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Keyhouse breakfast seminar. Wake up and smell the coffee. Literally.

What: Accepting change, embracing technology, recognising opportunity.

When: Thursday 9th March 2017 from 8am – 9.30am

Where: Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4

You know that the Irish legal industry has changed radically over the last 10 years. You know that it faces new challenges and that it has never been more difficult to be profitable.

What can you do about that? Our industry is changing and your firm must change with it and reinvent your business model.

Keyhouse will show you what’s really happening and clarify the challenges you face.

You might remember at our last seminar we predicted the commoditisation of legal services and this trend is now rapidly undermining the traditional business model of law firms around the world.

We’ll talk about this and other challenges and equip you with the tools and insight to tackle them.

And we’ll do all of that over one hour and a cup of coffee. All you have to do is join us when you wake up on March 9th. But please make sure you reserve your place by registering here first. Read More

Keyhouse Newsletter – 1st Quarter 2017

2016 has been a very busy year for everyone in Keyhouse. The roll-out of our brand new state of-the-art Case Management software has been completed for most of our clients and these firms are now reaping the benefits of lots of new time saving features and a more intuitive interface which brings greater efficiency and increased productivity.

This year also saw us introducing new services such as Managed Service Days, Optimisation Programmes, Skills Gap Analysis and CPD courses.   Read more about this and see all our client news Keyhouse_NL_Jan_17_vFA_LR Read More

The story so far

We launched our brand new website today. While it looks great, it also tells the whole Keyhouse story, details all of our products and services and will keep you up to date with all of our news and events.

While we’re in the zone, we thought we’d take a minute to reflect on how far we have come and how we got here. It’s a success story about a company that grew up in the .com boom, found its niche, survived as others fell, thrived, made it through austerity and is still blossoming.

It’s a tale of an ongoing evolution.

Keyhouse installed its first legal accounts system (Solicitors Accounts Management – SAM Accounts) back in 1983 and then brought the first Windows based legal accounts system to the market in 1997. This is where our reputation for providing robust legal accounting and time recording solutions began. Our accounting solutions continue to be a key product for the company and every year they go to work in more and more law offices throughout the country – large and small.

Working closely with our clients and researching the market we saw a need for a truly integrated Irish practice management system(PMS). At the time (mid 90’s) there was no one supplier in Ireland providing both accounting and case management solutions. That’s when the original Keyhouse (Justin Phelan and Stephen Keogh) merged with LawSoft Systems (Brian Sweeney) who had been developing case management systems for solicitors in the UK and had returned home. Both were relatively small companies at the time but both recognised the potential in offering a quality PMS and embarked on a joint venture which became Keyhouse Computing in 1999.

The company employed 10 people and was based in Bray, Co. Wicklow.

In 2002, the Sheriff’s Association selected Keyhouse to work on a joint project in partnership with the Revenue Commissioners to develop and deliver an effective and cost efficient debt recovery system enabling clear collaboration between the revenue and each of the 16 sheriff offices around the country. The project involved the full cycle of software development including scoping, costing, design, development, testing including UAT, deployment, training and sign off. Essentially, we developed the software linking the revenue commissioners to 16 sheriffs’ offices enabling the daily transfer of data via an on line secure upload/download web portal.

13 years later this partnership is still ongoing today and we’re very proud of that. We support, maintain and update this solution as and when required to allow for new business rules between the sheriffs and revenue.

From 2000 to 2012, we continued to upgrade and further develop our PMS, adding new features such as the Electronic Bank Reconciliation module to the SAM Accounts System and Outlook integration to Case Management. We introduced Digital Dictation and developed a mobile app helping connect clients to their offices wherever they were and to manage their cases on the move.

During this time, Keyhouse grew from 10 employees to 18 with a solid client base of 300 law firms. They all play a very significant role in the development of our products, telling us about their changing needs and helping to improve our offerings. Many of our clients have been with us for 10 years or more. By constantly consulting with, and listening to them, we refine everything. In fact most of the great ideas for new product functionality and services come from our clients’ ideas.

In 2015, we embarked on our biggest project yet and released a major new case management software upgrade built on the latest Microsoft .NET framework and this has now been rolled out to over 90% of our clients. Years in development, this release incorporated invaluable input from clients all over the country and was built on the most advanced Microsoft technology available. The upgraded product was designed to not only simplify the end user experience without sacrificing the comprehensive functionality (as always with Keyhouse) but to future-proof our clients businesses. The goal is always to help them not only to become more sustainable but also grow in an ever increasingly competitive marketplace.

The suite of products and service Keyhouse now provides is the result of 30 years’ experience working with the legal profession in Ireland. With an in-depth understanding of solicitors’ offices and in-house legal departments, Keyhouse delivers software solutions that meet the exacting requirements of the legal office.

We’re very proud that Keyhouse is one of the few software suppliers left that designs, develops and supports all of its own products.

