The regulator for Ontario’s legal profession has entered an agreement worth about $650,000 that entitles it to use case management software designed to enhance the quality of service, fairness, effectiveness, transparency and timeliness of the complaints process.

The Law Society of Upper Canada, which carries out regulatory duties to promote and enforce professional conduct and behaviour standards in the legal profession, has inked a contract with WorkGroup Designs (WGD) in Concord, Ont., for its SuitCase for WebSphere solution. The regulator believes the customized tool will help it better manage its daily tasks.

With more than 4,000 complaints being received by the Law Society each year, “(We) identified a need to improve the technology supports necessary to manage information, track files and better manage the overall process,” said John Matos, director of information systems at the Law Society of Upper Canada in an e-mail interview. The search for a tool started last year, he said.

Before ultimately making a decision, the organization engaged in a request-for-proposals process, he said, to assess its options. But in looking for the best possible case management tool to support workflow, document management and system intelligence tasks related to the complaints process, the organization finally gave the nod to WGD’s offering.

“WGD’s SuitCase . . . allows the Law Society the flexibility to change processes when required,” Matos said, “for example, to add paralegal regulation if the legislation comes to pass and to change technical platforms if necessary.”

According to Lori Rainone, president of WGD, SuitCase for WebSphere is the result of her company’s decision in 2003 to launch an internal research and development initiative to design and develop a robust case management solution. The end result, she said, is a tool that provides case-driven organizations with a Web-enabled engine to configure business processes, manage documents and meet reporting requirements.

“It’s been in research and development for the last two years,” said Rainone, adding that the contract will extend into the company’s next fiscal year. “(The solution) allows you to implement very quickly your case management and business rules. The Law Society and all organizations are constantly in change mode…We’ve built an engine that allows them to manage their business processes internally.”

Rainone said her hope is that other regulatory bodies in Canada will eventually opt for the solution as well. It’s a hope that could become a reality, if comments from David Ticoll, co-author of The Naked Corporation, are any indication. WGD, he said, is filling a need in the marketplace by allowing organizations to achieve greater accountability and transparency.

“It’s a reflection of IT’s impact on the growing expectations for accountability. There’s a tremendous opportunity for software companies to provide tools to organizations,” said Ticoll. “It’s about improving trust.”

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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