Legal IT Insider
'The Orange Rag'
Issue 342, May 2021
Welcome to the Orange Rag in May - a month that has again stood out for the significant volume of legal tech M&A and venture capital activity.
The end of the month saw New York growth investment fund Warburg Pincus acquire NetDocuments from Clearlake Capital Group - the rumour is that NetDocuments was valued at a staggering $1.4bn. You can read more about it in our top stories section, including hearing from CEO Josh Baxter about future plans to enter into strategic acquisitions to help lawyers accelerate productivity.
Other deals this month include Intapp's acquisition of Repstor; Anaqua's purchase of SeeUnity; and transcription platform Verbit's acquisiton of VITAC.
This month we have a large number of wins - including our front page exclusive that Peppermint Technology has won its first US client - see our top stories for more.
Our top stories also include a look at the huge shift towards cloud technology for core systems such as DMS and PMS. We bring you the highlights from Aderant's virtual conference (including some details of its new data intelligence offering) - Aderant has seen its pipeline change from 10-15% cloud to 50/50 in a shift that EVP Chris Cartrett calls 'seismic'.
And we're the first to bring you a Microsoft Teams whitepaper from Prosperoware, which provides in-depth guidance as to the best structures to use for different matter types and complexities - it also gives us a glimpse into how Teams is being used for legal project management, and the potential there when combined with other Microsoft 365 applications.
As always, please get in touch with your news and views: email@example.com
Caroline Hill, Editor-in-Chief
Exclusive: Peppermint wins first US client
Peppermint Technology has won its first US-based customer, we can reveal, as AmLaw 200 law firm Dickinson Wright signs up for Peppermint’s Microsoft CX365-based client relationship management system. Pinnacle is Peppermint’s US delivery partner, in another first for a partnership that was put in place around four months ago. We understand that Peppermint was up against Intapp in the competitive process.
Dickinson Wright has over 500 lawyers across more than 40 practices and industries, practising from nineteen offices. According to the National Law Journal's 2020 NLJ 500 ranking, Dickinson Wright is ranked 103 in the US.
The firm will be implementing Peppermint’s CRM solution – called Client Engagement – initially to modernise its marketing and business development activities.
Peppermint first engaged with Dickinson Wright in October last year. The firm was looking to swap out Thomson Reuters Elite Business Development Premier, which TRE announced in 2019 is to be sunsetted.
BDP is built on Microsoft Dynamics and COO Michael Kolb added:
“Peppermint’s ability to natively integrate into our broader Microsoft 365 strategy was also a significant factor in our decision and perfectly complemented our digital-first approach.”
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Peppermint’s director of business development, Matt O’Callaghan said:
“We are providing the software and Pinnacle is delivering it, so it’s revolutionary for us. We are looking to expand into the US and expand our partner network.”
While O’Callaghan said that the focus at the moment is on delivering its first project, it appears likely that Peppermint, which also has a partnership with Wilson Allen, will expand its own operations into the US. However, O’Callaghan said:
“Partnerships are so important to us: we're a software company, not a consultancy, so it’s about enabling people to use the product.”
Pinnacle was already working with Dickinson Wright, which is expected to go live in August. The client engagement system will be integrated and draw data from the firm’s TRE 3E time and billing system. O’Callaghan said:
“You have to do that if you want to get the most out of a modern CRM system and if you want a 360-degree view. You can start to surface how much you bill, and start pointing Power BI at that and getting rich data from it. It’s pivotal that you have integration with the PMS if you want a CRM that not just there to capture a few contacts and opportunities.”
Warburg Pincus acquires NetDocuments from Clearlake
New York growth investment company Warburg Pincus has acquired NetDocuments from Clearlake Capital Group, we first revealed on 25 May, joining incumbent investor Cove Hill, which has retained its existing stake in the company.
Clearlake acquired NetDocuments in 2017 and speaking to Legal IT Insider, NetDocuments’ CEO Josh Baxter said:
“Clearlake’s typical investment horizon is between three and five years and we were in the middle of that range,” adding: “This time we were interested in finding a longer-term investor.”
Cove Hill has a 17-year fund and Warburg, which counts BEA Systems, UGS, Neustar, CrowdStrike, Avalara and Ziggo within its technology portfolio, has acquired NetDocuments out of a 10-year fund.
Baxter said of the new investor:
“Their focus is to find best of breed vertical software applications and support them, and we line up well with the strategy.”
According to Baxter the latest acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, was underpinned by NetDocuments’ 25% year-on-year growth trajectory and further growth potential. He said:
“They see that our platform is best positioned to be the platform for legal professionals globally. Beyond that, they see our amazing greenfield opportunity in a number of markets, whether that be small-to-medium law firms; government; or corporate legal, where we continue to win and take market segment.”
According to one source close to the deal, NetDocuments was valued at a staggering $1.4bn, although Baxter declined to comment on that figure. We understand that this is Warburg’s first acquisition in the legal tech space.
NetDocuments is just shy of tripling the value of the business since Clearlake acquired it in 2017. While it has in recent years targeted prestigious large law wins, much of its recent growth has come from the relatively untapped small to medium sized law firm market, which looks to be where its future strategic course is set. Baxter said:
“Our intention is to continue on the path we're on today and to continue to lead innovation. The good news is that whether you are a massive law firm or one with five to 10 lawyers, you have the same need for content management and collaboration.”
One change of direction that we are likely to see under the new management is an increase in acquisitions. Baxter said:
“The thing we're going to be more active with is M&A. We’ve been conservative to date because we wanted to take advantage of the amazing growth opportunity in front of us. Now we're going to look at the things that accelerate the productivity of legal professionals and strengthen their ability to conduct the business of law and the work of law.”
Baxter confirmed that Warburg and Cove Hill are behind that new acquisitive strategy, commenting:
“Warburg Pincus and Cove Hill are going to be great finance partners, and as we have M&A opportunities, they will support us in executing that.” He added: “What we have in Warburg Pincus and Cove Hill are partners that share my vision of NetDocuments becoming the next Salesforce.com, and their timing aligns with what we’re going to be doing in the next five to seven years.”
In a statement Andrew Park, managing director of Warburg said:
“NetDocuments effectively serves as the platform of productivity for the legal community and is uniquely grounded in its commitment to customer service. The Company's strong track record, paired with a talented leadership team, has positioned it well for the accelerating shift to cloud.”
To take a look at Warburg’s other investments see:
Momentum: Aderant to launch law firm benchmarking offering
Aderant’s Virtual Momentum 2021 conference concluded at the end of the last week, with key announcements including the imminent launch of a data intelligence offering that will enable law firm clients to benchmark their performance against one another.
The entirely online conference is said to have set an attendance record at 1300 attendees and 60+ sessions over three days, although clients will in many cases be relieved to hear that next year the conference will be held in-person in Austin, Texas at the Hilton Austin on May 16-19.
Notable themes included the cloud (Aderant’s pipeline has seen a radical shift to its AWS hosted offering Sierra), infrastructure and application security, outside counsel guidelines (OCG) compliance, and data intelligence.
In the latter camp, Aderant ran a session to informally unveil its new offering, which we’re told will bring greater performance measurement and benchmarking to the law firm billing process.
While there are benchmarking products on the market to help outside counsel select their law firms, Aderant plans to leverage the data within Expert to create law firm intelligence with regard to how they compare against their peers, including how their rates compare.
Writing ahead of the conference Trey Ruello, director of data services at Aderant said: “Corporate clients often curate detailed insights from data they regularly collect about their outside counsel firms. Aderant’s concept of “data intelligence” revolves around providing law firms better visibility into similar metrics to even out this information asymmetry. Helping law firms leverage the power of data for their own benefit provides them with a strategic edge. It also enables informed, data-driven dialogues and negotiations with their clients, where now both sides leverage data to drive discussions.” We’ll get you more on that shortly.
Otherwise much of the conference was dominated by the topic of the cloud, and speaking to Legal IT Insider, executive vice president Chris Cartrett said:
“Before the pandemic set in, we had started offering Expert in the cloud, which is called Sierra. At that time 10-15% of our pipeline was cloud but now it’s 50/50, and that is a seismic shift.”
