“We don’t actually provide the hosting service but advise firms on the options and help with the transition. I’m happy to give you a couple of contact names to get this info direct from the suppliers we think would be the easiest options for you as a small start up as they would quickly understand your requirements and have solutions ready and waiting. There will be other options though. Be wary of just making a direct cost comparison between hosted and on-premise solutions as there a lot of softer benefits (admin, management, hassle, holiday cover, flex options to working remotely, disaster recovery etc. of hosting) and some risks (control and resilience of comms lines into your office in particular, retention of some local admin support) you need to take into account in the value equation too.
It would probably be worth meeting and running the proposals past Frank Manning here to make sure they really match your requirements and to get his tips on making sure it all goes smoothly – maybe half a day of input from him would cost you about £425 plus vat and expenses, so let me know if that could be of interest. I suspect it would be money well spent at this stage to make sure you are on the right track.”
And … let me know if you need anything else in setting up the practice. Jon Miller would be good to get the finances set up,
We are always wary of talking about using “the Cloud” as it has connotations of fluffiness and lack of control – but we’d prefer to think about securely hosted IT systems accessible from anywhere. Here one releatively new user – patent attorneys, Wildbore & Gibbons talk you through their rationale and experience of the move to securely hosted IT systems, which reflects our experience of working with a wide variety of legal practices and providers of hosted services … provided you choose the right provider for your practice … which is where we come in to help you make the right decisions.
Options in this area are developing rapidly now, so suppliers that had the best solution last year, may not be the best solution for you now – so you need advice to compare suppliers and the various options available (hosted, multi-tenanted, hybrid – managed by your team or by the suppliers – all of which is possible) and to compare against the relative benefits and costs of potentially continuing with your servers etc on premise.
There are many considerations beyond cost – the user experience, levels of support, degree of automation / customised help available, limitations on applications …. etc. so please contact us for at least a free preliminary discussion before you go too far down the line.
If you are considering a move to the Cloud / hosted IT systems, please contact us – Andrew Simmans or Michael McGuire on 0161 929 8355 or via email@example.com
When it comes to outsourcing legal process, I suspect there’s a misconception of what is actually being outsourced to third parties. Much of what I see being outsourced is legal administration work – the routine and mundane work that lawyers really don’t want to do; discrete parts of the process, not the whole process itself.
A couple of examples – in clinical negligence work, there tends to be a huge amount of documents, where it helps the lawyer to have the notes summarised into a concise document they can digest quickly to identify and reference key facts and issues. There are also wider opportunities to deal more effectively with e-discovery of documents – where data held in multiple formats (from paper to electronic) can readily be searched, compiled, indexed etc to make all the information and evidence more readily accessible to the lawyers.
Both of these examples improve the process and the ability of lawyers at all levels to focus on getting the legal advice right – also reducing the cost of doing the job.
Lawyers should be looking harder at every opportunity to improve the way they work to home in on more opportunities like these. For now, there should be more focus on the specifics of legal administration components of legal process to decide what can really be outsourced to benefit everyone involved. Maybe establish a relationship with a legal process outsourcing company by doing some of this (or just transcription – as many have done) for starters to establish a collaborative relationship … and work with them from there?
To discuss, call +44 (0)161 929 8355 or contact Allan Carton
“The next three years will be critical for all law firms, during which time we are likely to see a wider variety of businesses providing legal services in many different ways, allowing more choice for consumers with different needs; both private individuals and businesses.
Changes are being driven by social change, advances in technology and economic pressures in addition to regulatory intervention and legislation that enable change; so change is essential to adapt successfully and capitalise on new opportunities.
New business models for established legal practices and new entrants creating “alternative business structures” are evolving now that will result in more innovative approaches to service delivery.
Efficient legal and business processes have to become routine in the future, enabling most legal practices to reduce their cost base with at least some of those savings being re-invested in developing the business and improving the client’s experience of dealing with it. Much more can be achieved by creating an agile legal business where the people delivering the service at all levels understand the concerns of the people they want to work for.
Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce aims to provide support to the Legal Sector to introduce initiatives that enable members to achieve these goals.”
Peter Heginbotham OBE, Chairman of the Legal Sector Council
Improving the use and outputs from practice management systems is increasingly on the agenda, where we can streamline the review and selection process (allowing the in house team to get on with their work, making sure their views are heard) and help senior management to make sound decisions relatively quickly with confidence because we start with knowledge and experience with a wide variety of potential options. This recent response to an enquiry from an IT Director will give you a feel for how we operate to support IT Directors and Managers in developing the business case when considering a change of Practice Management System (PMS).