The Keyhouse Practice Management Suite of software includes Solicitor Accounts (formerly known as SAM), Document Management, Case Management, Time Recording, Billing and Digital Dictation. Every day we work on new ways to provide clients with innovative tools to help them run their practices more efficiently.

From Baggot Street to Bray, to the IMI in Sandyford and soon from an office in the UK as we begin another chapter, we are now a team of 25 and look forward to working in partnership with all our clients for another 30 years.

And that’s the story. So far.
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Tormey Solicitors – An OPSIS conversion

Tormey Solicitors is one of the largest and longest established firms in the midlands and we are delighted to announce that they have chosen Keyhouse as their Practice Management System provider. As they are currently using OPSIS for Accounts and Case Management, we will be converting their existing OPSIS files over to the new system to ensure that they will have continued access to all of their historical data. Read More

Smith & Williamson Survey of Irish Law Firms 2016/17

Smith & Williamson are leading independently-owned providers of investment management, accountancy, tax, corporate and financial advisory services to private clients, corporates, professional practices, and non-profit organisations.

They are one of the top ten accountancy and investment management firms with 13 offices in Ireland, the UK and Jersey employing 70 people in the Dublin office. The legal sector continues to be an extremely important growth area for Smith & Williamson, which their Annual Irish Law Firm Survey is testament to.

107 separate law firms took part including 13 of the top 20 Irish law firms, 17 mid-tier firms and 77 small firms usually represented by their managing partner or a senior partner.

Click here to view the survey and download a copy.

Read More

McCann FitzGerald select Keyhouse for its property team

McCann FitzGerald, one of Ireland’s premier law firms, has just chosen Keyhouse to support its property team. Keyhouse will be working with them to develop workflows to process and manage their files. The Keyhouse system will be integrated with iManage, for whom we have just been appointed as the preferred Irish partner. Read More

Keyhouse and iManage: An Irish innovator representing a global leader

Keyhouse is the most successful law firm practice management system developer in Ireland. iManage is the document management system developer of choice for the top law firms around the world. When iManage wanted to increase their presence in Ireland, who better to work with than the number one name in the market, Keyhouse?

iManage is in Ireland already and is used by most of the biggest practices here, but the company had no physical presence here. Until now.

Following a recognition that there are great similarities in product, services, people and corporate culture between the two companies, a deal was done:

Keyhouse is now the preferred Irish partner for iManage. Please click here to read the full press release. Read More

Should you be Paying for your Employees to Upskill?

The skills of your employees represent one of the most important elements of your business. The better your employees are at their job, the easier it is for your company to attain the level of productivity that is necessary to achieve success in your field.

On the other side of the coin, employee training can get costly. Many business owners and operators are trying to come up with an answer to the question, “should you be paying for your employees to upskill?” For several important reasons, the answer to this question is a resounding, “Yes!”

Why Upskilling is Valuable

Despite the costs that are involved, upskilling does have a large amount of value for companies that decide to provide these benefits to their employees. When considering the question of “should you be paying for your employees to upskill?” remember the two main benefits of deciding to upskill: improving your company’s productivity, and boosting your employee engagement.

The Productivity Benefits of Upskilling

One of the most important benefits of deciding to upskill your employees is the productivity advantage that you will reap because of this decision. Many other types of companies have already received these productivity benefits; in fact, government research about training in Australia shows that greater than four out of every five companies in Australia provide training for their employees.

While training for most types of employees will provide you with benefits as far as productivity goes, upskilling for some kinds of employees will provide a direct contribution to your bottom line. For example, if you provide training for your sales team about closing techniques that provides them with an increase in their closing rate, your company will enjoy more sales thanks to your sales team closing more deals with potential customers. The productivity benefits of upskilling also extend to back and middle office positions. For example, providing your customer service reps with training will make them more likely to help your customers effectively, which will then improve your customer satisfaction rates and give you a better chance at retaining existing business.

The other big consideration that you need to make when you are wondering “should you be paying for your employees to upskill?” is an employee engagement benefit. Studies have shown that one of the most significant benefits of upskilling is a boost to your employee engagement.

Upskilling and Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is critical for a productive, smoothly functioning company. Despite how critical it is for a successful company; research shows that many businesses in Australia have issues with engagement. Statistics from the Hewitt Best Employer Survey show that only 54% of Australian employees are engaged. This is quite alarming when you consider that global research firms like Aon Hewitt have reported that higher employee engagement can lead to increased shareholder return, greater revenues, and less turnover.

So how exactly does upskilling help your organisation improve its employee engagement? Primarily because it shows your team members that you value their performance and are invested in the work that they do for you. A willingness to invest in the skills of your employees shows that you are committed to them and are willing to help them do everything possible to get better at their job.

