LIX messaging network.

Owned by: Legal Information eXchange Limited.

Costs for subscribers: LIX messaging software costs u325 for a single machine and u1,500 for a full network version. Neither restrict the number of users on site. Felix conferencing software is available for u175.

Contents: LIX products use standard BT and Mercury networks. Messaging can also be routed via X400, the Internet or any other major carrier. LIX can also access the following from any of a firm's PCs: Lexis, Companies House, Dun & Bradstreet and a host of other third party service providers. New Law's daily digests of commercial and property law decisions are available, as reported that day, to users on their own PCs.

Facilities: All users need to do is to fill out a simple header document pulling down the recipient's address and number from the on-line directory, type a brief covering note and then choose any number of enclosures from their own word processing directories.

All messaging is sent point-to-point over the telephone network, enhancing security and reducing transmission costs. Most messages take seconds, but a lengthy document of 100 pages takes no more than four minutes.

All messages retain their word processing commands and header information and can be converted from one word processing package to another during the course of transmission.

LIX also offers full software support and directory entry. This entry means that users know there will be a LIX machine ready to receive their transmission, without worrying whether the potential recipient will log on to check for messages.

Comprehensiveness: LIX is now used by more than 250 corporate users with private user and individual entitlement to use of approximately 18,000. This includes 60 per cent of London barristers' sets and top 30 solicitors' firms in the country. The network is widespread throughout the UK and extends into Europe and beyond.

A single machine licence is available for DOS or Windows. Full networking support is available for Novell, Unix and proprietary systems. Full integration of LIX into word processing is available as another file option in Windows, or a short macro in character-based word processing. There is no need to move out of word processing and into a separate programme. Client copies of software are available for direct connectivity. LIX users use these copies to contact clients as far away as Japan and for work such as direct client communication on current privatisation contracts.

Uniqueness: LIX uniquely in the market offers direct routing of confidential client material between parties or their advisers without outside intervention.

No usage charge (other than telephone charges) ensures freedom to choose the method the firm wants.

Felix, LIX's conference software contains clear threads, allowing lengthy conferences to be easily followed and filed. It also provides the opportunity to set up closed conferences, limited to selected participants.

Will using it save resources?

Overall, messaging is very fast, saving on fee earner and support staff time, and reduced communications and consumables costs. For a lease, the typical saving would be up to one fifth. No re-keying of documents is required. All conferencing is off-line with contributions and reading undertaken after a brief dial-in 'update'. This means cuts in telephone and supplier charges.

Stephen Rogers is sales and marketing manager at Legal Information eXchange.