Qarrar Somji is a Director and Solicitor Advocate at Cato Solicitors. He has ten years’ experience in the legal profession and has worked at Cato since 2018. Cato Solicitors, itself was founded in 2014 as a boutique practice with a broad remit of services for both individuals and businesses. It is a very well respected firm in the Midlands with offices in Birmingham, Northampton, Wellingborough and an associate office in Faro Portugal.

Qarrar had experience with SOS Legal from his previous tenure at a large law firm, and after joining Cato Solicitors found that the firm was looking for a new cashiering solution. After some extensive research, Qarrar remembered that SOS Legal offered SOS Connect+, a solution designed specifically for small, boutique, and start-up law firms.

After a brief comparison, Qarrar has found that working with SOS is simple, cost-effective, and that it makes doing business easier. Cato Solicitors is now fully set up with SOS Connect+ as a cashiering tool and more. Learn how Cato Solicitors embarked upon a journey to SOS.

Qarrar Somji, Director at Cato Solicitors, shares his thoughts about SOS Connect+, and how Cato Solicitors has benefitted from its adoption.

Project Highlights: Improving Productivity and Efficiency 

  • Full implementation in less than six weeks
  • Cashier and case management under the same umbrella
  • Easier and more cost effective than competing option

Searching for a Cashiering Tool and Finding a Case Management Tool

Cato Solicitors was using a different case management system when Qarrar joined the firm, and although their existing system was simple and easy to use, it didn’t have a built-in cashiering system. It also lacked strong integration with their existing cashiering service. Lastly, the case management system had reconciliation issues and often displayed figures that conflicted with their accounting software, which caused their accountants no end of difficulty.

Eventually, the reconciliation problems became severe enough that the firm began to worry about SRA compliance. Qarrar says, “while operating a client’s account, we needed the systems and policies in place to not only to meet but to exceed our legal and regulatory obligations under the SRA rules.”

Qarrar began looking for a case management tool that could handle everything—including cashiering—under one roof. He found this unexpectedly difficult, eventually narrowing his options down to three potential solutions that would fit Cato’s needs.

  • The first solution provided everything under one roof in a technical sense, but still expected Cato to purchase cashiering services from a separate company.
  • The second solution provided both cashiering and case management, but without enough extra features to justify its price tag.
  • The third option was SOS Connect+, which in Qarrar’s words was easy to use, simple to understand, and provides value for money.

SOS Connect+ Provides a Complete Solution for Boutique Firms

SOS Connect+ provided a complete practice management solution—along with a tidy ledger—but that’s far from the only benefit it could offer. One notable improvement was the speedy implementation process, which lasted just six weeks overall

As Cato Solicitors is a boutique firm with two full-time solicitors, implementing SOS Connect+ was a team effort. Apart from a bit of administrative effort, this process was easy in most respects. The firm also rapidly adapted to the new solution. Qarrar says, “SOS Connect+ is a simpler and safer option.” In addition to fitting their requirements and making it easy to do business, SOS Connect+ also offers them a way to improve their SRA compliance by offering granular accounts of their spending and billing. This in turn allows them to track their business KPIs, making them a leaner and more effective firm.

SOS Legal offered support through the entire implementation process. They began the transition at the end of September 2019 and completed the implementation on the first of November. During this process, Cato Solicitors were able to transfer their existing data into their new system.

In the final analysis, implementing SOS Connect+ has vastly streamlined the way that Cato Solicitors does business. “Any small firm looking to fulfil their compliance needs under the SRA counsel should seriously consider SOS,” says Qarrar. “From my research, I couldn’t find anybody else that offers a similar product. If you don’t want the overheads of employing a legal cashier and the time wasted in sorting reconciliations from using several systems, SOS Connect+ is the solution”.