Four software firms have been chosen by Conquest for its IT supply and development panel. The 350-firm network manager has selected Avenue, Linetime, Solicitec and TFB as "recommended computer suppliers".
Conquest's head of practice development Harry Ewins says the selection was made after a full examination of the market. "We sent questionnaires out to those on our database of over 100 people supplying software to the legal sector."
On the basis of the responses, 10 suppliers were shortlisted. "Then we sent an independent consultant to interview these," says Ewins.
Some of these specialised in larger systems and were not chosen because most of Conquest's member firms are in the 15-partner bracket.
There is some overlap in the products and services of the four suppliers, which he considers important. Their geographical spread was another consideration.
He stresses that being on the panel "is not an exclusive recommendation". Conquest believes there could be a better supplier for a particular firm's needs.
But for a variety of requirements, Conquest believes that having the panel of four puts members in a strong position to obtain advantageous terms and service. They will also get a small discount equivalent to 2.5 per cent off the best terms they can negotiate with the supplier, adds Ewins.
Some members who have requested advice on IT matters have already been put in touch with panel suppliers. "A number of IT companies were disappointed not to have been included," says Ewins.
Six Scottish law firms worked with IT supplier CB Business Systems to launch a new specialist software package for the profession.