Practices shop around for systems

Helen Sage reports

An increasing number of legal practices are looking to a number of specialist suppliers to meet their computer requirements.

A survey among 80 law firms by chartered accountants James & Cowper and LawNet found there has been a move towards practices

installing single or departmental PC solutions.

"Many of these are very specific software packages which link into centralised client matter information and accounting systems," says David Higdon, computer services partner at James & Cowper.

"While it is true to say that back office systems such as time recording and client records are dominated by around four suppliers, there is no such dominance in fee earner systems, particularly in document and case management packages."

The survey found word processing is still dominated by Wordperfect and that the number of personnel in law firms with computers on their desks has risen sharply. Around 50 per cent of partners and fee earners now have access to a PC.