Expanding P4W to develop an integrated legal ecosystem

By Legal Futures Associate Advanced


Peters & Peters has been described as the first, biggest, and most experienced business crime specialist in London. With a team that includes some of the world’s most experienced business crime lawyers, they use their expertise to win cases across the full range of contentious criminal and civil areas, both in the UK
and internationally.

Their Business Crime and Investigations team is widely acknowledged as a leader in its sphere. The firm is cited by the Chambers UK legal directory as the “Outstanding financial crime practice”, and in the Legal 500 directory as “London’s best civil fraud litigation boutique”.

Their Advanced experience

For many years, Peters & Peters have used Partner for Windows (P4W) as their practice and case management system. We spoke with Brian McDonald, Head of IT, and Michael Gilbert, Director of Finance, to find out more about their experience using the platform.

Both technology and P4W have changed significantly in the 20+ years that Peters & Peters have been using the system. Brian spoke to us about some of the changes he’s seen:

“The biggest difference I’ve seen is the high level of automation that’s available to us now. Initially, P4W was only used by the accounts team and everyone else relied primarily on manual systems. Today, at least 90% of the people in the firm depend on the system to progress their day-to-day work”.

“We’ve used P4W’s impressive extensibility to develop a legal ecosystem that has practice and case management sitting at its core. We’ve incorporated additional Advanced, and 3rd party, software to manage processes like business intelligence, mobile time recording, and invoice management. Today, all of our users have access to a powerful suite of best-of-breed solutions that work seamlessly together. The gains in efficiency have been significant”.

Brian explained some of the benefits Peters & Peters have gained by configuring P4W in this way:

“By far, the greatest advantages we’ve gained are visibility and accessibility. Our users now have instant access to the information and processes they need, both in the office and when they’re working remotely. Just a few years ago, we couldn’t have dreamt of that level of capability”.

“P4W’s reliability has also been very impressive. On the server side, the platform and the database both function very efficiently and the system has proven itself to be very dependable”.

One of the integrations this firm has plugged into their ecosystem is Carpe Diem. Brian explained how this has improved the firm’s time capture and billing processes:

“We’ve been using Carpe Diem for several years and it’s been an absolute game changer for our fee earners. Instantly, they went from having to log into P4W Time Manager to capture time, to being able to record time easily from any location, on any device”.

“From an IT perspective the system is straightforward to manage. The licensing is clear and easy to understand and it’s a very simple product to deploy. New users can be set up very quickly and it’s so intuitive to use that all they need in terms of training is the user guide we provide them with”.

“In terms of firm efficiency, we do see time entries coming in more quickly because they are so readily available. We’ve seen a reduction
in the number of fee earner chaser emails, and bills can be sent out in a timely manner”.

“The last three years have been our most successful ever and we keep increasing our revenue year-on-year. We have gained more fee
earners, and that naturally leads to a rise in billing figures, but poundfor-pound this is in some part attributable to the implementation
of Carpe Diem”.

“The quantity of time entries we log is vast, so for some time after we adopted Carpe Diem, we monitored usage. When we started almost
everyone was using Time Manager but today between 70% and 80% of all our time records go into our system via Carpe Diem. It’s not a
particularly expensive product, and In terms of return on investment, I’m sure it’s paid for itself over and over again”.

When asked how easily new users adapt to using P4W, Brian explained the support they provide:

“As a part of our induction process we provide system training that is specific to the new starter’s role. This can be provided by the IT department, but we are now encouraging individuals who actually use the system to provide training. They are best placed to understand what information will be of most use to those being introduced to the system and it’s worked very well. It’s not an onerous task as P4W is very straightforward, and easy to grasp. It’s laid out very nicely, so use is intuitive, and people pick it up quite easily. Generally, it doesn’t take longer than an hour to train, and new users are up and running within the first week of joining. Refresher training is also offered across the firm on an as-needed basis”.

We asked Brian if Peters & Peters would recommend P4W. He told us that they have already suggested P4W to other firms, and explained why:

“Our relationship with the P4W team is collaborative. Things have changed on both sides over the years, but they’ve always kept us in the loop to ensure we understand when anything of relevance is happening. We don’t really need on-going scheduled updates, but always knowing when something important is going to take place has been crucial to our satisfaction”.

“Advanced support has also been very good. We’ve set up an internal system so that all support requests come through our IT or accounts team. This prevents multiple people from logging calls and helps us keep track. That’s really worked well for us”.

“We also think P4W’s pricing model is very good. That’s a huge factor, especially in this day and age, but the cost of the system is very competitive. We feel like we’re getting a fair deal”.

“Another factor is familiarity. I’ve managed some systems that started off in one place and ended up going in an entirely different direction. P4W hasn’t done that. There have been continual service improvements and new features added, but we’ve been able to evolve together. Through all the changes it’s continued to offer us ease-of-use and efficiency without causing undue disruption”.

“We sometimes conduct a review of how we’re using P4W. A recent example of this was when an Advanced trainer visited our site and sat with the accounts team to map their processes. They suggested alternative ways of doing things to improve the value we were getting out of the system. This led to us implementing a new Purchase Ledger process across the firm which has been of huge benefit.” – Brian McDonald, Head of IT, Peters & Peters

What’s next?

We are currently planning a move to the latest version of Carpe Diem. At some point in the future, we would like to see a Cloud version of P4W. We’re already achieving readily available remote access, but the Cloud would make that even easier to manage.


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