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Best global use of IT:Clifford ChanceIn July 1999 it was announced that Clifford Chance, the UK’s biggest law firm, would merge with US-based Rogers & Wells. That was a major project, but shortly after the initial announcement, both firms announced the inclusion of Puender Volhard Weber & Axster, one of Germany’s largest law firms, thus creating the world’s largest law firm. The new firm consisted of 3,262 lawyers, and 6,500 employees based in 26 offices worldwide.The logistics of bringing together three large IT systems to provide a robust infrastructure capable of supporting the number of users involved represented a huge task in itself, particularly as there were big differences in the infrastructure systems of the firms involved. Due to the project’s timing, the integration task was further complicated by Y2K issues.Apart from technical issues, people-based concerns also represented a major hurdle for the integration team, which had to ensure that it was still business as usual for their fee earners. This project has still to be completed, although the list of ticks in the completed box on the project managers’ planning chart is getting longer.

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