Founded in 2010, Medical Defence Shield (MDS) is a not-for-profit organisation that offers advice on both employment and medical defence issues to doctors across the UK, under one roof. One day, they might be advising a Consultant on their terms of service. The next, they might be representing a GP before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal. As Head of Legal, Sarah Dodds heads up a close-knit team of four in-house lawyers.
Eight months ago, MDS were using another provider for their legal research. But having LexisLibrary at law school, Sarah was keen to investigate whether LexisPSL might be a better option.
“My only experience of LexisNexis was as a student, so I was taken aback by how professional LexisPSL was and how much it could offer us. I was looking for another resource that could match the one we were using. Once I tried LexisPSL, I realised it could not only match that, but offer us a lot more.”
Tailor made solution
But familiarity wasn’t the deciding factor. As Sarah explains, one of the main reasons she decided to switch was the freedom to pick and choose her own perfect, tailor-made package.
“Other providers can be quite strict about signing up for separate packages, to cover different areas of the law,” she explains. “With LexisNexis, we were able to get all our needs included in one bespoke package, with no add-ons.”
“As an in-house lawyer, I also have to deal with the day to day running of the organisation. The corporate and commercial law content helps me with that. And because we work in the medical field, some of the employment issues we’re dealing with arise out of clinical negligence issues. The content on personal injury helps with that.”
In one case, this meant they were able to find a principle in law which limited their client’s liabilities.
“We were able to respond to the employer, ask them to reconsider their position, and resolve some of the issues pre-hearing. We couldn’t have done that without access to those other ‘crossover’ areas we get with LexisNexis,” Sarah says.
An effortless transition
Normally people are reluctant to move to a different system, however user-friendly it may be. But according to Sarah, her colleagues didn’t need to be persuaded. “There was no resistance, because they’d all used LexisLibrary at university too. As soon as I mentioned LexisNexis, they were all fully on board.”
And the transition was just as smooth, without any teething troubles. “We had one meeting, there was one form to fill in, and the changeover itself took one day. It did not take much time.” she adds.
The system is so easy to use, they haven’t needed to ask for extra help or training. And they regularly receive e-mails and videos from LexisNexis with useful tips to help them get the most from their subscription.
When they do have questions, LexisAsk makes it easy to get help quickly. “Once, I couldn’t find some information I needed on Scottish employment tribunals. So I sent an email to LexisAsk and got a response in 24 hours, pointing me to the right place. It was all there.”
“Once, I couldn’t find some information I needed on Scottish employment tribunals. So I sent an email to LexisAsk and got a response in 24 hours, pointing me to the right place. It was all there.”
Reaping the rewards
As well as LexisLibrary for deep research and LexisPSL for practical advice and quick answers, MDS also has Lexis Draft, Smart Forms and Smart Precedents. And according to Sarah, each one is helping MDS in its own way.
Of LexisPSL, she says “it’s got the right balance of information, if you just need a starting point or quick summary. But then it gives you the links, if you want to delve deeper into the detail. You are familiar with the legislation, but it’s helpful when you need to check the specific sub sections you need to rely on.”
As for LexisLibrary, “when relying on rates and limits, such as the statutory maternity pay or compensation caps for employment tribunals, for example — I can quickly check these in one or two minutes, instead of spending time searching for these.”
Meanwhile, Lexis Draft is helping MDS produce higher quality letters and documents, with fewer mistakes. As Sarah explains, “we draft a number of pleadings submissions for court. Everything we do in Word goes through Lexis Draft now. We can apply it to lots of documents.”
But perhaps it’s the Smart Precedents that are saving MDS the most time. “Before, we would draft our own documents and letters. Now, I look to see if there’s a precedent first. Across the team, I’d say that’s probably saving us up to an hour a day.”
“And when we need to instruct counsel, we use the precedents to send them a skeleton they can continue to work on. That’s probably saved us around £1,000 on counsel fees so far.”
Eight months on, MDS’ full suite of LexisNexis products are not only saving them valuable hours, but giving them more confidence in the quality of their own work.
As Sarah says, “We use Lexis Draft to do a final review of our documents, as it easy and quick. We’re feeling more confident in the quality of the information we’re relying on, as well as the documents we’re producing.”
“Everything I’ve needed to do my job so far, I’ve been able to find through LexisNexis. I’ve never looked for something and not been able to find it. I use it at least once a day.”
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