Omnia costs budgeting solution goes live

Nash: proactive approach could bring benefits under costs management

Omnia Legal Software formally launches its Omnia program today, enabling solicitors and costs lawyers to meet the new costs budgeting requirements coming into force in April 2013.

Omnia, the brainchild of well-known costs lawyer Sue Nash, is a web-based software solution for the production of costs budgets which also enables solicitors to produce their own bills of costs and costs schedules. It is specifically designed to integrate with solicitors’ existing practice and case management systems.

is a Litigation Futures sponsor. Ms Nash said the program assists solicitors in their budget preparation and monitoring by enabling them to:

  • Prepare costs budgets in Precedent H;
  • Set alerts for each phase of each budget and for each element of a budget phase to help ensure that budgets are closely monitored and not exceeded;
  • Compare forecast, budgeted and actual costs by each category and sub-category of case to produce median figures for each category/sub-category and then populate draft budgets;
  • Allow internal or external costs specialists to check and monitor budgets on an ongoing basis to ensure work is being accurately assigned; and
  • Enable the easy preparation of accurate schedules and breakdowns of costs at any point during the life of a case as well as bills of costs for detailed assessment.

Omnia can be used by firms of solicitors as a replacement time and invoicing system, as a separate program running alongside firms’ case management and practice management systems or as a standalone costing program.

Firms can enter their work in ‘real time’, or import it on a regular basis to produce bills of costs, schedules for summary assessment, costs schedules and breakdowns and all court costs forms/applications – as well as the all-important costs budgets.

The net result is a better view of a law firm’s business, particularly its cost-to-revenue ratio, as the software enables an at-a-glance overview of the time spent on various stages of litigation and how much the firm is charging for each stage.

Ms Nash said: “Omnia was born from my own experience of the way the organisation and funding of litigation has evolved over the past 25 years, coupled with Jackson LJ’s reforms which have provided the impetus for change now.

“Some solicitors’ firms are taking steps to respond to the current changes, analysing historic cases to establish the median costs of each phase and starting to record and monitor all current work done by phase. If firms aren’t doing this, then they will need to start doing so and should consider engaging costs specialists to assist them.

“It is this proactive approach that will allow firms to not only comply with the new costs budgeting rules come April, but also to actually benefit from them.”

Ms Nash added that the Jackson reforms also represent opportunities for costs lawyers to evolve their offering – and that Omnia can play an important role within that:

“While some areas of costs work will inevitably tail off, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Costs budgeting in particular will need costs lawyers’ expertise since the arguments that they are used to dealing with retrospectively will now be dealt with prospectively at the initial costs management hearing – meaning that costs lawyers’ advice will be required on the initial budgets and throughout the case.

“Omnia will enable both solicitors and costs lawyers to work together in monitoring actual costs against budgets.”

Omnia is formally launched at the Legal IT Show running today and tomorrow at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

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