Alison Laferla reports
THE CHAMBERS at 12 King's Bench Walk has invested £100,000 in a major IT overhaul.
The set, which has 36 tenants, has spent the money on networking its entire chambers in a bid to improve speed and efficiency.
The Ace Infinity network will link clerks and barristers in the chambers for the first time.
It will also allow solicitors to contact barristers direct through email.
The network will include an electronic diary with remote access, allowing barristers to check their diaries from home, and a CD-Rom tower which will give them access to law reports for faster and more extensive research.
Each barrister will also have a computer running Windows 95 and a direct fax facility. The new network should be in operation by August.
Lisa Pavlovsky, practice manager at 12 King's Bench Walk, headed by Ronald Walker QC, said: "Chambers must go some way if we are going to keep up with solicitors. We have got to show that we are not bogged down in the 19th century."
Farrar's Building is hard on the heels of 12 King's Bench Walk in installing an Infinity network. The chambers currently runs a Novell network but also runs an Ace package.
Practice manager Alan Kilbey said the set was switching to an Ace network because it needed a bigger server. It chose Infinity because it was user-friendly and pleasing to the eye.
Ace has given proposals for similar packages to a further six chambers.
Managing director Rodney Voyce said: "Solicitors have grasped the idea that technology pays for itself. Now barristers are waking up to the fact that to survive and be competitive they need to be a bit more efficient."