Firms streamline operations by standardising software systems

Regional law firm Woodfines and Jackson Brierley Hudson Stoney (JBHS) in Rochdale have both selected SOS Connect from Solicitors Own Software to standardise their software, citing the need to prepare for the post-Legal Services Act landscape.

Though a long-standing user of SOS (which is a Legal Futures ) for practice management and accounts, Woodfines – with offices in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire – has grown through a series of mergers and acquisitions, and assimilated a variety of applications, including Outlook, for running the business. It has also recently introduced its first case management system for conveyancing. 

In order to prepare for full Lexcel accreditation, the firm needed to standardise procedures throughout the firm. The impact of the Legal Services Act was also a significant factor, said managing partner Adrian Frost: “As a dynamic, forward thinking firm looking to further expand into the region, it would be foolish not to keep an eye on our competitiveness as the Legal Services Act issues new challenges and opportunities.”

Mr Frost said he visited SOS customer, Peterborough-based Buckles, as part of the selection process. “We were impressed by the functionality of SOS Connect when it was demonstrated across all practices areas and disciplines. The idea that everything from document management and time recording to key performance indicators, management reporting and case management could all be made available under one umbrella, gave us the reassurance that we would be able to use the software to continue to provide our clients with the best possible service.”

JBHS – another existing SOS customer – has switched to SOS Connect for case management as well as upgrade to the latest version for a fully integrated practice, case management and legal accounts system. The aim is to drive costs down from running two different systems acquired as a result of acquiring AH Sutcliffe & Co in 2008, save time by introducing consistent practices and serve clients better with a more streamlined operation.

A user of SOS for practice management since 1998, the law firm also has conveyancing software from Ochresoft. Partner Mary Rodak said: “Maintaining compatibility between the different systems and making any changes or improvements had become an issue. We wanted to achieve a situation where matter management in all our various work areas and all client information could be integrated with the SOS client database to deliver a standard platform to the business.”

Ms Rodak also cited the influence of the Legal Services Act and the pressure it could put on conveyancing and estate services. “This is an opportunity to change the way we work,” she said, “and become more streamlined by using SOS Connect to introduce office-wide automation.”

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