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Thousand user + Bighand DDS roll out at Freehills

Sydney (Australia), Thursday 12th March, 2009 – Leading Australian commercial law firm Freehills today announced it has rolled out BigHand software across the firm. The voice productivity software has been provided to over 1000 staff across the Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane offices, with Singapore due to receive the technology later this month.

The implementation of the BigHand digital dictation workflow system formed part of a strategic initiative to create a national Document Production Service that was accessible instantly to lawyers and business services staff and that delivered client documentation of the highest standard. Outstanding or in-progress documents at Freehills, as well as urgent or large dictations, can now be moved between individuals, teams or offices depending on workload, capacity or the time of the day maximising staff utilisation and skill sets, whilst also taking advantage of 'follow-the-sun' time-zone differences. Confidential voice recordings can also be confidently moved around the firm, respecting ethical walls, as the system creates information barriers and private workflows.

Philippa Thornton, Freehills Secretarial Work Practices Manager who led the programme of work to establish the national Document Production Service and introduce the digital dictation solution said: “We realised some time ago that we needed to upgrade our infrastructure and improve our document support framework to enable lawyers and support staff to work together more easily, and to free lawyers up so they could focus on delivery to clients. Our aim was also to ensure that all documents are of a consistently high quality, regardless of which support resource or office they originate from. BigHand’s technology was an important component of the programme, as the centralised workflow management tools allow dictation to be managed and transferred within and between offices to deliver faster document turn around and improved utilisation of our support resources. In fact the BigHand system provides automated administration and customised workflow to such a degree that the number of dedicated document production team leaders required at the firm has gone from seven to four during the course of the roll out.”

Following the BigHand software implementation 90% of Freehills lawyers responding to a post-roll out survey reported an improvement in document turnaround times, over 50% reported an improvement in the quality of the resulting document and more than 50% had increased the amount of dictation they produce. Work-life balance has also been addressed as the BigHand technology allows lawyers to work remotely or from home when required and connects them to support mechanisms as if they were in the office.

Miles Ashcroft, Freehills Business Technology Solutions Manager, described: “When you are looking to evolve a business process and introduce change it is important that you build trust with the end-user. We wanted our lawyers to be able to trust the new processes and the technology we were asking them to use. The roll out caused very little disruption to daily work within the firm, as the BigHand software interface is intuitive and we set up workflows to reflect the way our lawyers work. This meant that they adopted the digital solution immediately following training and the improvements in workflow and productivity around dictation were immediately realised.”