Omnia Legal Software introduced its forward thinking web-based costs budgeting program in March 2013 – in time for the implementation of the Jackson reforms and the introduction of costs management and costs budgeting. Nothing like it was on the market then and this remains the case today. A growing number of client firms have benefited from its comprehensive costs budget creation, monitoring and analysis functions and these have now been expanded to include the ability to produce Bills of Costs – all from the time recorded in solicitors’ own costs and case management systems.
In Lord Justice Jackson’s final report he recommended 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.”
This goal took a major step forward last week when Omnia made its new bill drafting function available to existing users. As a standard part of its core program Omnia already enables the creation, monitoring and analysis of costs budgets along with the production of schedules of costs for summary assessment (Form N260). The same information can now be used to produce current (‘Woolf’) 3 column bills for detailed assessment.
With the new litigation “J-codes” now published the final piece in the jigsaw will be the new format bill of costs which is due to be announced shortly. This will link in with the Precedent H used for costs budgeting. It is intended that this will be piloted before being introduced for budgeted cases from October this year.
Managing director Sue Nash, announcing the release, said, “Omnia was designed with the aim of incorporating the new bill format alongside the other key elements which Omnia already contains and it will be ready to meet the proposed implementation timetable”.
She went on to say that, “Whilst Omnia is an important and comprehensive costs and budgeting tool which should reduce firms’ costs spend (whether internal or external), the new costs regime doesn’t do away with the need for expert costs input; rather it highlights the importance of costs in the litigation process.”
James Scozzi, solicitor and recent head of costs at McMillan Williams, welcomed the enhanced features in Omnia saying that: “To date Omnia has been pivotal in ensuring budgets are prepared quickly and accurately. Further the ability to monitor the budgets enables us to ensure the budgets are not exceeded and WIP is not unnecessarily incurred. Omnia has now provided us with the ability to create detailed bills quickly and efficiently which ultimately leads to a decrease in expense and an increase in cashflow”.
Andrew McAulay, partner and head of costs at Clarion Solicitors also welcomed the news commenting that: “This is an excellent addition to the Omnia software package which has already proved to be an effective and efficient program, being invaluable in the preparation and monitoring of budgets.
“The ability to be able to prepare bills which can be compared with ease to the budgets has made Omnia a market leader”.