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Case study – Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell, National Law Firm of the Year 2007, was established over 90 years ago and is the 4th largest law firm in the UK and the 5th largest litigation firm, with particular strength in commoditised legal services and products. The practice employs more than 2300 staff - including over 1000 fee-earners, with offices in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, and Sheffield as well as the Spanish cities of Marbella and Madrid.


Irwin Mitchell (IM) provides a Will drafting service to a number of high volume corporate providers such as HSBC, Barclays Trust, and also direct to a private client base.  IM wanted to significantly increase its Will writing services, with the ambition of becoming one of the largest providers of Wills in England and Wales. In order to achieve this it was essential for the IM Will Writing service to be streamlined and operated both efficiently and cost effectively, and to the highest possible standard.

The solution

DPL Professional worked with IM to deliver a customised desktop Will writing system tailored to its particular needs.

DPL Professional initially carried out a workshop with members of the IM Will Writing team to establish an overview of the procedures used in the existing Will drafting process and requirements for the service going forward.  Drawing on its extensive experience in the supply of such systems, DPL Professional proposed a system to streamline, control and automate the process to meet the challenge.

Through an interactive questionnaire the DPL Professional system handles all aspects of the Will drafting process.  The system incorporates document tracking from receipt of instructions to the drafting and checking of the Will document, and preparation of the engrossment for signature.  In addition to Wills, the system prepares Expressions of Wishes and Severance of Joint Tenancy.

The system interfaces with the IM Case Management System, and includes aspects such as:

User Management to set up and maintain authorised users of the system, with access levels. The access levels control the functions that a user can undertake, such as checking, and editing documents.  This enables simple Wills to be processed cost effectively and allows specialist Will drafters to concentrate on complex Wills

Source Management to set up and maintain details of third party sources so that they can be identified against a client file

The system includes functionality to allow Will documents to be edited by authorised Will drafters, part of the risk management considerations, but in practice the system produces 99.4% of the Wills without the need to edit.

The business benefits

The DPL Professional system has enabled the Will Writing team to deal quickly and efficiently with Will applications and to provide a cost effective service to the business.

The controls and automation within the system ensure that Wills are produced to the highest standard.

Before adopting the Wills system in June 2007, the Will Writing team processed less than 10,000 instructions each year.  By the middle of 2009 this will have increased significantly aided by the implementation of the DPL Professional solution and through working closely with DPL Professional to ensure that the solutions supports the businesses processes.

Richard Clark, Operations Director, IM, says:

“We have been delighted with our Will system and with the ongoing support received from DPL Professional. The expertise of the team was invaluable in ensuring that we achieved a system to fully meet our needs and the system has far exceeded our expectations in terms of efficiency and cost effectiveness.  The DPL Professional Will system has enabled IM to significantly expand its Will writing within a very short timescale and we are looking forward to working with DPL Professional in relation to other initiatives.”

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“The DPL Professional Will system has underpinned the expansion and success of our existing Will writing service.”

Richard Clark, Operations Director, Irwin Mitchell LLP