In a recent article, we discussed how the Proclaim Development team assisted an ATE insurer to merge their 3rd party data directly into their Solicitor clients’ Proclaim case management system. This is just one of many examples of how our team of developers can implement proclaim integration to assist in optimising the efficiency of your law firm by synchronising your Proclaim system with a number of other third party systems allowing you to enjoy full and seamless bespoke IT solutions with Proclaim as the data hub. How else can Proclaim integration with third party systems assist your law firm?
Proclaim Integration with External Parties
Do any of your existing partners have a digital environment of their own? Proclaim integration with the systems of key suppliers, such as ATE insurers, medical agencies and counsels, will ensure that data from these partners can be automatically exported directly into your system using secure web technologies. This can all be done on the pressing of a button saving a significant amount of time for fee earners and all involved. Proclaim integration with third parties can help ensure that you never lose another medical report or ATE policy in the email abyss. Having all data and correspondence accessible, directly in your Proclaim, from the moment your partners send it to you, will help your business run a lot more smoothly and efficiently.
A Proclaim data import can be useful when receiving data, such as new client details or a medical appointment, from an external party. This type of Proclaim integration provides us with the ability to move all external data directly into the proclaim system. The main benefit of this is that it eliminates task of manually keying the data into your Proclaim system.
Proclaim Integration with Basic IT Software
Did you know you could synchronise Proclaim with basic software such as Microsoft Excel? Integration with this type of software can help provide MI reports by exporting data into excel and PDF formats to provide you with vital information. Financial, Management Information, Dashboard, KPI and Trend Reporting are some of the key areas in which Proclaim integration with third party software can be extremely useful. At Legal Practice Support, we have years of experience creating versatile and detailed reports to provide a range of different business functions.
How Can we Help?
At LPS, we are skilled in designing software solutions that fit 100% with your business needs. In the increasingly competitive and challenging legal industry, full integration and harmony for your IT real estate is vital for maximising your businesses efficiency. LPS can help synchronise your Proclaim system with many other third-party systems. We can also help manage projects that enable you to access real-time data within Proclaim, working alongside 3rd party development companies to achieve your goals.
If you would like to find out more about Proclaim integration and how a Proclaim Developer from the Legal Practice Support team could assist your firm, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Solicitors spend an extraordinary amount of their time preparing routine letters and standard forms/Court documents, all of which contain a significant amount of generic information. Document automation increases the efficiency in preparing these items whilst reducing errors, and improving the client experience.
What Can Document Automation with Proclaim Achieve?
Generic information is repeatedly inserted into routine documentation. Such information can be in the form of party details, title, address amongst many other things. Proclaim is able to automatically enter a document template and insert the relevant fields within the same. Through document automation, an extensive array of letter/document templates can be created with minimal effort.
In addition, with the burdens placed on Solicitors in modern litigation, it can be easy for a file handler to forget to provide clients with updates at certain points of litigation. Proclaim can, therefore, be developed to ensure clients are provided with routine updates on a regular basis, and at specific points during the life-cycle of their case/claim.
What Benefits Does Document Automation Achieve?
Information of any individual or party will only ever need to be entered once into the Proclaim Case Management System. This inevitably means that masses of time can be saved on routine tasks, such as preparing client care packs, or providing routine updates to a client. If developed correctly, document automation can ensure that Court documents are prepared with default settings that can be altered by a file handler if required.
Document automation also vastly reduces the level of errors that arise in documentation through human error, and significantly improves the client experience, ensuring all clients are properly updated whenever they reach certain trigger-points of their instructions or claim.
How Can We Implement Document Automation into Proclaim?
Increasing the level of any aspect of automation within Proclaim will vastly reduce the administrative element of your team’s workload, and increase their efficiency and profitability as a result.
James Denby is Head of Proclaim Development at Legal Practice Support and possesses in excess of eight years’ experience, both in-house and as an external consultant, in developing legal case management systems. James is also uniquely in the position of having worked as a Senior Manager within a law firm, and as having conducted his own caseload as an experienced Paralegal. As a seasoned Proclaim Developer, James understands the requirements of any IT system/workflow/task from the view of the user, as well as from an IT perspective.Read More
The Proclaim Development team at Legal Practice Support (LPS) is often tasked with providing MI (Management Information) reports to the managerial users of Proclaim.
