Welcome to the ‘Horizon’
March 2020 Issue
I hope this finds you all well, under what has quickly become very challenging and unprecedented circumstances. When compiling our last edition, coronavirus, or rather Covid-19 was something happening on another continent far away. How life has very quickly changed for us all.
I’m sure like all other businesses, on the expectation that at some point over the weeks ahead the current situation will start to ease back towards some form of ‘normality’, we are continuing as best as we can with a ‘business as usual’ approach.
As we all migrate to our home bases, traffic patterns across the public networks have shifted immeasurably, with bottlenecks appearing where they previously did not exist. We have school children at home during business hours hammering online services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Gaming forums and such similar services. For many, this activity is having an impact on the performance of their broadband services. It’s important to remember that for the most part, Broadband in its various guises is a shared or contended service, not just within the home, but also down your streets. As such activity 3 doors away can and does have an impact in your home.
In a similar vein, we are noticing a good number of ‘older devices’ springing into life as people blow the dust off the ‘old PC and printer in the corner’.
It’s probably worth reminding all readers of the importance of taking care when working remotely. Cybercrime is flourishing throughout this period. The status of Windows 7 (and indeed older versions) have not changed. They are categorically end-of-life and should not, indeed must not be used for secure services such as online banking. I say to you all, on an individual basis to be on full guard if you are making use of such devices. Ensure your passwords are complex to any online service. If they are not, change them.
One urgent project that we are working on currently is that of the Family Courts shifting their operations to Skype for business. Clearly, this is a must-do and we have significant resource working on a structure and implementation framework for this.
Finally, our development teams remain committed to all and we have a number of ideas that are currently being developed to help firms reach their clientele in a digitally meaningful way, including the digital remote onboarding of new clients. This was something we have been working on for some time ahead of the current crisis, not realising just how important it could become so quickly.
Please enjoy the rest of the material in this edition and more than anything else, keep yourselves and your loved ones safe.
Richard Roebuck, Managing Director
Helping you connect …anytime, anywhere with
In light of the recent Covid-19 development, Skype for Business is going to become one of the required communication methods for all private and public Family law cases in the courts in Central, East and West London areas.
What does this mean for your firm?
- If your firm already has Skype for Business then you will be able to make use of your existing subscription.
- If your firm does not have Skype for Business then a new subscription will have to be made, providing you have all of the Office 365 product configurations ready.
- If your firm needs to have Office 365 configured, it will have to be part of the overall set up to use Skype for Business. This will include validating domains, integrating with your in house Active Directory for Single Sign On and more.
Our highly experienced team is with you every step of the way and will make this transition as smooth as possible for your firm.
Helping you get started
- Setup and configuration to Skype for Business
- User setup and installation on the local PC though VOIP/ Video Conference solution
- User license for a Microsoft Office 365 E1 license (already included as part of existing Office 365 subscription users)
What happens next?
Once your team’s platform has been launched, it is a blank canvas, similar to that of SharePoint, with Microsoft’s expectation that you build your own environment as you need it. To assist with that, we offer project management and platform configuration consultancy to build your platform based on your respective requirements.
We also offer a development contract as part of the solution so you can request changes and modifications to the platform over a period of time. Ensuring it is suited for your firm and its evolving needs!
Recipe for Recovery
Are SME firms prepared for disaster? In the past, they mainly had to contend with fire or flood, but in an increasingly digital world there are more catastrophes waiting to strike than ever – and firms may not be as prepared as they think.
There are numerous disasters that could cause businesses to cease operations for hours, days or even weeks – but perhaps the most common and damaging are tech failures.
Firms rely so heavily on their technology that a failure in their systems could be disastrous. What would happen, for instance, if someone dug into a law firm office’s main comms feed, or an upstream provider made a mistake configuring a central piece of routing equipment, which happened last year in a central London datacentre and forced a major part of London offline? Could the business survive without communication with clients for that time? These disasters are simple yet frequent and often have devastating effects on businesses.
Though there are no magic-bullet solutions to prevent disaster, most risk can be mitigated with an efficient and effective disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place.
Many businesses don’t prepare for disaster until one forces them to. Some are lucky enough to endure their first tumble and rectify any serious issues, but others are forced to cease trading shortly after the disaster strikes. It’s incredibly important to prepare and make sure that the business can not only recover after a catastrophe but continue to operate virtually undisturbed.
Developing a disaster recovery and business continuity plan can seem complicated, but it’s simply a matter of looking at the key points of weakness in a business and preparing for them.
