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Potter Clarkson standardizes processes in an expanding legal business

Potter Clarkson is a progressive business that is growing rapidly across Europe. A full-service intellectual property law firm, it has expertise in patents, trademarks, designs, litigation, licensing and related consultancy.

In this specialist legal field, speed and accuracy are critical. Attorneys often have to meet deadlines in order to secure patents and trademarks quickly and enable clients to maximize value from their innovations. With Nintex K2 Cloud, Potter Clarkson can ensure that all employees (across each of its offices) use the same standardized business processes to work efficiently and deliver highly professional services for clients.

Potter Clarkson
Professional Services
Capabilities Used
Automation On-Prem

Who they are

Potter Clarkson is a full-service intellectual property law firm, it has expertise in patents, trademarks, designs, litigation, licensing and related consultancy.

What they needed

For Potter Clarkson, speed and accuracy are critical. Attorneys need to meet deadlines in order to secure patents and trademarks quickly so clients can maximize value from their investments.

How they did it

Using Nintex K2 Cloud, Potter Clarkson can ensure that all employees use the same standardized business processes to work efficiently and deliver highly professional legal services for clients.

Effective management of new business

Challenge: A higher volume of new business

Potter Clarkson has grown rapidly in recent years, expanding from one office in Nottingham to seven offices across four European countries. At the same time, the firm has introduced new consultancy services, all of which have increased the amount of work coming into the business on a daily basis.

Each new piece of work (known as a matter), be it a patent request, trademark or litigation case, needs to be assigned a unique reference number. Prior to using Nintex K2 Cloud, it could take up to three days to complete the opening of a new matter in the central records management system and then collect and share all the relevant documentation with the appointed attorney and paralegal teams. Significantly, there was a lack of consistency in the way that different people, across different teams and offices, handled this important process.

Solution: Consistent processing of ‘matters’

Now, when new matters are raised there is a standard process across the firm. This involves filling in a specially tailored digital form that guides the user and helps them categorize the matter from a list of over 60 different types of work. The workflow then sends the request to the lead attorney for approval. At that point, the company’s finance systems are queried to verify that the client has sufficient credit on its account to cover the new piece of work. This is automatically passed to the records team which assigns a matter reference to the job. Nintex K2 Cloud also captures the relevant documentation and files this to the iManage workspace before notifying the appropriate teams.

This new management process is enabling Potter Clarkson to more effectively manage increased volumes of requests from new and existing clients. The amount of time required to create a new matter has reduced dramatically, as a new record can be set up in just a few hours.

In addition, Potter Clarkson can be assured that all jobs are processed in the same consistent way, in line with the guidelines issued by the organization’s Professional Standards Committee. Furthermore, when new employees are recruited, it is far easier for them to understand and conform to the correct procedures.

Nintex K2 Cloud has become business critical. It enables us to grow our business and open up new offices, safe in the knowledge that all our employees throughout Europe are using the same consistent and robust processes.
Philip Morris, IT and Operations Director, Potter Clarkson
Rapid processing of change requests

Challenge: Hundreds of changes every day

Due to the very nature of intellectual property law, attorneys often need to complete actions within specific timelines or on specific dates. Therefore, it is essential for Potter Clarkson to record when tasks have been completed and when deadlines move. Such changes occur frequently and, as a result, the firm needs to make around 6,000 changes to its central matter records every month.

Previously, attorneys used a variety of different ways to request changes to matter records, including using internal mail systems, email and the telephone. Sometimes this made it difficult for attorneys to quickly identify the status of a matter, particularly if they were working remotely. The firm was seeking a standardized approach that brought efficiencies to this process.

Solution: Changes in minutes not hours

Potter Clarkson integrated Nintex K2 Cloud with its existing in-house-developed records management software, using an application programming interface (API). Consequently, attorneys can now not only request changes to records using a single familiar interface, but they can also monitor the progress of their requests, see when the records have been amended and find out who is dealing with it.

This change request solution makes the business far more efficient while reinforcing the rigor of the quality assurance process. On average, changes are now completed in less than 30 minutes, whereas they used to take several hours. The workflow process also detects and prioritizes the most critical changes.

K2 Software helps Potter Clarkson to retain the International Standards Organization (ISO) accreditation for quality management (ISO 9001) by improving the consistency and traceability of the change request process. In addition, this cloud-based automation solution makes it far easier for attorneys to work from home, client sites, or even on the move using mobile devices when delivering consultancy services.

Efficient distribution of incoming mail

Challenge: Time-consuming delivery of post

Every week, Potter Clarkson receives over 1,000 items of mail, ranging from attachments to emails and PDF downloads from official websites to paper-based posts. Many of these items are relevant to large numbers of employees and teams and therefore need to be shared efficiently.

In the past, these documents were printed and manually distributed throughout the office. Then each recipient initialed the top sheet to confirm that they had read it before passing it on to the next team and it finally being stored in a paper file. When Potter Clarkson was based in one office, this approach worked but was incredibly time-consuming. However, when the business began to expand and open more offices, finding a new approach became a top priority.

Potter Clarkson began to use Nintex K2 Cloud to digitize and accelerate its mail distribution process – and the timing for this key project could not have been better.  Just as the solution had been tested and was ready to launch, the COVID-19 outbreak occurred in Europe, and all of the firm’s 220 staff needed to work from home at short notice.

Solution: Rapid sharing of legal information

The day after the British Government announced a country-wide lockdown, in response to COVID-19, Potter Clarkson pushed out its brand new mail management processes to the whole business at once.  The company had been testing the new workflow solution for mail distribution for a couple of months with some of the teams working remotely and was confident that it would work well but had originally planned a more phased introduction. Within days, the number of documents processed increased from 50 a day to over 300.  All members of staff and departmental teams immediately began to receive their mail using Nintex K2 Cloud, and even the Document Processing team could work safely from home, managing the distribution remotely.

The firm now digitizes all hard copy posts and allocates all incoming mail and downloaded files to a temporary document store.  An interface built with digital forms is used to select and categorize these items. Then the workflows move the documents to the appropriate iManage matter workspaces and route them around the business, sending them directly to the people that need to see them, and recording their acknowledgment and approval, wherever they may be located. All items in transit are also monitored by the Document Processing team to ensure that prompt delivery is maintained.

With its intricate functionality, this incoming mail solution identifies if any documents require an immediate response and ensure these are prioritized. In particular, requests from certain jurisdictions may need to be actioned more quickly, due to the time difference. The entire process is far more efficient than before. For example, a piece of mail that arrives in the post in the UK at 9:00 am could now be processed, filed and delivered to the relevant teams in Stockholm within the hour.

As the automated process is fully transparent, Potter Clarkson can now be absolutely sure that an attorney has seen a piece of mail and has taken responsibility for completing any actions that relate to it. Automatic escalation processes ensure that date sensitive communications are not overlooked. The process also reduces the use of paper within the business, helping Potter Clarkson to retain the ISO 14001 accreditation for environmental management, and further supporting the organization’s ISO 27001 security accreditation.

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