On What can MI Reporting be Effective?
Owing to the vast amount of data stored within any Proclaim system, there is an extensive amount of Management Information that can be analysed. Proclaim comes with its own standard set of reports however, bespoke reports can be developed that are tailored to the business’ individual needs. These can be on any MI data held within the Proclaim system, the most frequently sought after of which are financial, compliance and workflow orientated reports.
Why Should I be Interested in MI Reports?
We are in a digital age which affords us the opportunity to examine Management Information data with greater ease and more scrutiny. Further with the expansion of fixed costs throughout much of the legal industry, it is important to ensure all processes are conducted in the most cost-effective manner. MI reporting can greatly assist in improving profitability and reducing inefficiency. This may be through identifying and managing key bottlenecks in processes, or determining the most profitable behaviours. Reporting data to external agencies on issues such as WIP and case progression can also be greatly reduced to the click of a single button or none at all if you wish to receive them automatically via email at scheduled times.
Management Information Reporting Examples
- Progression Reports – Are tasks being completed?
- Age Reports – What is the age of your caseload?
- Profitability – Who is generating the most profit overall/per file, per claim type or per department?
- WIP – Calculate the total firm WIP for reporting purposes, or in relation to certain case types or file handlers.
LPS provide an in-depth summary of important reports that can be developed here.
If you would like to discuss how to implement extended MI reporting into your Proclaim system, please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com for further information.
James Denby is Head of Proclaim Development at Legal Practice Support and possesses in excess of eight years’ experience, both in-house and as an external consultant, in developing legal case management systems. James is also uniquely in the position of having worked as a Senior Manager within a law firm, and as having conducted his own caseload as an experienced Paralegal. As such James understands the requirements of any IT system/workflow/task from the view of the user, as well as from an IT perspective.Read More
Eclipse Proclaim has become the leading digital case management system for Solicitors in England and Wales. The desire for a paperless office solution has become increasingly appealing and sought after for many law firms in light of reduced profit margins and increased overheads brought about by ongoing changes in the legal market. Shockingly however according to a survey by YouGov, in the UK SMEs still waste more than £42.2 million per day in revenues looking for documents. More alarming statistics brought to light by the survey were that;
- 92% of managers and directors surveyed waste time searching for paperwork each working day, with 80% losing up to an hour per day.
- Less than 25% of companies have a document management system in their company.
- A mere 7% of SMEs have a predominantly paperless office.
Many law firms do not realise that the time spent trying to find documents and collating data costs them dearly and is detrimental to their business development. The direct and indirect benefits to having a paperless office environment solution such as the law society accredited case management solution Eclipse Proclaim should not be understated, here are some of the top reasons;
With Eclipse Proclaim it is no longer necessary to waste time looking for documents. All document searches can be done rapidly and results are obtained in seconds. All the documents are stored on a central server so there is no danger of misplacing any documentation. With all the time you will save using Eclipse Proclaim to cut down on admin tasks executives can spend their time more productively, on developing the business and generating revenue. Read more here.
Using Eclipse Proclaim as your digital document management system provides you with a fully searchable, central document library and knowledge / precedent store. Furthermore, post can be scanned and stored digitally within the relevant cases. As well as the obvious time savings this brings it also increases your available office real estate when you realise you can remove paper focused assets such as filing cabinets.
Automatic audit trail
Improved Costs Budgeting and Cost Management
Closing remarks on Eclipse Proclaim
For many of our clients while they are initially happy with the “out-of-the-box” system that Eclipse Proclaim delivers they become quickly aware that to reap the benefits of a fully paperless office they need additional help tailoring the system to their own bespoke needs.Expecting the default Eclipse Proclaim system to meet your businesses needs is akin to purchasing opening a new excel spreadsheet and expecting it to come with a working Profit and Loss system complete with all of your firm’s information. Eclipse Proclaim gives you the tools to maximise your paperless office environment but you need someone who knows how to use those tools, that’s where we come in.