While Sierra is not a ‘true cloud’ offering, it enables law firms, who still struggle enormously with moving their core systems to the cloud, to ‘lift and shift’ Aderant into a private instance of AWS. The environment is hosted and managed by Aderant, which for many large law firms right now means they get the benefit and security of cloud hosting, without the multiple nightmares of moving their central nervous system to a public cloud.
“Firms know they have the most secure set up and us being able to manage it for them is huge.”
When it comes to outside counsel guidelines, it is interesting to note that Aderant, which acquired Bellefield Systems in 2019 for its iTimekeep and OCG Live applications, is working on embedding the OCG guidelines through the billing workflow. Cartrett said that while OCG Live has been available within the Aderant ecosystem,
“the new thing we’re working on is the next level of OCG – more automation in managing those guidelines throughout the process and through ebilling, so it educates the application.”
In a final shout out, Davis, Graham & Stubbs received the 2021 Innovator of the Year award as the first firm to go live on Aderant Expert in a fully remote environment in March 2020, just two weeks after locking down for the pandemic.
Roll on Texas.
New whitepaper shows how to best structure MS Teams for adoption
We’ve had advance sight of a brand-new whitepaper from Prosperoware, which provides in-depth guidance on the best
Microsoft Teams structures for different matter types and complexities. While the whitepaper is pitched as a starting point for channel design for legal, it gives us a glimpse into how some of the more advanced firms are using Teams for legal project management, and the potential there when combined with other Microsoft 365 applications.
The starting point generally sees firms creating Teams for matters and here Keith Lipman, founder and CEO of Prosperoware, and author of the whitepaper says:
“Complexity should generally be added as the matter progresses.”
Law firms are inevitably at very different stages of engagement with Teams, and while many are still only using it as an internal tool for team members, others are already using it as an extranet to collaborate with external providers.
The whitepaper provides multiple recommended Teams structures for simple and far more complex matters such as complex M&A and litigation, both where there is just internal involvement or external
collaboration as well. Corporate teams are able to create an outside counsel Team in which to collaborate.
What is really interesting is that when combined with M365 Applications such as Planner; OneNote; List; and Dataverse, Teams can be become a legal project management tool that includes automated, pre-defined tasks to drive digital transformation.
The white paper is designed to provoke thought and discussion and help law firms to design their methodology and it certainly does that. You can download it for free using this link:
Ascertus reports 10% growth driven by massive uptick in iManage Cloud work
At a time when the market is trying to gauge where their peers are really at in the cloud journey, it was interesting to see in May that Ascertus realised a 10 percent year-on-year growth in revenue in 2020-2021, fuelled by what is says was a nearly 100% increase in iManage Work document and email management deployments in the cloud.
Ascertus, which provides document and information lifecycle management solutions to professional services firms and corporate departments, saw notable demand from law firms, especially in Northern Europe, plus accounting firms and corporate departments in many different vertical markets, including the pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, education and financial sectors.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Ascertus’ CEO Roy Russell said:
“90% of our document management system deployments over the past year have been iManage Cloud, and that’s a massive change on previous years.”
Cloud selection and deployments have ranged across firms of all sizes and Russell told us:
“We pride ourselves on handling clients of all sizes, from boutique firms of 10-20 users to this year signing two large law firms, one 570 user firm to migrate from on premises to the cloud, and one 900 user firm to migrate from on premises to the cloud.” He added: “There is now a movement among the larger firms to adopt the cloud for their document management systems.”
Large firms that have gone live on the iManage Cloud include Allen & Overy, while Clifford Chance and Baker McKenzie have both selected iManage Cloud but are yet to go live.
The key drivers for the uptake of iManage Work in the cloud across the professional services firms and corporate sector have been the ability to efficiently work from home, business need for agile collaboration similar to that in a physical workplace environment and company IP and data protection.
Russell told us:
“COVID-19 helped defeat the emotional argument of not moving to the cloud, because they have had to do it with other apps and the partnership has had to accept it and stop worrying that the cloud is less secure. Covid has helped take that away and when you start factoring in the return on investment now being demonstrated by cloud deployments, that makes it more compelling.”
Clifford Chance launches centralised R&D Hub as Applied Solutions becomes sales arm
Clifford Chance today on 17 May launched a new, centralised R&D Hub, which brings the product research and development capabilities of its ALSP Applied Solutions within the body of the firm. Applied Solutions, will going forward, act as the sales arm for the magic circle firm’s digital products, such as its white labelled automation product Clifford Chance Dr@ft.
April Brousseau has been appointed to lead the new R&D Hub, which will pull together the firm’s previously disparate R&D initiatives together and make it easier to work in an iterative way with clients.
The spokesperson said:
“All the R&D capability is being brought into the heart of the business,” adding: “CCAS will remain as a sales operation and its role in selling our digital products continues.”
Applied Solutions is a startup and while it is loss making, it has hit its expected targets. The company was previously led by CEO Jeroen Plink, who left earlier this year. The spokesperson added:
“The numbers are not a problem. When Jeroen Plink left we took the opportunity to fast track where we can go, not just replace him.”
It is hoped that the hub will accelerate and scale the development of digital products, both for sale to clients and to help transform the firm’s operations through the firm’s Best Delivery team.
By pooling this collective expertise in one place and working with Clifford Chance lawyers and other key teams, the R&D Hub will focus on the rapid and effective development of new digital solutions for the firm’s clients and its lawyers.
Law firm ALSPs are formed in many cases to keep digital products separate from the normal billable-hour based fee structure of law firms, and by keeping Applied Solutions as a sales arm, it is likely to continue to achieve that aim while better leveraging the internal know how of the firm.
Bas Boris Visser, global head of innovation and business change at the firm said:
“The business of law is changing faster than ever, and pandemic disruption in the wider business world has set the stage for accelerating demand for digital legal products. By bringing together the research and development capabilities that we have developed both within the firm and in our successful subsidiary Clifford Chance Applied Solutions, we can boost the speed and scale to our digital product capabilities. Together they are greater than the sum of their parts, and I am excited to work with April and the whole team to build the digital legal products of tomorrow.”
Brousseau will have responsibility for the selection, design and development of all new digital products through the Hub, as well as for the sales of all client solutions via the dedicated sales team in Clifford Chance Applied Solutions.
“We have learned a lot from the start-up culture of Clifford Chance Applied Solutions in recent years, and it is great to be able to bring the exceptional product development expertise we have established there right into the heart of the business. We believe we can do more by doing it together in one, single, collaborative team.”
SPECIAL COVID APPEAL:
LEGALTECH INDIA FUND
A #LegalTechTogether initiative led by Morae Global managing director Justin North has now raised £65,000 for India, which is suffering the most devastating consequences from the second wave of COVID-19. Given the extent of the devastation, the fund is looking to raise more.
North told us: “Obviously the situation in India is out of control. The second wave is devastating communities and leaving thousands impacted. Hospitals are overflowing, medications are unavailable, and there is a lack of access to food, water and essential health care.”
Reflecting back on another recent disaster, he said: “A few weeks before the pandemic arrived, I watched from London as the Australian wildfires destroyed so much of the country. Knowing that others around the world in legal technology were also watching and feeling helpless, I decided to try to make some kind of difference. With a few calls, a couple of emails, and a little social media cajoling, we raised around $100K in a week to donate to separate charities in Oz.”
Scroll forward a year, and with a similar sense of helplessness, North says: “It made sense to pull on the global network again in an effort to help.
“India holds a special place for me and my family,” he says. “I’ve also spent a lot of time in India working closely with the team from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas for many years, and recently visiting the High Courts in Mumbai to discuss legal technology trends around the world.”
Many of the largest legal technology companies have a significant presence in India, with colleagues and clients (and their families and friends) being impacted directly. North says: “Here at Morae, a third of our global team is located in our offices in Bangalore for example. Thomson Reuters, iManage, and many others also have colleagues based in India. Not only this, but the leadership teams of many of our companies started their careers in India.”
Many legaltech companies have already come forward to donate, including BigHand, Aderant, Mosmar, Neotaogic, PERSUIT, Bryter, and more.
