The recent launch of CostsBudgIT – following a couple of other similar initiatives – shows that the use of IT to streamline the processes around legal costs is becoming an essential component of modern costs and legal practice.
This is as it should be bearing in mind Sir Rupert Jackson’s recommendation that “Software should be developed which will (a) be used for time recording and capturing relevant information and (b) automatically generate schedules for summary assessment or bills for detailed assessment as and when required. The long term aim must be to harmonise the procedures and systems which will be used for costs budgeting, costs management, summary assessment and detailed assessment.”
Omnia Legal Software was the first to recognize the need for this kind of product and service, launching the Omnia program in March 2013. Omnia is now a tried and tested web-based add-on product that not only produces, monitors and analyses Precedent H budgets but also produces bills of costs and N260s ….. and that’s without mentioning the internal client budgets it can produce as well as management intelligence reports that can prove invaluable to firms in this era of fierce competition and the increasing use of fixed costs.
Designed by costs lawyer Sue Nash, Omnia has proved its worth and is constantly evolving to meet both new rules and procedures (the latest Precedent H for example) as well as clients’ needs.
Although predominantly designed for use by firms of solicitors it is also in use by costs professionals enabling them to give a true ‘cradle to grave’ service to their professional and lay clients. It can even be used as a time recording system! It can work with any case or practice management system so is truly flexible and, perhaps most importantly, can save firms both time and money.
One of Omnia’s major clients – Stewarts Law LLP, the country’s largest litigation only practice – has been licensing Omnia for the last 15 months. Partner Julian Chamberlayne is an enthusiastic adopter of the system “Our collaboration with Omnia Legal Software means that we are able to not only produce Precedent H in our costs managed cases, but crucially we can monitor them from the outset in real time, triggering email alerts well before budgets are exceeded.”
“This ultimately assists our fee earners to keep our clients informed. Whilst budgeting costs in complex litigation is inherently difficult, by using Omnia we are building up a knowledge-bank of information about our budgeted cases that will help us to continue to improve the accuracy of our costs estimates in future cases.”