Proclaim by Eclipse Legal Systems has been the leading provider of legal software in the UK for the past decade. The company boasts an impressive 23,000 users across the country. Eclipse was recently acquired by the giant, Capita PLC. Proclaim has been successfully providing Case Management, Matter Management and Practice Management systems with vast experience of the legal market. Established in 1987, it has grown rapidly within the UK and is the only Practice Management legal software presently endorsed by the Law Society. Proclaim is also known to have users internationally.
Proclaim is a powerful system that can be further adapted to user requirements. Being a desktop application, it traditionally runs from a local server installation powered by the Progress Database. Proclaim can be customized and many firms have been developing Proclaim further in line with their business requirements. It is worth bearing in mind that before development tools are released, Eclipse will require ‘developers’ to undergo relevant training modules. These modules may carry fees. Once the relevant training has been undertaken, further development tools are released for updating fields and screens as required.
Proclaim has predominantly focused on the Personal Injury Module and have integrated their system with www.claimsportal.org.uk (also known as the MOJ Portal). Many new personal injury claims valued under £25,000 must now be submitted via the MOJ Portal in the first instance including RTA, Employers Liability, Occupiers Liability etc. This means that users can seamlessly interact with the Claims Portal and effectively manage their work, saving time and duplication. Over the past number of years Proclaim has been developed to cover other areas such as Conveyancing.
Proclaim is not the quickest system on the market and over time as the database size increases, the backup of your data can take hours and hours, and a lot of resources. The software also attracts expensive installation cost and may not suit single users or small high street law firms unless they specialize in Personal Injury in which case Proclaim may be the perfect match. Proclaim have been known to charge per additional license, so as your users grow there will be more licence procurement costs and monthly maintenance and support costs. Proclaim also provide a SaaS option where they host the data for you. However the system is the same as the install version and does not provide advanced cloud computing capabilities. With that said, the benefit of this service is your data is backed up by Eclipse meaning you can concentrate on your cases. Whilst legal practitioners are slowly moving over to cloud systems, the uptake has been slow. With the introduction of Windows 10, Proclaim is not yet fully compatible with Windows 10 Universal Apps or the Continuum Mode. Proclaim is yet to make an official announcement on Windows 10 compatibility.
Support and training
Proclaim have always prided themselves on providing effective support and training. Having an in-house support team is a definite advantage if users need to connect quickly. Training does come at a cost and there are many levels of training which can result in a large spend on training costs over the years. Firms should balance the cost of training vs. staff turnaround in their firms. There is an unofficial Proclaim User Forum (www.proclaimforum.co.uk) where users and developers can post their support questions and seek answers from others that have been through similar experiences. At the time of writing, the Forum was active with posts and replies made in 2016.
Proclaim will need to consider many aspects in the future. The most obvious and pertinent to all software developers; how will they keep up with the new developments in technology? Unfortunately, as times have progressed the Proclaim System has started to look and feel tired. It may be that Eclipse carry out a full revamp of the system in the years to come, but with 23,000 users this kind of roll out and retraining is major work.
For firms that are looking for a no-nonsense, robust, scalable system, Proclaim may be a good fit. However, if you are dependent on customised screens and personalised fields for data capture, Proclaim customisation can be time consuming and expensive. Modern systems on the other hand are more responsive allowing users to customise the system without the need of specialist developers. Finally, Proclaim is still a leader in the Personal Injury Case Management market and have a lot to offer any law firm.