Forsters puts its faith in Norwel for August launch. By Elizabeth Davidson

NEW commercial firm Forsters is celebrating the installation of a practice management system in time for its 1 August launch – just six weeks after the system was first commissioned.

The 60-lawyer practice – created by 11 Frere Cholmeley Bischoff partners who decided not to take part in Freres' merger with Eversheds – chose the same Norwel practice management system used by Freres.

Forsters has spent more than £250,000 on its IT installation. The figure includes the Norwel system, PCs and the hardware and software to provide Internet access.

The firm is also considering installing an intranet – an electronic communications system which uses Internet-style browser technology – which would be used internally as well as between certain clients.

Forsters managing partner Paul Roberts said the firm had considered installing rival practice management systems but chose Norwel near the end of June because the partners were familiar with the system and knew it was "good".

He said Freres had had a "successful relationship with Norwel for more than ten years and it was natural for Forsters to continue working with them".

Roberts added that the new Norwel system was already up and running on a separate server at the existing Freres offices so it could be tested.

He said the system would be transferred "lock, stock and barrel" to the new offices over the first weekend in August.

Norwel accounts manager (London) Andy Turner said the system was "user-friendly" and able to run on various servers such as Unix and Microsoft NT.

A team of 22 Norwel staff are working long hours to ensure the system is ready.

Freres' London office is closing once the merger with Eversheds takes place – also on 1 August.