West Midland law firm Challinors says it has kick-started a new phase with “substantial investment in an extensive, comprehensive” practice management IT system.
“IT is of significant strategic importance,” said chief executive Andy Hodges. “To enhance the quality client service already in place and extend the systems to reflect client needs and expectations, we have selected the very best in case management IT systems, working with TFB, a market-leader in the provision of the most advanced software solutions for the legal profession, which can tailor its software to each individual firm’s requirements.
“Challinors has built on its existing use of the TFB software to roll out the flagship case and practice management system, Partner for Windows software, which for a firm of more than 200 people, costs in excess of £200,000.”
The investment in IT is the first in a number of changes to be introduced across Challinors’ three West Midland offices in Edgbaston, Birmingham city centre, and West Bromwich.
“There is a huge potential to reposition the firm and build on its substantial regional presence,” Mr Hodges said. “The Carter and Clementi reviews have presented new and unprecedented challenges for every legal firm in the UK and we are keeping a close watch on the implementation of the Legal Services Bill. Challinors is 100 per cent committed to moving the business forward and growing to become one of the top five law firms in the region.
“The firm has to be focused on the future of the legal and professional services sector and take advantage of the opportunities it presents at this exciting and evolutionary time.
“The IT system will enable Challinors to maximise its excellent client service; we have ambitious plans for expansion and growth in the region that will build on the firm’s considerable size, scale and reputation.”
Since Mr Hodges took on the role of chief executive in October last year, he has led an extensive firm-wide review of Challinors’ operational processes and efficiencies.
“In order to get the most out of the business, to continue to deliver a personal, highly professional service and superior legal advice, and prepare the firm for the inevitable changes to be implemented under the Legal Services Bill, the review identified a number of modifications including the requirement for a comprehensive IT system,” he said.
The system’s implementation is being led by Mr Hodges, alongside newly-appointed finance director Jonathan Gamble, who has worked at Midland lawyers Fraser Brown and accountants Grant Thornton, and HR director Helen Jarvis, who has fulfilled similar roles for two East Midland law firms.
“It is important that the firm keeps pace with technological advances so that everyone, particularly clients, benefits from the service and cost efficiencies they bring.”
Challinors also has plans to re-structure the firm and its legal specialisms in order to deliver cohesion and clarity, both internally and externally.
“The firm remains committed to all areas of the law in which it currently specialises,” Mr Hodges said. “Despite the changes scheduled for the Legal Aid system and proposed in the Carter Review, Challinors intends to maintain and grow this legal specialism handled by our dedicated Criminal, Family, Clinical Negligence and Child Care teams which have extensive expertise in this field.”
In addition, Challinors has one of the West Midlands’ largest personal damages teams, based at its Birmingham city centre office.
“Three of our specialists in this team are appointed to the Clinical Negligence Panel,” Mr Hodges said.
Other core activities at the firm include the commercial property team led by Baldev Singh-Kang, and a substantial domestic property team.
Civil and contract, corporate finance, employment, probate and criminal work also represent a significant caseload for Challinors.
“The repositioning of the firm may also include a new look for Challinors and ambitious expansion and growth through the creation of innovative business channels providing work in the most appropriate way for the client.
“Staff training and development will also figure high in our plans for growth and sustainability, and to this end we will be working closely with all employees and clients over the coming months,” added Mr Hodges.
Challinors, which incorporates Cartwright & Lewis, has 27 partners and about 120 fee-earners from more than 200 staff.