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Published 13 March 2019
International law firm DAC Beachcroft has partnered with legal-tech company, Ampbah, to pilot a new cloud-based collaboration platform that streamlines how solicitors handling high-volume insurance claims instruct, communicate and share documents with barristers – driving efficiencies into the claims process for the benefit of their insurer clients.
The new platform integrates seamlessly with the law firm's case management system to connect solicitors with a pre-approved panel of barristers who are profiled based on the type and complexity of the instruction and invited to tender for work accordingly. This allows them to find the right person to carry out the instruction far more quickly and efficiently than currently happens. The platform also facilitates the secure electronic exchange of information and documentation between solicitor and counsel, preventing the risk of data loss.
Ampbah avoids the need for solicitors to make numerous telephone calls to barristers’ clerks to place an instruction and agree a brief fee. It also provides certainty in respect of fees and turnaround times. Barristers tender for the work based on a pre-determined fee and, where the instruction involves the provision of an advice, they are required to state the date by which they will be able to deliver the same.
Peter Allchorne, insurance partner at DAC Beachcroft and head of the firm's claims research and development hub, Innovations Lab, explains, "As their preferred legal partner, we've been working with Ampbah to test and develop the platform in a secure sandbox environment. We’re now ready to pilot it in a 'live claims' setting which is really exciting. The platform has huge potential, and we’re already working with Ampbah to look at alternative uses for the platform to drive value and efficiency, and to reduce the amount of time spent in other parts of the claims supply chain.”
Paul Mitchell QC, Ampbah director, said, "As a powerful supply-chain management tool, the platform addresses the unique logistical problems arising for insurers in massive scale vendor procurement. Where the service supplied resists full commoditisation and obtaining it generates much time-consuming correspondence, such as the instruction of barristers and expert witnesses, locating the right workshop for repairs to damaged vehicles, and so on, Ampbah delivers remarkable time savings on each individual case.”
"In its current configuration, the platform enables solicitors to find the right barrister in a fraction of the time currently required," said Paul Hurst, Ampbah director and former senior clerk. "Sitting on top of solicitors' proprietary case-management systems, it also enables instructions and briefs to counsel to be prepared at speeds which are impossible to achieve using traditional systems.
"From the barrister’s perspective, Ampbah increases the opportunities to obtain work by giving counsel a new degree of control over the relationship with the solicitor. The platform seamlessly integrates into the current clerking system used by barristers, adding value and saving time for solicitors and counsel alike.”
Ampbah has been created by a team including the CEO of one of the UK's most dynamic business software developers, Andy Markou of Dynamis; Adrian Barnard, a successful telecoms and media business developer; Paul Hurst, a former barristers' senior clerk; and Paul Mitchell QC of 4 New Square. Following two years of development work and market research, the platform is undergoing beta-testing with DAC Beachcroft, with a full roll-out planned for the second half of 2019.