Proclaim is a great bit of kit and can be used straight out of the box, especially if you have also purchased some of the additional workflow packages that Eclipse Legal provide. However, if you want to get the most out of the software and ensure that the expensive desktop icon you’ve purchased translates into increased revenue for your Firm, then bespoke development and Proclaim enhancements by a skilled specialist is a must.
To that end here are the top 5 Proclaim enchantments that we at LPS know will repay your initial investment in spades;
Custom reports are one of many Proclaim enhancements available. While Proclaim comes with some great default reports out of the boxes, it won’t be long before you realise you need to create some bespoke reports that work for your Firm’s unique needs.
Do you specialise in holiday claims and need to know which holiday provider or region is responsible for the most successful claims so that you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly? Are you a Firm that needs to know which CMC provides you with the best quality claims, so you’re not having your Fee Earners waste their time running duds? Are you a Clinical Negligence Specialist that wants to know how lucrative each claim is so that you can better target your marketing and focus on those high-value claims?
Proclaim is a database and in the right hands, it can be used to answer all of the above questions and much, much more. At LPS we’ve yet to encounter a set of data we’ve not been able to provide by producing a bespoke Proclaim report. Needless to say, the Firms that utilise the reporting functionality of Proclaim to its greatest extent can make quicker and more informed business decisions than those that rely on gut feelings.
Enhanced Mail Scanning
While you can drag documentation into Proclaim, manually this can quickly become a tedious and time-consuming exercise. Not to mention risky, when you are relying on individuals to drag documentation in manually themselves. With the correct development and software integration, you can ensure all of your Firm’s documentation is automatically imported into Proclaim.
The benefits of an automatic scanning solution cannot be overstated, while the upfront development costs can seem expensive, most Firms see the initial investment returned in savings within the first 6-12 months. Beyond that point not only are you likely saving substantial sums of money every month but you’ll also be ensuring every bit of paper correspondence that enters your Firm’s doors is added into Proclaim automatically.
The most apparent advantages of this are that you can monitor who is and is not dealing with their correspondence via custom reporting. Furthermore, if you have sufficiently optimised your workflow you can set triggers to create automated actions when the correspondence is imported such as notifying the client you have obtained his medical report.
With the right setup, you can go as far as scanning the contents of the letter and dealing with it appropriately. Does it refer to a Court Order or perhaps a Part 36 offer? Once you are automatically scanning your incoming correspondence, you can ensure that this sort of critical documentation is never missed and ends up in the rights hands rather than sitting in a Fee Earners desk tray indefinitely.
While every Firm is going to undoubtedly have similarities in the way it conducts itself, (after all how many ways can you submit a CNF?) there are going to be key differences and bespoke precedents that will be utilised along the way. After all, do you want to risk losing out on indemnity costs because a Fee Earner forgot to draft a paragraph into a Part 36 offer letter rather than using the Firm approved precedent? Or continue running a claim via the MOJ portal when it timed out months ago but the Fee Earner found it easier to settle the claim by keeping it on the portal. Or found out one week before trial that the CNF was never submitted in the first instance?
Key Proclaim enhancements for workflows correctly ensure your files follow have a set path in a way that suits your Firms needs, and will ensure all cases are run in a preapproved manner, which will reduce the likelihood of any negligent mistakes being made and that they are progressed as efficiently as possible. Rather than having your Fee Earners manually draught their letters or trawl through a list of Proclaim letters trying to find the correct one, it’s much more effective to have a one click solution in place.
For instance, optimise your workflow so that at the press of one button the four letters that you have approved to be drafted when issuing proceedings are created and all the requisite details pulled in automatically from your Proclaim system, this will reduce an hour long process to minutes. When you are disclosing your client’s medical report to the third party, why not automatically send an SMS to the client notifying them of this? It’ll reduce the likelihood of a client telephone your Fee Earners to ask for an update, thus freeing the Fee Earners up to generate more revenue and bring the claim to a conclusion more promptly.
