When experienced lawyer Mark Manley decided to set up his own firm last year, the choice of which legal software system to adopt was a key consideration.
Mark launched Manleys Solicitors in May, after spending more than 20 years at the large north-west commercial law firm where he was a partner.
Headquartered in Chester and with a satellite office in London, Manleys Solicitors specialises in a range of litigation work for a number of media, entertainment, sports and publishing clients, and has already grown to employ 10 lawyers.
Mark believes the firm’s decision to opt for the Virtual Practices  (VP) hosted legal software and outsourced cashiering service has been a key factor in the firm’s early success.
“I knew when we launched that this would be crucial for the firm, so I really took the time to research the market,” says Mark, who is managing director.
“I spent a whole day talking to suppliers at the Legal IT Show in London, looking at various time management and accounting packages. Before visiting the VP stand I had already done some research online and I really liked the overall look and feel of the site, as well as factors like the ability to integrate with Outlook and the built-in KPIs.”
Mark then arranged an online demonstration with VP’s Natalie Jennings, before signing up.
“I was really impressed with the level of Natalie’s knowledge, and with that of the entire team,” he says.
“The level of support they have provided has always been brilliant and they are always available to help in any way, and to respond very quickly.
“As well as the general ease of use of the legal software, having access to an outsourced cashiering facility is a major benefit for a start-up firm such as ours. Initially I was slightly nervous about this, but after talking to other users and trying it out for ourselves, this has proved a real plus and gives VP a real competitive edge.
“Overall, there is no doubt that the combination of excellent customer service and the versatility and ease of use of the Virtual Practices system itself, has helped the firm to maximise its profitability in our first year.”
Natalie Jennings, who heads up Virtual Practices, which is a division of legal software supplier , said: “Many start-up firms such as Manleys Solicitors are looking to operate an agile, low overhead business model, and VP can help fulfil this requirement.
“Mark was extremely thorough in the way he researched the legal software market, so it was particularly pleasing that he chose Virtual Practices.”