Case study: Barnes Harrild & Dyer


Croydon riots survival

Solicitors reassured by business continuity during catastrophic circumstances

Croydon-based immigration specialists, Barnes Harrild & Dyer Solicitors, are staunch supporters of the Interactive hosted case and practice management, and legal accounts software.

In August 2011, some disastrous scenes were brought to Croydon with rioting, looting and arson attacks. On many local businesses the ensuing results were devastating but, thankfully, with Interactive, the practice’s essential working tools of time recording and accounting data were safeguarded.

About Barnes Harrild & Dyer Solicitors

Barnes Harrild & Dyer specialise in immigration, asylum and human rights matters. The firm represents both privately and publicly funded clients. However, the majority of their cases are publicly funded and they hold the Legal Services Commission (LSC) Quality Mark in recognition of service provision excellence.

With the extensive experience of their 3 practising partners, all accredited to LSC level 2 or 3, the law firm offers a speedy and efficient service of the highest professional standard.

The firm’s Managing Partner, Michael Dyer, explains:

“We’re a small and friendly firm, established since 1983. Over 25 years later, we still take pride in the efficient, reliable service our clients receive. In many cases, the protection of their basic human rights depends upon the success of their case against unjust decisions made on their settlement status.

“With our area specialism and previous success rate, we’ve earned a strong reputation in the field of immigration law.

“Our software and IT set-up performs a vital role in practice and finance management. Firms can’t rely on legal expertise alone. IT plays a prominent part in the day-to-day running of our firm and we’ve been loyal Quill customers since the 1990s.”

About Quill

With a time-honoured subscription with Quill, Barnes Harrild & Dyer has continued to use the legal accounts and matter management software throughout a new partnership arrangement.

Michael adds:

“Prior to September 2009, we comprised two partners, one of whom retired. Our new structure is made up of 4 partners who need management statistics readily available on their PCs for analysis purposes, as well as empowering staff with up-to-date information on their own performance for review and development.

“Quill provides this level of functionality, which is why we made the unanimous decision to retain the Quill software post-partnership arrangement.

“We experienced an unfortunate loss of data some years ago which made obvious the requirement for hosted-based software. This precipitated the decision to upgrade to Interactive and we migrated to this service in 2010.”

Solution Installed

Barnes Harrild & Dyer Solicitors has 15 user licences for the Interactive hosted matter management and accounting system for fully outsourced IT support and flexible e-working capabilities.

Michael continues:

“There’s much to commend the hosted system. First we have equal distribution of work. Our fee earners can record their own time, partners can access bespoke key performance indicator information and supervisors can monitor staff progression. We’ve offloaded the unmanageable volume of work previously done by one designated individual, so everyone works independently and is accountable.

“The software itself is easy to use in terms of logical layout and work-through of screens. Also, it’s well supported. Not only do we have access to Quill Pinpoint’s expert technicians and account management teams, there’s support in the form of automatic updates. For example, with the recent reduction of government spending in legal aid, the new rates were adjusted in the software by the Quill specialists without our intervention.

“On a more serious subject, in the August 2011 riots our office was looted, all IT equipment stolen, and then the building was set alight. We lost 600 physical files and we’re now in the middle of a file reconstruction and repair work project. Without the Interactive hosted system the survival of the business would have been in doubt.”

Results & Benefits Experienced

Interactive is delivered by hosted services, which means IT management is fully offloaded to Quill’s technical division and software is hosted on a secure server bank. This provides remote connectivity, data back-up and 24/7 access, whatever external factors are in place.

Michael concludes:

“On a normal daily basis, Interactive contains features for all areas of matter and legal accounts management, with the added benefit of scalability, ideal for an expanding practice like ours.

“The Croydon riots have highlighted the importance of disaster recovery and Interactive comes with the reassurance of built-in business continuity. Although we’re currently occupying temporary offices, painstakingly replacing matter files and renovating our office, the situation might have been irrecoverable without Quill.

“Our accounts, time recording and database data has been restored because our valuable client list and matter details were safely stored on the Quill server, many miles away in a secure environment. We’ve identified which files were destroyed by checking on Interactive with the helpful assistance of a number of Quill staff who have put 100% into supporting us through this disaster situation.

“Now that we’re having to undertake a major file recovery exercise, we’ve realised the importance of a paperless office environment. We’ve learnt that although the basic information was safeguarded, it doesn’t replace the full file, so we’re moving to Quill’s add-on document management to better manage risk in the future. We’ve increased the number of user licences so that all our staff can store and access documents or emails to matters.

“I readily recommend Interactive to other practices. The return on investment we’ve gained this year is incalculable. It’s been the difference between survival and possible demise. The lessons are obvious and the solution straightforward – Interactive.”