Monthly Archives: October 2014

National law firm to roll out the Proclaim Case Management

Liverpool-based, national law firm, Bartletts Solicitors, is implementing Proclaim Case Management Software solution from leading legal software supplier Eclipse Legal Systems.

Established in 1860, Bartletts Solicitors employs over 60 staff at 8 offices across the North West Eclipse Legal Systemsregion. Boasting a nationwide reputation for providing trusted legal assistance and superb client care, the law firm provides a full range of legal services to both corporate and private clients. To further strengthen this position, and as part of a strategy to continually invest in the latest technologies, Bartletts Solicitors has implemented Proclaim throughout its Personal Injury team.

Proclaim will provide a central secure platform across all 8 offices ensuring a consistent approach to each Personal Injury case. As part of the solution, the Personal Injury team at Bartletts Solicitors will have instant desktop access to Proclaim’s A2A (Application-to-Application) tools for processing Portal claims for both RTA (Road Traffic Accident) and EL / PL (Employer Liability / Public Liability).

The law firm will monitor and analyse on going performance using Proclaim’s integrated reporting toolkit. Its inbuilt functionality will facilitate the easy creation of custom automated management reports – allowing trends to be spotted and empowering the management team to quickly make informed operational and growth decisions.

Bartletts Solicitors Practice Manager, Mike Craven, said:- “Client care is our highest priority; it’s at the forefront of everything we do. Proclaim will enable us to meet clients’ expectations, automatically keeping them up to date with the progress of their case. This seamless client journey, combined with the increased efficiencies from the streamlining of time-sapping administration, will be crucial for staying ahead of the competition in this increasingly competitive sector.”

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Neil Hudgell Solicitors Rapid acquisition

Neil Hudgell Solicitors has acquired Rapid Solicitors in a deal which further enhances the law firms position as one of the biggest personal injury firms in the North of England.

The acquisition will see 120 new members of staff, based in three offices, join the Neil Hudgell Solicitors team. As a result, the law firm will now handle more than 10,000 claims and employ more than 220 people.

The deal comes as the business heads towards a record-breaking year, as it is currently on target to achieve damages totalling around £20m for clients, up from £8.75m in 2012, and £13m in 2013.

Neil Hudgell, Managing Director at Neil Hudgell Solicitors, said:- “This move further establishes our position as one of the biggest personal injury specialists in the north of England.

“I’m very much looking forward to integrating the new members of staff into our business. We have a track record of successfully taking on large caseloads and ensuring that new teams quickly adapt to our ways of working.

“The experience we have in doing this means all clients can be assured of both a seamless transfer and the very best levels of service, going forward.”

Last year, Neil Hudgell Solicitors successfully managed the transfer of Harris Cartier cases to open its first London-based office, and under the brand, 25 deals had previously been completed, acquiring more than 6,000 new clients.

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Law firms in South unite to provide legal services

Law firms in Dorset, Wiltshire, and Hampshire are benefitting from a free support and referral network thanks to leading regional law firm, Trethowans.

Trethowans recently launched, United Law which allows member law firms to offer their clients access to a comprehensive range of legal services.

United Law members who do not have the capacity or specialism to deal with a legal matter can contact Trethowans for assistance. If Trethowans are unable to help for any reason, they will use its network of United Law members – or its links to wider national networks – to provide the assistance needed.  United Law operates a strict no poaching agreement so member law firms can be assured of a risk free referral process.

Trethowans Managing Partner, Simon Rhodes explained that United Law is perfect for law firms who specialise in certain areas of work and whose clients need help with other legal services that they cannot undertake themselves.

The independently run network currently has 98 member law firms throughout the South and provides its members with access to a free telephone enquiry line, opportunities to attend free training sessions, seminars and networking events – and access to a number of suppliers who can offer discounted member rates.

Simon said:- “More and more member law firms are finding out it is a perfect way for them to offer a full service proposition, while also enjoying the benefits of being a member. Membership of United Law can bring financial, training and other benefits”.

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Attivo Group acquire further 3 IFA firms

Attivo Group, the national wealth management and investment group with a Cheltenham-based head office, has announced it is accelerating towards its target of £1bn FUM with the acquisition of a further 3 IFA businesses.  In January 2014, the Attivo Group announced its ambitious consolidation and acquisition strategy aiming to acquire 6 IFA firms this year and 12 IFA firms in 2015 to reach its target of £1bn FUM by end of 2017.

Lord & Company (Financial Advisors) Ltd, based in Worthing, South West Investment Consultants in Totnes and an IFA firm in Burton-on-Trent, add to Attivo Group an additional 560 active clients.

Chief executive of Attivo Group, Stephen Harper, said:- “RDR has made it increasingly difficult for smaller IFAs to continue to service their clients and at the same time, remain profitable.  We have seen an increasing number of smaller IFAs wanting to exit from the market but requiring the reassurance that their clients will be looked after by a premium brand.  Attivo can offer full wealth management services, including Chartered Financial Planning, DFM, SIPP and SSAS arms supported by our client serving teams.

“In addition, we have the funds available to acquire smaller IFA firms that are presently being overlooked by the larger consolidators.  It takes a huge amount of resources to complete the appropriate due diligence required to take on client banks, and quite simply, larger consolidators do not find it worth their while to look at IFAs with smaller funds under influence.”

“We set out bold targets in January and we are confident that we will meet our objectives.  The appointment of John Hayden in June, who joined Attivo Group as Distribution Director has accelerated our acquisitions and we are delighted that our growth continues.”

