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Robert Dellow

Atkins Thomson selects Virtual Cabinet Document Management System

A successful legal firm firm working with vast quantities of documents with complex approval processes and that require input from colleagues and clients.

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Atkins Thomson is a successful legal firm with offices in London and in Suffolk. Concentrating on defamation, privacy, media law, intellectual property and media litigation as well as commercial, property, business, matrimonial and private client work, they have settled numerous cases in recent months for high profile clients including phone hacking for Hugh Grant, and Jamie Theakston.

“It’s not the future; it’s what is happening now.”
- Robert Dellow, Partner

The firm works with and retains vast quantities of documents that are subject to complex approval processes and that require input from colleagues and clients. For Atkins Thomson, storing aged documents off-site was costly but necessary.

“Paper management has always been an issue for the legal profession.”
- Robert Dellow, Partner

“Our challenge is the fast retrieval of information. If the file is off-site, the process is slow and costly and if stored on-site, firstly you have to find the box it is in, pull out the paper file and then find it’s the wrong file. So much time is wasted.”

Harboring a dream of a paperless office for many years, Robert was talking to his accountant one day when she mentioned in passing the benefits of the Virtual Cabinet document management system. What appealed to Robert was the potential time-savings the firm would be able to make. He envisioned being on the phone to a client and being able to pull up the necessary document on screen and to send it to the client for discussion, there and then.

“In terms of service to the client, taking too long to retrieve a document is a critical failure on our part,” Robert explains. “We wanted to equip the Suffolk office of Atkins Thomson with a sophisticated document management system that is compatible with legal work and that includes functionality for document comparison and version history.”

Virtual Cabinet was installed 3 years ago in the Suffolk office and now the ten-man team can locate documents quickly through the easy to use electronic search facility.

“There have been times when I have spent several hours looking for documents and now I can find them on Virtual Cabinet in a few seconds.”
- Robert Dellow, Partner

The software provides a secure document store with many additional search facilities enabling any document to be found more easily. It integrates fully with back office systems and has the ability to simply link all forms of electronic files back to the client record.

Now, the team can collaborate on documents securely, track changes easily and include version information. All incoming post is scanned into Virtual Cabinet which has ‘vastly reduced’ the number of filing cabinets required and “we print out less paper than we used to,” Robert says. Although some of the more mature members of the team still prefer to work on paper files, the younger members find it more ‘natural’ to let technology take over.

One of the key benefits of working with Virtual Cabinet is the flexibility it offers, allowing the team to log on remotely at any time of the day and night. The firm is convinced that it ‘improves efficiency and client service and there is no longer a need to archive as final documents are scanned in to the system for easy retrieval.

“We can’t imagine life without Virtual Cabinet. It would be a backward step.”
- Robert Dellow, Partner

The integrated document portal is a likely next step for the firm. The portal helps meet the changing legal framework for client confidentiality and enables firms such as Atkins Thomson to demonstrate that security is taken seriously by providing a secure end-to-end automated delivery process that enables the legally admissible digital sign-off of documents.

Virtual Cabinet is considered something of a saviour in terms of reducing stress: “We know that the documents are there and can pull them up whenever we need to and email them straight off.”

This fully integrated document management system with full version control and audit trail provides peace of mind for Atkins Thomson, who are now realising their dream to create a paperless office. Virtual Cabinet controls all documents, shares information, increases productivity and archives securely with an instant return on investment.

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