A pair of legal costs firms have joined forces with the developer of a case management system that integrates them within clinical negligence files so they can be instructed by solicitors via the internet at the click of a button.
Clinical Connexx has been created by Outspire Group, which offers a range of services for clinical negligence and serious injury claims and says the software is the first of its kind.
It has features such as being able to update invoices by smartphone from inside the court and send them remotely to defendants as soon as costs awards are made.
It is also said to include a ‘white-label solution’ that would enable in-house costs lawyers within law firms to outsource costs work.
Specialists costs solicitors MRN and costs firm PI Costings are integrated within the system, with any resulting work shared between them. Both companies were closely involved with the development of the software.
The system is being trialled by 14 large law firms – including multi-office regional firms Bridge McFarland, Geldards LLP and Shakespeares’ claimant arm, Lime Personal Injury. As of this week it is live in four and from mid-July will be available to law firms generally.
The MRN arm that is dedicated to the Outspire panel will be known as Outspire Costs, said Michael Joseph, MRN’s head of client care and business development. The system “is supposed to be seamless; a one-stop shop… so the solicitors have the flexibility, for instance to say ‘we need a costs budget now’ and they press the ‘costs’ button and that will be tied up with the appropriate agent [MRN or PI Costings] that their firm has been allocated to”, he explained.
Solicitors have the freedom to use the costs specialist of their choice, he added. “The solicitor ultimately will have discretion, so it is not going to be forced upon them. We’ve been working long and hard in finding solutions so that the firms can come to us and see the flexibility the economics of getting us involved from an early stage, and then being able to reap the benefits from it. So it’s not being imposed on them; it’s there as a platform and should they choose to instruct us, we are there.”
Outspire’s chairman, Sajid Hussein, told Legal Futures that other costs firms could integrate themselves with Clinical Connexx if they contacted the company.
He said the software was operated by use of ‘apps’ or ‘wizards’ similar to those on a smartphone, for instance when medical records needed to be reviewed, non-recoverable time recorded, or experts instructed.
MRN and PI Costings had advised on the technical accuracy of each of the software’s processes. It was the first time rival costs specialists had collaborated to “share their intelligence and data”, Mr Hussein claimed.
He continued that by following the software’s directions, a clinical negligence department could “efficiently and cost effectively settle straightforward or lower-value claims”. In complex matters, the work could be outsourced “and all relevant records from the client file are forwarded to a senior costs expert”.
In this way, jobs could be turned around in 30 days and “accurately assessed in detail in six to 12 days, saving a huge amount of time and money”, he argued.