Nick Timmings of Petersfields LLP is in the spotlight

22/01/15

You specialise in employment law and operate from your Cambridge office of Petersfields LLP.  Do you also occasionally work from your Suffolk and / or home office?  Does the Quill hosted software and outsourced services help with running a multi-site, remote-working law firm?

Yes to all of the above.  Both me and my fellow partner, Dawn Kiddy, work from home from time to time and regularly travel between offices.

Because we use Quill’s Interactive cloud-based practice management software with additional document management facilities as well as Pinpoint and Payroll services for cashiering and payroll, we’re given the tools to be more mobile.  It’s good to know that the foundation stones are there to sustain our operation.

With remote access to our matter folders, statistics and important documents, and continuous back office support, if we’re ever detained from getting to the office, we can still work as normal from wherever we may be.  It doesn’t even matter if we have no files with us as it’s stored in DMS.  To assist the process, as soon as we generate or receive important documentation, we store it immediately online.

Similarly, when visiting our Haverhill site, I don’t need to take along any cumbersome files because I can view everything in DMS upon arrival.  The infrastructure provided by Quill helps to interlace our two sites.

If you weren’t a solicitor, what would be your chosen career?

I’d be a professional actor or author.

When you’re not hard at work lawyering, how do you spend your treasured leisure time?

Two words: amateur dramatics!  I’m involved in two groups.  Firstly, I’m the Chairman of Ely Amateur Dramatics Society.  Secondly, with a couple of close friends, I’ve actually set up the Break an Egg Theatre Company.  When we’re preparing for shows, this consumes at least 2-3 weekday evenings and weekends.

When I am free, I write plays, using humorous stories as inspiration.  My Christmas show this year was about a chat-show host with a drinking problem and their weird guests who got up to all manner of funny antics.  The previous Christmas’s show involved a cabinet minister and his wife whose son arrived home for the festive holidays with his boyfriend in tow, not the girlfriend they were expecting, and how the parents reacted to what was, for them, an awkward situation.

Mostly, I write comedy scripts such as these but occasionally I do cover more serious subjects.

How did you first discover your talent for acting and writing?

It began at school where I always enjoyed drama and participated enthusiastically in extra-curricular drama activities.  Then, when I was 17, I auditioned for drama school, RADA.  At the time, I chose what I thought was a safer, more assured career option – the law.  Even when at university studying law, though, I continued my dramatic pursuits.

How do you see the legal landscape in five years’ time?

In my opinion, it’s getting more and more difficult to make a legal practice profitable.  In some ways, the reforms introduced by the Government relating to legal aid and changes made in employment cases, amongst other things, are making it harder for people to secure access to justice and reclaim legal fees spent, which ultimately results in less work for high street firms like ours.

What would you say to other law firms considering going down the hosted software and outsourced support route?

I’ve already recommended the software and services to others who’ve subsequently become Quill clients!  In fact, they were recommended to us in the first place which is the reason we took them up when we established Petersfields LLP 6 years ago.

Some individuals believe that outsourced cashiering and payroll services are only suitable for start ups but this simply isn’t true.  It’s career-long back up.  By switching from an in house to outsourced set up, there are no worries about a cashier being off work sick, bank accounts not being reconciled or payroll being left unattended.  It completely removes these everyday headaches.

The same applies to hosted systems which are just as relevant for the big players as new, smaller practices because of their scalability.  DMS too draws everything together which is as beneficial for sole practitioners who need to be out and about a lot as for large firms with disparate locations dotted throughout the country.

Now, I’d never want to be without Quill’s software and service solutions.

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