All change: CMS Switzerland signs up with Aderant and iManage

CMS von Erlach Poncet, the Swiss arm of CMS, has signed up to Aderant and iManage as part of a dual project to overhaul its legacy infrastructure, as other leading firms in the Swiss market look set to evaluate their own core systems.
The Geneva and Zurich-based firm, formed at the start of 2014 from the merger of CMS von Erlach Henrici in Zurich and ZPG Avocats SA in Geneva, has been using two separate, domestic practice management systems, which are both end of life and can’t integrate.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, CMS corporate partner Alain Raemy, who specialises in network-based industries and technology, said: “Both legacy systems had very simple document management programs, so we had to find a solution for the document management system. It wouldn’t have made sense to introduce a new DMS and then adapt to a practice management system a year later, so we decided to do it in one go.”
Following a due diligence process of around three DMS suppliers, CMS von Erlach Poncet has gone with Phoenix Business Solutions for its iManage implementation.
Raemy says: “One big pressure was finding easy-to-use integration into Outlook and email archiving – we didn’t have this properly so far.”
The firm, which is part of CMS’ European Economic Interest Grouping, began a more extensive review of its PMS in earnest in January this year. Having spoken with colleagues and law firms in Europe, including leading Swiss firm Niederer Kraft & Frey (NKF), which selected Aderant in July this year, CMS narrowed PMS suppliers down to two or three, which it evaluated in detail.
Raemy said: “We recognise that it’s very important to have a PMS to allow you to do budgets and anticipate on cost. More and more we have to provide quotes, caps or fixed fees and Aderant allows you to grab information from the past and cost accordingly.”
With the merger of CMS Cameron McKenna, Olswang and Nabarro having been voted through in October, Raemy says the fact that the trio are clients of Thomson Reuters Elite did not feature in the final decision, commenting: “If you’re not entirely integrated, it doesn’t make a difference.”
Of more relevance is what’s going on in the local market, where, following the selection of Aderant by Zurich-based NKF, a further leading Swiss firm is known to be evaluating the PMS software.
Raemy says: “Over here we’re exchanging information among large law firms in Zurich and Geneva in order to see what’s in the market, what works and what is up and coming regarding IT, and also – if we use the same software suites – to have a greater weight vis-à-vis suppliers with Swiss specific issues.”
He adds: “Other law firms in Zurich will have to evaluate their legacy practice management systems in two to three years, so we will see quite some change.”