Gisby Harrison LLP is a progressive, results orientated law firm advising businesses and individuals across a broad range of worktypes.
Ochresoft has been working with the conveyancing team for a number of years and the transformation the department has undergone is testament both to the power of the underlying workflow platform and also the importance of cultural and behavioural change when implementing new software-driven processes and procedures.
We talk to Gisby Harrison’s managing partner Michael Lane about the journey they have made with Ochresoft’s help — and how they’ve achieved a 45% increase in conveyancing gross profit with only a nominal increase in overhead.
What was the background to the adoption of Intelliworks?
The original catalyst for adoption was the same for us as it was for many firms back in the noughties. We were working harder, not smarter: we were delivering a quality service, we had happy clients but it came at a price — and compromised profitability. Relying on what was in effect a manual system put relentless pressures on the whole team, and the more effort that went into each matter obviously made for less profit at the end of it. What we needed was a solution that would drive efficiencies, lift the administrative burden, allow every team member to work to a common standard, and help us get the fee earner/support staff ratio right, aligning the right value to the right role.
How would you describe the move to the Intelliworks platform?
Initially, as a great example of how not to do things! We made the classic mistake of buying the technology without having thought through — or trained for — the changes needed in how we were going to operate. We didn’t make the cultural shift, we didn’t look to re-engineer how we were working, we simply didn’t make use of what we knew to be an excellent solution beyond treating it as a glorified word processing system. Three years ago, we were keen to ‘start over’ and make what we regarded as a critical step change in our case management performance. With consulting help from Ochresoft, we set about basically reinventing ourselves — redrawing the balance and composition of the team, redefining roles, establishing new processes and common ways of working, and driving efficiency, cost-effectiveness, speed and risk management through the enthusiastic, wholesale adoption of Intelliworks.
What has Intelliworks delivered for the firm?
It has absolutely transformed the team. We have the right people in the right roles delivering the right value. Solicitors have more time for clients and business development as well as applying their skills and experience to those demanding aspects of a conveyance without the distraction of administration. The procedural elements of a conveyance are in the hands of well-trained paralegals and support staff, with the visibility and control afforded by Intelliworks providing a core supervisory and compliance framework. We no longer have issues with covering for colleagues, with matters able to run in their absence and clients getting quick responses to their queries, so making the whole service delivery much more seamless and proficient. And it’s made replicating this team possible — we’ve opened up a second conveyancing office in Essex, with the high value customer-facing work done locally and the back-end processing done here at head office in Hertfordshire. It gives us a fantastic new opportunity with a very controllable risk.
What’s the final verdict?
It’s difficult to overstate the impact not just of the Intelliworks software but also of Ochresoft as a business partner. They were instrumental in assisting us in re-engineering the whole department — from job roles to standard operating procedures — and as a result we are now working very much smarter. We are lean, efficient, competitive, and we’ve taken customer service to a new level too. With their help, we’re getting the very best out of a system that has allowed us to embed optimum standards and compliant working across the team, making life easier and delivery better.
Tangible benefits delivered:
– Helped boost residential conveyancing gross profit by 45%
– 85% of clients recorded 9/10 or over in satisfaction survey, with a minimum 8/10 score.
– Improved team balance with appropriate fee earner/support staff ratio
– Sickness and holiday cover is easier with full case progress, outstanding actions and documents accessible from any office
– Significant time saving from using Intelliworks SDLT submissions versus the HMRC website
– Instrumental in firm achieving CQS standard
– Fee earners have more time to invest in client relationships and business development
– Reports provide quick access to data across the whole caseload for risk management purposes and PI renewals