Renowned in the Midlands for its full service legal offering, Wright Hassall is the largest and oldest established law firm in Warwickshire, incorporating 230 staff at their Leamington Spa offices. Established in 1846, the firm acts for a diverse range of regional and national clients and constantly strives to improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of everything they do – with teamwork central to their success.
Wright Hassall is top-ranked in legal directories in 39 areas and their sector specialisms include lender services, technology, logistics, social housing and retail. The firm hosts a large team of 80 fee-earners and 80 secretaries, who are invariably office and field-based and produce hundreds of reports and client documents a week. Adapting to new technology and ever-demanding client requirements, the firm sought a new document management system to tackle increasing quantities of electronic work files and increasing remote working practices.
Changing working practices
Traditionally private client teams within law firms have been focused on the job in hand, potentially creating a disjointed approach between the teams when they are asked to prepare a will, buy a property or deal with a family problem.
As a result of their ‘lawyers for life’ approach which looks to break down the traditional departmental structures and transaction focus, Wright Hassall reviewed the way they worked together as a team. After initially adopting a digital dictation solution in 2010 following a technical and commercial review of their traditional tape-based system, the I.T Department found that they had new, more sophisticated system requirements that needed enhanced technology.
Martyn Wells, I.T Director for Wright Hassall, explains:
“Remote working was becoming commonplace for fee-earners; they needed a systematic method of releasing reports for transcription whilst being offsite and having no access to a PC or an internet connection. It was just not practical for our lawyers to wait until they returned to the office to download the sound file -this would have caused an unnecessary surge of transcription work to the secretarial team and unacceptable delays to our clients.
In addition, we knew that speech recognition working was becoming more popular and reliable in our sector, so Wright Hassall had to consider this migration in our next solution upgrade.”
In their search for a solution, Wright Hassall contacted their existing digital dictation supplier, Birmingham-based Philips Partner SpeechWrite Digital, in a bid to upgrade their existing Philips Pro solution to a more administrator-enhanced program. With reporting functions and I.T back-end control necessity for the firm, Martyn’s requirements were specific:
“The new solution had to work around the firm, not the other way around. We didn’t need an out of the box generic software program. We needed a workflow management system that worked around the dynamic of Wright Hassall– we couldn’t compromise on this”.
After a consultation and system review, SpeechWrite Digital, specialists in the installation, configuration and support of digital dictation systems, arranged pilot with the Philips most technologically advanced and sophisticated offering: SpeechExec Enterprise.
A pinnacle in workflow management
SpeechExec Enterprise is a complete workflow management system incorporating the individual configuration requirements of users and system demands of I.T administrators. Allowing central management, this dictation workflow solution connects authors and typists to smooth the document production process with its “templates” feature, as well as incorporating optimum security features and backup for protecting sensitive data – fully supported via Citrix and Terminal Services for on-demand application delivery. In a strive for future-proofing, SpeechWrite, an award-winning Partner of Philips, geared the system for Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition to increase the firm’s future technology options.
The results – Remote Working and 20-minutes to 10-seconds Profile Creation
Martyn Wells needed a centrally managed system for the firm’s 200 remote and office-based users, and SpeechExec Enterprise allowed total control of individuals processing and interface configuration, whilst allowing reporting functions to assess what type of work was being handled, when and by whom.
The advantages of this totally integrated workflow system included that it benefited both users and systems administrators alike.
Wright Hassall’s fee-earners had the ability to introduce Blackberry dictation as a realistic method of working; clients wanting a 24/7 service means that Smartphone dictation was becoming a requirement rather than a luxury. This dictation method meant that a fee-earner needing to process dictations whilst on the move with no access to a PC could do so with in-car Bluetooth. This allowed a drip-feed of transcription tasks to the secretaries, rather than a bulk download of dictated files in their inbox when the lawyer returned to the office.
The firm’s I.T department had acquired a consistent and accurate overview of the companies workflow system; vital when maintaining a workflow management system for 80 fee-earners and 80 secretaries. The I.T team of just 9 staff had total backend control over a 200-user site and an I.T administrator was able to set up or transfer a user in 10-seconds, as opposed to the 20-minutes needed with the previous workflow software. Martyn comments:
“Our working requirements are ever-changing – our I.T department needed to optimise backend control and minimise individual configuration tasks. SpeechWrite Digital gave us a fully-managed workflow system with the Enterprise package; this allowed our I.T administrators to streamline processes and quicken document turnaround – ultimately resulting in Wright Hassall working in a more profitable way that was more satisfactory to our clients.”
Wright Hassall sees fit to continue their workflow improvements and maximise the elements of the SpeechExec Enterprise solution. The firm’s future system developments include the roll-out of the Blackberry dictation module to all fee-earners to further improve client service and allow lawyer working flexibility, as well as the installation of their current working pilot with SpeechWrite Digital; Speech Recognition applications to assist secretarial workload.
SpeechWrite Digital are specialists in the supply, installation,configuration and support of digital dictation systems. Working closely with OEMs such as Philips, Nuance and Olympus, SpeechWrite have extensive knowledge of the latest technology developments and market trends. Established in 2000, SpeechWrite have over 100 collective years in the dictation industry and pride themselves on their speed to market and after-sale support.