Harris Cartier and Stones connect to SOS

E-mail: messages are captured and automatically stored into each case

Thames Valley law firm Harris Cartier and south-west solicitors Stones have become the latest practices to switch to SOS Connect from Solicitors Own Software (SOS).

SOS Connect will replace Harris Cartier’s current Axxia system with the aim of achieving standardised procedures, easier-to-use systems, improved management information and the extension of case management to more departments.

Chief executive David McIntosh said: “The initial driver was the need to become more competitive in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Our old IT system was not as easy to use as we would like and no longer met our business requirements fully. We were looking for an integrated system that would enable us to instil standard, best practices and be so easy to use that we could ensure adoption and widespread use of the new system’s features by the whole firm.”

From a shortlist of software suppliers, which included the incumbent supplier LexisNexis Axxia and IRIS with Law Business Software, Mr McIntosh said Harris Cartier selected SOS Connect for a number of reasons, including the intuitive nature of the software. “We liked the way that e-mails are captured and automatically stored into each case, the automation of time recording and the ability for partners to create management reports without redress to the IT department. Having a more straightforward and user-friendly system means that we also plan to extend case management to new departments in addition to personal injury and conveyancing and use SOS Connect for customer relationship management. This is a fundamental change to the way we operate and one that we expect to greatly improve efficiency and our service to clients.”

SOS Connect is expected to go live for over 60 users in the Slough and London offices of Harris Cartier in the autumn.

SOS Connect will be rolled out to 115 users across Stones’ Exeter and Okehampton offices as part of a £250,000 investment which has already seen the introduction of server virtualisation and integration with outsourced back-office services.

The firm’s chief operating officer, Adrian Richards, said: “Stones reacted very quickly at the first signs of recession by rationalising offices and then adopting a new business strategy. The focus was on achieving agility to adapt the business in response to pressures the legal market will feel from the consequences of the Legal Services Act. We recognised the need for very slick IT systems to maximise efficiency.”

He said they selected SOS because of the functionality of the software and in particular the knowledge demonstrated by the project team… SOS Connect will allow our lawyers to be lawyers, by taking away routine administration and letting them concentrate on providing legal advice but without taking away their individuality. Above all clients want value for money. SOS Connect will assist us in making us attractive to clients on both pricing and efficiency in service delivery.”

SOS Connect is expected to go live for document, case, matter and e-mail management, time recording, billing and legal accounts, marketing and business reporting in the autumn of this year.

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