Welcome to the new ‘Horizon’ newsletter
I’m pleased to say that life within the Accesspoint Group has never been busier, with all three of our brands continually growing in stature month on month. Across the board we are now working with a growing list of clients from all corners of the country.
Our vision for the use of more joined up IT within legal is now a major talking point with a good number of our clients and we are starting to explore ‘on the ground’ how this can be implemented to best effect. All too often law firms have committed themselves to big expenditure on technology which is often vastly underutilised or sometimes even understood, yet has the capability of delivering a lot more.
Over the next 12 months we hope to make a difference and help our clients achieve new levels of success by a ‘joined up thinking’ approach. Making IT work a lot better, much harder and in turn provide more meaningful information plus better bottom line results. One of our recent development projects for GT Stewart resulted in winning the ‘Access to Justice through IT’ award at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards and we look to build on this achievement over the coming months.
The commitment to inward investment continues with more datacentre improvements being carried out resulting in a more stable, faster environment which has already seen far less tickets per firm over our support desk.
Needless to say, there’s lots to talk about and that’s the purpose of the newsletter, so I’ll leave you to read on.
Innovative New Products
FormShare is an innovative and handy interactive PDF form, which can be completed by clients and returned by email prior to an initial meeting.
ALS are familiar with the tedious and often time consuming task client’s face when filling out endless forms at the beginning of their legal journey. The core aim of FormShare is to save fee earners time when obtaining important details, allowing time to consider advice before the initial meeting.
Alternatively, the interactive pdf form can be completed on laptop or iPad/tablet during the initial meeting.
- Drag & drop the completed form into P4W – it automatically duplicates/conflict checks, entity and matter creation for the client, opponent, mortgage and pension companies.
- Interactive PDF Court forms – including partially completed Form E and divorce petition.
- A client’s financial statement information stored in a handy table that can be updated within P4W, updating the Form E as the matter progresses.
Flashpoint is an eco-friendly and innovative approach to sending all your notes from paper straight into your PMS, chosen folders or client case files.
Flashpoint allows you to send notes on the move and will save you days of admin time. The Flashpoint gateway software has been designed to work with the latest technology paper-like material, which can be re-used again and again without taking away the ease of writing your thoughts and notes on paper.
- No need to keep hard copies of sensitive notes, and no need to accumulate bags of confidential waste! Just write, scan and then erase!
- Innovative and unique: Flashpoint has been integrated with various features to allow an easier and more efficient experience for the user. Using OCR technology your notes are instantly converted to typed format for easy reading and easy access!
- Integration with Tikit P4W: Flashpoint uses our bespoke software to get your documents from A to B allowing you to upload notes from meetings and court hearings directly into client matters in P4W.
Justice for their efforts!
We would like to give a special thanks to GT Stewart for recognizing our services in the development of the Police Station Attendance Formshare project in their ‘Access to Justice through IT’ award.
The form was created in order to save hours of police station admin work, which is usually done at a loss. Instead of taking handwritten notes, a digital form is completed by police station advisors to help gather the required information about the client and the matter, including arrest and custody details.
The form can then be filled in before, during and after interviews, recording advice given at all stages. Outcome details can be recorded, as well as bail information. Legal Aid and means criteria can also be gathered on the form. Finally, all time recording and mileage information can be captured.
It has been integrated with Tikit’s Partner for Windows so that, following duplicate checks, it automatically creates clients and matters, posts all-time records and saves all other information into the matter. Information gathered on the form can then be used to auto populate other forms and documents via case management.
We are so glad it has made a difference in speeding up the process to justice and can’t wait to see what we can all achieve next year!
Prince Evans Solicitors is located in West London Ealing, they currently have 60 users offering a wide range of highly trained legal professionals. They have established a high reputation for their expertise in commercial law including commercial agreements and dispute resolution to property law and personal legal advice.
The Legal Services Development Team have now been working closely with Prince Evans for over six months in the lead up to them going live on Tikit’s Partner for Windows PMS planned for October 2019.
Historically, their Finance department were responsible for the creation of all client matter. We have helped to create procedures for client/matter creation whereby, once created, they are locked until the Finance team have sanity checked and approved them. This work has included creating stored procedures and TaskCentre alerts to inform the Finance team of all new clients and matters created which then sends alerts to the users as and when the clients and matters are unlocked.
The project to date has also included case manager development of blank templates and workflows for Family and Litigation, including the creation of client inception FormShare forms.
The team are also helping Prince Evans prepare the set-up of their database in preparation of the data transfer, then in September, they will be carrying out user training for both Desktop and Case Management.
Efficiencies are key
A & N Care have a number of offices across the UK, including Sheffield, London, Doncaster, Chesterfield and more, representing clients from all over the UK and even abroad. Their exceptional team of lawyers have many years of experience and expertise in family law. The firm has built a highly credible name for itself and is best known for their strong presence in family matters, dealing with both sensitive and complicated cases and always showing a high level of consideration to all people involved.