Legal managers should ask themselves: What happens if a fire or tech failure occurs – can everyone work from somewhere else so that daily operations aren’t negatively impacted? Is our data safe? What can I do to get everything back up and working as quickly as possible? These plans can be supported with the right legal tech solutions, “leaving firms on cloud nine.”
by Victor van der Poel, Technical Director
Process Automation is on the rise!
The reality of today’s legal world is that not only do firms use a lot of their time and manpower to do a ton of paperwork, they must also plan out every step of their client’s legal journey. Although this is the traditional method and it is vital to providing a high quality service, could the process be faster with the same results?
The common misconception is that in order to get work done at a faster rate, the firm must bring on more workers and increase their expenses. This isn’t always the case, especially if you’re a forward thinking law firm.
SME firms all over the UK are investing more into improving the efficiency of their firm via process automation. Innovative technology is now available that can cut out countless steps and streamline a firm’s workflow by injecting accurate data straight from the practice management system to the relevant forms and templates that are used on a daily basis by most firms.
With over 600 law firms in England using Partner for Windows case management system (P4W) it’s clear to see why there is a high demand for automated workflows written within P4W. The available workflows for P4W allow firms to have an ‘out of the box’ workflow for Sale and Purchase transactions which can then be added to and developed for their own in-house procedures. As a result, your firm’s process becomes more tailored and accurate for everyone involved. In addition to this, you can feel more at ease with not missing a deadline again as the available software also automatically populating dates such as Exchange and Completion to fee earners and central calendars if applicable.
Reducing common tasks that take up a large portion of the day can often be pushed to the back on the list of priorities. However, the rising trend in automation has allowed new and sophisticated technology to break through and change the game for many law firms, don’t get left behind!
Invest now and optimise your firm’s time to focus on what matters.
We have many new forms available to help your firm reach it’s true potential!
Sales & Purchase Screens and Workflows
The Sale and Purchase workflows have been written within Partner for Windows case management system to give a streamlined approach in completing tasks. The workflows allow firms to have an ‘out of the box’ workflow for Sale and Purchase transactions which can then be added to and developed for their own in-house procedures.
Save time and Money: Drastically cut down on costs and reduce wasted hours of your firm’s precious time spent on completing tedious tasks and populating templates and forms.
Perfect portal integration: When matters are created in P4W the information from Perfect Portal is stored within the screens, this then auto populates either Oyez or Laser Forms.
Infotrack: The Sale and Purchase screens have been designed to work when using Infotrack so that the information is available to auto populate their forms.
Effective Organisation: Dates such as Exchange and Completion are automatically added to fee earners and central calendars if applicable.
We offer a variety of pre-coded Oyez forms to provide firms with a more efficient and effective method of capturing data within the legal process. As experts in the legal IT sector, we have witnessed first-hand just how important it is to develop innovative forms that combat the everyday problems within a firm, such as the wasted time in manually processing information and the high costs of resources that could potentially be used elsewhere.
Pre-coded: All Oyez forms are pre-coded with the standard core information held within Partner for Windows. These fields include the standard client and matter information as well as fee earner information.
Tailored forms: Over a thousand forms have been created to help your firm. The Oyez packages cover many legal categories such as civil procedure, conveyancing, inheritance, Landlord and tenant and family forms.
Accurate data: Ensure accurate data each time as the Oyez form injects important details from the entity and matter straight into the desired form.
Saves time: The Oyez forms allow your firm to spend less time on manual processes, such as re-entering data and relying on paper-based forms. Important details are automatically filled in so your firm can focus on making for a better experience.
As law firms throughout the UK have been pushed to work from home in light of the new COVID-19 government rules, a need for seamless remote client on-boarding is vital in keeping law firms running. Take a look at the Inception forms that can make the transition easier.
A general client and matter on-boarding form that can be emailed out to your client to fill in their details. The client can return the form by email where additional fields can be added, for example the fee earner and case type, and it can then be sanity checked before being dragged into Partner for Windows, where the client details will be conflict checked before creating the client as individuals and where applicable also creating a client group and attaching each individual client into the group. The matter will be also created and if applicable documents can be auto inserted into case manager ready to be processed.
Family Inception Form
The Family Inception FormShare Forms is an innovative and interactive pdf form, which can be completed by clients and returned by email prior to an online meeting.
