A “revolutionary” online tool aimed at enabling solicitors to comply with the requirements of costs management has been launched by a well-known costs lawyer.
Omnia – the brainchild of Sue Nash of High Wycombe-based Litigation Costs Services – 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 enables law firms to monitor budgeted costs against actual work done and then produce costs budgeting form H/HB at the touch of a button.
The software, which will be fully launched in time for the start of costs management next April, integrates with existing practice and case management systems. This means that data only needs to be inputted once to generate bills of costs, schedules, costs budgets and internal reports to allow firms to monitor their actual budget ‘spend’.
Ms Nash said: “Over the past 25 years I have witnessed in granular detail the evolution of the organisation and funding of litigation. It is from this experience, coupled with the Jackson reforms – which have provided the impetus for change – that Omnia has been born.
“Whilst costs budgeting pilot schemes have been taking place for two years now, for many lawyers the new mandatory costs budgeting regime from April 2013 represents a wholesale shift away from what they know. Few individuals or businesses would disagree with Lord Justice Jackson’s objective to make litigation less costly and because of this prevailing attitude from the public and the judiciary, solicitors must prepare now to meet these challenges come April.”
Ms Nash added that Omnia can also help costs lawyers evolve their offering to solicitors. “The role of costs lawyers will become more crucial come April 2013, so costs lawyers need to prepare just as much as solicitors for the change. Omnia enables data from solicitors’ files to be imported direct from their practice and case management systems, thus speeding up the production of bills and schedules.
“Costs lawyers can then focus their attention on analysis of the work done as well as the negotiation and advocacy elements of their roles, all of which will become more important under the new regime where judges will be keeping a sharp eye on escalating costs.”