By Daniel Hunter

A Leicester software firm has won its first overseas order worth up to £50,000 and is opening a new office in Melbourne on the back of a recent UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) market visit to Australia.

Bar Squared, which has 20 staff based at its Enderby site, specialises in software for the legal profession and has won the order for its LEX chamber management system. The product, the only one of its type, is specifically designed to save barristers’ time and money in day-to-day working, such as invoicing clients. The system will be branded as ‘Verdict’ in Australia.

“No businesses can afford to limit their opportunities at the moment, so for us, with the backing and support of UKTI and the fact there are many English-speaking countries which have a similar legal system to us, it seemed a natural progression to sell our product further afield — to the other side of the world in fact," David Connolly, Bar Squared Global Sales Director explained.

“Led by advice from UKTI, we tailored the product for Australian use, ie using dollars and the local tax system. This meant we were still selling something unique, with the same benefits it gives to our UK customers.

“We had already made some initial contact with Australian barristers’ chambers before November, but going on this market visit with UKTI at the end of last year, really opened our eyes to export possibilities. Being out there and meeting potential customers certainly makes it more real. We were able to give our new client assurances face-to-face that the work will be managed by a full-time member of staff from 1 February, as part of a new, Melbourne-based subsidiary of the company, with staff also working from the UK headquarters in Leicester.

“I’m now planning further trips to Australia in March, July and October to ensure the new business is going well and follow up on potential leads to help establish more business. Over the next 12 months this we expect this current Australian interest will be worth up to £500,000 alone.

“We are now looking for other markets which broadly follow the British legal system, such as New Zealand, South Africa and Hong Kong, which is something we will be staying in contact with our local UKTI adviser about.”

UKTI adviser Chris Foster said,

“It’s always good to hear when a company you have been working with gets its first-ever overseas order, and not only that, a new full-time member of staff will be starting very soon, which I’m sure will lead to even more orders.

“Australia is thriving at the moment and can provide UK firms with a dependable market in these times of economic uncertainty, and we speak the same language and share a similar culture which can make life easier for exporters. This is why we decided to take local firms out there on a market visit last November, helping them all to prepare their market research and setting up meetings with potential clients.”

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