Blake Lapthorn in £1m IT overhaul

HAMPSHIRE firm Blake Lapthorn has invested £1m in a front and back office overhaul of its IT systems which is to be implemented over a 10-week period.

The 43-partner Fareham-based firm, which also has offices in London, Southampton and Portsmouth, signed a contract with IT suppliers Videss in July and aims to implement its case and practice management system, Videss Legal Office, by September, as well as installing new telecommunications and Intranet systems.

The firm is hurrying to complete the implementation as it is replacing its five-year- old Ushers practice management system on a "live" basis, which means information is being transferred directly onto the new system on a step- by-step basis.

Videss sales director Chris Rose said PCs had now been installed on every desktop and three training courses were being run simultaneously to make the installation process as smooth as possible.

Rose said the Videss system would offer "complete resilience" to users because it used the Microsoft "cluster" server previously known as "wolfpack".

The wolfpack technology, which has only been available for about nine months, provides greater network security because if one server goes down the other will automatically take over.

Blake Lapthorn partner Nicholas Poole said his firm had chosen Videss because it combined a marketing database with practice and case management systems.

Poole said the firm had "leapfrogged" technology by moving directly from the Ushers system to the latest technology available. He said Blake Lapthorn had decided to "upgrade everything".

Blake Lapthorn settled on the Videss system after a six-month trial using it to manage the firm's conveyancing business.