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Here we go again: Law Society to splash £61m on new IT systems after joint project fails

The Law Society, which has overseen several IT failures in the last decade, has agreed to spend £61m on new technology systems.

The legal profession’s regulatory body has signed off on £61m worth of IT spending between 2015/16 and 2019/20. A major factor in the overhaul was the fudge of previous systems that have been procured to try and service both the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA), which still sits within the Law Society despite a push for independence.

The move will see the warring regulatory and representative bodies establish separate IT systems, with the SRA currently reviewing its needs so that it can effectively monitor law firms and solicitors.

The Law Society’s ruling council approved the plans yesterday, with up to £30m set to be spent in 2016/17.

The representative body’s shared service function, Corporate Solutions, commenced work in 2013 on the development of a replacement for the core regulatory database called RIS to replace a fragile and outdated system with a more modern CRM in order to reduce IT running and support costs.

However, The Law Society’s annual report for 2015 detailed how ‘the project had been subject to technical difficulties and delays’ and following the review of Corporate Solutions responsibility for this project was transferred directly to the SRA. The decision meant the Law Society had to write off £5.1m when the project was scrapped.

The Law Society has form for wasteful IT projects, with an online conveyancing joint-venture with Indian technology giant Mastek scrapped at the end of last year after having spent around £7m on the project.

The IT overhaul follows a review into the Law Society’s IT systems by Big Four accountancy Deloitte.

For more on regulation in the City read: ‘Taxation without representation – would you pay for the Law Society to represent you?’