HERBERT Smith is replacing the Resolution Systems practice management system it bought in 1994 with a rival package produced by US company CMS Data.

The firm began installing CMS Data's Open system at the start of the year and has set an October deadline for its full installation.

Herbert Smith was the first City firm to buy Resolution Systems' FirmControl product, which was designed for large law firms and boasts Linklaters among its users.

But last October it decided to switch to CMS Data's CMS Open system.

Herbert Smith has signed a confidentiality agreement with Resolution Systems preventing it from commenting on why it abandoned FirmControl.

But The Lawyer understands it felt that Resolution Systems' software was not being installed fast enough to meet the firm's strict timetable. Herbert Smith's existing system, which was custom-built 10 years ago, is not millennium compliant.

The firm is still using the Resolution Systems' FirmControl marketing system to store information on clients, although this will be replaced by CMS Data's system later this year.

A source said implementation of CMS Open was "on sche-dule" and "going very well".

Resolution Systems declined to comment.

Among CMS Data's other clients are London firms Reynolds Porter Chamberlain and Bird & Bird and Buckinghamshire firm BP Collins.

In May, The Lawyer rev-ealed that Ashurst Morris Crisp had abandoned plans to install New Zealand-based Keystone Systems' practice management system and had turned to a CMS Data IT.