30 November 2012
Vulnerable people who face being affected by changes to the legal aid system will benefit from a new partnership initiative between Essex Business School and Essex legal firm, QualitySolicitors FJG.
Essex Business School at the University of Essex was asked by the firm, the biggest legal aid provider in the Eastern region, to review their current business processes and also their environmental impact to see what savings could be achieved to ensure they could continue to offer affordable and high quality services for clients after changes which remove much of the work out of the scope of legal aid.
The year-long collaboration attracted funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the East of England Development Agency through the Low Carbon KEEP project.
Senior lecturer in management Patrick Hitchen said: “In essence the project was about working with QualitySolicitors FJG to identify the core processes and re-engineer them so that the right work is done at the right level.”
The QualitySolicitors FJG and University team worked together to develop new client management workflows for legal aid service provision, identified paper processes that could be computerised and established which legal aid services could be offered remotely, saving time and costs for both clients and legal staff.
Tony Fisher, senior partner at the firm, said: “This has been a great opportunity for the firm to move forward and embrace new and progressive ideas. With simplicity, efficiency and innovation in mind, QualitySolicitors FJG is looking forward to becoming a more competitive firm in the fast moving legal services market whilst still maintaining its social commitment to serve our community.”
Patrick Hitchen said: “We have used the complex area of Family Legal work as the testbed and this approach can now be repeated for other legal services provided by the firm.
“It has proved invaluable in my work with students too as it is a good local case study and provided an opportunity to forge links with a key local business.”
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