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Colin

Colin’s Request

Colin is a solicitor who does a lot of plaintiff personal injury work. This means meeting with clients, taking instructions from them about the circumstances of their injury and the extent of their medical treatment, informing them of the documentation he will need from them, having them sign an authority for Colin to deal with PIAB on their behalf, giving them a fee estimate, and possibly having some anti money laundering (AML) processes completed.

On top of all this, Colin’s clients found it difficult to find time to travel to his office for consultation, and were sometimes annoyed that the consultation consisted mainly of an exchange of information that could have been done in advance (which would have left more time for an actual discussion of their case).

From Colin’s perspective, some of his time was being wasted because some of his consultations didn’t lead to new work. Sometimes the client had left it too late to seek advice, sometimes the client was the one who was in the wrong, and sometimes the ‘injury’ was too negligible to justify launching legal action.

Colin contacted us for a chat to see if we could help.

Consultation with smartlegal

We sat down with Colin and discussed his pain points and his clients’ pain points, and we threw around a few ideas as to how we might improve everybody’s process and outcome.

Ultimately, together, we flipped the situation on its head and came up with a win-win situation which would bring about the following immediate benefits:

  • Clients could give initial instructions by either (i) using a form on Colin’s practice website, or (ii) ringing the office and answering questions asked by a secretary (who would feed those answers into the form on the practice website);
  • The initial instructions could then be automatically screened for limitation and other issues, and then reviewed by Colin (at his convenience) for an initial decision on whether the case ought to be progressed;
  • If case was to be progressed, the system would automatically generate documentation specific to the case, including:
    • Case Management Sheet;
    • Preliminary Letter to Client (setting out case details, inviting client to arrange an in-person consultation, and specifying the documents the client should bring to that consultation);
    • Section 68 Letter / Section 150 Notice;
    • Letter(s) to Respondent(s);
    • PIAB Form A (for signature at consultation);
    • Client Authority to Act (for signature at consultation);
    • Client letter to PIAB (for signature at consultation);
    • Solicitor letter to PIAB.

Colin’s one concern was that clients would want to see him in person, to talk to him in person, and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable dealing with a secretary over the phone or with an online form. We at smartlegal felt that clients would prefer the convenience of the new arrangement, particularly at the initial stages of getting legal advice.

smartlegal Solution

We built an online questionnaire modelled on the PIAB Form A and collecting basic information about the client, the accident, the wrongdoer(s), the client’s injuries, and any out of pocket expenses.

The questionnaire was placed on Colin’s website where clients could access it directly or, if they preferred, the clients could speak to Colin’s secretary who would ask the questions directly from the online questionnaire and type the answers into the form.

Outcome

Once the questionnaire was completed, the system immediately generated the following documents and e-mailed them directly to Colin’s secretary:

  • Case Management Sheet;
  • Preliminary Letter to Client (setting out case details, inviting client to arrange an in-person consultation, and specifying the documents the client should bring to that consultation);
  • Section 68 Letter / Section 150 Notice;
  • Letter(s) to Respondent(s);
  • PIAB Form A (for signature at consultation);
  • Client Authority to Act (for signature at consultation);
  • Client letter to PIAB (for signature at consultation);
  • Solicitor letter to PIAB.

Colin would then review the instructions and either (a) telephone the client to commiserate about their unwinnable case, or (b) instruct his secretary to send the preliminary letter to the client (after which the client would come to consultation with the required documents, discuss the case with Colin, and sign the necessary documentation).

Colin is delighted – he’s saving a bunch of time for himself, he can service way more clients this way, and he’s even finding that his novel approach (he thinks he’s the only solicitor in Ireland offering an online form like this) has gone viral – leading to clients from all over the country using his online form for an initial case screening.

*Names and other identifying information have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

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