Innovative legal software company targets export success

Nov 05, 2012

Picture by Michael Cooper

In picture is (left) Olive Hill, Invest NI, with Orlagh McGahan of OMG Software, Belfast, who has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to develop innovative software, ‘Briefed’, for key legal services in the UK, Ireland and further afield.

OMG Software in Belfast has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to develop innovative software, ‘Briefed’, for key legal services in the UK, Ireland and further afield.

The company, formed last year by a barrister Orlagh McGahan, has created the bespoke software system that harnesses the latest Cloud technology and security measures to allow barristers, most of whom are self-employed, to automate their administration and financial activities including billing and the maintenance of financial information.

In addition to being accessible through desktop and laptop computers, the software can be used on smartphones and tablet computers. An app is currently under development to make access as easy as possible virtually everywhere.

The new software system was announced by Miss McGahan, a barrister for over eight years and now specialising in children’s law, and welcomed by Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation and Technology Solutions, and Mark Mulholland QC, Chair of the Bar of Northern Ireland, the body charged with oversight of practicing barristers in Northern Ireland.

OMG Software has already gained recognition in the business community, being shortlisted for Best New Business in the Belfast Business Awards 2012 and Best Research and Development Product in UTV’s Business Eye Awards 2012.

Miss McGahan initially contacted Invest NI seeking advice on development and intellectual property issues associated with the creation of a software product. Support was provided to create the basic concepts of the proposed system allowing Orlagh to evaluate the viability of the product. Once this was established research and development support was provided to take the product through to full development.

Invest NI has also provided advice and guidance to OMG on developing the software and on protecting the new technology. The company has also taken part in Invest NI’s business start programme.

Miss McGahan said: “The new software is based extensively on my experience in the legal profession in Belfast, particularly my early years handling publicly funded cases. Barristers are directly responsible for managing their cases and this can be particularly difficult with a heavy caseload.

“I evaluated a number of existing software packages and found that none of them really suited the role and requirements of barristers. This led me to consider the steps I needed to take to design a software solution to this problem and the easiest way for barristers, especially recent graduates, to access the technology.

“I talked to a number of software houses here and subsequently decided to set up my own business to help drive the development of the idea forward. Invest NI’s business start programme was immensely beneficial and helped me with essential information about business procedures and requirements.

“Invest NI also helped me link up with a software company in Lisburn to turn my idea into a working prototype and then a final product using the latest Cloud technology for easy access. Barristers can now use a smartphone on iPad to record data on leaving court.”

Mrs Hill said: “This is a very original software product that has immense export potential in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and other parts of the world, such as Australia and New Zealand, with a legal system influenced by Britain.

“OMG is the type of entrepreneurial and technology-led business with export potential that we are keen to encourage and assist especially in expert and professional services such as the legal profession. The company is also an excellent example of how a small and innovative business can work with Invest NI to bring an innovative product to market as quickly as practicable.

“OMG has successfully and enthusiastically embraced a wide range of our services to create a bespoke technology solution to a problem that barristers here have faced over many years.”

Mr Mulholland QC said. “Through her business development, Orlagh is challenging the outdated stereotypes associated with our profession, highlighting the innovation and creativity of our members and also, demonstrating how the Bar is modernising and embracing new technology in their practice management, ultimately for the benefit of the clients we serve.”

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