Software turns Hambro legal

Hambro Countrywide has unveiled the specialist legal software for its new conveyancing centres, as part of the estate agent's bid to offer a one-stop-shop conveyancing service.

It has hired the IT company Solicitors Own Software to install the computer system for the in-house service, due to be launched next month, which will be handled by licensed conveyancers.

The service, seen as a significant threat by property lawyers, should be available seven days a week in five centres around the country by the end of 1997.

The SOS system, which is used by 23 law firms, will provide all five centres with accounts, time recording and case management software. The first installation takes place this month and should be live by April when the first conveyancing centre opens in Woking.

The contract, worth £100,000 in licenses for the first year, is a scoop for SOS. The company claimed it was chosen because of its powerful conveyancing element which has been tailored to meet Hambros' needs.

Richard Sawtell of Hambro Countryside said: “We were very impressed by the power and flexibility of the SOS system and with their willingness to adapt the conveyancing software. We searched other suppliers' products comprehensively, but feel confident that we have the right one for our new and important service.”

Independent legal IT consultant Delia Venables said: “There are about 12 conveyancing packages on the market and they are fairly widely used.” But she said most lawyers were reluctant to hand over control of the legal process and therefore did not get the best out them. “If used with great conviction they undoubtedly speed up the conveyancing process,” she said.