40% Time Savings on Brief Production

Think bigger. As McDonnell Solicitors expanded they knew they needed to streamline their systems and be as efficient as possible. Cue Keyhouse.


McDonnell Solicitors is a very progressive general practice law firm with offices in Longford and, more recently, Mullingar.

The middle of a pandemic might seem like a strange time to change your practice management system in order to take your firm to the next level, but that’s exactly what the firm did when they implemented the Keyhouse system.


The firm had been using another practice management system for over seven years, since 2013, when it was first set up. Whilst it was doing an adequate job, McDonnell Solicitors knew there were alternative solutions that had greater functionality and flexibility which would enhance the firm’s productivity and provide a better service to clients.

The key driver was a desire to expand the business. Some research quickly revealed Keyhouse to be one of the best and most popular systems on the market, with a very well respected and impressive client base and associated with large firms.


The Keyhouse system presented an ideal solution to move the firm on to the next level in terms of implementing workflows with automatic document generation to streamline work and enhance productivity.

The implementation and training took place in April and May during the first lockdown and naturally all setup and training had to be carried out remotely online. This required migrating all the existing data, including accounts ledgers, over to Keyhouse. Although all these services were provided remotely, it went off with barely a challenge.

Product wise, the team at McDonnell Solicitors found it to be an extremely intuitive system with an easy on the eye interface, very like Microsoft Office, so there was an instant sense of familiarity which was comforting.

“We chose Keyhouse for the product and the people” said Nicola McDonnell, Managing Partner. “I needed a company I could work with and trust. When I first got in touch with Keyhouse I got the feeling that the company was really professional and that there was a strong emphasis on delivering a high-quality service which would align with our core beliefs. The long-term relationship was important for me, and I felt I could really trust you which was essential”


  • The firm has immediately seen increased efficiency, huge time savings in managing email correspondence, a decline in physical paperwork, and more.
  • Productivity is up: the case management system and the integration of emails in Microsoft Outlook, coupled with the automatic generation of documents has saved time and effort. The automation features lighten the workload and help free up time making it easier to focus on the core business of practicing law.
  • The embedded workflows in the system contain a series of actions, templated precedents and reminders providing a great building block for a firm new to implementing processes. Introducing the workflows has streamlined conveyancing work, helping the solicitors to spend more time with clients, guiding them through the conveyancing process, and less time on repetitive, administrative tasks.

We asked Nicola what the highlights for the firm have been.

“On the product I would have to say (the highlight) is the seamless integration with (Microsoft) Outlook. Searching for documents is also much easier, especially in big litigation files, as is the ease and speed of building briefs. It is also effortless… (to) send the documents out once they are found. Converting a Word document to PDF is nearly automatic and emailing it takes a touch of a button”.

“Invaluable support whilst going live – and it continues to be (so). You can actually contact Keyhouse directly by phone, unlike other suppliers where you have to email your queries in and wait at minimum 24 hours for a response. The support team is friendly and knowledgeable and if they cannot solve your problem there and then, they always come back to you quickly.”

What about plans for the future?

To review work processes across all areas of the firm’s work with a view to implementing workflows to improve efficiencies and ultimately service delivery for the client.

Already in Litigation, the brief builder, which is just one element of the system, has reduced the time required to produce a brief by between 40% and 50%. There are also further savings in terms of printing and postage costs to consider now that briefs can be produced and sent to barristers electronically.

Go to Client Stories
“The ability to be able to adapt the standard set of workflows and precedents ourselves to suit our own particular requirements and the way we do work is a massive benefit. Keyhouse expertise and technology have transformed the way the firm works by automating certain aspects of the work, introducing workflows, implementing time management tools, and streamlining work”.
Nicola McDonnell
Nicola McDonnell
Managing Partner, McDonnell Solicitors


Two colleagues discuss work on a tablet sat outside

100% Seamless Experience

“If it is not recorded on Keyhouse it then doesn’t exist. The (Keyhouse) Case Management system allows the team to take phone calls from any client and talk intelligently to them.” – Gus Cullen, Consultant

Read more

100% Cloud Practice Management System

“The cloud platform makes working from anywhere easy and efficient. Keyhouse has allowed us streamline our business across our practice areas. Its’ user-friendly interface allows all staff to use the system with ease” – Dónall Johnston, Managing Partner

Read more
A diverse group of colleagues gather in an office space discussing work on a piece of paper

Hours Saved in Admin Every Day!

The main benefit of a good practice management system is “pure integration, everything you need about a file in the one place” – Julie Breen, Managing Partner

Read more

25% More Lean and Efficient

“We were surprised at the relevance the LEAN Project had to the way we approached issues or difficulties in efficiently progressing files in the firm. This project has been a hugely worthwhile exercise for our firm” – Joe Thomas, Partner

Read more

50% More Efficient

“One of the main benefits of Keyhouse Case Management, is that it halves the time you spend generating closing documents for a Conveyance (once you have your workflows and documents set up correctly to auto populate)” – Margaret Irwin, Associate Solicitor

Read more

Never worry about your server again

“I didn’t want to risk server failure, so I began exploring the cloud. I knew the benefits it could offer in terms of business continuity thanks to the automated backups and disaster recovery.” – Peter Loftus, Partner

Read more
Three diverse office workers in a meeting two of them listen to the other

1st Class Client Management

“There is always someone available at the end of the phone or an email – that was clear from the beginning and continues to be” – Bríd O’Leary, Partner

Read more
Female office worker looking at a tablet

80% Less time wasted on generating briefs

“A typical brief of 300 pages would have taken at least 2.5 hours to prepare, with the Keyhouse brief builder it’s taking approximately 30 minutes. It’s completely invaluable.” – Pat Mullins, Partner

Read more