Clifford Chance takes Windows-based route

Clifford Chance is embarking on a multi-million-pound project to update its information technology.

From June to early next year it will replace the Wordperfect word processing system on all its PCs with the latest Microsoft Windows-based systems.

It has also begun trials of a new practice management system with which it intends to replace its existing set-up, which was developed in-house around five years ago and is known as Phoenix.

Managing partner elect Tony Williams, who takes over from Geoffrey Howe at the end of the year, said one of his key tasks would be to work out how best “to use new technology to deliver a cost-effective product”.

He said: “At the moment I'm in the information gathering phase – finding out from others what we need the technology to do.

“It's quite a large development. I don't think there will be any aspect of our business that will not be impacted by the new developments in information technology.”

Howe said the Microsoft Word word processing package was being introduced largely because it was being used increasingly by clients.

He added that it included a document management system by which every document had its unique number so that fee earners around the world could keep track of it.

The firm has already begun trials of the new system in parts of the London office.

Systems that would need to be evaluated, said Howe, included e-mail facilities and computer-aided drafting.

Last week The Lawyer reported how Nabarro Nathanson was replacing its Wordperfect system with Windows 95-based applications.