Intellectual property (IP) specialist Joshi & Welch is using technology to sharpen its service to clients and to turn off the “dripping tap” of lost time.
From the outset the London-based firm, which operates as an alternative business structure, set out to use IT to differentiate itself in the marketplace when it was formed in 2006.
That meant constant scrutiny of the service it provided to its clients, which range from multinationals to SMEs and individuals, and making a concerted attempt to keep track of lost time, which is traditionally a major challenge for IP lawyers.
Last year Joshi & Welch, which advises on all aspects of IP, from registered trade marks and registered designs through to copyright, other related rights and unregistered IP rights, opted to go live with the SOS Connect legal practice and case management system from (SOS).
The firm uses SOS Connect alongside its hosted trade mark management software. All clients and prospective clients are entered onto SOS Connect, which is used for file creation, document management, time recording, billing and disbursements. In addition to its office-based staff in the City, Joshi & Welch has an administrator who is able to access the system and update records from her home office in Oxfordshire.
“Our approach is to be knowledgeable, forward-thinking and proactive and for us, technology facilitates this. We intentionally started out with technology being at the core of the business – to enhance how we work and to differentiate us in the marketplace,” said trade mark attorney and co-founder Duncan Welch.
“By 2011, the time had come for a proper, integrated system to better manage our files, centralise information and further sharpen our client service. With SOS Connect we definitely offer a more efficient, client-centric service which, in turn, enables our clients to keep ahead of the game.
“We also keep better track of time and communications. A big problem for trade mark attorneys is that we can lose time like a dripping tap. This is because of the sheer numbers of files we can be working on (which can be thousands) coupled with the multiplicity of work we will be doing for each client.
“Time recording and document management in SOS Connect has revolutionised this; it is so easy to set up a record in 30 seconds and immediately start billing and then log all forms of contact with clients.”
Mr Welch added that SOS Connect has also helped to eliminate another bane of many lawyers’ lives: searching for missing paperwork. “On a logistical level, office space is at premium in the City and it pays to be organised,” he said.
“SOS Connect helps us to keep paper down to an absolute minimum so we pay less on space; we don’t procrastinate behind huge piles of cases on our desks and have a lean number of filing cabinets.
“A favourite expression is that ‘electronic files don’t sprout legs’, meaning we’ve eliminated the mindless search for missing paper files that many firms still endure due to an outdated love of paper.
“In the short term, we wanted SOS Connect in and up and for the whole team to be using it and capturing information – we rapidly hit that goal. In the longer term, we will continuously polish how we use the software to gain even greater efficiencies.”
David McNamara, managing director of SOS, said: “By their very nature, law firms such as Joshi & Welch need to be agile and adept at using technology to their maximum advantage. SOS Connect is an integral part of the firm’s processes and it will continue to evolve and grow in line with its needs.”