North says: “Massive thanks to all. A huge shout out to Lucie Allen and Jim Leason from Thomson Reuters for their huge initiative to raise funds, and for Thomson Reuters for matching them. A shout out also goes out for HighQ founder Ajay Patel, for his astonishing personal pledge of £10K.”
All funds and pledges are being directed to the Red Cross appeals. It is as easy as visiting their site and donating anything from as little as $5 this credit card or PayPal. The international Red Cross is working to assist providing ambulance services, oxygen, first aid and PPE, while also supporting the vaccination rollout.
Take a look at Thomson Reuters’ incredible efforts here
WINS AND DEALS
UK AND EMEA
Global top 10 law firm Hogan Lovells announced at the start of May that it has entered into an enterprise agreement with transaction management platform Legatics, having seen its use grow over the course of the past year.
The new agreement will allow Hogan Lovells and Legatics to continue to grow the use of the transaction management platform across the firm’s global offices.
Katja Ullrich-North, global head of knowledge management at Hogan Lovells told Legal IT Insider: “We’ve been working with Legatics over a year now and this press release marks our first enterprise licence. We’ve seen usage significantly grow over the course of the relationship and have built up a strong platform of successful use cases across offices and departments. Using a transaction management platform like Legatics supports our desire to keep on innovating in our delivery of legal services and we’re really excited to use this enterprise licence as a platform to grow adoption further across our global offices and continue to see the benefits of transaction management!”
Legatics head of engagement, Daniel Grant Smith started out his legal career at Hogan Lovells and said: “I trained as a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and had the formative moments of my career there, so from a personal perspective it’s brilliant to be able to continue working with the firm to grow usage and adoption. I can’t wait to carry on working with the Knowledge team and lawyers at Hogan Lovells to drive value.”
Other firms to recently enter an enterprise agreement with Legatics include leading South Africa firm Bowmans, and international law firm King & Wood Mallesons.
In another pilot-to-enterprise deal, Reed Smith in May signed an enterprise license with BRYTER, following a successful pilot that has been underway since 2020. The work is being led by its in-house practice innovation team and respected tech captive Gravity Stack.
Reed Smith’s work with BRYTER has involved a pilot with a corporate client that wanted to automate its playbook for dealing with a new supplier from a GDPR perspective. Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Reed Smith’s innovation engagement senior manager Adam Curphey said: “They were looking for a way to empower the procurement team to engage directly in that process: rather than always involving the legal team, the procurement team would go to the playbook and have an automated version of the appropriate data protection agreement.”
Curphey, who built the solution, says: “It was a collaborative piece and although the technology is great and BRYTER does what it says it does – it really is so easy to use – the big thing was working with the clients and partners and associates to decide the process: how do you turn a 40 page playbook into a series of questions?” The firm got the playbook down to seven questions after an iterative process. Read that story in full here: https://legaltechnology.com/reed-smith-formally-announces-partnership-with-bryter/
Independent Scottish law firm Anderson Strathern has upgraded its dictation licenses to BigHand’s legal workflow management solution to provide full visibility over its tasks.
With offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lerwick and East Lothian, Anderson Strathern first saw the need for BigHand’s legal-specific workflow technology when the global pandemic enforced remote working measures.
Jane Henderson, PA services manager at the firm said: “When lockdown happened, we introduced practices to transition to the new way of working, including shared inboxes for the PA and administrator group. It soon became apparent that although we had visibility of work coming in, we still had no easy way to see who had picked up each task, and the progress of the work. When we saw the extra functionality, we could gain by simply upgrading our dictation licenses to the full BigHand workflow solution, we knew it was exactly what we needed to optimise our PA Services offering regardless of staff location.”
NetDocuments on 20 May announced the strengthening of its partnership with Verlata Consulting, which is expanding its operations to the UK. Verlata is a certified implementation partner of NetDocuments. As part of its UK expansion, the company has appointed NetDocuments solutions expert, Andrew Payne as a director, and recruited Dan Wales as sales consultant – Wales founded DW Reporting and was a director at workflow software company, BigHand, which acquired DW Reporting in 2018. Wales is also an adviser with ‘operator for operators’ fund Bryce Catalyst and recently took on the role of chief growth officer at startup dealcloser.
Jason Mills, director at Verlata said: “Now is the right time to expand Verlata’s business to the UK. Our focus when delivering projects is ensuring that we listen to the client requirements, design solutions that meet those needs and, most importantly, be responsive and agile. This is what makes the NetDocuments and Verlata partnership so strong, we share the same ‘can do’ attitude, combined with considerable experience of working with law firms and corporates. By adding our Actionstep capabilities, we can drive integrated projects on both the PMS and DMS providing clients an end-to-end cloud service offering.”
He continued: “Andy’s significant experience working in and with law firms, providing project services and of course, his incredible NetDocuments knowledge will ensure our existing and future clients receive excellent service. We’re also very excited to have Dan joining our team as a sales consultant. His extensive operational, product strategy and sales and marketing expertise will provide immense value to our company and clients.”
Anaqua, which recently acquired SeeUnity, says it will invest significantly in the integration of the services with Anaqua’s IP management software and payment services. It is hoped that Actio IP, which also offers IP renewals, will add incremental volume to Anaqua’s existing payments business.
“Both companies share a deep commitment to leveraging technology to optimize the IP workflow process,” said Christine Jennings, President of Anaqua Services, who will lead the new business unit. “We believe this combination will enhance the customer experience by pairing our existing payments business with another high-quality service that can be seamlessly-integrated with our software platforms and other offerings.”
Commercial and business law specialist, Owen White, has appointed Ascertus Limited to implement iManage Work as the firm’s document and email management system in the iManage Cloud. With flexible and remote working expected to become the norm, Ascertus will implement the solution to provide a single repository for emails and documents in structured, matter-specific workspaces, facilitating collaboration and delivering productivity gains to Owen White’s 35 plus lawyers. Ascertus provides document and information lifecycle management solutions to law firms and corporate legal departments across the UK and Europe.
Elaborating on the business requirement for a document and email management system, Jane Masih, managing director at Owen White, says, “Covid has speeded up our move to a best practice approach to document and email management and the cloud. During lock down, it became clear that with everyone working remotely, we needed a more efficient way to manage our email traffic and the attachments contained within them so that teams had visibility of the most current matter-related documents. iManage will save us huge amounts of time in sorting, filing and finding documents and enable effortless information sharing. The flexibility of the system will translate into the firm better meeting client and staff needs.”
Legal services cloud provider CTS has been selected by North West England-based firm AFG LAW to provide their managed cloud solution and fully managed support wrap-around service.
Matthew Davidson, head of finance at AFG LAW, says, “As the contract with our previous managed service provider was coming to an end, we recognised the need for us to build a partnership with a legal sector specialist as we moved forward. It became evident to us that CTS’ comprehensive understanding of our chosen applications, and close relationships with leading legal technology providers, would be truly invaluable to us in achieving our future goals”.
Sales director of CTS, Aaron Naisbitt explains: “CTS focus only on IT services for law firms and chambers, meaning we understand their needs and cater our services around the unique requirements of legal sector firms and their users. As a legal sector specialist, we work closely with third-party legal software providers and undergo rigorous training, enabling us to deliver the best strategic and technical advice to clients”.
Beeston Shenton Solicitors has chosen PAY AS YOU GO software from Zylpha to prepare electronic court and client document bundles. With online files now accepted by Courts in England and Wales, the hunt was on to identify the best solution. Beeston Shenton says it chose Zylpha as it was both the most flexible solution and as it was the clear market leader.
Zylpha can be accessed from a dashboard-like screen, which makes it easy to use when creating even the largest bundles. The system’s single-view digital approach streamlines and simplifies the arrangement and pagination of documents, saving time and complexity.
Commenting on the new system Beeston Shenton’s Associate Family Solicitor Eleanor Adams commented, “Zylpha made an excellent business case for a move to electronic bundling on a PAY AS YOU GO basis. The software will have an extremely positive impact, whilst allowing Beeston Shenton to maintain the high standards our clients expect.”
Band Hatton Button Solicitors have selected Partner for Windows (P4W) for their practice and case management solution for their 66 users.
Band Hatton Button Solicitors are one of the leading law firms in Warwickshire, working regionally, nationally, and beyond.
Mark Moseley, managing director at Band Hatton Button, said: “As a forward-thinking firm, we are always looking for ways we can use technology to improve the way we work and felt the time was right to update our case management system. Following an extensive market review by members of staff from departments firmwide, P4W was selected unanimously as the platform that can deliver on our large wish list. We believe that P4W can enhance and streamline our current working practices to enable us to continue and improve on delivering Service Excellence to our clients and help us on our mission to become paper light. We are very much looking forward to a bright working partnership with Advanced.”
No code software provider Neota Logic and legal ops and law firm management consultancy Karta Legal have announced a new partnership to streamline legal business processes through no-code automation.
Neota’s no-code platform provides professionals with easy-to-use development tools for the intelligent automation of processes, expertise and documentation.
Karta Legal partners with vetted legal technology vendors to help law firms and legal departments innovate, not only by acquiring new technology but also by training their teams and fixing inefficient processes.
Lourdes Fuentes Slater, CEO and founder at Karta Legal, commented, “The synergy between Neota and Karta Legal is clear. Process automation is top of mind for those at the forefront of legal innovation. We believe that all processes, before becoming automated, need to be designed and mapped out to reduce waste and increase efficiencies. By working together, Neota and Karta Legal bring the best of business to the practice of law”.
Baskerville Drummond has released a case study outlining why Capital Law selected Linetime to replace the incumbent ‘end of life’ system. The full case study can be downloaded here with a synopsis following:
As part of an on-going IT renewal program and their current system moving to ‘end of life’, Capital Law employed the services of Baskerville Drummond.
Capital Law ultimately selected Linetime, saying it saw a good fit in terms of functionality, value and vendor style.
Bradford firm, Last Cawthra Feather LLP, purchased cleanDocs Professional from DocsCorp to clean documents of potentially harmful metadata when emailed from the firm. J A Kemp LLP, based in London, went with contentCrawler from DocsCorp to process the conversion of image-based documents in its iManage document management system to ensure all its documents are 100% text-searchable.
South West London Legal Centre (SWLLC), MJC Law (Nottingham), and Clarke Willmott LLP (Bristol) selected pdfDocs from DocsCorp to create and manage PDF production and editing.
Intapp at the start of May signed an agreement to acquire Belfast-headquartered cloud content management systems provider Repstor, extending its platform for the first time to encompass the fee-earner work product. Repstor has a strong partnership with Microsoft and helps firms to get the most out of their Microsoft 365 investments, including SharePoint and Teams.
Co-founded by director of legal solutions Sheila Gormley, Repstor started out life enabling legal organisations to leverage Microsoft 365 and SharePoint for case, document and email management. More recently, it is has also built out native Microsoft 365 solution Repstor for Teams, which is helping law firms and corporates to provision their content in Teams. The use of Teams has exploded thanks to the pandemic, but native Microsoft functionality doesn’t help with law firms’ document storage, information governance, and records management requirements.
It is this provisioning capability of Repstor’s that is of particular interest to Intapp, given that law firms are now outspokenly looking to Teams as the primary workspace for client matter management and file sharing, as well as a quasi-intranet replacement. Am Law 100 law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough recently deployed Repstor for Teams, with the South Carolina-headquartered firm working towards using Teams to replace email and intranet and become the place where staff ‘live’.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, president and chief client officer Dan Tacone said: “We have been helping firms to understand and embrace the notion of the connected firm, and building out our platform to help connect people, process and data. We had an opportunity to strengthen that with this acquisition. Repstor has a tremendous partnership with Microsoft and has built out solutions including the ability to provision Teams as a key part of the workflow. They are taking the horizontal Microsoft platform and making it work for professional services firms.”
Intellectual property management technology provider Anaqua has acquired SeeUnity, which provides API-based content integration and migration software products and has partnerships with the likes of Morae Global, iManage, NetDocuments and Kira Systems.
The transaction is intended to provide Anaqua’s customers with greater interconnectivity between its IP management software and other mission-critical enterprise systems.
“Within IP and beyond, organizations need a simplified and secure way to access, manage, and interact with their enterprise content,” said Justin Crotty, COO of Anaqua. “Strong connectivity is essential for companies to be agile and successful, which is why we have selected a leader in API-based integration, SeeUnity, to connect our IP management software solutions to other platforms associated with the IP workflow, including document management, legal matter management, HR, CRM, collaboration, and finance systems.”
Anaqua says it will invest in and grow the SeeUnity business and its core products to enable SeeUnity to better support their customers and partners globally. Anaqua will also invest in resources across product, engineering, and client-facing roles to enhance and “support SeeUnity’s data connector library and suite of standalone products while leveraging the underlying technology to enhance the interconnectivity of Anaqua’s IP management software platforms, AQX and PATTSY WAVE.”
All of SeeUnity’s employees will join Anaqua as part of the acquisition, with SeeUnity co-founder and CEO Dan Anderson leading the business unit as vice president and general manager.
NetDocuments in May announced the strengthening of its partnership with Verlata Consulting, which is expanding its operations to the UK. Verlata is a certified implementation partner of NetDocuments. As part of its UK expansion, the company has appointed NetDocuments solutions expert, Andrew Payne as a director, and recruited Dan Wales as sales consultant – Wales founded DW Reporting and was a director at workflow software company, BigHand, which acquired DW Reporting in 2018. Wales is also an adviser with ‘operator for operators’ fund Bryce Catalyst and recently took on the role of chief growth officer at startup dealcloser.
Jason Mills, director at Verlata said: “Now is the right time to expand Verlata’s business to the UK. Our focus when delivering projects is ensuring that we listen to the client requirements, design solutions that meet those needs and, most importantly, be responsive and agile. This is what makes the NetDocuments and Verlata partnership so strong, we share the same ‘can do’ attitude, combined with considerable experience of working with law firms and corporates. By adding our Actionstep capabilities, we can drive integrated projects on both the PMS and DMS providing clients an end-to-end cloud service offering.”
Palo Alto-headquartered AI-powered transcription platform Verbit has acquired VITAC – the largest provider of captioning products and solutions by market share in North America. The acquisition means that Verbit is the number one player in the professional transcription and captioning market across legal, media, education, government and corporate sectors.
The acquisition follows Verbit’s $60m fundraise towards the end of 2020, which CEO Tom Livne said at the time was earmarked in part for merger and acquisition opportunities, as Verbit pursues new verticals and expands the number of languages its platform supports.
Within the legal sector Verbit – which offers a tech-plus-human approach – provides real time deposition transcriptions and with VITAC’s 35 years of captioning expertise, Verbit says it can now offer a deeper portfolio of solutions.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Livne said: “The benefits depend on the vertical but in general it will mean new offerings, for example audio descriptions that we didn’t have in the past. They also have French – we were focusing on English but they have different languages. If you take all this together and the fact that we have customers like CNN and Fox, it puts us in a unique position to keep leading the market and execute on our strategy.”
That strategy is to become a public company and Livne says: “We’re only four years old but we’re building out our long term plan as to how we can be in six to seven years a billion dollar company. We’re already on that trajectory and thinking of our future as a public company.”
Frontline Managed Services (formerly Intellliteach) has expanded into Hawaii with a new contact center in Honolulu to support its 24/7 IT Help Desk service for law firms worldwide. With this new location, the help desk is now staffed by U.S.-based support personnel from the Eastern Time Zone to the Hawaiian Time Zone, providing around-the-clock response.
The Honolulu center, which aims to onboard 20 specialists in full-time positions, also serves as a bridge to Frontline Managed Services’ growing operations in Goa and Hyderabad, India.
“Growth, innovation and client service are part of our company’s DNA as we strive for continuous improvement to how we deliver value for our law firm clients around the world,” said Seelin Naidoo, CEO of Frontline Managed Services. “This expansion allows us to continue providing high-level support during periods where IT request volumes can be unpredictable as we serve the late-night legal workforce in the continental U.S. and prepare for the opening of markets in Asia. In addition to the service upgrade from the talented workforce in Honolulu, we are also excited for the opportunity to join the Honolulu community as we anticipate continued growth at this new contact center.”
ContractPodAi has entered into partnership with Qualitas Consulting Group, a leading full-service consulting organization providing technical and functional expertise for business process, contract lifecycle management, and enterprise legal solutions.
Qualitas will empower ContractPodAi to further the deployment and services capabilities of its powerful legal platform in North America.
“We are pleased to partner with Qualitas Consulting Group,” said Sarvarth Misra, CEO and co-founder of ContractPodAi. “We look forward to introducing our award-winning legal tech solution, our new ContractPodAi Cloud ‘one legal platform’ solution, to their clients, helping digitally transform their legal departments to increase efficiency while reducing risk.”
Alt Legal, Inc., an IP docketing software company, and global analytics company Clarivate Plc (NYSE:CLVT) this week announced a partnership to integrate CompuMark international trademark data into the Alt Legal platform. Through this alliance, users of Alt Legal will gain access to CompuMark and its 186 trademark databases, covering all jurisdictions in the world.
“Clients have long viewed Alt Legal as the premier docketing platform for US-centric portfolios and have been asking us to broaden our international reach,” said Nehal Madhani, Alt Legal’s CEO. “With our direct connections to the USPTO and CIPO and now our international integration for all remaining jurisdictions, we are answering that call,” continued Madhani. “We are thrilled to take the reputation we’ve built around making trademark professionals’ lives easier through automation, design, and support and combine it with CompuMark™ and its best-in-class international trademark data for complete international portfolio management.”
Bryant Miller Olive P.A. (FL) purchased cleanDocs Professional to ensure all email attachments are automatically cleaned of metadata upon send. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart (CA) went with the cleanDocs Enterprise version to reduce the possibility of data leaks at the firm. In addition to removing metadata from documents, cleanDocs Enterprise uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to ensure emails are sent to the correct person based on emailing content and patterns. Users are only alerted to a potential breach if there is a deviation from normal emailing behavior. Becker Poliakoff (FL) chose cleanDocs Server to handle all its email metadata cleaning - whether on the desktop, from a browser, or a mobile device.
Red Bull Legal (CA), Brannock & Humphries (FL), RezLegal LLC (FL), Chun Kerr LLP (HI), Jameson Pepple Cantu (WA), Sullivan Meheula Lee, LLP (HI), Deasey, Mahoney & Valentini, LTD (PA), Engelman Berger PC (AZ) purchased compareDocs from DocsCorp to compare document versions for differences.
Stein Monast (QC) selected contentCrawler from DocsCorp to automate the process of converting all image-based documents in their iManage document management systems to text-searchable PDFs.
Leading Japanese law firm Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu (NO&T) has adopted Kira Systems across its M&A practice.
“By using Kira, we are actually experiencing great improvement in our English document reviews,” said Yasuhiro Kasahara, M&A/Corporate partner who led the software trial process and is using Kira frequently in his practice. “Now our Japanese document review work is assisted by MNTSQ and our English document review work is assisted by Kira. We are confident that we will be able to provide more efficient and better service using these latest AI-based legal technologies.”
“The introduction of Kira is part of a strategic move to provide world-class services to our clients by expanding the use of the latest technologies,” said Fumihide Sugimoto, the firm’s managing partner. “We have already introduced a Japanese AI product, MNTSQ, for the review of Japanese documents, and we strongly believe that the further introduction of Kira will greatly improve the efficiency of our legal services, especially our legal due diligence services.”
Wins and Deals
Profile of the Month
"It takes me back 20 years”: Access Legal’s MD talks platformisation and legal tech evolution
Within a market that is experiencing consolidation every day, it’s somehow easy to overlook London-headquartered business management software vendor Access Group, which recently officially launched a dedicated legal division. It shouldn’t be easy: the division has seen its turnover increase to £400m in the past financial year, following acquisitions including DPS Software and Eclipse Software, and it has no intention of stopping there.
For anyone not familiar with Access Group, in 2019 it earned unicorn status having been valued at over £1bn. To give you a sense of the speed of its growth, it was worth £234m in 2015. Much of that has come through snapping up software and solutions providers.
Access Group was best known in the legal sector for its HR system. What’s interesting when you speak to Access Legal’s managing director Doug Sawers is not just his account of the growth of the new legal software division, but his wider perspective on the evolution of legal tech, given – and these are our words not his – that he has seen this all before.
In terms of its growth, The Access Group, which is backed by Hg and TA, now has 35,000 customers and acquires, Sawers says, ‘businesses that are growing, to grow them faster.’
With many if not most UK practices using its HR system, Sawers said the company saw an opportunity to accelerate their success by acquiring products from one place.
Platformisation is a theme that you will have heard talked about many times in Legal IT Insider, and Access is certainly not the only company working towards this model – Hg’s other legal tech investment Litera is another. But Access’s acquisitions of Eclipse and DPS, plus online training, compliance and risk management solution providers Riliance and Socrates, mean it now has 3,500 legal customers in the UK, and is arguably some way along the track. Access Workspace for Legal includes legal case and practice management; legal compliance and learning; people management; financial solutions; payments technology; and CRM.
Long before we called it platformisation, large legal tech companies have snapped up smaller companies as well as rivals, and history tells us that it is hard to do well. The ambition at Access is to continue product lines, provide single sign on, and bring together the data for the benefit of better analytics. It plans to triple in size and Sawers says: “We expect to do that by making it easier to choose more technology from one source. From a single platform; the Access Workspace, where you have a single sign on and access to any of the Access products.”
He adds: “Access Legal can get to the point where much if not all of our customers’ software needs could be served through one point of contact, one log in, because everything is on the same platform. Whether its practice or case management or whatever, we can bring that together and analyse it.”
There is a palpable demand among big law firms in particular for consolidation, with IT heads still having to manage a spaghetti junction of different systems.
What Sawers has to say about platformisation is where his experience of the evolution of HR tech is interesting. He comments: “I was amazed to find that law firms employ developers to develop our systems, which takes me back 20 years. Legal practices are having to be specialist in IT; why would they be leading edge? Why should lawyers have to invest so much in the future of technology? We want to be the company that takes that pain away.”
Another interesting observation is around the number of systems that law firms are battling with, where Sawers says: “In the world I came from before, it was quite common for businesses to have 15 different HR systems and it was someone’s job to bring them together, and the HR director was expected to have an opinion on which to use. Now, one supplier provides all the HR systems.”
He adds: “In those days, some of our clients in the HR space had their own people developing technology in house and today that doesn’t exist. It saves the legal practice having to anticipate developments themselves. We think we’re well placed to see that ahead of the market.”
It has become more feasible to pull data together – Access uses DataHub – with Sawers commenting: “We can bring real time information and analytics.”
Access Legal is very cloud focussed but Sawers says for those on Eclipse, there is no plan to end of life any acquired system. “We have a thing in Access which is ‘no product left behind.’ That said, the SaaS, cloud-based solutions will be so attractive and it will be so easy to move,” he says.
Sawers is certainly saying the right things – legal practices get extremely twitchy over being forced into making tech choices. That being said, it is costly to maintain multiple different systems and these kinds of ambitions by necessity come with a caveat ‘watch this space.’
It is definitely worth watching.
Access Legal is providing software to firms such as Eversheds, Winn Solicitors, Wolferstans, Minster Law, Neves Solicitors LLP and The MAPD Group and if you take a look at our UK top 200 you will be able to see what they are providing. https://legaltechnology.com/top-200/
World Leader board Chart: Legal v GRC
This month we are able to give you an exclusive look at new charts launched by Legalcomplex.com in Spark+ called 'Leaderboards', which are pivot tables with a twist. With these charts, you can uncover the top private companies in Legal or GRC on a continent, country and even city level using one or more metrics.
Legalcomplex.com was founded by Raymond Blijd, who tells us:
“On display are the top three companies in the top 100 countries using venture capital as a metric. Excluded are the companies that recently went to the public markets via IPO or SPAC and therefore aren't private anymore. Furthermore, mergers, acquisitions or companies that seized operations like Ross Intelligence were left out.
“To enhance clarity, the charts are divided into the companies operating in Legal and the ones operating in Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC). One grey area we like to highlight is litigation fnance, which sits in GRC in this overview.”
His ‘astonishing metric?’ “5135 companies in Legal represent $13.23 Billion. In GRC, less than half the number of companies represent more than twice the capital of Legal.”
In both charts, China has replaced the UK in second place. Also, of note is the rise of Germany and Singapore as they represent a peculiar shift we see throughout the rest of the list.
Blijd says: “Our key insight is that more 'outsiders' are offering traditional legal technology and challenging companies that market themselves as 'Legal Tech'.”
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
UK and EMEA
Addleshaw Goddard has hired former HighQ director of product operations, Elliot White, as head of operations. Alongside Elliot’s hire, the ILT team has also appointed two senior legal technologists and a further six legal technologists, giving the firm one of the largest legal technology teams in the market, at 36-strong.
White’s role will see him work alongside the team’s head Kerry Westland to further develop its strategy, focusing on the future growth and scale of the team and looking at further embedding process to client centric solutions.
Westland, who is a partner at the firm, said: “Elliot’s appointment will enable us to scale and grow in everything that we do. It demonstrates the continued investment we are making in our focus on innovation and ensuring our services are client shaped. His experience at HighQ and the growth they encountered will really assist us in our plans going forward to continue to add value to clients in this space.”
April Brousseau has taken over as director of research and development within Clifford Chance’s new R&D Lab. Brousseau was formerly global lead for Clifford Chance Create & Innovation. You can read about the new R&D Lab here: https://legaltechnology.com/clifford-chance-launches-centralised-rd-hub-as-applied-solutions-becomes-sales-arm/
Legaltech veteran Tim Kenney has joined Enable Business Solutions as director of sales for North America. He’ll be focused on expanding the presence of Enable’s PitchPerfect and RevenueManager products in the North American legal market.
Kenney has over two decades of experience in the legal technology space, including senior roles with Handshake/Aderant, Legal360 and most recently eSentio Technologies. He has worked with AmLaw 200 firms in software sales, technology implementations, and as a strategic advisor. Prior to this Kenney was a practicing attorney.
David Lumsden, Enable’s CEO, said: “Enable PitchPerfect has enjoyed notable success in the North America legal market and we’re delighted to have someone of Tim’s caliber lead our sales and marketing efforts in North America. He has great relationships in the legal technology space, and years of experience working with some of the largest firms in the world.”
NetDocuments has hired experienced sales leader Andy Baldin as VP of International Business. Baldin takes over from Guy Phillips, who after 30 years working in the legal sector, is stepping down to take a less active role and will be leaving NetDocuments at the end of June. Both Andy Baldin and Guy Phillips will be working closely together to ensure a smooth transition over the coming months.
In this five-minute video, Legal IT Insider editor Caroline Hill speaks to Baldin about the new role, what drew him to a legal tech role, and his early plans at NetDocuments.
As part of its UK launch, NetDocuments partner Verlata Consulting has hired NetDocuments solutions expert, Andrew Payne as a director, and recruited Dan Wales as sales consultant – Wales founded DW Reporting and was a director at workflow software company, BigHand, which acquired DW Reporting in 2018. Wales is also an adviser with ‘operator for operators’ fund Bryce Catalyst and recently took on the role of chief growth officer at startup dealcloser.
Jason Mills, a director at Verlata, said: “Andy’s significant experience working in and with law firms, providing project services and of course, his incredible NetDocuments knowledge will ensure our existing and future clients receive excellent service. We’re also very excited to have Dan joining our team as a sales consultant. His extensive operational, product strategy and sales and marketing expertise will provide immense value to our company and clients.”Sarah Glassmeyer has joined ‘app store for legal’ Reynen Court as legal tech curator, responsible for generating the content and strategy for the solution store. Glassmeyer was most recently project specialist manager and counsel at the American Bar Association.
“Sarah is a true legal innovator with a wealth of hands-on experience driving change across the legal landscape and a passion for reimagining how we describe, learn about, and organize legal technologies,” said Christian Lang, chief strategy officer at Reynen Court. “Combine that experience and passion with her well-established brand of critical and independent thinking, and I can’t imagine a better teammate to help us build the Reynen Court Solution Store and its curated content into an unrivalled technology sourcing and evaluation portal that realizes our mission of taking from months to minutes the time it takes to find, vet, and deliver the right tools into the right hands and the right time.”
Glassmeyer is a law librarian by training and has also worked in Content Development at CALI and as a Research Fellow at the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
UK Top 100 law firm, Foot Anstey uses 'Ingenity' to turn client problem solving on its head
UK top 100 law firm Foot Anstey is winning business as a result of a new platform in which real estate clients are able to stay on top of key dates and contractual terms in real time. While this should be the norm, as anyone involved in real estate knows, it is not. Foot Anstey has turned its approach to client problem solving on its head, using design thinking, all under the brand Ingenuity.
Agiloft launches sourcing and supplier module
No-code contract lifecycle management (CLM) Agiloft on 19 May announced the release of its sourcing and supplier information management module; a new add-on to reduce sourcing cycle time and automate supplier onboarding. The new module is intended to extend the value of the CLM platform by focusing on the events that lead up to a contract on the buy-side, reducing the time that it takes to get there.
Editor Caroline Hill spoke to Andy Wishart about the new development, as Wishart helps the California-headquartered company to build out it end-to-end platform. Wishart, who co-founded Business Integrity/Contract Express, joined Agiloft in January from Thomson Reuters and we find out what his strategy is for product development going forward.
Mary O’Carroll on her move from Google to Ironclad
Mary O’Carroll is one of the founders of the legal operations movement. She spoke to our editor Caroline Hill about why she is moving from Google to Ironclad and what her plans are for developing a movement in the contract lifecycle management space.
Andy Baldin succeeds Guy Phillips as VP of international business at NetDocuments
NetDocuments has hired experienced sales leader Andy Baldin as VP of International Business, we can reveal. Baldin takes over from Guy Phillips, who after 30 years working in the legal sector, is stepping down to take a less active role and will be leaving NetDocuments at the end of June. Both Andy Baldin and Guy Phillips will be working closely together to ensure a smooth transition over the coming months.
In this five-minute video, Legal IT Insider editor Caroline Hill speaks to Baldin about the new role, what drew him to a legal tech role, and his early plans at NetDocuments.
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PRODUCT LAUNCHES AND UPDATES
UK and EMEA
Corporate law knowledge service FromCounsel and legal automation platform Clarilis on 12 May formally launched their fully maintained automated M&A document suite.
Clarilis offers complex automation via a combination of technology and a managed services team of professional support lawyers. Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Clarilis CEO James Quinn said: “Over time we have got to know FromCounsel, which specialise in corporate content and knowhow, and we thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if we brought the market a really comprehensive suite of M&A documents.’ It means you can be a one man band and it’s still economic. The document suite is applicable to a whole range of firms, and we’re already engaged with most of the UK top 100.”
By engaged, Quinn means that many of the UK top 100 have reached out to FromCounsel and Clarilis after a webinar they hosted in December to preview the new M&A capability.
Quinn says: “The majority of our clients have automated SPAs already within Clarilis and we’re not taking that away, you can automate your own or, where you see the benefit, use FromCounsel’s content.”
The new suite includes a range of corporate documents including buyer and seller SPAs and many of the preliminary documents required in a corporate transaction. Given the positive reaction, FromCounsel and Clarilis are extending the suite to include the likes of shareholder agreements and articles of association, with the ambition of providing end-to-end capability.
What’s interesting is the extent to which this type of automated suite will drive a degree of standardisation, although Quinn says: “Clients can take the FromCounsel precedent and ask to make their own changes: that still forms part of the arrangement.”
Clarilis counts among its clients firm including Slaughter and May, Addleshaw Goddard, Herbert Smith Freehills, Arthur Cox and TLT, which also has a white label partnership to provide Clarilis-automated documents to its clients.
FromCounsel and Clarilis’ PSL team, in addition to providing precedents, will maintain the content, automation and guidance on an ongoing basis.
In a statement today Andrew Thornton QC, CEO of FromCounsel commented: “There’s a huge potential in bringing fully maintained, high-quality automated legal documents to the broader market, from the many smaller firms that don’t have the same access to resources as the leading firms to the larger firms looking to utilise their fee earner resources on higher value work rather than time-consuming maintenance and manual processes. Given the overwhelmingly positive reaction to this offering, we are already working on other automated document suites together.”
Agiloft, the global standard in no-code contract lifecycle management (CLM), in May announced the release of its Sourcing and Supplier Information Management module, a new add-on to reduce sourcing cycle time, automate supplier onboarding, and ongoing compliance.
"Our next-generation module provides advanced tools in the source-to-contract process," said Andy Wishart, Agiloft chief product officer. "As the latest step in the accelerated development of our platform, this release further empowers sourcing with contract data. Our customers can now extend their CLM solution with new functionalities that reduce the cycle time from initiating a sourcing event (RFx) to a signed contract and which adapt easily as their business needs evolve."
You can watch the video interview with Andy here: https://legaltechnology.com/video-interview-agiloft-launches-sourcing-and-supplier-module/
BigHand has announced the latest developments to its resource management tool for law firms.
The tool allows law firms to identify resources, forecast utilization, manage workloads and add structure to career development for lawyers. BigHand has made significant enhancements to the UI/UX, providing a more intuitive structure to drive efficiency and engagement with all end users, as well as building additional data feeds into the API for greater automation and customisable fields.
The new features include a dedicated partner dashboard, and enhancements to workbook sharing and management across the entire system, which provide greater visibility of legal work allocation across the firm, to drive fair and equitable distribution of work.
And before we move on to North American news, it is worth noting that Nokia’s legal team has completed its first scorecard to assess law firm progress on equity, inclusion and diversity and partnership opportunities.
Nokia’s legal and compliance team will conduct quarterly and annual assessments of its key panel firms globally.
Eversheds Sutherland, Roschier, Bird & Bird, Quinn Emanuel, McKool Smith, and Alston & Bird are the first group of law firms to take part in the new initiative.
The quantitative and qualitative assessments will score organizations based on several criteria including recruitment policies, equality of pay, the availability of mentoring and pro bono initiatives, the percentage of billable work carried out by employees from different backgrounds, engagement with D&I organizations, and the presence of a dedicated E, I&D team.
Eversheds Sutherland has launched a proprietary tool to help clients assess the risk of an adverse ruling on spoliation of evidence in any US court. Spoliation is the destruction of alteration of evidence resulting from a party’s failure to preserve it within litigation.
Developed in partnership with Fastcase, Spoliation Scientist allows clients operating in multiple jurisdictions to quickly identify areas of risk, direct focus and better budget and forecast for specific discovery-related expenses. It uses a combination of Fastcase’s legal research data, professional review of automated data tagging by the Fastcase AI Sandbox technology, and content expertise to establish a visual database of cases where a judge ruled on a claim of spoliation and the sanctions imposed where spoliation was found.
“Spoliation findings can result in severe penalties and the issue is top of mind for any litigator and in-house counsel,” said Greg Kaufman, Eversheds Sutherland litigation partner and member of the firm’s litigation technology working group.
“Being able to see with a few clicks, in any jurisdiction across the US, how often spoliation has been ruled on and what the decision was is an extremely valuable insight that we are now able to provide to our clients.”
The process and technology Fastcase and Eversheds Sutherland built together can be applied to other data sets within the litigation process, allowing Eversheds to better advise their clients on risk and potential outcomes.
For more information visit https://us.eversheds-sutherland.com/Client-Tools/Spoliation-Scientist
LexisNexis on 19 May formally launched Context Expert Analytics to help simplify and speed up the identification and selection of expert witnesses.
Context Expert Analytics is powered by over 600K cases, with 16 million author profiles from Elsevier’s abstract and citation database.
The search engine uses natural language processing to review and summarise judicial commentary. We’re told it also presents a clear sentiment analysis for these comments – making it simple to rank experts by their actual impact.
The expert database is updated within 24 hours of cases being available in LexisLibrary and contains more than 50 years of case law history.
Leona Blanco, National Knowledge and Information Manager at Clyde & Co said: “Context Expert Analytics is the perfect tool for quite a few of our practice area teams. It helps them to identify the relevant expert for the successful outcome of their cases. It provides instant and timely data showcasing live links to cases in which experts appeared, allowing our lawyers to assess the expert and their treatment by the courts.”
Mark Solon, founder and former managing director of expert witness training company Bond Solon, told Legal IT Insider: “Exercising maximum due diligence when selecting an expert witness is essential. Experts need two sets of skills: firstly having the right qualifications and experience to be able to provide a credible opinion on the issues in dispute but secondly, fully trained in the skills to be an expert witness including report writing and giving oral evidence. Lexie Nexis takes the checking process a stage deeper.”
The Context brand was first launched in the US in 2018 where it included analytics on expert witnesses as part of the first phase. Subsequently it has launched further modules including an attorney analytics solution launched in March this year. https://legaltechnology.com/litigation-strategy-lexisnexis-context-launches-attorney-analytics-solution/
Context Expert Analytics is the latest of a series of significant UK product releases from LexisNexis. In April it launched Lexis Create, which aims to create a single hub for fee-earner drafting within the Microsoft environment. You can read our interview with McCormick here: https://legaltechnology.com/lexisnexis-launches-microsoft-based-drafting-hub-lexis-create/
Relativity announced at Relativity Fest London in May that its cloud platform RelativityOne and its communication surveillance platform Relativity Trace will be available in Ireland and the United Arab Emirates in Q3. By the end of the year RelativityOne will be available in 13 geographies.
At last year’s Relativity Fest London, the company announced RelativityOne would be hosted in Germany and Switzerland and this year Relativity said it will further strengthen its EMEA presence with plans to add a team in Germany. We’re told that the global expansion coincides with RelativityOne’s increased usage in the region. Since Relativity Fest London 2020, data under management in EMEA grew 98% and in March RelativityOne reached peak daily users in the region.
“As Relativity continues to grow globally, we’re committed to driving our EMEA presence forward with the expansion of our RelativityOne footprint and addition of our new Germany team, who will bring unmatched expertise on local market requirements and ultimately best serve our customers’ unique needs,” said Steve Couling, managing director and vice president of sales at Relativity. “With increased importance placed on global availability, we continue to take steps to ensure customers of all types around the world can grow and operate effectively.”
RelativityOne client BDO recently leveraged the datacenter in Germany to cement BDO Germany as the hub of their EMEA operations.
Text IQ, a Top 100 AI company helping organizations manage and mitigate risks in their data, has announced the launch of Text IQ for Privacy, a which identifies and categorizes personal and sensitive information hidden in the exploding volume of enterprise data.
Text IQ for Privacy will enable enterprises to proactively manage personal information, particularly hard-to-find sensitive information which otherwise remains hidden in large unstructured data sets.
It automatically identifies and categorizes personal and sensitive information from both structured and unstructured sources, enabling redaction and deduplication before presenting the findings for human review.
“What sets us apart is the ability of Text IQ for Privacy to accurately identify personal and sensitive data equally well from structured and unstructured sources,” said Apoorv Agarwal, Text IQ’s co-founder and CEO. “Most solutions available now can find relevant data from within structured sources. But finding it from within unstructured sources — 80% of today’s enterprise data — is a much higher hill to climb. Another exceptional feature is the speed. We empower companies to move at the velocity they need when responding to data requests and breaches.”
AXDRAFT, a document automation software company, has released a fully self-service solution suite.
85% of legal agreements are still subject to a lawyer’s review, and only 12% of companies have embraced automation solutions to better manage in-house resources. QuickDocs can fully automate the workflows for processing NDAs, DPAs, sales agreements, or requests for SOC-2 reports.