At LPS we know that no matter how complex a system may seem, in the right hands it can be effectively mapped and optimised into an efficient and effective Proclaim system.
Enhanced Web Services
Web services in Proclaim terms are effectively any system that relies on web technology to integrate an external system with your Proclaim system. Proclaim enhancements to web services can be particularly beneficial for law firms.
The obvious examples would be the stock A2A or Land Registry integration that can be purchased from Eclipse, this itself can be further enhanced in the right hands. For instance, do Fee Earners keep forgetting to attach the physio invoice onto the portal, why not automate that with a some of the bespoke development?
You might have a provider who you work closely with, ATE Insurer for example. Why not setup a web service to automate the process, with the click of a button you could feed your data directly into their system and pull back an ATE Certificate automatically attaching it to your system. It’s a solution that can be applied to any provider that offers a web service at their end; you just need the expertise to connect your Proclaim system and theirs together.
Or maybe you receive claims via your website and end up losing the leads due to poor response times. Why not link it in directly to your Proclaim system so an enquiry case is setup, and an automated SMS is sent to the prospective client advising them that claim has been received and that an advisor will be in touch shortly. Introducing a web service integration between your Proclaim system and your website could reduce the amount of lost prospective clients substantially and in turn translate into increased revenue for your Firm.
Optimise Your Task Servers
Proclaim enhancements can also be used to optimise task servers. Task Servers are an amazing tool that very few Firms utilise to full effect. Most are just left chugging along, performing the default actions that will have been in place since the time you had proclaim installed, such as sending faxes, SMS messages, and any default web services.
However, they are a vital tool that can be used to automate any repetitive action freeing up more time for fee earning staff to be performing actual fee earning rather than administrative tasks. Furthermore, they can be utilised to ensure you always have most up-to-date information at your fingertips. Want an hourly report tracking your Firms billed hours for the month and don’t want to watch as your screen freezes and your mouse become a swirling circle of loading doom? Then use a task server to ensure you don’t even need to think about that report running, you’ll just find a fresh copy in your mailbox hourly, or however frequently you need it.
This list of Proclaim enhancements is certainly not exhaustive, and each area has considerably more application that this article has time to delve into. However, should you want to know more about anything in this article or perhaps some other areas that fall outside the top 5 Proclaim enhancements, then don’t hesitate to contact our Legal IT Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
Proclaim is in essence a database that in the right hands can be used to produce comprehensive and enlightening reports for your business. At LPS we’ve yet to encounter a set of data we have not been able to provide by producing bespoke Proclaim Reports. Needless to say, the businesses that utilise the reporting functionality of Proclaim to its greatest extent can make quicker and more informed business decisions than those that rely on gut feelings. Whilst straight forward, Proclaim Reports can be one of the most effective forms of Proclaim Development.
Supplier / Service provider Profitability
Understanding the profitability of each supplier your business utilises, is essential for minimising wastage, maximising efficiency and therefore increasing your profit margins. Consequently, it’s of paramount importance that you are able to determine who your most profitable suppliers of work or services are.
This means by way of example, that you now have the capabilities to ascertain the failure rate of cases that suppliers send to you. For instance, while Supplier A may seemingly supply more successful cases than Supplier B, what percentage of those cases are the successful ones? It sounds obvious but many businesses fail to assess the success rate of their work. If your fee earners are having to run 3 cases from Supplier A before they get a successful case, it may be less beneficial to work with them than Supplier B. After all, you pay your fee earners to run cases, if they are spending 75% of their time running unsuccessful cases this is a terrible use of time and by extension money.
It’s the same principle for other suppliers of course, does Barrister A achieve better results than B, which Cost Draftsman is getting you the most profit per case and which Medical Expert is turning around your reports the quickest?
Risk Profiling Report
Naturally as well as analysing which supplier is the most profitable for your business you should also utilise Proclaim to analyse which of your businesses revenue streams provides you the best return on your investment.
