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IRIS Legal to open new 'centre of excellence' in Cheshire

IRIS Legal has just announced plans for a new Laserform Centre of Excellence. The centre will bring together all Laserform staff into one location in brand new premises at Booths Park, Knutsford due to open March 2008. There will be no reduction in staff headcount however Laserform's London satellite office, where the lease comes to an end in late spring, will close. All 12 staff have been offered relocation to the new office. In December 2007 Laserform added an additional 6 new staff members based at the Lymm office, mainly in support roles.

The formation of the centre will accelerate the integration of Laserform with recent IRIS Case and Practice Management applications (as per the investment committed by IRIS in July 2007) as well as increasing levels of customer support and the overall growth of the Laserform business. (Since IRIS tookover the business, Laserform has already extended the opening hours for ts support services by one hour a day – at no additional cost to users.) Laserform will now operate with all development, sales, distribution and customer support personnel in one office. Laserform (and the rest of the IRIS Legal group) will maintain its London presence with its offices in Fleet Street.

• There is an interesting footnote to this story as the soon-to-close Laserform London office in New Street, just opposite Liverpool Street Station, is actually owned by Barry Hawley-Green's pension fund. Barry Hawley-Green was the founder and original owner of Laserform who sold out to CSG (now IRIS) back in 2006. The lease on this office expires in May and Orange Rag sources report that over the last couple of months Barry Hawley-Green's people have been looking over the building with a view to converting it into residential accommodation. A neighbouring building in New Street has already received planning consent to be converted from office to residential use. As for Laserform's old head office in Lymm (just a few miles away from the new Knutsford centre), the lease on this building is also due to expire later this year – and the landlord of this building is also the Hawley-Green pension fund.

19 replies on “IRIS Legal to open new 'centre of excellence' in Cheshire”

“Laserform (and the rest of the IRIS Legal group) will maintain its London presence with its offices in Fleet Street” sounds impressive; counjours up an image of a cutting edge technology building, something substantial to rival The Gherkin filled with professionals from all areas of the Iris Legal division or could they be referring to the Meridain Law office 6th floor shared with such notories as Robert Dyas!

Oh don't be so bitchy, most legal IT suppliers' London business address is squatting at a table in the coffee lounge at the Law Society Hall in Chancery Lane. And when was the last time anyone moved into new offices? Axxia in 1994?

Ho! Ho! Ho! Is there a market for someone like Regus to offer all us suppliers a virtual office facility in Central London and a free lounge where we can all meet and gossip and bitch rather thantry and remember to post as 'Anon' here?? Charles??

I wonder how many of the people in London who have been asked to relocate will do so?
More importantly assuming that none of them do, will new vacancies be created in the new office or will this be a “hidden” series of job loses.

Just had the maintenance contract through – letter talks about improved service etc but unfortunately the head of IRIS Legal didn't seem to think it worthwhile signing and had it 'pp'd. No direct line, mobile or email if you want to discuss. Reminds me of the 'not very personal' ads.
The strap line on the summary sheet says IRIS Legal 'We make it easy'
Perhaps it should read 'IRIS Legal ' We make it easy to leave'……

“easy to leave”??? I dont think so. Just ask employees about their new T & C documents notice periods. 1 week per year of service. So some people have gone from 4 weeks notice period(old contract) to 12 weeks.
And no these people are not Directors of the company.
So tag line “We make it easy to keep you”

We are also on massively better remuneration, pensions and benefits than the old firms ………. it's really quite nice to be working for a proper company who really care about their employees.

TO ALL YOU IRIS-PHOBES OUT THERE – REMEMBER THIS?
Technology for Business Plc (TFB) announced it had become the UK's largest legal IT solutions provider with its purchase of Avenue Legal Systems. (JUST LIKE IRIS LEGAL) The acquisition of Avenue is the second by TFB inside two months following the purchase of Scottish legal specialist, CB Systems.
TFB says it is looking for further opportunities to consolidate its position as the UK's leading legal solution provider, (JUST LIKE IRIS LEGAL)with a combined turnover of over £12 million and a total client base approaching 1,000 medium-to-large practices. (THE SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS GUIDE 2007 SAYS THEY HAVE ONLY GOT 419 FIRMS – WHERE DID THE OTHER 500 FIRMS GO?)
Commenting on the deal TFB managing director Simon Hill said: “The takeover of Avenue positions TFB as the premier player in the UK's legal software market”. TFB is continuing to actively pursue further acquisition targets (JUST LIKE IRIS LEGAL) both in the UK and abroad – including the United States – to consolidate its position as a market leader.”
The purchase price is not being disclosed but Hill told Legal News Media that the deal would not involve any redundancies.( THEY HAVE FAR FEWER STAFF THAN THEY STARTED WITH).
TFB's medium term plan is to develop a common successor system that will combine the best elements of current Avenue, CB and TFB systems. (A BIT LIKE IRIS LEGAL).

