The Story Behind Briefed




What ever made you think of doing this?’  'Why would a barrister develop software?'

These are the questions asked of me most.  

So here is the story behind Briefed...

In May 2011 I sat at my ground floor desk in the Bar Library, Belfast surrounded by suitcases of files and mountains of paper when the idea started to form.

As a practicing barrister for 8 years specialising in family law, I was fortunate in having a very busy practice.  But with a busy practice came an unbelievable amount of administration.

Approximately half my working day was consumed completing tasks that I couldn’t charge for with my preparation and reading being undertaken late at night or in the early mornings - not ideal for business or for family life.

Not merely drafting legal documents but the repetitive correspondence for each and every case as well as drafting fee notes, answering emails, filing paperwork, appealing Legal Aid decisions while also chasing outstanding fees, recording CPD points and maintaining financial records. The list seemed endless and I was convinced there had to be an easier way.

With no knowledge of where to start, I confess I turned to the one who usually has all the answers… Google!  Searching for ‘Software Developers’ I was offered the contact details of three companies.  The very next day, I found myself in a meeting with one such firm, describing roughly what a system needed to do to help me.

I recall being particularly keen on some kind of ‘thing’ to enable me to design templates for regularly used documents and then with the press of a button, the content would be automated as much as possible. Increasingly, many of my instructions and papers were now received by email and I also wanted a way to easily and securely store these in one place.

Spending an hour with these developers demonstrated the scale of such a task.  The financial cost of developing such a system was beyond any one person. But surely if I struggled, some of my colleagues must experience the same problems? Weren’t we always bemoaning the inability to get on top of the paperwork?

barrister software on ipad

So the concept began to evolve and following a number of atrocious names, which I’m too embarrassed to share, Briefed has emerged.

Befitting of the Bar’s tradition of collegiality, Briefed is truly a home-grown product - designed by barristers for barristers. 

Special recognition must be given to those of my instructing solicitors who served as guinea pigs when the first letters, affidavits and fee notes were being generated and emailed from Briefed.  Your feedback proved invaluable! 

I hope you like it!

Orlagh Kelly BL