Next trades from more than 500 stores in the UK and Eire and around 200 stores in 40 countries overseas. Online, Next Directory serves customers in around 70 countries outside the UK. The in-house legal team at Next looks after the interest of all of the companies within the Next group.
Prior to going live with Linetime’s Liberate software, the legal team was too reliant on printing and filing documents. The support team of secretaries and PA’s were being overwhelmed with admin and a change was needed. It was felt that a more efficient and streamlined system would be beneficial not only to the team but also to the company. With an increase in workload and a real need to improve response times, an improvement in efficiency was not only desirable but necessary.
So back in 2016 Next invested in Linetime’s Liberate software.
6 months on:
Anil Raja, Assistant General Counsel, Next: To be honest, at first there was some resistance to change and to suggest otherwise would be misleading. Different people react differently to change for all sorts of reasons but once you start to trust the change and the reasons behind that change, you soon see how Liberate significantly improves efficiency, collaboration and business continuity.
Without Liberate we would have had resourcing issues with the recent increase in workloads and ever increasing demands on our time. By investing in Liberate we have managed to increase efficiency by removing the administrative burdens of the old paper system. This allows us to spend more time doing the real legal work. Some members of the team are still transitioning from paper to completely paperless although they have adopted an approach of less paper. Some members of the team have gone completely paperless and have literally removed their filing cabinets!
One of the most significant features of Liberate is the ability to drag and drop emails into the correct folder. A simple task which saves a huge amount of administrative time. Files are opened instantly by fee earners so no more waiting for the admin team to process the paper file.
What has changed – Donna Morrell, Legal Assistant
Before Liberate the majority of my day would be taken up with admin duties. Printing and filing emails, which on average, could take a large chunk of time out of my day. Opening paper files which consisted of completing the electronic file number database and then transferring the information onto the paper file and filing all correspondence.
Since the installation of Liberate my job role has changed dramatically. I now have time to get involved in more interesting and stimulating matters. I am attending meetings, which enables me to form relationships with other departments within the business rather than just be a voice at the end of the telephone. I am able to support my managers by taking on some of their basic duties, which allows them to concentrate on more pressing matters.
My working day has changed from being filled with repetitive admin to learning and developing new skills.
There is an air of excitement when working on Liberate, a sense of calmness because you know if you come into a mountain of emails it only takes minutes to action them. One major positive of Liberate is when you return to the office from holiday. On the old system you would come back to 100+ emails that could take you all day to print, file and action. Now there is no need to be copied into all emails because they are available on the case history so the level of emails is reduced drastically and the saving and filing of the emails on the Liberate system takes seconds, thus resulting in a more relaxed return to work.
Liberate has had an impact on reducing the resources that we use within the Legal Department.
Next bought Linetime’s Matter Management solution that allows users looking to retain an electronic file yet manage their work manually. Essentially the same as Case Management without the workflow, the fee earner decides how the case progresses.
Liberate matter management manages a central repository of documents, notes, emails and images associated with a particular file. These can be consolidated to a PDF format to allow efficient disclosure to third parties.
Categorised lists of contacts are readily to hand, making the sending of documents, emails and SMS a simple process.