Why is the Iris director/employee/sympathiser not prepared to put their name to this or infact the original date of release? Is there nothing more current they can turn to?

You could rewrite these comments replacing TFB with AIM (who bought a few debt system vendors in their time). I am just waiting for the new IRIS 'all singing and dancing system', that 'delivers a best of breed solution' combined with 'specialist legal office expertise' and 'integrates with all leading Acoounts, PMS and Case Management Systems'. Clock is ticking now. In my opinion they are about to show us, just like AIM and TFB did, that buying legal IT companies is not synonomous with 'successful growth'.

Probably the same reason why none of the IRIS detractors and critics are prepared to put their names to their comments. Come on, anonymous posters cannot complain about other anonymous posters. (Although obviously I get to see the IP addresses so I know who you are;-)

If you added up all the clients claimed by all the suppliers at that time the total would have come to a number that exceeded the number of firms in the UK.
The Law Society guide seems to have stopped the worst of these excesses. The total number of clients claimed by the entries in the guide this year is just under 5000 which is more realistic.

Not exactly – there are 15 suppliers in the Law Soc's guide but currently over 60 if you look at the Insider's latest PMS buyers guide, so on that basis probably every firm in the countyry now has two systems.

As someone who worked for Avenue and then TFB during the takeover in 2001 I would like to point out one or two differences that I can see between what Iris appear to be trying to do and what TFB did. With regard to the development of a new system, when TFB closed their Sunbury office they lost all of programmers working in that office. This meant that they had a team of three programmers in the Fareham office, not really enough to maintain the existing products, at that time Solomon, Wisdom, SP3, P4W and the CB Systems products, as well as developing a new product. They have tried since then to incorporate the best features of these products into P4W, the chosen go forward product. One would assume that Iris have significantly more development resources that can be directed into their new product.
With regard to the number of customers TFB has no where near the number it had at the time of the merger; there is no doubt that these dropped significantly in the first three years of the combined company. TFB, for a number of different reasons, lost a huge percentage of the CB Systems client base in Scotland. They also informed their customer base in England that they had three years to move from the existing system to P4W at the end of which time there would be no support for their old legacy systems. This meant that a large number of Avenue and some old TFB customers decide to evaluate the products offered by other suppliers. Iris have made it clear that they have no intention of stopping support on the systems that its clients currently use. Only time will tell whether or not they stick to this, but it is a different approach to that taken by TFB.
With regard to redundancies TFB have lost a lot of staff over the last six years. When Simon Hill made his comment about redundancies I am sure that he meant what he said; I speak as someone who was later made redundant by TFB. The company closed a number of offices, four I believe, but expected people to relocate, most did not. The real round of redundancies came in March 2005 when approximately 30% of the staff were made redundant. This was nearly four years after the merger and is more likely to be due to the loss of customers rather than as direct result of the merger. If Iris can maintain their currently level of customers, I difficult task I grant you, there should be no reason to reduce staff levels.
TFB have undoubtedly had some difficult times since it took over Avenue and CB Systems in 2001. However, it is now in a position where it has a greatly improved product that meets the requirements of three distinct geographical regions; Scotland, New Zealand as well England and Wales, something that it could not claim in 2001. It has also developed a product that is liked by those that use it, as can be seen from the fact it came first in ILCA Solicitors’ Software Users Award 2007. Perhaps Iris should take note as CS Group came ninth. Maybe Iris customers should hope that it does follow a similar pattern as TFB with regard to the quality of the product.

That makes sense. One will be the system they have got and the other will be the one they are replacing it with!

Only two? With firms using multiple case management systems I would have said the average would be closer to 4!

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