Thomas Miller to slash advisers via e-tracking

Transport insurance service provider Thomas Miller claims to be the first UK-based company to implement a fully electronic legal spend management system in a bid to cull its roster of external firms by 80 per cent.

The system has also been acquired by Barclays (as first reported on www.thelawyer. com, 19 February), which is planning to take it live in the first quarter of 2008.

The system will allow Thomas Miller to scrutinise the bills and workflow of its law firms.

Thomas Miller director of service Mark Holford said: “We’ve traditionally managed claims on a case-by-case basis and now we have files open with about 60 different firms, which is far too difficult to manage. We want a larger concentration of work to go to fewer firms.”

Thomas Miller, which has 60 of its 80 lawyers based in the UK, is aiming to reduce its list of external firms from 60 to between five and 12.

“We want to understand and better manage these costs,” Holford continued, adding that the company outsources around 2,500 claims to external lawyers every year.

The DataCert system, which is going live this week, will allow Holford to track firms’ progress on cases, use e-billing, obtain estimates for work prior to instructing firms and monitor cost and time spent on cases. It will also provide an e-billing platform for all law firms dealing with Thomas Miller.

The move comes a year after Holford conducted a review of Thomas Miller’s claims management process, which saw him introduce a preferred supplier programme.

Thomas Miller’s current roster of firms includes Hill Dickinson, Holman Fenwick & Willan, Ince & Co, MFB Solicitors and Reed Smith for its claims-related work.