When Fiona Dutton founded her niche family law practice in 2012, she had to make multiple urgent decisions about suppliers.
Fiona readily admits that these were difficult decisions. Fortunately, the most pivotal of these, namely her software provider, was one of the best – Insight Legal Software.
Dutton Solicitors inherently trusts Insight and uses the practice management and legal accounts system throughout the firm.
The Law Firm
Dutton Solicitors is a family law practice situated in Farnham, established in 2012. Advisory services encompass separation, divorce, civil partnership dissolution, children issues and resolution of associated finances.
As a small high street firm, there are just two staff members. Fiona Dutton, Sole Principal, and Vanda Kynaston, Secretary, share the full range of practice management and legal accounting responsibilities, on top of legal services delivery in Fiona’s case, supported by a sound IT framework.
When setting up her new legal firm, one of Fiona’s earliest and momentous decisions was her practice management and legal accounts software supplier.
Fiona explains: “When I first started out alone in business, I was accountable for all manner of decisions. Some of these choices, such as my energy provider, were less crucial. Software, however, is a minefield because so many things can go wrong and success is completely dependent upon selecting the right solution.
“We’re a 2-people company and do everything ourselves. Our prerequisite demands were all-inclusive functionality in an easy-to-use, well-priced system from a locally-based organisation. And, we had to get up and running quickly in order to open our doors. That’s why we selected Insight Legal Software.”
Having practiced law for over 20 years, Fiona’s built an extensive network comprising contacts within other law firms in the area. She utilised these connections as part of the research process alongside reading software guides.
Fiona adds: “The first step was talking to my peers, generally asking around for recommendations. Then, I compared my findings with software listings in printed guides to really understand the functionality on offer. Next, I compiled a shortlist and spoke with the suppliers direct to gauge whether or not they were people I could envisage getting along with. For me, the people are just as important as the product.”
Dutton Solicitors subsequently purchased licences for 2 users of Insight Legal Software.
Fiona continues: “My research pointed me in one clear direction – Insight. They ticked all the boxes – straightforward usability, value for money and their office is just down the road in Farnborough. Plus, we could literally switch the system on overnight.”
With time and money in short supply, Dutton Solicitors signed for Insight Legal Software on a subscription model with instant access via its IT infrastructure manager, 1st Call Tech. Following some initial remotely delivered training by the Insight team, Fiona and Vanda began using the system to perform the practice’s front and back-office functions.
Fiona states: “Insight’s pricing fitted our expectations and, without incoming monies, spreading the costs throughout the year was a huge help. We had no immediate cases to work on, which meant we couldn’t put our training into practice straightaway. The fact that we could use the software properly when we did receive instructions is proof of its simplicity. Additionally, neither myself nor Vanda are accounts experts but we can effortlessly manage our office and client accounts.
“Several years on, with a healthy client base, we’ve called up additional training for those features which weren’t relevant to us at the beginning, for example, file archiving. This tailored, flexible support is so handy. We can ring anytime for resolution over the phone or Insight can pop into our office. As a small outfit, this back-up means a lot to us.
“I’m a super-organised person who likes things neat and tidy. Thankfully, so is Insight! I can file things away and later access matter documents or reports in a flash.
“In the legal world, good systems are essential. We’re entrusting Insight with our entire business. Its wide-ranging features cater for our every need. However, if we did identify any shortfalls, Insight’s very receptive to development suggestions. Even better, when they roll out software updates, which happens regularly, it’s done in the background in a non-intrusive manner.
“As industry experts, Insight inspires absolute confidence. Usually you get great people or a great product; rarely the two together. With Insight, though, we have the best of both worlds. I would, and do, recommend Insight to anyone. Along with 1st Call Tech, we’re the perfect partnership.”
2 The Hart