While it may be great that your firm has hundreds of clinical negligence, RTA or immigration cases, what is the actual percentage of these that will successfully conclude? Then out of those that are successful, what will the profit be when compared to the investment you have made in terms of marketing spend, staff salaries and other such overheads? Proclaim Reports in this area can be critical to improving percentage success rates and minimising lost WIP.
In the legal industry recent and pending reforms have increased the need for all processes to be as efficient as possible. Automating processes will increase efficiency and will allow staff to work with higher volumes, but you will also need oversight of all these cases that is both meaningful and easily accessible; it is too easy after all, for a file handler to put that difficult case to one side and focus on the more straight forward cases.
The idea behind Proclaim Reports for progression is that you can breakdown any process into its key stages whether this be assembling flat pack furniture or in this instance running clients’ cases. All cases will have a beginning, a conclusion and multiple stages in between. The start generally would be vetting the case and the end would be submitting a final bill for the work done. A good illustration would be a typical personal injury case where you would want to breakdown the case into stages. Such stages may include: the procurement of signed identification and retainer documentation; the requesting and receipt of a date for a medical appointment and report; or whether the pre-action period has expired and the case is now ready for issue.
The obvious benefit to this kind of reporting is that you can quickly identify any bottlenecks in your workflows. If 50% of your work is stuck in a certain stage it will allow you to identify and rectify any issues before the consequences of the problem catch up with your cash flow. Additionally, you can quickly see how work is progressing, if 75% of the cases are still at the beginning of the progression report stages, you know these are unlikely to convert into revenue anytime soon and you can forecast accordingly.
Work Age Report
Leading on from progression reports, work age reports are also essential when trying to keep oversight of large volumes of work.
These Proclaim Reports will give you a breakdown of your cases and the length of time in which they have been running. The primary purpose of this reporting is so you can work out average conclusion times of cases, as well as ascertain where all of your businesses work sits within that time period. This helps with financial planning, especially when you utilise it in tandem with reports such as the work failure rate or a supplier profitability report.
For instance, a firm has 1000 cases, if you know that after analysing the work age report cases take 12 months to conclude and that 20% of your businesses work is still within the first 3 months of its life, that’s 200 cases that will not settle for another 9 months. You might also know by reviewing a work type failure rate report that 25% of these cases fail and consequently you will only be left with 150 of these cases by the time they conclude.
Furthermore, if you had a profit report that shows the average net profit per case being £1,000 you could project with reasonable accuracy that you would likely bill £150,000 in 9 month’s time.
Closing Remarks on Proclaim Reports
The benefit of robust and accurate Proclaim Reports cannot be overstated when running a successful business. Attempting to make sound business decisions without the appropriate information in your possession will almost always prove impossible. Of course the ability to accurately and efficiently pull data from your system will be limited by the extent to which your system has been developed. If you have limited automated workflows and rely on staff to manually input data, it will only ever be as good as the individuals inputting that data and as we all know, individuals are often prone to error through no fault of their own.
Consequently, to get the most from your reporting you should always seek to develop your system and its workflows. The more automated it is, the less prone to human error it will be and the more accurate your dataset and reports will be as a result.
This list is certainly not exhaustive, and should you want to know more about anything in this article or perhaps some other areas that fall outside the top 4 Proclaim Reports, then don’t hesitate to contact our Legal IT Director at email@example.comRead More
At Legal Practice Support we have yet to meet a solicitor who enjoys regulatory compliance. It’s a monotonous job after all, nobody will thank you for getting in the way of practising law or slowing the speed in which a case might be concluded. The role is so often reduced to box-ticking and paper trails. This is where a Proclaim Risk Management system can help.
As a consequence of this with smaller firms we tend to see either a lax approach to compliance or compliance outsourcing to a compliance consultant at a cost of course. For bigger firms it is difficult to outsource the job and they often have the resources to deal in house. This does not however, mean it is always dealt with commercially, efficiently or even effectively.
An effective solution would be to adopt a software approach such as developing a Proclaim Risk Management System, which is something we at Legal Practice Support have extensive experience undertaking.
