Bradford-based Mir Solicitors provides the full range of legal services to a nationwide clientbase. The practice encompasses civil litigation and property transactions (commercial and residential); business sales and purchases; insolvency and debt; and personal injury.
Idris Mir, the firm’s founder and current President of Bradford Law Society, talks us through his experience of Eclipse and Proclaim.
When was Proclaim implemented, and why did you choose the system?
Prior to forming Mir Solicitors, I was employed by a practice that happened to be researching the marketplace for a new case management system. The firm’s existing software was showing signs of age and beginning to struggle in terms of managing multiple matter types. I was given the task of reviewing the marketplace and proposing a suitable solution.
Over several months I saw demonstrations of a wide range of systems, and distilled our needs down to something that was comprehensively featured, but not difficult to use or ‘over-engineered’. We also needed a product that was cost effective. Proclaim fitted the bill perfectly. It’s worth mentioning that the system certainly wasn’t the cheapest we saw, but the way in which it lent itself to being tailored and managed in-house really impressed us, and we felt that as a long-term proposition it provided fantastic value.
When I took the step of ‘going it alone’, Eclipse was my first port of call. For a young practice keen to start as we meant to go on, Proclaim’s resilience and seamless integration of fee earner tools made perfect sense.
What day-to-day benefits do you see from Proclaim?
Mir Solicitors handles the full range of legal services, and Proclaim is used as every fee earner’s core desktop system. We find Proclaim to be especially beneficial in our property and litigation teams. In these areas, document production is heavy – both in terms of numbers created and often the actual volume of each document! Standard precedent letters and packs can be produced with literally just a couple of mouse-clicks – Proclaim pulls in relevant case data and merges it into the chosen document(s) automatically, saving hours and hours of administrative time each day. Fee earners can therefore be very self-sufficient, and this reduces the need for secretarial support (and the associated financial overhead).
Much of the work that we do is on a ‘fixed cost’ basis. With this model, it’s important that valuable fee earning time is not wasted on error checking, corrections, and re-working.
Proclaim’s document production tools mean that there is far less room for end-users to make mistakes, and this in turn makes for faster case processing and an overall higher level of service.
Similarly, we use Proclaim’s workflow tools to standardise our approach to casework. Our file opening, conflict checking, and initial client care processes are consistent and in keeping with the Mir Solicitors brand which espouses openness, attention to detail, and a focus on the right results.
In addition, Proclaim allows us to embrace (and not just pay lip-service to) communication channels such as email, speeding matters up and meaning faster transactions, with everyone being paid quicker in the end!
To what degree have you tailored Proclaim in line with your bespoke needs?
With Proclaim, the possibilities are seemingly endless! I have used a fair number of legal software systems, and nothing comes close to Proclaim in terms of flexibility. Pretty much any and every aspect of the system can be tailored, and the inclusive toolkits mean that all of this can be done in-house, without need for recourse to Eclipse.
Having said this, Eclipse is incredibly proactive in enhancing Proclaim and making sure that we as end-users have access to the tools we need. The ongoing contract we have with Eclipse is unlike any I’ve had before – I’m used to a maintenance contract being just about ‘bug fixing’. However, Eclipse provides Proclaim version upgrades every 12-18 months, and this always provides us with a raft of new functionality (and, importantly, does not overwrite what we have in place!)
Do you use Proclaim for management reporting and analysis?
The management reports in Proclaim save us immense amounts of time. The system comes pre-armed with a ready-to-go report library, and a creation tool means that we can add and amend any number of reports on an ongoing basis. For example, when renewing our professional indemnity insurance, a huge number of questions are asked which – without Proclaim – we would spend days collating information for. Thankfully relevant data is just a few clicks away, and this access to information is also available within the financial and accounting side of the system, providing us with a great view of how we are performing at any given time.
How does Proclaim fit in with your overall strategy?
Proclaim helps us to deliver what we always strive to deliver – superb service. We are able to open and commence work on files the moment that instructions are received, and we can organise and deal with all incoming post the same day by utilising Proclaim’s document scanning features. By centralising our data, making the right kind of information available to fee earners, and managing the way in which cases are progressed, we have exceeded our own high service goals by a considerable margin.
All in all, Proclaim does exactly what we need, and is a truly fundamental tool used in every aspect of our practice’s operations.