ALS has been working with A & N Care for over a year, primarily helping them get ready to go live on Tikit’s P4W last March.
The most recent work the Development team has been working on is a Court Attendance Note, a Formshare Form which will assist the firm following their Court Hearings, by updating matters with time recording, key dates and tasks.
A & N Care is looking to the future and has an extensive development project plan mapped out to work closely with our development team, helping automate lots of their procedures to deliver a more efficient way of working.
Meet our new Junior Developer
Adam joined Accesspoint Legal Services as one of our software apprentices, and after recently completing an Access to Higher Education course in computing, we are very pleased to congratulate him on passing his apprenticeship!
He is just one of a growing team of apprentices who have joined us over the last couple of years and has already proved a very worthwhile addition to the team. Since joining Accesspoint, Adam has become experienced in the following: SQL, SQL Server Reporting Services, TaskCentre, Crystal Reports, MVC Framework (C#), Oyez Forms and Doclogix (Business Automation Eco-System).
Joining up the dots
GT Stewart was set up in 2003 by a group of lawyers committed to fighting for clients whether they could pay privately or needed legal aid.
They could see that the climate was changing both for the law and publicly funded work and realised that Law firms would need to change with the times to survive. The firm now has 11 branches throughout the UK and employ over 175 staff.
GT Stewart has been an Accesspoint Media client for just over a year. Over the period we have designed and built their new website and managed SEO. We have now started to initiate discussions and development around how to fully integrate the site with their PMS. This will then allow them to gain true insights about lead generation and their return on investment plus automate much of the initial communication to enquiry process.
A brand new start
Barlow Rowland Solicitors are based in Accrington, Lancashire and are best known for their wide range of expertise in residential conveyancing, commercial property & land, employment law, litigation, commercial law and probate.
Accesspoint Media was chosen to overhaul Barlow Rowlands’ brand and website. As dedicated expert marketers in the Legal sector, this allowed for a very streamlined and data-driven process. Their old brad and website was dated, not mobile friendly and had declining traffic as a result.
Accesspoint Media revamped the brand and rebuilt the website from scratch, implementing a clever design, striking a perfect balance between the brands traditional ethos and modern processes. Working with the Managing Partner we developed a website that delivers high quality content and a world class user experience which attracts a larger amount of traffic than ever before. The website is now benefiting from continually inclining traffic, higher Google Rankings (top 3) and regular enquiries.
A bigger, better attraction
Creighton & Partners are located across two offices in London and Staines. The firm’s legal team specialise in family law and cover a wide range of family issues – divorce law, child care law and more. The firm has seen a recent expansion in the team with the Children and Families Law firm joining them.
AMS are currently tasked with revamping Creighton & Partners website and digital strategy. An exciting opportunity which will replace the existing dated website with a modern, lead-generating magnet of a website.
Working with the Partners, we are carrying out a complete overhaul which will reposition the firms’ brand within the marketplace.
Starting with an ultra-sleek and premium design, we are developing the website with our Legal expertise continuously in motion. This results in the content striking a perfect balance between ‘legal speak’ and also ‘client speak’ – allowing for full exploitation of keyword opportunities. This should see their site traffic grow and high-quality enquiries increase in volume and quality.
Meet our new marketing specialists
I have always been very keen to start a career in marketing as it is a subject that has always kept me interested and engaged. As a recent graduate from De Montfort University I was looking for a job and was very lucky to be offered a position with Accesspoint Media Services.
I love to look at marketing challenges and come up with the most effective strategy, my main goal in Accesspoint is to co-ordinate all the marketing activities including the new look Horizon newsletter covering all three companies and to push out new products and services. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead – it’s a great place to start work.
Website Designer & Developer
Proud Sponsor of LALY’s 2019
This year the 2019 LALYs celebrated its 17th birthday making it one of the oldest and long standing legal awards. The awards were originally introduced to give recognition and celebrate the lawyers who selflessly offer their expertise to those who need it most but are unable to fund it themselves.
The nominees this year fell nothing short of inspiring with some of our very own clients winning awards for their outstanding work. We are pleased to share that we are continuing to support and sponsor the LALYs and this year our chosen award was the ‘Practice Manager’ award, where we were delighted to see our client Sally Thompson at LTP solicitors winning the award.
LAPG is the leading membership organization for legal aid lawyers, providing a wide range of services and support.
A change for the better
Aldridge Brownlee was founded in 1929 and over the years they have seen steady growth with three offices located in Bournemouth and one in Highcliffe. Altogether the firm employs over 70 people across the team, specialising in personal law – disputes& litigation, family law and business law.
