what does the magic circle offer?

Clifford Chance is developing an online dealroom, to be launched this spring. It is based on the concept of Fruit Net, a transaction-specific website used by Clifford Chance in Project Fruit. The deal was a CVC Capital-led euro825m (£527.9m) management buyout of the Accordis Fibres division of Akzo Nobel, which covered 19 jurisdictions. Tailored versions of Fruit Net have been used for other clients, but Clifford Chance is currently standardising the technology.

Linklaters & Alliance has used IntraLinks software for dealrooms. Linklaters' own Blue Flag product designed for the World Bank incorporates dealroom facilities, but documents can be created online and transactions driven through programmed timetables. The aim is to sell the system to other clients. Linklaters has also trialled clients@linklaters, currently provided free to clients. It is a communication/administration tool to access billing and contact information and project status and documents.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has used dealrooms since mid-1999. An estimated 100 transactional extranets have been set up for clients and a standard was produced in spring 2000, which can be replicated easily for clients requiring the facility. The dealroom (or "transactional extranet", in Freshfields' terminology) has various "document vaults" for specific agreements, and also contains contact lists and project timetables. It is provided free of charge to clients.

Allen & Overy's (A&O) Newchange has various tools, including the Newchange dealroom, a transaction management tool, which is free to clients. It also contains a case room, which is a tailored dealroom for litigation. The Newchange software is supported by A&O's 24-hour helpline and the system includes "documents", which is a tool to aid the speedy drafting of key documents.

Slaughter and May has arrangements with third party suppliers so that online dealroom services can be offered immediately if requested by clients. The firm says it has not received any demand from clients, but will nevertheless keep an eye on developments.