Smooth Law develops bespoke client journey with Access Legal's Practice Management Software solution

Established in July 2015, Smooth Law is a modern progressive law firm providing claimant legal services to a wide range of clients. The firm prides itself on operating as an entirely paperless office, communicating with clients via email, telephone and SMS text messaging for speed and efficiency.

Paul Keelan, Senior Access Legal Developer at Smooth Law, has worked with Access Legal's legal software since 2003 at a variety of firms, and as a result, possesses extensive knowledge of the system. Most recently, Paul has worked with Access to efficiently implement the Access Legal Practice Management software at Smooth Law and now works as the practice’s primary Access Legal developer.

Why was Access Legal the chosen supplier for Smooth Law? 

The partners here had previously worked at a large Liverpool firm which utilised Access Legal heavily so from first-hand experience, it was the solution of choice. As a smaller firm, but with ambitious plans, it’s great that Access Legal case management software is not just exclusive to large firms – whether it’s a 100+ fee earner practice, or sole practitioner, Access Legal remains the same and is always just as simple-to-use.

Additionally, the Law Society Endorsement was a factor in our decision. Although Access Legal and its case management solution were already known to us – and we were certain it was the software suited to us – the endorsement announcement just cemented our confidence in the decision. It meant that, to us, Access Legal was continuing to move forward and although it had already conquered the legal sector market, it wasn’t resting on its laurels.

Furthermore, the complete flexibility of Access Legal's case management system means we can develop the solution entirely in-house, without the need to bring in external IT consultants – I personally have yet to be in a position to say “we can’t do that.””

Smooth Law originally implemented Access Legal’s out-of-the-box Personal Injury system – how has this been configured to fit in with business requirements?

We did initially take an off-the-shelf Personal Injury solution as that’s the area of law we predominantly practice. However, we’ve also recently created our own case type for Holiday Sickness claims, which is an entirely bespoke solution to Smooth Law, and designed completely in-house using the Personal Injury workflow as a platform.

The sheer flexibility of Access Legal means we have the ability to do this. It gives us the boldness to expand and the confidence to know it’s a possibility – we now have over 1000 live claims in the system.

How was the transition to the latest iteration of Access Legal's Proclaim (v3.3.1)?

It was very easy. Although we have a small database, there are still a wide range of issues that can occur when upgrading software but this wasn’t a problem with Access, it was extremely simple.

I’ve done a number of migrations throughout my time working with Access Legal and have never had a problem. In my experience, this is down to two things:

  1. Good internal planning
  2. Excellent communication

As part of this second point, Access Legal’s Transition Support team is brilliant, as are all the staff and I’ve found everyone is always happy to help and go that extra mile if needed.

How are you benefiting from Access Legal’s new ‘Option Images’ feature?

This is an absolutely fantastic feature!

One of the main benefits is the ability we now have to develop our client journey. We have two stages of a claim – portal and non-portal – and using Option Images we’ve been able to create an entirely bespoke yet simple case status feature within FileView (Access Legal’s online case tracking tool).

Depending on the stage of the claim, the client’s view will differ and due to Access Legal’s inherent flexibility, we’ve been able to build in high-level automation so the stages are instantly updated to correspond with actions taken by our fee earners.

This is an excellent feature for our clients that like instant access to updated information and an at-a-glance view to their case. It’s also proven vital for those instances we experience a language barrier – the stages are now displayed in simple images and enables clients to see case changes as and when they need to.

Perhaps best of all, and as with a variety of aspects to our Access Legal solution, this was developed entirely in-house. No additional training was required, nor was support from Access – it was all designed purely using the latest release notes, which supplied a user-friendly, step-by-step guide.

How have Access Legal’s additional tools, SecureDocs, FileView and TouchPoint enhanced your service offering?

We’ve used SecureDocs from day one. The online delivery and acceptance tool has proven vital in enhancing our client on-boarding process as it’s now all done with the click of a button. We often receive an initial enquiry in the morning, and by lunch time, they’re a client. There is no doubt this is a result of the automation and quick turnaround times supplied by SecureDocs.

Furthermore, we pride ourselves on our ability to operate as an entirely paperless office and offer a wholly transparent service – this simply couldn’t be achieved without SecureDocs. It provides peace of mind for our clients by providing a completely secure service to access and action important documents, whilst also resulting in speedier case progression and an enhanced service offering.

With regards to FileView, and as previously mentioned, using this tool we’ve been able to provide clients with an easy snapshot of their cases. Taking this further, we’re using the online case tracking feature to send details of, for example, medical appointments to clients, as well as allow them to upload images of receipts and expenses such as taxi fares. Before FileView this would have involved photocopies or originals being sent to us via post, and in turn, would delay the claims process. With FileView, everything is effortlessly uploaded via smartphone or tablet, ensuring an innovative, instantaneous and device-operated option.

Similarly, we’ve taken advantage of Access Legal’s TouchPoint tool and are going live with it this week (at the time of writing) to further enhance our service and provide clients with a complete self-service experience. As part of this, we’ve linked it with FileView and SecureDocs for a centralised solution so clients can access everything associated with their case, from correspondence to file status. To use my previous example, once a client has received details of their medical appointment, they can log in to their customised TouchPoint portal and find directions to the appointment through the Google Maps tile.

Essentially, the additional toolsets provide modernised and future-proof approaches to keeping in contact with clients and ensuring we are supplying them with the most relevant and up-to-date information – all with minimal input from our staff. In turn, this means we can concentrate on increasing our case volumes but with the added reassurance our current clients remain informed.

Overall, how well does Access Legal suit your on-going requirements?

Without a doubt Access Legal suits us down to the ground.

We have ambitious plans for our firm and as part of this we will be looking to develop other avenues of work. With Access Legal, we no longer need to delay these plans due to software limitations – we can simply design our own case type as and when we need to, to suit our way of working and our future service offering.

With Access Legal, the possibilities are endless and in my opinion, its sheer flexibility means the only restriction is imagination!