Anger as ACE scraps Infinity for solicitors

CITY firm Hardwick & Company has received an undisclosed payment from ACE after the computer company scrapped the solicitor version of its practice management system, Infinity, just months after selling it to the practice.

Hardwicks has been paid what it describes as 'adequate costs' after threatening legal action against ACE, whose announcement in December that it was pulling the plug on Infinity shocked the 25 firms that use the system.

The firm had bought the system last summer and senior partner Simon Hardwick said ACE had given his firm 'absolutely no indication' it was considering scrapping the system.

The Lawyer understands another firm which purchased the system recently has also been compensated while other longer term users of Infinity are angry that the company is not providing them with more support while they look for a new system.

ACE will officially cease supporting firms which use Infinity on 1 April, although it will continue to provide unofficial support for a further six months, giving them until 1 October to choose a new supplier and implement a new system.

Should any firm go beyond that six months, ACE has stated that it may be able to offer support if 'extenuating circumstances apply'.

One ACE user said: 'This is not a particularly good deal and it is not a good situation but we have to be realists and it is in our interests to remain amicable with ACE, as we will have to work with them for the next nine months.'

So far only one ACE user, Cardiff firm Dolmans, has found a new system.

It signed a deal with software supplier Solicitec on 6 February.

Another supplier, Axxia Systems, held a meeting especially for ACE users on 29 January to demonstrate its system on recent convert London firm Wedlake Saint.

Meanwhile, ACE is concentrating its resources on the barrister version of Infinity which is used by 250 chambers.

ACE marketing and sales director Tim Lloyd-Merrell predicted the IT market would undergo further changes. He envisaged that some suppliers would exit from the market completely because supply was currently exceeding demand.

He said ACE spent more than half a million pounds developing the barristers and solicitors versions of the system yet had fewer than 300 clients.