We have witnessed first-hand the repetitive and often time consuming task client’s face when completing numerous forms at the start of their legal journey. The core aim of the Family inception form is to not only save fee earners time when obtaining important details, but also allow time to consider advice before the online meeting. Alternatively, the interactive pdf form can be completed on a laptop or iPad/tablet during the online meeting.
The forms included are:
Divorce – Children – Cohabitation – Prenuptials – Separation
Easy Automation – It automatically duplicates/conflict checks, entities and matter creation for the client, opponent and children. All information collected is stored within Managing Partner tables in Partner for Windows and can be used to auto populate documents and forms.
LPA Inception Form
Accesspoint have designed a FormShare LPA Inception Form to be filled in by the fee earner on a laptop or tablet during the online meeting or it can be emailed to the client for them to fill in the information prior to the online meeting.
The form captures all client information and all Attorney, Replacement Attorneys and Notifiable People. These can be added as contacts or simply used to auto-populate the Financial and Health LPA forms.
Drag & drop the completed form into Tikit’s Partner for Windows – All information collected is stored within Managing Partner tables in Partner for Windows which is where it can be used to auto populate documents and forms. Prior to this, it automatically duplicates/conflict checks, entities and creates the matter.
Litigation Inception Form
The Litigation Inception Form is an innovative and convenient interactive pdf form, which can be completed by clients and returned by email prior to an online meeting.
We 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 Litigation Inception Form was created to save fee earners time when obtaining important details, allowing time to consider advice before the online meeting. Alternatively, the interactive pdf form can be completed on laptop or iPad/tablet during the online meeting.
The form collects all Client information and in the case of an employment matter, the Employer details, as well as basic matter information.
Inject accurate data straight into Tikit Partner for Windows-
It automatically duplicates/conflict checks, entities and creates the matter. All information collected is stored within Managing Partner tables in Partner for Windows and can be used to auto populate documents and forms.
Wills Inception Form
Accesspoint have designed a FormShare Wills Inception Form to be filled in by the fee earner on a laptop or tablet during the online meeting or it can be emailed to the client for them to fill in the information prior to the online meeting.
The form captures all Client information as well as Executors, Children, Guardians and Beneficiaries. These can be added as contacts or simply used to auto-populate the Will templates. The form also captures any gifts and these can also auto-populate simple Wills.
Saves time – Save time as it automatically duplicates/conflict checks, entities and creates the matter. All information collected is stored within Managing Partner tables in Partner for Windows which is where it can be used to auto populate documents and forms.
What can we do to help with client engagement?
In more recent times client engagement for law firm has evolved greatly. We continue to see a large influence, expanding minds and improving the methods used to obtain and maintain clients through the use of a more considered and joined-up approach. Now, more than ever, firms must pause and look at the environment around them to see how client- centred operations can create new and exciting opportunities to gain that all important competitive edge.
All too often clients sometimes get the short end of the stick due to a firm’s inability to handle the ever-increasing daily volume of client administrative tasks and let’s face it, everyone is under pressure to deliver more whilst making sure that there’s no compromise on quality. However, now there’s help at hand with cutting edge technology in ‘intelligent’ automated forms that now allow fee earners to dramatically speed up their workflows as well as minimise errors made when filling out forms manually. An increase in streamlining data thus saving days of admin time, will ultimately free up fee earners time so they can focus on giving the client better service and ensuring that the client stays loyal to the firm. A wide range of automated forms are becoming available in the legal industry that focus on a number of services, such as family proceedings, property, police station forms and more. It is vital that firms do not overlook the options available to them, investment in these areas can demonstrate to clients that your firm is working on making ‘their legal journey’ as easy and stress free as possible.
Establishing the main elements to building a resourceful culture of client engagement can be challenging, especially when expectations are being set by new client behaviour every year.
Aside from automated forms, consider and explore software that allows your firm to become more agile and mobile – a big trend in legal which is set to continue as everyone looks to be more progressive and efficient. Sophisticated software technology that pairs your actions on the go with your PMS is now available e.g. solicitors going to court hearings and meetings constantly taking notes then have to spend hours typing them up again, resulting in wasted time for the solicitor and slow updates for the clients. Technology now allows you to scan your handwritten notes and file them straight into your PMS and client folder in either typed or easy to read writing, optimising the time of the fee earner plus constantly keeps a client in the loop.
The future of mobile apps is bright but many firms seem reluctant, or cash strapped and are slow in getting on-board but without doubt they and the data-driven PMS centric environment are the future. These apps and the data captured, provide great marketing opportunities that allow bespoke branding to your firm’s requirements and direct contact with your clients, keeping them informed about their case every step of the way.
