Firm spends £200k on system overhaul

NEWBURY firm Gardner Leader has invested almost £200,000 in a new computer and telephone system for all its 52 staff across its three offices.

The major overhaul includes new purchases of a case management system from Leeds company Solicitec and an accounts and time-costing system from Bath company Solicitors Own Software.

The eight-partner general practice firm has installed 38 personal computers which give fee earners and secretaries immediate online access to client records on a central database using the Solicitec system.

The firm has spent £100,000 on hardware and software, £24,000 to replace the existing telephone system with a system which offers direct dialing and voice mail, and £15,000 to rewire the offices and install new cabling.

The firm is installing e-mail systems with access to the Internet, to link the Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford offices.

Receptionists will be able to log into a centralised diary system to check appointments, and the firm aims to reduce costs by producing its own official legal forms automatically on laser printers.

IT partner Bob Tomlinson added that the firm had also spent £50,000 on "extensive training of the firm's staff in all aspects of the new system across all offices".

Senior partner Derek Child said the firm made the investment to improve efficiency and because "technology is the way forward".

All new systems have now been installed and are due to go live at the beginning of July.