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News round-up

With the next issue of the UK Insider not due for another for another three weeks, here's a round-up of the latest UK and international news…

• MDA SearchFlow has confirmed its commitment to delivering the property industry's most complete, accurate and up-to-date property search information, as demanded by the new HIPs regulations that came into force earlier this week. These latest changes include the addition of a Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ), as well as the legal requirement for estate agents to obtain a HIP before marketing a property. For the record, the National Association of Estate Agents say 89% of their members do not believe HIPs benefit buyers – and even UK government statistics suggest 77% of home buyers pay no attention to the information contained in HIPs.

• US-based document creation and quality control software provider Microsystems has just appointed Barry Solomon as chief marketing officer, a new position for the company. Most recently Solomon served as vice president, client development at LexisNexis. Prior to that, he was a founder and executive vice president of Interface Software, the developers on the Interaction CRM. LexisNexis acquired Interface Software in 2004.

• We're hearing reports from consultants that the IRIS Group will be giving a briefing on its corporate and product development road-map later this month. (We won't hold our breath.)

• We're also hearing reports that the LexisNexis Visualfiles long awaited Manilla/Streamline system is now in an advanced beta test phase at a couple of American law firms. (We won't be holding our breath here either as we see from our files that LexisNexis Visualfiles described Manilla as a 'soon to be launched system' as long ago as July 2005.)

• And we're hearing reports that the English Law Society will not be bringing out a new edition of its Software Solutions Guide next year (2010) as it is felt the combination of consolidation within the industry (latest acquistions mean there are technically just 9 independent vendors in the 2009 guide, compared with nearly double that number during the guide's boom years) and a format that hasn't changed substantially since the late 1990s, has prompted a decision to rest the guide and rethink the project.

• Staying with the English Law Society…
# The Law Management Section has got a cracking programme lined up for its annual conference, which takes place at the Waldorf Hilton in London on 29th April. Speakers include Richard Susskind, Stephen Mayson, Alan Hodgart and Andrew Otterburn.

# The Law Society Gazette has gone Web 2.0 with the launch of two new comment blogs and a user-generated Moving On section.