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Morecrofts Solicitors weathers the COVID-19 storm with support from Wesleyan Bank

Morecrofts Solicitors weathers the COVID-19 storm with support from Wesleyan Bank

Liverpool-based firm makes six-figure investment as part of major IT upgrade


The business


Morecrofts Solicitors (Morecrofts) is one of Liverpool's oldest and most respected businesses providing peace of mind to its clients for over 200 years. The firm has grown to six offices located throughout the Liverpool city region and employs over 100 staff offering comprehensive legal support services, from family law, property and general legal advice to employment, HR and commercial law.

The challenge

In an ever competitive marketplace, Morecrofts wanted to ensure it had the ability to continue to refine its service delivery to be more efficient and productive. These changes would also allow the firm to focus more on its clients and less on administration.

"Morecrofts have always embraced technology to streamline our processes for both our clients and staff. However, although we had a very good IT infrastructure in place some of our on-premise systems were approaching end-of-life and would soon become unsupported," explains Morecrofts' Managing Partner, Alison Lobb.

In November 2019, Morecrofts' partners completed a technology review as part of a future proofing exercise with the goal for the business to become more agile in an increasingly competitive market.

The review included an assessment of the firm's internal and external communications applications so it could lead the way in offering the highest standards of client care and legal services. Following a tendering process, in January 2020 Morecrofts selected technology services and support provider IT Lab to implement a large-scale IT upgrade.

Little did Morecrofts know at the time how vital their foresight would prove to be. Just two months later the legal industry, like many other sectors, was confronted with trying to manage the immense challenges following the impact of coronavirus. With no end currently in sight, Morecrofts was handed the dilemma of how to protect the health and well-being of its staff whilst managing the financial impact this would have on its business.

"Just six months ago, if you told me I would be moving over 100 staff to home-working while keeping the business running as normal, I'd have waited for the punchline. None of us were given much time to decide how to adapt to lockdown. We were thrown into this new way of life with little warning and had to act on our wits and use what we had to hand," reflects Alison.

"Thankfully, we were proactive in recognising we needed to upgrade our IT infrastructure before the world as we know it changed. I'm not sure where we would be right now if we hadn't. But luckily we had the expertise and support of our IT and finance partners which ensured we were fully equipped to operate as business as usual with no detrimental impact to client services," she continues.

The solution

To improve operational performance Morecrofts embarked on a significant six-figure investment in the latest cloud-based technology and case management software, which is allowing its staff to work from home seamlessly and offer an uninterrupted service to its clients.

By moving to a robust hybrid model, the firm was able to effectively transition its complex IT environment to a phased cloud transformation whilst benefitting from greater flexibility and mobility. For accessing and managing sensitive data, Morecrofts has the enhanced security of operating in a private cloud. For other workloads, it has gained the scalability and cost efficiency from being able to utilise public cloud services.

IT budgets can often constrain a business's growth and electing to pay for new investments upfront in one lump sum can be cost prohibitive. In order to smooth its cash flow and maintain working capital at a time of unprecedented economic instability, Morecrofts approached Wesleyan Bank to discuss its finance options.

Wesleyan Bank is the Law Society of England and Wales' strategic finance partner. The specialist commercial lender has supported the legal sector for over 25 years and that remains a constant even in these uncertain times.  It was able to offer Morecrofts a flexible, payment over time finance solution to cover its IT asset investment needs to include software, hardware and associated maintenance and support costs over a five year period.

The results and benefits

"We have had an excellent relationship with Wesleyan Bank for many years and use them for different types of financing, from practising certificate fees to funding for office fit-outs and refurbishments. It is prudent financially to separate our capital expenditure from our day-to-day business banking and we've always found Wesleyan so easy to deal with and capable of providing fast turnaround times," comments Alison.

"Wesleyan Bank and our relationship manager, John Clarke, are vastly experienced in the legal sector and know our business and how it works. This helps to build trust on both sides, we're able to connect with the right people and quickly access a tailored finance solution which meets our needs," she adds.

The modern IT infrastructure and cloud-based solution has been successfully deployed to Morecrofts entire workforce, of which over 80% are women. As a result, all staff can now log-in to an innovative and personalised environment to manage practice, matter and case management information and host virtual client meetings, securely, anytime and from anywhere.

This has been particularly invaluable to both Morecrofts male and female employees who were faced with additional caring, childcare and home-schooling responsibilities during the height of the pandemic.

"The fluid nature of everything and having to react constantly to change is challenging but also quite exhilarating. Our staff have been amazing, they adapted immediately and did so with a smile on their faces. I'll be forever proud of how our people reacted and pulled together to make this work," says Alison.

"The impossible is possible, but you must act fast and having the right technology and finance partners in place is a definite advantage. As a firm we've taken a huge leap forward in terms of being ready for the future of the legal profession and the feedback we've had from our clients has been extremely positive," she concludes.

More information

'WESLEYAN’ is a trading name of the Wesleyan Group of companies.

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