By Legal Futures Associate Access Legal
- 15 hours a month saved with case file reviews reduced by 10 minutes each
- File inception time reduced by two thirds
- Two hours of IT resource saved per week from having Access support
- Over £10,000 saved due to time recording functionality
- Enabled firm to become more ‘paper-lite’
Archers Law are a Teesside based firm that have been running since 1860 and provide a variety of services to both private and business clients. The firm is made up of 75 staff and has experienced substantial growth in recent years. Services include corporate law, litigation, employment, commercial property, wills & probate, conveyancing, matrimonial, family and more.
We spoke to IT Manager, David Pounds, who provides the IT infrastructure and software for the firm and sits on the operations board.
What are your main goals for the firms’ operations and wider business?
“Our main objective is to continue to grow. With ongoing development in the region, including the recently awarded Freeport, we want to make the most of the opportunities as the local economy grows and more people require our services.
To support the ambitions of the business, my goal is to develop the practice management system in a way that caters to the whole firm and the various areas of law we operate in. Using the functionality and adaptable workflows allows us to make small gains right across the business which improves our efficiency and makes managing cases easier for staff. Other important projects include developing the CRM and getting more meaningful trends and insight out of the large amounts of data using dashboards. Also, we’ve already started to look at an online portal which will allow our clients to have a self-serve option and since we already use SecureDocs regularly, which is a great tool, we are considering TouchPoint+ to further enhance the online client experience as we believe there’s huge efficiencies to be gained.”
How did the business fair during the pandemic?
“The first few weeks were challenging trying to ensure everyone had laptops and the necessary resources to continue to do their jobs but following the initial firefighting, everything settled down and became more manageable. As a firm, we actually had our best year ever with all areas of our business experiencing significant number of cases and growth.”
What led you to choosing Access Legal’s practice management system?
“The previous practice management software we used was discontinued by the provider so we took the opportunity to see what was out there.”
What benefits have you seen using the software?
“The system makes day to day tasks so much easier and helps us make efficiency gains in many areas. Functions such as the progress screens and diarising of tasks have been small benefits which make a big difference to our staff.
In our old practice management system, a file inception would take up to 45 minutes to complete whereas the New Business Enquiry Module within the Access Legal system, which we originally used to help track source of business, captures all the relevant information and allows us to complete a file inception in around 15 minutes.
Other benefits include the system overlaying intelligence on documents based on what’s on screen which reduces the amount of clauses people have to sieve through when pulling documents together. Also, quarterly file reviews and assessments are much easier and quicker as the secretaries no longer have to trawl through information and cost levels as there’s a button on screen they can press which pulls all the information into the form. This means the information is presented right in front of the user and saves approximately 10 minutes per file which, if doing 100 a month, adds up to a considerable time saving each quarter.
The development is done within the toolkit provided therefore Access Legal have been on hand to assist and support us which has been great as you don’t require the technical knowledge to update the system. If somethings not quite right or we need help with something, we can simply send an email or use the support portal to get a quick response. The time saved from using the support function and the community of developers for the system is approximately two hours a week in IT resources which allows me to focus on other IT projects.
The Practice Management System allowed us to easily adopt a ‘paper-lite’ approach – clearly encouraged during the pandemic. An example is our matrimonial department, who historically printed documents, now produce electronic document bundles as requested by the courts and they won’t look back to printing again. This more digital approach and reduction in printing and postage will save the firm thousands of pounds year even just in storage costs as we currently use an offsite archive facility for all our files.
Also, at Archers Law, we have a flexi-time policy and we use an existing time and attendance software package to track and monitor this but the time recording features and data export functions within Access Legal’s software mean we can discontinue that software which will save us in the region of £10,000 in five years.”
Why did you choose Access Legal’s case management solution?
“We liked that the system had ‘out of the box’ solutions for the different matter or case types and were tailorable therefore it was the best fit for us. A lot of other systems do not have the flexibility to develop the workflows the way we wanted whereas the default workflows in this system almost act as a crib sheet to develop our own things which is really good. Also, the integration the Access Legal Practice Management system had with things like SDLT, land registry and HMRC were strong.”
What role will Access Legal’s software play in the future for your firm?
“The software forms the core of what we’re going to be doing going forward and we’re really happy with the way it works and the potential it offers. We have a number of integration projects and ideas we will be working through and this system forms the backbone for much of that.”