Risk File Reviews
Too often it is thought of that compliance is the responsibility of the senior management and compliance officers but this is not how the regulators see things. Compliance is seen to be the responsibility of every employee within your firm. By using Proclaim to develop a comprehensive compliance platform you can ensure that all employees are involved in the process by creating one centralised system.
A Proclaim Risk Management System can be developed to allow everyone to easily conduct audits, report on incidents and deal with any other compliance related tasks. This will all help ensure that dealing with compliance becomes a shared culture within your business taking the pressure off senior management and compliance officers.
Proclaim can be utilised to create task management workflows where you can plan, track and action all compliance activity. Furthermore the system automates tasks and ensures that all activity is tracked and dealt with efficiently and within your prescribed timescales. By utilising proclaim you can take a proactive approach to risk and compliance, ensuring that you never again miss an action date. Further, completion of tasks can be prohibited until certain documentation has been placed on file. For instance, has the CFA been signed and received before significant costs are incurred in the absence of a retainer, has a pre-Trial risk review been completed before the substantial costs of preparing for Trial and instructing Counsel have arisen? Is the file handler instructing Counsel from a pre-approved list of suppliers who are known to have a good success rate?
Arguably one of the most important aspects of a comprehensive and effective risk management system is the ability to produce reports. Proclaim Risk Management System allows you to produce full compliance reports that can be scaled to your own bespoke requirements. This enables you to instantly see an overview of the whole landscape or drill down a specific section.
Using a Proclaim Risk Management System users could do things such as track risks by department or work type. Build up a dynamic risk register categorising by risk level, likelihood and consequence. Furthermore, you could utilise Proclaim Risk Management System to produce mitigation strategies, allocating tasks to those responsible for controlling risk within your firm and effectively track and monitor these tasks by reporting on them.
Automated workflows drive efficiency, ensure consistency and increase visibility. By developing a Proclaim Risk Management System you can replace inefficient spreadsheet based processes with highly automated solutions that are not prone to error. Additionally, you would reduce the time and cost spent on managing compliance by having a structured and well thought out workflow in place.
A Proclaim Risk Management System allows you to optimise your processes and improve the consistency of your reporting. Increase your team’s productivity through organised communication & collaboration all in addition to controlling and enhancing your compliance culture.
Individual Risk Review
Additionally, you can utilise Proclaim to analyse trends in individual employees or certain case types or demographics. I.e. is a certain employee more prone to error on a certain case type or in general? Are certain cases more likely to incur adverse costs than others? Information like this will allow you to gradually adapt how you monitor your cases so those with the biggest risk are easily identified early on.
This would allow you to produce a comprehensive risk register highlighting both employees that are more prone to incurring adverse cost and case types which are likely to do the same. This sort of data can prove crucial for HR departments when conducting appraisals and similarly for the practice when determining which case types to take on or supplier to utilise.
A Proclaim Risk Management System can be designed to help law firms record, track and manage incidents, including the resulting actions needed to resolve any issues that may arise. You could efficiently record and track incidents, automatically assign them to relevant parties and create and track any actions needed to resolve the matter. Proclaim should be utilised to manage the following;
- Compliance Reporting
- Complaints Management
- Professional Indemnity Claims Management
- Misconduct Reporting
- Risk Register
- Anti-Money Laundering
- File Handler Risk Record (Adverse Costs)
- Many others
An often overlooked area of comprehensive compliance solution would be document storage. You can utilise a Proclaim Risk Management System to securely store all documentation relevant to your firm’s compliance needs.
Collaboration and information sharing is an essential part of maintaining efficient compliance and quality workflows. Proclaim as a database is the ideal solution with the ability to store documents centrally and to record any documentation directly to the relevant incident you are working on. For example, you could store the following, all within a secure and password-protected digital environment if required;
- Disciplinary documentation
- Risk Register
- File Audits
- Anti-Money Laundering
Compliance is a necessary but often daunting aspect of any law firm. Fortunately, the modern and more demanding requirements can be made much easier by utilising a modern and more efficient comprehensive electronic solution such as a Proclaim Risk Management System.
