As BigHand continues its strategic drive to be at the front and centre of the back-office legal support function, Newcastle law firm Muckle has invested in a suite of BigHand solutions, including task delegation tool BigHand Now.
In a three-year, six figure deal, Muckle has chosen to invest in three of BigHand’s solutions: BigHand SmartNote to automate the production and storage of routine documents; BigHand Now for task delegation and management; and BigHand Evaluate for matter planning and pricing. Evaluate came on board with the acquisition of DW Reporting in April 2018.
The investment comes as BigHand looks for firms to help it showcase its ability to increase efficiency within the support function as it continues to build out from its digital dictation roots.
For Muckle, the investment is part of a larger business project to streamline its administrative processes and optimise client service delivery. Historically, there is said to have been a lack of visibility of how work was delegated or moved around the firm, as well as how tasks were progressing. Low-level administrative work was often performed by fee earners, or highly skilled PA resource.
Muckle, which has been a BigHand customer for over 10 years, is introducing BigHand Now to help it create the most efficient support ratios and team structures and gain full visibility of tasks as well as the ability to track work in a centralised list.
In line with the firm’s goal of optimising the legal support function, Muckle wanted a way to remove some of the high-volume low-value transcription work generated by processing file, attendance and telephone notes. They plan to use speech recognition tool BigHand SmartNote, which will integrate with Muckle’s iManage document management system, to automate the work generated by processing file, attendance and telephone notes.
Evaluate will allow it to plan, manage and monitor matters from a financial and client perspective. The software surfaces key financial information to allow the progress of matters to be tracked against budget throughout the lifecycle of a matter.
Andrew Black (pictured), director of IT at Muckle told Legal IT Insider: “All three BigHand products do something different but all of them are about efficiency and utilising what we’ve got in a smarter fashion. BigHand Now helps us to give our support function the resources to help manage their day. Evaluate benefits you by looking at time recording information so you can call upon previous matters of a similar type in order to provide accurate costs estimates when you’re pricing for work. In addition, as the matter progresses, assuming we win, we can set alerts in that workflow so if the costs suddenly go off the chart we’ll be alive to that more quickly. The more data we can put in front of the right people the better.”
He adds: “Since the day dot lawyer time has been closely scrutinised and accounted for but not support time. Now you can not only measure that time but look at whether we’re recruiting the right people and if we decide a workstream is going to personal assistants but ought to be going elsewhere we can redirect it and can look at upskilling others.”
BigHand is in the midst of a strategic review that will see its products renamed according to their functionality, such as task delegation. It will complete its new website by the end of April and going forward will target a new audience across the entire c-suite.
Its accounts filed in December 2018 for the year ended 31 March saw an increase in turnover from £21,0506 to £22,865 and gross profit up from £18.7m to £20.5m.