Rothera Dowson Solicitors is streamlining business processes with the roll-out of SOS Connect from Legal Futures Associate to around 100 users for integrated practice, accounting and matter management.
The adoption of standardised procedures for generic processes together with customised workflows which meet the needs of individual departments are improving operational efficiency and freeing up more fee-earners’ time in the run up to the Legal Services Act changes.
Rothera Dowson is a multi-service law firm with five offices in and around Nottingham. It serves many of the midlands’ well-known businesses and organisations and provides individuals with legal advice on the broadest range of issues.
As a longstanding user of SOS practice management and accounting software, Rothera Dowson evaluated SOS Connect alongside other suppliers. IT partner Richard Hammond said: “We wanted to move away from individuals creating ad hoc procedures by introducing a standard set of procedures which can be managed more effectively and easily, as well as provide better business information.
“We valued our relationship with SOS and it was a natural progression to implement SOS Connect but not before we had considered it carefully to ensure that it was the best solution for our business needs.”
Many processes – such as for file and matter creation, time recording and anti-money laundering – have been simplified and are now generated centrally. These were rolled out globally and then Rothera Dowson’s IT team worked with the departments to design file procedures according to their requirements, which were then scripted and checked by SOS.
“The many pre-sets and options in the SOS software greatly speeded up this process,” commented Richard Hammond, “and we were able to roll out these customised elements to our departments within six months.”
From an IT perspective, Rothera Dowson is finding SOS Connect easier to adapt, easier to support and easier to control. The impact is also being felt on the business. Time leakage has reduced due to fully automated time recording, especially as fee-earners are prompted to record time spent on incoming and outgoing e-mails.
The law firm has also taken advantage of the SOS Connect integration with Postcode Anywhere, which automates the creation of new client details on the system and forces a conflict check with records on the database. The close integration with Microsoft Outlook has been particularly welcomed by the commercial department for recording e-mail ‘conversations’ and simplifying their retrieval and archiving.
Each fee-earner is also kept closely in tune with business performance through the use of key performance indicators and on-screen status reports, which help them to track progress against budgeted performance. The introduction of sequential and auto-billing has removed this burden from fee-earners, so reducing the time spent on this task, especially around month end.
“There is no doubt that the changes to the legal landscape partly drove our decision to upgrade our systems,” said Richard Hammond. “However, we expect the positive impact of SOS Connect to give us the opportunity to improve our levels of customer service and our operational effectiveness.
“We have tried to develop a relationship with SOS as a business ‘partner’ rather than just another supplier. SOS works hard to provide a supportive after sales service and we believe there are benefits from working with a vendor who is not too big for our size of business.”
David McNamara, managing director of SOS, said: “Continuous improvement and customer service have always been top priorities for SOS to help our clients achieve the best return from their investment. We also believe that this approach engenders long-term relationships and are delighted to be working alongside Rothera Dowson as they streamline their organisation and improve their operational performance.”