Ascertus Case Study | Thirsk Winton LLP

Growing North-East London Law Firm Makes Significant Cost and Efficiency Savings with Privately Hosted Document Management Solution


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Thirsk Winton LLP is a modern, innovative law firm offering a range of business and private client services with a focus on property work including residential conveyancing, commercial property and leasehold enfranchisement. The firm also offer estate planning, probate and notarial services
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The problem

The law firm was drowning in paper! Thirsk Winton had no system for storing matter-related records and consequently all information was either in paper or email format. With no single location for documents, it was impossible to institute any kind of search facility as a matter-related document could be potentially found in individual inboxes, in paper files or on shared hard drives.
In a growing law firm, where it’s imperative that fee earners remain focussed on client-related activity, a lack of document management processes was a massive drain on productivity and overall on the efficiency of the firm.

“As our business grew very quickly, we had been completely focussed on servicing clients. However, we soon realised that if we didn’t adopt a document management system, we would be putting the quality of our service delivery at risk,” said Jason Winton, Partner at Thirsk Winton LLP.

The solution

On exploring the market for solutions, a number of considerations came to the fore. Recommendations for the iManage Work email and document management system came up frequently, and on further investigation it was clear that generally, it was the larger, well established law firms who typically deployed the solution.

“Albeit small presently, we harbour ambitions for growth”, explained Winton. “We recognise the importance that technology plays today in business operation and will always adopt the best systems available, so that the applications are well supported by the vendors and evolve to meet future requirements.”

The firm chose to adopt iManage Work, an email and document management system that has stood the test of time. Winton commented, “Contrary to a widely floated view in the legal sector, we don’t buy the argument that best of breed systems are the perquisite of large law firms alone.  At the core, the operational business requirements of all law firms are similar and the size of a firm mustn’t deter it from deploying the top solutions on the market.”

Thirsk Winton chose Ascertus Limited as its implementation partner as the firm was impressed by Ascertus’ understanding of the law firm environment, grasp of the iManage Work solution and extensive experience in delivering the system to professional services organisations.

Driven by the objective of deploying flexible, future-proof technology, Thirsk Winton opted to adopt the privately hosted cloud model to install iManage Work.

Why privately hosted cloud model?

It made long term commercial sense. A privately hosted application offers Thirsk Winton all the benefits of cloud technology including a fully flexible and robust environment; improved accessibility to the email and document management system, especially when fee earners are on the move or working remotely; reduced risk and in-built disaster recovery; and enhanced security.

“Thirsk Winton is a forward looking firm that is astutely laying the technological foundation from the get-go,” stated Jon Wainwright, Sales Director at Ascertus Limited. “A privately hosted approach gives the firm exceptional scalability, not just for its email and document management solution, but even for any other applications Thirsk Winton may choose to deploy for business efficiency and competitive advantage.”

Today, Thirsk Winton has its own instance of the iManage Work system installed in a privately hosted cloud and runs a version of the solution that meets its functionality needs.

Winton remarked, “We are lawyers with expertise in delivering legal services, not running IT infrastructure, which is best left to the domain experts like Ascertus and Microsoft.”

Strategically, Thirsk Winton has adopted a cloud technology-led IT strategy based on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform.

The benefits


Implementation of the iManage Work email and document management system was relatively quick, compared to a potential on-premises deployment. Winton succinctly said, “It’s like buying a whole load of computers instantly without the need to house them on our premises. We are a small office, we need space for people, not computers.”

The cost savings are significant.  Thirsk Winton estimates that an on-premises solution would have set the firm back at least £10,000 to cover the cost of hardware and utilities like processing power, power supply and such. Strictly with regard to operational cost, iManage Work costs Thirsk Winton in the region of £300-400 per month. Furthermore, the IT and administrative burden is significantly reduced for the firm. There is no need to employ a large IT department to manage the application. Presently, one individual is able to manage and oversee the firm’s entire IT infrastructure.

Ascertus has configured iManage Work to the specific needs of Thirsk Winton, providing a matter-centric approach to email and document management. All outbound and inbound emails on transactions, associated documents and records along with voice and text messages on individual cases are automatically saved to respective matter-related workspaces in a central repository in the firm. The iManage Work solution integrates with Thirsk Winton’s financial management software and Microsoft Office, truly making the document management system the primary storehouse and knowledge centre for all client and matter-related activity.

The productivity and efficiency savings to users are substantial too. For instance, users are able to undertake Google-like advanced text search within the solution. Replies to matter related emails emanating from outside the firm are automatically filed in the correct workspaces. Scans and incoming faxes undergo an automatic OCR (optical character recognition) process, making them searchable like any other text document.

From a security standpoint, Thirsk Winton has full control over its data and documents, no databases are shared or even accessible by any other party.

“When we viewed the iManage Work demonstration, we instantly knew that its adoption was a no-brainer for us, as was Ascertus as the implementation partner. The team’s technical expertise clearly came through,” Winton concluded. “We have big aspirations and are building our business on the most modern technology platforms to optimise efficiency and client service. A privately hosted model allows us to adopt best of breed applications for all functions quickly, safely and securely.”

Today, email and document management is streamlined across the firm – the function is ‘routine’ and fool-proof. And most importantly, paper in the organisation is greatly reduced.

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