Dundas & Wilson spin-off follows the Pilgrim trail

A Complete change of IT systems, beginning with new practice management packages, is to take place at Dundas & Wilson, where the private client department has demerged from the firm and is due to set up in business next month.

Dundas & Wilson's private client department, which will shortly open for business in the same Edinburgh premises under the new name of Turcan Connell, is replacing its Norwell system with Pilgrim Systems' Lawsoft software package, which is based on a range of Microsoft applications.

Meanwhile, Dundas & Wilson itself, which is in merger talks with Arthur Andersen, has swapped its Norwell practice management software for the Elite system.

Pilgrim staff will work around the clock to beat a strict installation deadline imposed by Turcan Connell.

Pilgrim chairman Jim Cummings said "meticulous planning" had been needed for the installation operation, which is due to take place between 14 August, when the seven-partner firm splits, and 18 August, when it officially opens.

"We will have to strip all data relevant to Turcan Connell from the existing Norwell system, put it into the Lawsoft practice management system software and have everything running smoothly in those four days. We will probably be working 24 hours a day," said Cummings.

The deal, which is worth more than £100,000, was signed at the start of July.

Cummings said that Pilgrim had invested more than £1.1m to develop Lawsoft in the past three years. He added that it had installed more than £2m-worth of the system in various firms in the past five months.

Lawsoft is aimed at medium- to-large-sized firms. Other Scottish firms using the system include Fyfe Ireland, Robson Mclean and Semple Fraser.

David Lanc, Dundas & Wilson' director of finance and information systems, said that his firm's Elite system was expected to be up and running by the end of the year.

He added that the company had spent three months making a detailed analysis of its needs and a further three months compiling a 300-page dossier setting out its requirements before making a choice.