Aldridge Brownlee officially engaged with Accesspoint in September 2018. They were looking for a Hosting Managed Service Provider that would not only meet with their growth requirements and expectations, but also offer Legal IT services as the requirements evolve with the acquisition of a new Case/Practice Management System (Tikit P4W).
Aldridge Brownlee anticipating disruption of the impending project, opted to have initial engagement with Accesspoint’s Cloud Hosted Infrastructure services for proof of concept through September to March 2019. Their full platform went into operation earlier this year in April 2019.
We are now providing the firm with a broad range of services including a fully hosted cloud platform, managed backup and DR solution. Using the latest Microsoft technologies, the Cloud platform for Aldridge Brownlee was custom designed to allow for growth and flexibility, with the peace of mind that the system is being monitored by our dedicated support team. Industry leading uptime is provided to ensure Aldridge Brownlee never miss a thing.
We used state of the art software and hardware to provide a fully modular Cloud solution that meets the practices changes in demand, whilst providing a uniform environment that follows the user via the log on / off process onto the Cloud to ensure that their work session is fully supported and perfect every time.
Built using VMware on industry leading hardware, with load balanced terminal servers that combine with application servers for practice management, then in addition, digital dictation and voice recognition all with full Cloud functionality as standard.
A bigger, better attraction
FBC Manby Bowdler have offices across the UK, located in Wolverhampton, Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury, Telford, Redditch and more, it’s no surprise they are making a big impact in the legal sector. The firm is best known for their exceptional people, who pride themselves on being experts in making the legal process easier for their clients. The firm specialises in business and company law, brexit legal advice, commercial property and employment law.
Before Manby Bowdler engaged with Accesspoint and their current PMS provider (Tikit P4W), they had their hosted infrastructure and case/matter management software provided by a management software vendor. Although a good idea in theory, the system did not entirely meet with their needs for the most part of its use. Despite a great effort to get the best use out of this software through training and discussions with the vendor, it remained an issue. Given the effort, the internal IT team and firm’s management decided that they needed to find a Managed Service Provider that could not only meet their needs from a infrastructure level, but also an MSP that had a great level of expertise on Case/Practice Management. FBCMB chose Accesspoint as their new MSP and began their official engagement in June 2018.
As of May 2019 their full platform was rolled out managed and supported by the internal IT team in conjunction with Accesspoint’s Technical services.
Our Server Upgrades
With the End of Life date for 2008R2 servers looming early in 2020 we have now started the process of upgrading some of our longer-standing clients to the latest official Microsoft platform – Server 2019 and Office 2016.
In tandem with this we are working with clients to replace their ageing fleet of Windows 7 desktop machines with Windows 10 before the Windows 7 End of Life date at the end of this year.
Platform Improvements with Zscaler
For many years, there has been great reliance on network-centric methods to connect users to the network plus the applications running on it. However, the way users now work has changed, and with applications moving to the cloud, the associated perimeter fence has extended across and into the internet. The result of this now renders network-centric solutions, like remote access VPNs, obsolete.
The common pitfalls of network-centric methods are:
- Places users on-net which increases risk
- Provides a poor end user experience
- Inbound connections create opportunities for DDoS attacks
- Requires appliances, ACLs and FW policies
- No ability to provide application segmentation
- Lack of visibility into app-related activity
We are currently working with the market leader in software defined firewalls to offer improved security to all users on our cloud platforms.
With ZScaler’s ZPA solution we will replace the conventional SSL VPN client with a modern software defined VPN client to provide the following improvements:
- Better User Access Experience with no more VPN sessions dropping
- Segment and secure platforms based on application as opposed to network access, making the internet part of your corporate network
- Inside-out connectivity means app visibility
- Fully defined software-defined perimeter services
- Advance authentication making use of ADFS and SAML
Improved Internet Delivery and Reporting with ZScaler
The challenge with today’s network security in a cloud-first world is that the perimeter fence is now broken. We are all mobile and look for faster connection straight to our cloud apps which are now no longer protected. Zero-days, botnets, and threats hiding in SSL can and do bypass internet security.
We are now pleased to announce that we will soon be able to deliver the ZScaler internet access solution allowing granular security on both cloud and local infrastructure to deliver secure web application access for all of our users.
With ZScaler ZIA we will finally be able to deliver the long awaited user web control and access reporting which many of our clients have been asking for over recent years.
Monitoring our Cloud Platform Performance in Real Time
APT have been working over the past 6 months with LogicMonitor to implement a web facing platform reporting module that will allow us to give clients web access to their hosted platform servers to monitor the servers in real time, both from a performance and capacity perspective.
LogicMonitor automatically recognizes devices and immediately begins collecting performance metrics.
This however, may be more suited to clients with in-house IT staff although it has been asked for by several clients over the years, negating the need to view performance within the windows estate itself.