Pannones buys in computer network

Manchester law firm Pannone & Partners is spending £500,000 on a computer network intended to give all fee earners individual access to word processing and email.

Pannones has hired local supplier JM Computing to put together a largely off-the- shelf package, including Microsoft Word software for word processing, Soft Solutions for document management and Groupwise for email and scheduling.

Each fee-earner will have his or her own desktop terminal, incorporating software and fax transmission capabilities, and will also be able to access accounts and practice management facilities once phase two of the installation is completed by the New Year.

Gareth Jessop, Pannones IT partner, said: "This is a large step for us, both in money terms, and culturally.

"Until six months ago, fee-earners here didn't have their own desktop machines and the technology was very much a back-office arrangement."

He added: "I would find it very difficult to see how a substantial practice like ours could function cost-effectively without the use of computer technology.

"There simply isn't the time any more to pull up documentation by the old paper method."

The system has been designed to combine physical and data security with external compatibility and to enhance Pannones' ISO 9001 quality tag.

Jessop told The Lawyer: "Firms must be seen to move forward, and this new system will enable us to be at the leading edge of technological progress, while enhancing our standard of services."

Pannone & Partners has 31 partners and 45 other fee earners.