The Attivo Group has over 60 staff based at its head office in Cheltenham and has regional offices based in London, Bristol, Tunbridge Wells and Manchester.


ICAEW’s first sole practitioner for probate work

The first sole practitioner to be authorised for probate work by a non-legal regulatory body has received its authorisation from ICAEW. Based in Sherborne, Dorset, Hope Shaw Ltd will provide probate services for its clients, many of whom have been with the accountancy firm for generations.

Hope Shaw Ltd was established in 1994 in Sherborne, Dorset and is now run by David Robinson. It provides general accounting practice services for local small businesses as well as individuals.

ICAEW executive director, Vernon Soare, said:- “Hope Shaw Ltd is exactly the type of firm that we wanted to apply to do probate work and why ICAEW became a licensing authority and regulator. It makes sense for practices such as Hope Shaw to provide this extra service when they are already providing inheritance tax and succession planning advice.”

David Robinson from Hope Shaw Ltd, said: “It was a logical step to apply to become regulated to do probate work. It is an extra service we can provide to clients. At this firm we are very much part of the extended family and it gives me and my team immense job satisfaction to help our customers, many of whom I have known for a number of years. It was natural to use ICAEW as the regulator given that it already regulates the other services I provide as a chartered accountant.”

ICAEW became a Licensing Authority for those wishing to conduct probate and form alternative business structures (ABS) in August 2014. It means that ICAEW Chartered Accountants and ABSs licensed by ICAEW for this reserved legal activity can provide probate services directly to consumers. Kingston Smith LLP became the first accountancy firm to be licensed by ICAEW as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) to carry out probate work earlier this month.

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LSB approve ABS licensing changes

Measures to make it simpler for multi-disciplinary practices (MDPs) to be licensed as Alternative Business Structures (ABS) by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) have been approved by the Legal Services Board (LSB).

The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s changes are designed to ensure a proportionate regime for firms delivering a range of professional services involving other regulators. The proposals (see link below) were agreed by the SRA’s Board in September, and were ratified by the Legal Services Board on Tuesday 21 October. Amendments will be made to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Handbook at the end of month.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Chief Executive, Paul Philip, said:- “The changes should pave the way for other potential multi-disciplinary practices to come forward and offer reserved legal activities alongside other professional services. This is an important milestone in our reform programme, increasing competition and encouraging growth in the legal services market.”

For more details see SRA’s policy statement.

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Bird & Bird opens Australia office following merger

International law firm Bird & Bird has announced a merger with Sydney based firm Truman Hoyle, bringing the number of Bird & Bird offices around the world to 27. The merger with Truman Hoyle follows a successful cooperation agreement which the two law firms entered into in March 2013.

The new Australia office will be run by Shane Barber, the current managing partner of Truman Hoyle. On the day of the merger the total headcount in Bird & Bird Australia will be 42, comprising 25 fee earners and 8 partners.

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Geldards selects HighQ and Tikit for collaborative extranet services

Leading UK law firm Geldards has chosen HighQ Collaborate, through technology suppliers Tikit, as their new client extranet platform. The legal practice sought to replace their in-house extranets with a cloud-based solution that included collaboration features.tikit

Huw Wigley, IT Director at the Geldards, explained:- “We had been asked for a collaboration platform for several areas of the firm, but it was not a sensible use of time to develop our own from scratch”

Huw turned to software-as-a-service solution HighQ Collaborate to meet the law firm’s needs. “I’d already heard of HighQ as they have a strong reputation in in the legal sector,” Huw said. “It was an easy choice: the platform is powerful, intuitive to use and it covers everything we needed it to do and more.”

Geldards intend to use the platform as an extranet initially, but more use cases will be introduced in the future. “The driving force behind using the platform is to be able to share case information more easily with our clients,” explained Huw. “We plan to integrate our billing system with it so clients can access this too. We also plan to use Collaborate as our data room platform for all our deals.”

The integration process has gone smoothly so far, as Huw explained ”The HighQ team have been very helpful throughout the integration; they are accommodating to any changes and very quick to respond. The platform has been developed as we go along to meet our needs. There’s a reason HighQ is a market leader and is chosen by so many firms.”

Dries Ausems, Sales and Business Development Manager at HighQ, said: “We’re excited that Geldards are starting to use Collaborate. We can really see how the firm and their clients will benefit from having a collaboration platform, and we’re delighted they chose HighQ. We look forward to seeing how Geldards’ use of the platform evolves in the years to come.”

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Conveyancing portal to launch in spring 2015

A new conveyancing portal offering an efficient, secure and transparent way of managing the conveyancing process is scheduled to be launched in spring 2015.

The portal, called Veyo, is a joint venture between the Law Society and Mastek UK, a global IT solutions specialist. In its first phase, the system will allow professionals to better communicate with each other, clients and other parties, satisfy due diligence obligations more quickly and facilitate the conveyance of residential property through established protocols. In doing so, it will not only speed up the house-buying process for consumers but enable greater efficiency for conveyancers.

Elliott Vigar, chief executive officer of Veyo said:- ‘Veyo is a market changing product that will provide conveyancers with a comprehensive online tool to make conveyancing much more efficient and transparent, within a secure environment.’

The announcement has been met by a cool reception from Legal Software suppliers some of whom already integrate with similar portals. Read Legal Technology Insider article

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