Alex Bousfield specialises in criminal law and established his legal practice in 2003. Teesside Law Limited provides Regulatory, Compliance, Criminal, Family and Children Law services and now has three offices across Teesside, in Redcar, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees.
“As we provide 24 hour representation and call-out to clients arrested and detained, it goes without saying that it’s impossible to predict what each week will entail.
It’s a busy practice, our lawyers attend Magistrates’ Courts daily as well as police stations. We also instruct criminal defence Barristers and Queen's Counsel or defend clients ourselves in Crown Court criminal proceedings.
There can be a lot of dead time waiting at police stations and delays around proceedings in court. We realised that IT would be central to managing our time effectively and to maintaining continuity of service for our clients and for over 10 years, we’ve used Perfect Books’ Case Management.
It’s a good system. It is an effective way to manage letters, emails and attendance notes and it automatically updates timesheets. It is then posted on the accounts ledger and our Accounts team also find the system easy to use.
What has really made a difference for us is using the whole Case Management system online, via a cloud server. It means that time that otherwise would have been lost waiting at police stations or court can be used to update and prepare cases.
We no longer have to wait to be back at the office, at home or until we find a quiet space to dictate revisions. As long as we have a secure connection, the information can be relayed to the office using a tablet and our secretarial staff can issue letters and documentation. It is essential to the efficient running of the practice.
The majority of cases we work on are eligible for Criminal Legal Aid funding and so we value the fact that Perfect Software provide software updates when any changes are made to legal aid.
We’ve always found the team at Perfect Software very supportive, always happy to help out with queries both for case management and accounts.
I think that the efficient use of IT will be essential for practices, particularly as cuts to legal aid take effect.”