Upskilling your employees is especially important because they can keep these skills with them, even if they eventually decide to leave your organisation. Since your employees recognise this fact, they will understand that your decision to invest in their job skills is an investment in them, as well as in your business. This fact will make them respond better to your training and be more loyal to your company.

Other Concerns for Upskilling

Remember that when you are considering the question “should you be paying for your employees to upskill?” you should think about what specific type of training your employees would benefit the most from. While certain kinds of upskilling are very valuable, there are other kinds of training that will not give you a sufficient return on investment. Take your time when choosing a provider of upskilling so that you can get the services that you need to make your employees better at their jobs.

Although you may be wary of the costs that are involved with upskilling, remember that if you find the right provider, the benefits of upskilling far outweigh the upfront costs. Take steps to provide training for your team so that you can boost your bottom line and show your employees that you are truly concerned about their professional well being.

This article is originally by Wayne Fleming you can read the full version here Read More

How to Save Hours a Day (And Your Sanity) in Your Law Practice

When you started your law practice, it was probably like any other startup service business. You do everything, and you don’t have anyone to help you.

At this stage, the first (and simplest) form of leverage you’ve got is a form document. Instead of reinventing the wheel every time you need a contract or memo, you open up a file, and start from a form. It’s one of the first tools lawyers use to save hours in the day.

Two Kinds of Leverage that Actually Make a Difference

There are two points of leverage that can save you a huge amount of time when they’re in sync – people and process.

Lawyers understand people leverage. Getting others to do things that you’d otherwise do yourself.

And when you do that, miraculously you start to get some of your time back.


If you still need to review all the work that other people do, you’ll never free up as much time as you want.

What good is hiring an associate to take work off your plate if a good portion of that work just ends up back on your plate anyway? Yes, you’ve freed yourself up some, at the cost of a host of new things to fill your time. From reviewing someone else’s work (which is never exactly how you’d do it) to managing them as employees.

If you really want to save multiple hours each day and grow your practice, you need to seamlessly integrate people leverage with process leverage.

Most attorneys hire an associate (or paralegal, or assistant) either assuming they know nothing and expecting a long, long training road – or assuming they know something (and then being disappointed when they see bad habits instilled from the prior employer… who themselves had no training methodology.)

Process leverage means creating a detailed, step-by-step instruction on how you want things done – to meet your exacting quality standards.

By process, I mean painfully detailed. A formal process that employees follow, step by step, to get things done. Even for seemingly trivial tasks like drafting or research.

When you receive work from someone you go through a process in your head. The key is to get as much of that evaluation process as possible out of your head – and onto paper.

The goal? If someone follows this process, you’ll know and they’ll know that they’ve successfully delivered work that meets your quality standards.

Developing and documenting your process takes time at the beginning. But it frees up significantly more time than the traditional approach – either delegating nothing or reviewing everything you delegate.

Process empowers employees. It enables you to carve yet another slice of time from your day for yourself. It allows your business to run without you.

That’s real leverage.

This article was written by Raj Jha of Legal Productivity, if you’d like to read the original article you can do so here  Read More

Here comes the new legal services regulator

In late 2010 the government told the troika – as part of the bailout plan and a legal reform programme – we would have an independent regulator for legal services in place by the third quarter of 2011. Four years later and despite all the bravado, the legislation to allow this – the Legal Services Regulation Bill – has yet to become law.


Everyone knows reform is needed. There have been lots of reports over the years, including the landmark 2006 Competition Authority study of the profession, pointing it out. Lawyers were regulating themselves, running closed training programmes, setting their own fee structures and overseeing their own complaints. The Bar Council and the Law Society acted as both lobby groups and regulators.


A lack of reform has meant that legal costs in Ireland are well above the international average. The Medical Protection Society, which provides indemnity cover to medical consultants, said legal costs in cases here were among the highest in the world, pushing up insurance costs for doctors and leading to huge financial risks for claimants.


It took a year after the bailout before the legal reform legislation was even published and perhaps it will make it into the statute books before the fourth anniversary of its publication in October. The EU Commission, in a recent report, blamed opposition from “vested interests” for the delay. Of course, the “vested interests” dispute this, with the Bar Council arguing that the delays had arisen from “within the Department” and due to other legislative priorities.


There was initially disagreement about how members of the board of the new regulatory authority would be appointed but this was resolved. The big battle however has been the structure of the profession and in particular the proposals to allow solicitors and barristers to work together in legal partnerships and to work with other professions, such as accountants, in multi-disciplinary practices.


Even when the law is passed, it is believed that change will be slow and even the establishment of legal partnerships will be subject to a six-month consultation process by the new regulatory authority.


The Bill will bring many welcome changes: Regulation will be taken on by an independent body, it will oversee an independent complaints mechanism, fees will be more transparent and some of the old restrictions – such as lawyers taking a share of “winnings” in court, or junior counsel taking a percentage of the fee of senior counsel – will end.


Source: Irish Times Read More