Finally, firms need to understand and know the behaviour of a client and importantly be able to effectively monitor and track prospects from the moment they enter their website, gaining valuable insights and demographic data. As we all know, time spent on manually following up leads, measuring the volume against conversion rates plus calculating your ROI (return on investment) can be time consuming and costly. Which is why it is so vital to have sophisticated web forms and tracking software on your side, which not only deliver all of the above but go the extra mile in providing valuable Intel about your lead – all delivered straight into your PMS.
Integrating technology to boost client engagement capabilities can be a complex transition for many firms. Being able to link all of these factors using intelligent software offers major benefits – providing greater customer insights, far greater accuracy with data capture, faster means of communication and that all important competitive advantage.
Our intelligent new package unites and streamlines your firm’s data.
Our Web360 package was created for firms of all sizes, in order to free up fee-earners time and improve data accuracy. Web360 also removes the process of manually handling data by automatically unifying data from various sources into a single origin – your PMS.
Here’s how it works
Web360 is powered by our innovative Flashpoint software, Flashpoint integrates various external data sources seamlessly into your PMS. Installing Flashpoint onto your system enables you to activate any of the following Web360 integrations, each of which allows your firm to become more efficient and joined up with IT.
What are the available integrations?
Our website integration allows your firm to seamlessly link your websites data directly into your PMS. As clients populate webforms on your website, the data will be automatically injected into your PMS within seconds. Your PMS will be configured to automatically validate the enquiry against existing entities and create a prospect/opportunity from the enquiry whilst notifying designated fee-earners of the new client. The prospect will also receive email confirmation that your firm has successfully received the enquiry.
Our FormShare integration allows your website to be integrated with Tikit FormShare (FormShare enables firms to use PDF Forms to electronically capture client data). The FormShare PDF data fields are linked to a custom built webform on your website, allowing clients to self-start the process by populating their information digitally. This data is seamlessly injected into your chosen FormShare.
Web Forensics allows you to track the entire digital journey of a client, from clicking on a Google advert or Facebook post etc, right through to the completion of their case – all within your PMS. This allows you to identify which marketing channels are providing quality leads and which aren’t. It also provides a complete ROI by cross referencing the cost of acquiring the client i.e a £2 advert click (PPC) against the final matter value. Forensics also maximises cross selling opportunities for your firm by automatically sending an e-shot to clients that visit chosen pages on your website.
FlashPad integration allows your handwritten notes to be digitally captured with a Smartphone App. The digitised scans are sent securely and are posted directly into your chosen PMS entity/matters or folders – dramatically reducing the admin time of manually carrying, scanning and storing notes.
Dates for the diary
TSL- The challenges facing small legal practices webinar- 27th March 2020
LSN- Legal CRM webinar- 7 April 2020- Time: 5PM
P4W Regional User Group- 7th May 2020- Manchester
P4W Regional User Group- 14th May 2020- London
Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards 2020- 7th July- London
A helping hand
Accesspoint are proud to have taken part in the Great Legal Bake 2020!
The Great Legal Bake 2020 supports Advice Agencies and the Citizens Advice Bureau to ensure that vulnerable people have a way of accessing justice through a mixture of “Legal Aid”.
Our amazing office bakers brought in some tasty snacks like banana and chocolate chip bread and extra gooey chocolate brownies. We couldn’t think of a more yummy way to get involved and show our support. Together with many other likeminded organisations, over £30,000 was raised for free frontline legal advice services.
We will continue to show our support throughout the year to different organisations such as the Harold Hill Food Bank, who supply three day food parcels for individuals and families who’ve hit desperate times and have been referred to the food bank service. Also, the Wipe Away Those Tears charity, which grants special wishes for children in Essex with life limiting or life threatening conditions.
LPM South Conference
The LPM South conference took place in early February in London, it was a great opportunity to meet many SME legal practice leaders from around the UK and talk to them about the wide range of services our team of legal IT specialists can offer.
Throughout the day a number of informative workshops and seminars took place, which not only allowed our team to interact with delegates but also enhance our knowledge on key operational topics.
A lunch to remember
It’s always a pleasure to attend and be a headline sponsor for the LSN networking events, it’s a great way to unwind and meet your fellow like-minded peers in the legal industry!
We saw such a fantastic response to our prize draw and we’re very pleased to announce that the winner of our Echo Show was Karen Court, we hope you enjoy it!