Law firm merger training exemplar

When law firms merge, there is little chance they will both be using the same case management system, time recording software or email solution, let alone the same version of all the necessary third-party applications. That would be too easy.

This was the situation that senior management and the experienced IT teams at leading law firms Shakespeares and SGH Martineau had to cope with following the successful merger of the two in June 2015, although the planning started much earlier.

To ensure a quick integration of the two workforces, the decision had been made early in the merger process to roll out the existing bespoke Axxia case management system across the newly merged firm. This required the legacy staff of SGH Martineau to undergo an intense period of training to get to grips with the new system.

Quiss has been the training delivery partner for Shakespeares since before the merger and so was ideally positioned to undertake the training of the SGH Martineau staff.

Quiss training manager James Smith explains: “We have two members of our team working at the various offices of Shakespeare Martineau, to introduce new starters to the systems used and offer refresher training to other members of staff, who want to be more productive and get the most out of the applications they use.

“Our two on-site trainers worked closely with additional members of our training team to deliver fast-paced, intensive sessions over a short-period post-merger. This ensured all the staff, across the newly merged firm’s nine offices, could collaborate more easily ensuring they continued to deliver the consistently high quality service for which Shakespeare Martineau is renowned.

Mergers of this nature always throw up issues, despite all the advance planning. So it is gratifying when the areas of the plan for which you are responsible, in this case the staff training, not only achieve the desired outcomes, but attract the personal thanks of the senior managers responsible for the original plan. This was also true of the in-house IT team who worked tirelessly to deliver “business as usual”.

You know the teams have performed well when Shakespeare Martineau Chief Executive Andy Raynor says: “It’s been amazing to watch the work that has been done tirelessly to move us onto one platform in such a short term after the merger and ensure everyone is trained and ready to go. The smooth transition, where you all played such a significant part, is one of the crowning achievements in the story of our firm so far. It’s a real privilege to work with you.”

Ian Smit the Chief Operating Officer offered similar praise: “I am very proud to be part of a team that deliver projects at such a high standard in such a short period of time. You should all be proud of yourselves. I’d like to thank each and every one of you for the part you’ve played – not only for the sacrifice of personal time, working long hours to deliver this, but also the brilliance and enthusiasm you bring to the firm.”

Clearly it’s good that clients pay us for the work we do, but it is encouraging to receive recognition of the contribution we make to peoples work. Training is often seen as the poor relation to the technology we teach people to use effectively and efficiently, yet this proves the positive impact good training can have on a business.

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