Founded in 2001, Redbrick Solutions have enjoyed a consistent level of high growth, increasing turnover by 400% over the last 5 years. Best known for their intuitive conveyancing case management solution, they now also offer full practice management and legal accounts. We speak to Redbrick’s managing director, Martin MacDuff.
What changes have you observed in the legal technology market over the last 5 years?
Lawyers are often reluctant to increase the price of their work, so understandably they consistently seek cost savings through efficiencies which is great for us as the use of our technology is all about delivering demonstrable time savings to deliver the same or a greater output with less manual handling and intervention.
The profession have faced significant changes to their obligations in terms of regulatory requirements with AML / KYC checks and COLP & COFA requirements as well as increased obligations to lenders and Land Registry changes. All of which place additional responsibility on the firm and with that comes the extra time investment and in some cases risk. It concerns me that firms feel unable to pass on these extra costs to clients and there is a race to the bottom when it comes to price.
In terms of technology more firms are looking for delivery via alternative platforms, such as web based delivery, which does bring operational benefit in terms of availability and accessibility, as well as for reasons of disaster recovery and business continuity. Our product is deliverable via either an installed route or via a hosted platform so we are agnostic in terms of the firms technical preferences.
More reliance and dependency on technology continues to be the theme in discussions with existing and prospective clients as firms look to cover off their obligations as robustly as they can through the use of good technology.
What is the secret to Redbrick’s success during challenging times?
We have continued to deliver our technology over the last 8 years with only one price increase to existing customers, acknowledging firstly the challenging times we have been living in and taking into account our clients ability to leverage price increases, but secondly we also deliver functional increases to our product in terms of quarterly updates and service giving our clients a greater competitive edge for the same cost. As our model is largely transactional, i.e. we charge each of our clients for the number of active cases they list in a calendar month, we are very much invested in each and every client we have. This ‘in it with you and for you’ attitude and commercial approach is core to us retaining our existing client base as well as attracting new firms who are fed up being left with old, redundant and out of date technology.
How do you think Redbrick differ from other providers in the sector?
We have a proud history of being first to market with a whole range of new initiatives and by being entrepreneurial in spirit and our approach, we always strive to give our clients the best we have both in terms of product and service.
Our business model sets us aside from the plethora of established suppliers, and interestingly new entrants since our launch have attempted to copy our business model, which is of course flattering! The very fact that we charge transactionally means that we not only help our clients run a more efficient business, but we also help them grow their business whether it be converting more of the business they quote for than previously was the case, or help them open up new channels of work – after all it’s in our interest to help firms do so.
You’ve achieved a great deal in the last 5 years, what are Redbrick’s plans for the future?
We’ve some really exciting plans for the future, such as online data capture coming to market shortly, which will allow client firms to ask their clients to submit data about themselves or their transaction electronically via, for example, a tablet or mobile device which will then return the data directly into the case management system. These sorts of timesaving initiatives are beneficial in reducing the effort and time involved in the law firm servicing the client and in moving the transaction along in a more expeditious way.
At Redbrick we also take a pretty balanced view with regards to new functionality, so in some cases we partner with existing or new to market organisations who can facilitate integration, making our clients’ life more efficient – we don’t reinvent the wheel for the sake of it.
For us the future is about bringing the best technology to the legal market and making it affordable – whilst we are focused on winning new clients we take a surprisingly passive approach to new business as we know that having the best product available means we will naturally attract the right sort of firm. It takes time to build that market position and confidence to see it through but we are there now.
You are obviously very close to the conveyancing market, what are the main issues you see conveyancers facing at the moment and what action do you recommend they take?
Transaction fraud is probably the biggest hot topic at the moment and we will shortly be announcing a new partnership which will tightly integrate in to our case management product to help eliminate this. Additionally, I think insurance costs for firms remain at levels which make it very expensive for our clients to have too great a dependency on conveyancing work, and you won’t be surprised to learn that we hope to soon be bringing to market a cost per case insurance product which will see overall PII costs reduce significantly for firms.
Where do you think the biggest opportunities lie within the legal market?
We’ve seen some proactive and ambitious client firms grow significantly over the recent past as M&A activity has really picked up. The number of firms operating in the legal sector has fallen significantly and I think it is widely accepted that this trend will continue for some time. Consequently, those firms that don’t have a solid succession plan in place should either build one quickly or start to align themselves with larger firms that might have an appetite to merge them in to their existing operations.
The days of Firms being sold and Equity Partners leaving with a sensible retirement pot have long since passed and while the landscape has changed, both those exiting and those remaining can get what they want from such circumstances, but both need to think carefully about their strategy to ensure the outcome they planned on is achievable.
For more information on Redbrick Solutions products and services please contact us using the form below or call us on 0845 166 2629