Gadens Ridgeway adds value to client service

Gadens Ridgeway adds value to client service

Most law firms are still very much centred around documents, however, changes in information technology are removing existing stereotypes, by placing lawyers at the very forefront of efficient work practices. Australian law firm Gadens Ridgeway has reduced the mountains of paper by implementing the DOCS Open electronic document management system.

Multiple Objectives

Gadens Ridgeway decided a formalised document management system was the answer to their major requirements, but any DMS system had to fulfil multiple objectives, such as the ability to function under both Apple Macs and MS Windows; flexible search methods; integration with pre-existing groupware; scalability; flexibility; and ODBC compliance.

As a result of a formal national information technology needs review, the DOCS Open document management system was supplied and installed by Educom Business Solutions in September 1994. Gadens Ridgeway now has a 180 user system, which utilises Sun Solaris file servers, Novell NetWare 3.12 and an Oracle database engine.

"DOCS Open enables us to provide rapid and efficient customer service by providing our clients with timely information on relevant case status. Reports are either emailed to customers on a daily basis, or customers can access secure areas of the system to generate their own reports. The implementation of the DMS has also provided us with the ability to establish databanks for individual clients," she said.

An average user on the old system spent three hours a week searching and retrieving information. This time was not just taken to execute the search, but the time taken in requesting information to be retrieved from archive.

However, before any of these actions could even be taken, the user had to identify the individual document by both name and location, which became an ongoing problem.

At the largest site with 160 users, an average of three hours spent per week for search and retrieval, at nominal cost of $10 per hour, equalled $230,400 annually. So even if Gadens Ridgeway could only recoup 50% of this search time, they could save over $100,000 annually - a figure which alone recoups the cost of software and customisation.

Towards the Paperless Office

Another client benefit has been the reduction in administrative costs. All internal correspondence is now stored in DOCS Open in electronic format, with DOCS Quick Search and Projects electronic folders providing ease of access throughout the firm. All faxes are registered and tracked through DOCS Open, which provides a complete electronic history of matters. Internal memos, and correspondence are also stored and routed in the Document Management System.

Courting Approval

Formerly, only word processing or secretarial staff were provided with the tools to create and edit electronic documents. Now with DOCS Open, the lawyers have the tools to be self sufficient.

"Everything that is produced in our office is allocated against a matter number, which is now an automatic process covering fax, email, spreadsheets and word-processed documents," said Ms Miller.

"If we have an unusual piece of law where we have to develop a precedent, then the next time we have to produce the same type of legal advice it is already there."

Business Solution: