Veyo, the online conveyancing portal developed by the Law Society and IT giant Mastek, went live today with around 80 law firms taking part in the first phase.
Des Hudson, chairman of Veyo, said that after an initial period of about a month, a much larger group of 1,800 firms which expressed an interest in the system  would be able to join.
Mr Hudson said a group of seven pioneer law firms had already been trialling the system and providing feedback. He said Veyo was powerful enough to cope with up to 2,000 firms signing up in the first 100 days after the launch. The Law Society and Mastek are reported to have spent £11m developing the system to date.
“I am not for a minute claiming that everyone will sign up on the first available date,” Mr Hudson said. “However, one reason this has taken time and investment is to build a system that can support a large proportion of the market.
“We would like the system to be ubiquitous,” he said. “There are a number of benefits which will multiply if everyone is using it.”
Mr Hudson said Veyo was talking to the “big panel managers and lenders”, and was able to demonstrate that it was not at risk from a “single point of failure”.
Veyo announced its pricing structure  of £20 per transaction, and an administration charge of £50 per user per year, at the beginning of March. Its original launch date was 31 March.
“We always said we would launch the project in spring 2015 and that is what we are doing,” Mr Hudson said. “It’s been a long and hard piece of work because it needs to support a large part of the market.”
Responding to concerns about the Law Society’s poor record on big IT projects, he said: “This is not an IT system built by the Law Society. The society has deliberately bought in expertise from external suppliers to create a business at arm’s length from itself.
“I am sure that there will be changes and improvements we need to make to the system. There will need to be refinements and tweaks.
“What the society is doing is trying to do is help its members hold on to the conveyancing market. It wants to equip member firms – big, small and medium-sized – to meet clients’ expectations in all their walks of life.”
Among the services Veyo provides are a case management system, a secure audit trail, built-in money laundering searches, the ability to upload searches and key documents and a direct interface with the Land Registry. Earlier this month Eclipse Legal Systems became the first legal software provider to confirm  that it would offer integration with Veyo.
It also offers the potential for conveyancers to see how a chain of transactions is progressing through ‘chain view’ – though, to be effective, this depends on a large proportion of conveyancers signing up to Veyo.
Meanwhile, it emerged last week that Veyo CEO Elliott Vigar was only on secondment from the Law Society, and his spell in charge came to an end on 27 April. Nigel Spencer, the society’s chief of commercial affairs, has taken up the interim position of CEO.