CC seeks IT compatibility for merger

Clifford Chance is updating its IT system – and is on the lookout for one that will be compatible with the technology used by proposed merger partner, US firm Rogers & Wells.

Clifford Chance has yet to make a decision on which practice management system it will eventually choose, but Chris Hoad, senior development manager at Clifford Chance, confirms there are three systems on its shortlist.

“We have not yet made a decision on a new practice management system.

“If the merger goes ahead, then [Clifford Chance and Rogers & Wells] will be working very closely together to ensure compatibility,” he says.

He adds that the most likely system on Clifford Chance's shortlist would be from companies CMS Open, Elite and Keystone.

Clifford Chance could also be looking for a new document management system. One source says: “Roger & Wells recently purchased iManage [a document management system] so Clifford Chance is obviously interested in that.”

The final decision will be made at the end of this year although installation will not begin until 2000.

Hoad says: “We are looking to take one of the systems for evaluation in the latter part of this year. Because we have global implementation in 26 offices, we are not looking to start a rollout programme until well into next year. The entire process should take a couple of years.”

He declines to say what the cost of the new system will be but experts estimate it could run into millions of pounds.

Clifford Chance currently has a bespoke IT system which was developed in the early 1990s. Hoad says an updated system is required because “business has now moved on”.

Partners at both firms will be voting on the merger at the beginning of July.