Osbornes departs "stone age'

Elizabeth Davidson reports

Osborne Clarke is midway through a major overhaul of its IT systems which is designed to reflect its own position as a leading provider of IT law advice.

Despite its reputation for the quality of its IT lawyers, the firm has, up until recently, been struggling with what it describes as "stone age" informations systems based on the use of word processors rather than PCs.

However, the firm has just completed a 15-month project to install 450 personal computers in the firm's London, Bristol and Thames Valley offices, while all its fee earners have been sent on typing courses.

The firm has also installed a linked e-mail and voicemail system in its 16-staff Thames Valley office, which opened in January. It is waiting to see how well this works before extending the service throughout its offices.

Managing partner Leslie Perrin would not reveal how much the firm was investing in IT. However, he said his firm was halfway through a project to improve its knowledge management, practice management and working practices.

The aim was to provide every fee earner in the firm with access to the same information, he said.

The Internet is to be installed on every fee earner's desktop and Microsoft Office Suite 97 will also be installed "very shortly". In the next 12 months, the firm will replace its Resolutions System Firm Control practice management system.