” … we aim to develop an interactive working relationship with you and your team.
Our approach varies from firm to firm depending on resources and skills available and the current environment in the firm. For example, the extent to which the project also involves change management; helping lawyers and support staff who use the systems to be a part of the selection process, so they have a better understanding and take more ownership of the systems that arrive on their desk. Sometimes it is needed; other times it is not – but also, sometimes partners are prepared to pay for it; other times they are not. Variations also relate to the extent of detail wanted in evaluating the tender responses (to generate like-for-like costings and scoring of solutions as an aid to making decisions) – and the extent to which we are involved in managing the demonstration process. Also the extent to which you need to develop a business case to justify the investment in different areas of the business.
A staged approach is usually best, within a framework with timescales to work to. Key stages are:
Evaluation of the current situation and requirements, involving interviews with people at all levels – the extent of this varies, with politics often playing a part in how this can be used to maximum effect.
We can develop the business case/s to justify a) investment and b) a defined level of investment
There will generally be discussions at this stage about IT strategy, exploring options to improve productivity and returns from IT investment generally.
Identification of potential (infrastructure and) applications providers – with preliminary discussions
Development of a specification of requirements (level of detail varies and a more pragmatic approach can include a focus on key differentiators)
Demonstrations where our involvement varies
Evaluation of tenders – generating like for like numbers can be a challenge – filling gaps, advising on best options based on user feedback etc
Shortlisting – presenting the business case to the management board if needed
Involvement in some aspects of project management if needed
However, the first stage is to get in and do a preliminary evaluation of the current situation and requirements – so we can begin to consider options. In some cases our role in selection can stop there if any particular route is a “no brainer” in which case we focus on helping manage a transition.
The team here gives you access to the best range of appropriate expertise would involve Damian Griffiths (strategic), Allan Carton (user requirements and supplier options) and Richard Blasdale (detailed analysis and evaluation). ”
If you are considering your options on developing your IT systems (PMS and beyond) and have any questions, call Allan Carton on 061 929 8355 for a preliminary discussion, with no obligation.
We have widened our offering to the legal market with a new senior level appointment and the creation of a specialist merger team. Newly appointed consultant Damian Griffiths is an IT specialist who has considerable experience in developing IT solutions and directing the implementation of IT mergers for some of the UK’s leading law firms. Damian’s experience includes critical roles with three of the UK’s largest law firms, with operations worldwide; as IT Director at Eversheds and Addleshaw Goddard and external consultant to DLA Piper UK LLP.
The Inpractice UK merger team also includes founder and director of Inpractice UK Allan Carton, technology expert Andrew Simmans, Richard Blasdale, a specialist in IT systems selection and implementation and Rita Maguire, a HR and personal development consultant. The team will advise law firm clients on all aspects of a merger; from a high level strategic approach to the practicalities of consolidating databases to facilitate mergers on any scale.
Allan Carton explains that the creation of the team is a direct response to the changing landscape of the legal market: “The impending changes heralded by the Legal Services Act have got law firms considering their options. Many now realise that they need to extend, develop and improve their business operations in order to compete successfully with new commercially-capable organisations looking for opportunities in the legal sector, such as Co-operative Legal Services on private client services.”
“Inevitably those firms that have emerged through the recession relatively unscathed are now looking to the future –and for many M&A activity is a definite marker on the horizon.” But whilst well-considered mergers can be a match made in heaven on a theoretical or brand level, the nuts and bolts of a seamless transition from two separate organisations to one presents more of a challenge. “The Inpractice UK merger team brings together individuals with a wealth of experience in all aspects of mergers between two legal practices – from cost control to the nitty gritty of managing system capacity,“ Allan explains.
“Each member of the team has a line of proven project successes behind them and we anticipate that our tried and tested methods and advice will enable legal practices to get a firm grip on the practicalities of the merger process from the outset.”
Lexis Nexis launched a new partnership between their Enterprise Solutions Group (which includes all the Streamline, Axxia dna, InterAction, LexisCheck, Visualfiles, Solcase and Redwood Analytics products) with Microsoft at their annual user conference this week.
12,000 businesses use Dynamics AX already, so Microsoft’s investment in this product to date ensures that it comes with rich features and funcionality built in. The Lexis Nexis solution will be built on the newest version – AX6 – which is due for release in 2010 and will go a long way beyond traditional legal practice, case and document management systems.
Having worked on Dynamics AX, we have an understanding of the capabilities here, so we see this as a radical development in the legal technology sector. There is due to be an early adopters programme during 2011, with the fully developed product widely available in the UK and beyond from 2012.