Founded in early 2001 by Keith Hayward and Trevor Baker, Portsmouth’s Hayward Baker has grown to become one of the region’s leading Personal Injury practices. The firm has experience of dealing with a huge range of claims and cases – from serious head and spinal injuries to minor bumps and bruises. It serves clients nationwide and at any one time deals with Road Traffic Accidents, Slipping / Tripping, Accidents at Work, Accidents on Holiday and Military Claims.
A firm is born…
Hayward Baker was formed to take advantage of the growing number of cases being brought into the marketplace from referral and claims management companies. Being a new firm, its presence in the local marketplace was effectively zero, so being able to take on national cases and integrate effectively with business partners was key to the firm’s early success or failure. Keith Hayward comments:
“A case management software system was a priority from day one… using traditional manual ‘pen and paper’ methods would not have enabled us to cope with the sheer volumes of work that we knew were out there. By implementing an IT system, and using it to progress cases 100% digitally, we knew that we would be well placed to manage bulk referrals as efficiently as possible.”
Discussions with Eclipse Legal Systems – and with a selection of the firm’s existing clients – convinced Keith Hayward that the Proclaim Case Management software system would enable the practice to ‘hit the ground running’. The system has a reputation for fast implementation times and ease-of-use – of vast importance to a young firm keen to be 100% operational in a tight time-scale and with no delays.
Eclipse Proclaim is designed to enable users to deal with larger volumes of claims than standard case management systems allow. It provides a complete desktop solution, fully integrating a powerful case management database with diaries, word processing, reporting and document management. A range of productivity tools enables users to spend less time processing each case, whilst maintaining consistent standards of service.
“Our aim has always been to create an efficient firm through increased use of IT,” says Keith. “We employed staff who were comfortable with technology, therefore our goal of being a pro-IT, paperless firm was always one that was shared firm-wide, with no dissenters clutching onto their typewriter ribbons!”
The firm went live with Proclaim in March 2001, rolling out to the 3 fee earners that then made up Hayward Baker’s staff. Immediately, the firm was able to effectively manage the cases that it was receiving from its referrers. The software system enabled the firm to ‘do more with less’… its document production facilities and task schedulers meant that the firm did not have to employ secretarial or administrative staff – vital in protecting the cash reserves of a fledgling organisation.
The firm now uses Proclaim at every step of the claims chain – from receiving initial instructions, through to case conclusion. All 20 Hayward Baker staff now access a centralised Proclaim database which houses all information pertaining to clients’ cases. When a new case is accepted, the necessary information is logged into Proclaim – client details, insurance firms, third parties, witnesses, accident details, etc – all ready to be viewed on-screen whenever that client’s unique reference number is keyed in to the system by a fee earner or case handler.
Throughout the life of the case, Proclaim manages all correspondence – not only does the system enable letters, faxes and emails (and even SMS text messages) to be distributed at the click of a mouse, but all incoming mail, faxes, and even photographs of accident scenes and injuries are scanned using Proclaim’s document management function, which attaches the relevant documents to the correct case files. Every action taken on a file is logged to create a full ‘at-a-glance’ summary for whoever is working on the case. Keith Hayward comments:
“By centrally storing all case data and correspondence electronically, Hayward Baker case handlers are able to share information between themselves instantaneously – all onscreen and without having to even leave their desks.”
Gone are the days of passing paper files back & forth – even file notes are recorded within Proclaim, popping up on screen whenever a fee earner enters the case, replacing the old ‘Post-it’ note system used on paper files. When files are passed around the office from fee earner to supervisor, “auto diaries” and “auto file reviews” within the system help to effectively manage – and if necessary, redistribute – caseloads.
In addition, Hayward Baker’s reliance on driving efficiencies through the use of IT has given them a strong marketing tool in FileView. FileView makes selected information from Proclaim accessible via a secure website, where referrers can check the status of their cases at any time of the day or night, from anywhere with an Internet connection. This greatly reduces the number of ‘chase up’ calls and adds an extra dimension to the firm’s portfolio of business benefits offered to referrers. In addition, Hayward Baker’s costs draftsman utilises the system to view files online, rather than having to use physical files which would slow progress down. Keith Hayward sums up:
“Using Eclipse Proclaim, we have been able to build a successful PI firm from scratch. Having a solid case management system in place meant that we were able to successfully take on heavy caseloads at a very early stage of our existence, and this has resulted in excellent ongoing relationships with case referrers. I would say that our original goal of building excellence through use of technology has been fulfilled beyond our expectations!”