.
Proclaim’s ATM (Automated Task Manager) tool also empowers us to schedule key reports to be automatically produced on a weekly basis, and distributed to the relevant partners and senior staff. I personally know of firms that have to employ full-time staff to write and manage reports for them, we save a huge amount by virtue of Proclaim doing this for us!
How does Proclaim fit in with your overall business ethos?
We started to use Proclaim in just the Personal Injury department, but it soon became clear that the system’s ethos of speed, efficiency, and user-friendliness would benefit our other teams. We have gone on to implement Proclaim in our Conveyancing, Probate and Family departments, with great success.
As a result, we are able to address the needs and concerns of our clients, in particular speed and transparency. By having all case data centralised and accessible, if a client comes to us with a query we can answer this immediately without rummaging through files and folders (real or virtual!)
Frearsons holds the LEXCEL quality standard, and the ability to manage our files using Proclaim has been a great help in achieving and maintaining the standard. Proclaim makes it much easier for us to demonstrate compliance during audits!
I have no hesitation in recommending Proclaim as the ultimate practice-wide case management tool.