Manchester practice homes in on interactive Internet system

A MANCHESTER firm has become the first in the UK to buy and use an interactive Internet system which allows lawyers to practise law from their home page.

Sole practitioner Stephen Baker & Co has installed NKT Interactive, a system which allows solicitors to carry out the preliminary stages of legal work with clients over the web.

A dozen firms have signed contracts to buy the system and a further 12 are considering buying it, said an NKT spokesman.

Baker said that while the system was useful for accident claims and personal injury work, "realistically you cannot do a complex divorce over the Web". He added that the system saved time because documents could be approved almost immediately without having to use the postal service, although anything needing a signature still had to be signed and posted.

The system allows solicitors to promote their services, receive client instructions and carry out preliminary work. When potential clients click on the firm's home page they fill in a questionnaire, and the information is then automatically transferred into document format when received by the firm.

Baker said his practice gained most work from referrals and he was confident that by establishing a presence on the Web he would increase the firm's work throughout the country.

NKT Interactive is the idea of Michael Kaye, a partner at London firm Kaye Tesler & Co. He set up an interactive Internet legal service in March, advising on criminal matters, drawing up wills and offering legal advice. Kaye then formed NKT Computer Consultants to supply the service to other firms.

When firms buy the system it is tailored to their particular requirements, said Kaye, who was also involved in the design of the DPS Case Management package.