This article while comprehensive does not provide an exhaustive list of ways in which Proclaim can enhance the way your law firm deal with compliance. Each area has considerably more application than this article has time to delve into. However, should you want to know more about anything in this article or perhaps some other areas that fall outside a Proclaim Risk Management System, then don’t hesitate to contact us here or contact our Legal IT Director via email at firstname.lastname@example.orgRead More
2018, it’s a year that very few if any Claimant PI firms throughout England and Wales are looking forward to. The small claims limit will be raised to £2,000 and £5,000 for whiplash specifically which is a de facto abolishment of the claim.
However, let’s not forgot it wasn’t too long ago that the same demographic of lawyers were dreading the impending date of April 2013 ushering in the Jackson reforms. Which was only shortly after adapting to the fixed fee changes brought about by the MOJ portal and the more seasoned reader will of course remember the even older Woolf reforms. Claimant PI lawyers might be forgiven for thinking that their entire profession is under siege and I’d struggle to disagree with them.
Consecutive governments rather than tackle more pressing matters such as the national debt or even the deficit have made punitive changes to the way in which claimant PI lawyers can operate. It always seemed to me that a basic change such as mandating all vehicles have dashcams installed might be a more constructive means of tackling fraudulent PI claims. Then again, I didn’t attend Eton and nor do I have friends that run insurance companies so who am I am to criticise the no doubt stellar logic behind the decisions.
However, what has become increasingly apparent is that lawyers are resilient and will continue to adapt, whether it be diversifying into different areas of law or finding new ways to maximise profits. The way that many forward-thinking law firms are moving is to try and ensure that their entire operation is a well-oiled machine.
The dream for many firms would be self-generating work via a strong online presence and then funnelling all of that work directly into a robust case management system, which removes the majority, if not all administrative tasks. Leaving only the matters of genuine complexity to be dealt with by the fee earning staff. Well until AI really takes off in the next 20 years or so that is, not that its stopped some from already trying that approach (https://futurism.com/an-ai-law-firm-wants-to-automate-the-entire-legal-world/) and (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-28/jpmorgan-marshals-an-army-of-developers-to-automate-high-finance ).
The benefits of an efficient system should not be understated, it has always been desirable but now it is becoming mandatory. If a business’s profits are to drop by a substantial margin action must be taken. Many firms may layoff staff or cut back on new work and while this may be prudent in the short term, the long-term implications can often be a perpetual downward spiral leading to insolvency. A much more consecutive approach is to maximise the resources the business has.
If it takes a fee earner 20 hours to settle case worth £1,000 currently and that case is soon to be worth £500 then as a minimum the time taken needs to be reduced to 10 hours to return the same profit. If this can be achieved, then the firm is in no worse a position that it was previously. Stating this is of course obvious, achieving it is considerably less straightforward.
If we take one example example of how a firm might go about doing this the time savings and other benefits become even more readily apparent. Most firms will receive their medical reports by email, they will get reviewed as and when the fee earners gets around to it and then they might get printed off and disclosed. With the correct development of a case management system, you could almost entirely remove the human element from the process.
The report could be automatically uploaded into the case management system, with sufficiently advanced OCR software it could even be evaluated. For firms without OCR it could trigger a prompt to the fee earners to review the report. Now again to cut down further time you could incorporate the Ogden tables into your case management system, so a fee earner need not have any knowledge of the case at all, they could simply select the injury’s and the prognosis length then let the system determine the bottom and top line valuation of the claim. A supervisor would then approve this valuation (or not if you’re sufficiently confident in your system) and the letter automatically drafted and disclosed digitally to the client. Who could then electronically approve the report instantly. Not only would you be cutting down on the human hours required in this process but you would reduce the process from a week to less than a day.
This is an isolated example that may not be applicable to all firms but it is just that, an example of what is possible. When you look at any process there will always be areas that can be streamlined and automated which will provide real returns to your bottom line.
