QualitySolicitors (QS) has launched a new online customer platform, which has taken a year to develop and is described by the network as the most advanced of its kind.
Eddie Ross, chief executive of QS, said a small firm in the Midlands is currently using the platform for divorce cases, and would be joined by 22 more member firms in the next few weeks.
“The amount of money we’ve invested in this would not make sense for a single law firm, but as a collaborative effort it makes sense for us.
“It has taken two or three months longer to develop than we planned, but once you have something which works, you can quickly get into improving it and there is a snowball effect.
“We believe this will differentiate QS firms. Our firms want to be different and we are giving them the tools they need.”
Sally Holdway, head of the customer platform project at QS and a solicitor, said use of the system in divorce cases could remove the need for a first meeting, save the client around two hours at the initial stages and “double the profitability” of simple transactions.
Ms Holdway said the system allowed firms to gather information they would normally gather at an initial meeting, including checking for IDs and enabling online payments on account.
Among the tasks the platform helps with are sending initial client care letters, which each firm is likely to customise, and it can pre-populate divorce petitions with information to save time.
Ms Holdway said the divorce version of the platform would be followed by conveyancing and private client versions, hopefully in April.
“Some people think technology will radically change everything,” Mr Ross said. “What this is about is enhancing existing processes with two customers in mind – people dealing with highs street solicitors and law firms wanting to get rid of boring administrative work which does not add any value.
“Firms will not have to reinvent the wheel. This will give them online tools more appropriate to the modern world.
“Instead of firms saying ‘come on a certain day and meet Mr Jones’, clients will register as one of our users, fill in as much information as they can and press submit.”
Mr Ross said QS believed the new customer platform was “the most advanced system available” for initial contact between client and lawyer. “We are very proud of it and our firms are very keen on it.”
He added that QS wanted to grow “with the right firms” from its existing base of around 100 practices, and the platform would help. He said several more firms were “on the point of joining” and he was talking to a “large number” across the country.