Paris Smith to invest six-figures in IT as part of flexi-working drive

Southampton’s Paris Smith is gearing up to invest a six-figure sum into IT programs in order to reduce overheads and introduce flexible working.

The money will be used towards creating a ‘paperless office’, using Electronic Matter File and Client Extranet, that will give staff the option of working from home with the utimate aim of saving money on office overheads.

Around five lawyers at the firm have already piloted the idea, with at least one deciding that they would rather work in the office than from home. According to the firm’s managing partner Andrew Heathcock, a final decision on software is expected to be made by the end of the year, with the aim being to give everyone access to Electronic Matter File by the end of 2013.

Heathcock, who expects flexible working to be as appealing to new associates as it is to partners, said the firm is not yet in the habit of ‘hot-desking’, when staff members are not allocated a permanent workstation but rather use any desk that is free on the days they are in the office, but added that he had not ruled out the idea.

“Some City firms have had a big bang approach to this [flexible working] but not many regional firms have reached that nirvana yet,” he said.

The case for flexible working in the legal industry usually centres on working mothers, but Fiona Severs of Lexington Gray wrote in The Lawyer last October that the number of men working flexi-time has more than doubled in the last decade.