At LPS we specialise in automation and efficiency, using the resources already at your disposal to cut your overheads and increase your profit margins.Read More
Proclaim is an incredibly versatile piece of software, one only needs to look at Eclipse’s own website to gain a glimpse of the praise that is heaped upon the software. Not to mention it is the only CMS endorsed by the Law Society which is probably why over 24,000 professionals utilise it.However, that’s not to say everyone who uses proclaim is taking full advantage of what it offers, and below we go through 4 of the common mistakes we see people making.
1. Not Developing the System
An obvious one perhaps but not one that should be understated. Its surprising how many firms buy Proclaim and then fail to take full advantage of its feature set. Frequently we encounter firms who have adopted what is essentially a premium priced product and are using it for little more than mail merging documents together.That’s not to say pulling through case details into letters isn’t valuable, just ask anyone who’s tried to manually draft letters to all their clients. But the real power of Proclaim lies in its ability to streamline workflows and bring about true automation. With that pesky task that every fee earner in your firm spends an hour a day doing, I’m willing to put a very large wager that Proclaim could take care of it and free up your fee earners’ time, letting them generate fees rather than performing administrative tasks.
Struggling to find all the invoices at the end of case to bill a file? Let Proclaim take care of that instantly. Printing off a client’s medical report and posting it to them? Why not let Proclaim automatically print them out or better yet disclose them electronically and have the client’s response feed directly back into your system?
2. Not Using the Reporting Facilities
There’s no denying that Proclaim comes with some versatile stock reports. However, an area where many firms fall down is their ability to report on every facet of their operation. This can be absolutely crucial for successful management and forecasting. By way of example, from your current reports how many of you could answer the following?
- How many cases does fee earner X have where part 36 offers have been made this month?
- What is the percentage of cases that are successful from each source or type of work?
- What is the actual profit from each case after deduction of all overheads?
- Average length of time from inception of a case to its conclusion, and length of time before fees are received?
- How many cases do you possess over 3, 6, 9 and 12 months per case type?
The ability to access accurate information rapidly is essential for any business success. If you’re making decisions and projections based on little more than guess work you can only grow your business so far.
3. Storing Data Outside of Proclaim
On the face of it this might not seem like a huge mistake but it’s truly a cardinal sin. How many people know of that staff member who has their own personal spreadsheet detailing each of their cases that when open you’re fairly certain will trigger a migraine due to its questionable array of colours?Surely there’s no harm in letting a fee earners tally their own information up? True, but what happens to all that crucial information when the fee earner leaves or they lose the spreadsheet? This is not to mention the duplication of work that is often done. An extensively developed Proclaim system will not only give you all of this information but allow you to report on it and trigger actions.
Has it been 7 days since you chased a TP for an offer? Have Proclaim automatically email them or prompt the fee earner to review the file. Does the client need an update? If the current case positon was stored on Proclaim rather than in a spreadsheet you could automatically generate a letter or text message to the client with an update.
On top of these obvious benefits, your Proclaim database will have a full backup solution in place (I sincerely hope), your spreadsheet probably doesn’t. So, if efficiency and automation aren’t enough to convince you to store all of your data in your Proclaim system, hopefully the security risk in not doing so will convince you as to the folly of your ways.
4. Viewing Proclaim as an Isolated System
Whilst Proclaim is incredibly versatile, there’s no denying that there are some things that other applications just do better or with more ease. A lot of people don’t realise though that more often than not you can take advantage of Proclaim’s toolset to allow other applications to work in tandem.Do you prefer generating reports in SQL? Well use Proclaim’s MI Warehouse or an export routine to pull the data out of Proclaim into your platform of choice.
Need to manipulate the data and send it back into Proclaim? Well then use Proclaim’s web service functionality or an import routine.
If your staff spend a lot of time keying in data to both Proclaim and another application it’s almost a guaranteed certainty that this arduous task could be removed and both applications could work together seamlessly.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and we are certainly not suggesting that all firms are guilty of these mistakes, hopefully this will give you some reassurance that your using your system in the correct manner. If however, you find that your firm isn’t or would like to discuss other areas in which Proclaim could be developed to make your work life more pleasant don’t hesitate to contact us below.