Ropewalk Chambers adopted MLC for the benefits of paperless working and a reduced carbon footprint

By Legal Futures’ Associates Advanced

They also gained increased efficiency, security and cost savings

At Ropewalk Chambers, we provide more than  just advice and representation. We give every single case the care and attention it deserves and deliver the highest levels of service and integrity.

We are committed to making a positive difference and have a long tradition of acting in a socially responsible manner, whether it is in respect of voluntary work, social mobility, charitable giving or our impact on the environment. As a member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance, we benchmark our carbon footprint and continually aim to reduce it.

The case for digital

Working in a paperless manner was a major driver in our decision to change systems and adopt MLC. Our Senior Clerk, Tony Hill, explains the challenge that paper presented. “While working on budgets, I calculated that if we laid all of the A4 paper we’d used over the course of one year in a straight line, I could make a path from Nottingham all the way to Bahrain. Although we recycled that paper, I knew that by converting to digital documents we would gain significant cost savings and meet our corporate responsibility to decrease our carbon footprint”.

The digitisation of courts also influenced our decision to move to MLC. We believed the changes wouldn’t happen quickly but we had already seen an increase in demand for digital, particularly in crime and family courts. We knew the trend was only going to accelerate.

Our initial plan was to make a gradual move to paperless working in order to allow our barristers time to adjust to new work methods before making the full commitment. And then February 2020 arrived and user resistance to the transition was no longer an option. The Covid lockdown arrived and forced us to go completely digital, almost overnight.

The timing of our MLC integration was a lifesaver for us. It was the only way we could have continued to work through the pandemic. With courts unable to operate normally, and many sittings delayed, we had to watch the pennies very carefully. The financial benefits of going paperless were a significant help in this regard.

Mobile working is key

Mobility has also been central to our ability to continue operating. Now, we can work efficiently from any location in a GDPR-compliant manner, with secure access to the case details and associated documentation required. It’s so much more convenient for our barristers. At the end of a long day in court, they no longer have to return to the office to sort out paperwork. Everything they need is on their laptop.

Security as a priority

Before changing systems, we had actually identified several reasons for making the move, and not least was information security. Prior to MLC, if a paper file was accidently misplaced, or left on a train for instance, it could potentially leave us in a very difficult position. Now, if a laptop is lost, it’s not ideal but at least we know our information is encrypted and fully protected from unauthorised access.

A new way to retain talent

One of the additional benefits we have gained from using MLC is the ability to recruit talented people, regardless of their location.

One of our barristers, who had joined us from pupillage, decided to move on because he wanted to settle in the South West. Now, he has been able to re-join our chambers and work efficiently from his new location. We couldn’t have achieved that prior to adopting MLC.

The benefits realised

Tony Hill concludes, “Having to adjust to a new system so quickly was not easy but we were able to achieve what we needed to. MLC has proven itself and we will never go back to working with paper. Not only have we reduced our carbon footprint, we are also reaping the benefits of greater efficiency, security and cost savings”.


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