Yuriy Zaremba, CEO of AXDRAFT said: “When I was a lawyer, I hated getting distracted from my main task, and that’s what happens when you have to review a lot of simple contracts. When we launched AXDRAFT for Slack, we managed to completely automate their DPA workflow. They told us it was a game-changer for their team. I realized how much potential there is in self-service automation. Lawyers need to fall back in love with their jobs, QuickDocs makes this possible.”
SURVEYS – BACK TO WORK?
The Littler back-to-work survey: Employers and employee expectations show ‘Tension’
It’s been a month of back to work surveys, but Littler’s Annual Employer Survey Report stands out because the data is gathered from a substantial 1,160 in-house lawyers, C-suite and HR professionals, and because it covers a wide range of issues from planning a return to the physical workspace, to strategies for supporting employee well-being and engagement.
Employers planning for a transition to a post-pandemic workplace are faced with a host of novel issues – and addressing a disconnect with employees about what the future of work and the return to physical workspaces looks like is at the top of the list.
On the pressing matter of how to reopen offices and worksites, there is a tension between employers’ plans and employee preferences. While 71% of employers surveyed believe that most of their employees who can work remotely prefer a hybrid model and that only 4% prefer full-time in-person work, 28% of those employers plan to have most employees return full time and in person, and 55% will offer a hybrid model (i.e., a mix of remote and in-person work). Only 7% say their employees who are able to work remotely full time can continue to do so if they wish, despite 16% saying they believe most would prefer this option.
Most notably, 67% of respondents say they have (or plan to have) fewer employees work on-site at a time, while 55% say as much about redesigning the office layout. A fair number of employers are also focused on supporting remote workers, whether it’s through additional technology and/or reimbursement for home office-related expenses (41%) or formal support for those with remote and flexible work arrangements (35%).
Asked what organisations are doing to equip employees with technological skills as the pandemic continues to change the skills that workers need, perhaps the biggest surprise (or not) was the 38% that said ‘none.’ However, it is reassuring to see that the largest vote goes for developing internal training programs for current employees.
You can access that report here for free: https://www.littler.com/files/2021_littler_employer_survey_report.pd
Aderant survey: 92% of firms were prepared for remote work
The 2020 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey has revealed that 92% of law firms were prepared for the full-scale remote work at the outset of the pandemic, but continue to face issues when it comes to operational efficiency and technology adoption.
In its fourth consecutive year, the survey set out to capture data about the greatest challenges law firms are facing: technology use; strategic planning; and performance efficiency.
It found that firms were more prepared for disruption than they realized. Over a quarter of firms (26%) reported that they were “completely prepared,” and a further two-thirds (66%) described their situation as “somewhat prepared.” Combining those two indicates, the report concludes, that nine in ten firms (92%) were hardly disrupted when the pandemic necessitated full scale remote work.
Despite readily adapting to keep their businesses operational throughout the pandemic, operational efficiency and technology adoption remained the top challenges. Operational efficiency has consistently been named the number one challenge in previous Aderant surveys. The report says: “If firms are still met with resistance on efficiency and tech during a pandemic where everyone relied upon tech to keep business going, it’s clear these problems are intractable and built into the bedrock of law firms.”
The report shows that firms have realized that to achieve greater efficiency, they must be prepared to make significant investments in process and technology. Asked ‘how do you predict your spend will change?’, increased investment in process improvement topped the list by a significant margin, followed by investment in software and hardware.Collaboration tools earned the spotlight in 2020 as firms strived to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients in a remote work environment. Cloud-based solutions that firms indicated would drive collaboration forward included: Secure External Portals/Extranets, Financial/Practice Management, Portals/Intranets.
While firms may want to move their practice management solution (PMS) to the cloud, obstacles including existing on-premise integrations can make it difficult. The report concludes: “More creative solutions, like a software as a service (SaaS) model offering hosting and maintenance services, will be crucial in the success of migrating PMS to the cloud.”
“Our 2020 Survey showed that law firms did phenomenally well at transforming their businesses and achieving strong business continuity during the pandemic,” said Chris Cartrett, Executive Vice President at Aderant.
“However, the challenges of last year were a wake-up call for firms to realize that efficiency concerns, process improvement, and technology adoption required greater investment. As one of Aderant’s busiest years on record, 2020 provided us with the unique opportunity to equip clients to better leverage technology to serve firm employees and remotely manage internal processes.”
You can download the report here
CLM: Contractbook raises $30m Series B
Copenhagen-founded contract automation platform Contractbook in May raised a $30m Series B financing round, dedicated to expansion into the United States.
The $30 Million Series B round is led by Tiger Global with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, byFounders and Gradient Ventures.
This investment comes only four months after the company raised a $9.3M A round. Founded in 2017, Contractbook has grown 3X year on year and has secured $43.6 Million in total funding up to date.
Contractbook enables companies to automate their workflows across departments, enabling better decision-making based on smart analytics from the documents and the process around them. More than 150,000 users already use Contractbook’s comprehensive contract lifecycle management platform that allows businesses to create, sign and organize their contracts in a single streamlined workflow where every step can be automated.
“99% of the value from a contract comes post-signature, but this process has received almost no attention, until now,” says Contractbook’s founder and CEO, Niels Martin Brochner. “We are revolutionizing the existing online contract signing tools of today by creating the contract management platform of tomorrow and showing people that simple PDFs are an impediment to today’s efficient work environment.”
“Contractbook’s premium, proven and highly competitive product has differentiated itself from any other player on the market,” says Tiger Global’s Partner, John Curtius. “We see Contractbook as the bridge between a manual present and an automated future, a truly visionary company for the future of contracts. We are excited to partner up with them to conquer the US market.”
Libryo raises £1.35m including further funding from Nextlaw Ventures
Regtech startup Libryo has closed its most recent funding round at £1.35m. The round was led by Future Energy Ventures and supported by a range of existing and new investors, including the UK Government’s Future Fund and early Libryo supporter Nextlaw Ventures, which is a subsidiary of Dentons.
Founded in 2016, Libryo is a SaaS platform built to overcome regulatory complexity. It provides a dashboard which lists all of a company’s legal obligations per customer and across jurisdictions.
The solution provides five modules to support businesses with knowing, understanding and complying with their legal requirements, from tracking capabilities and customised legal registers, to a full set of collaboration tools, document storage and search capabilities.
Most recently the company launched Libryo Assess, a new module that helps organisations gain visibility of their compliance status and risk levels across each of their operating sites.
To date, over 400 customers and 15,000-plus users across more than 75 countries have used Libryo’s legal compliance software. The Libryo team spans 10 countries across seven different time zones. With the new funding, the company is focusing on providing EHS law to a range of industries, including energy producers, mining and metals companies, apparel brands & supply chains, FMCG and waste & recycling. It is also strengthening its partnership integrations to deliver whole solutions for enterprise customers with partners including IsoMetrix, Rubicon and CleanChain.
Malcolm Gray, Libryo co-founder and CFO, says: “Our positive customer feedback and strong partner support continue to give us confidence in what we are doing, and the strength to continue to make an impact. Together we will keep on having fun, making money, and doing something good as we help companies navigate an increasingly complex regulatory environment.”
“In a constantly shifting regulatory landscape, Libryo’s unique compliance management software enables users to keep pace with their regulatory and compliance requirements as their companies expand and scale,” says Jan Lozek, Managing Partner and co-founder of Future Energy Ventures. “We are proud to support the company in its next chapter of growth as it empowers compliance professionals to make faster, smarter decisions and focus on the business priorities that drive sustainability.”
No-Code Platform Josef Raises $2.5m as it eyes US and European expansion
No-code legaltech platform Josef has announced a $2.5m funding round as it eyes expansion in the US and Europe, having signed leading firms such as Herbert Smith Freehills as well as in-house teams at Randstad and L’Oreal.
The round, led by Carthona Capital and including US investors The LegalTech Fund, brings Josef’s funding to $3.5m.
Josef is a no-code software platform that enables lawyers and legal professionals to automate legal tasks, including lawyer-client interactions, sending emails, generating legal documents and providing legal guidance and advice. Users can automate document drafting, build bots to handle client interviews, triage paperwork or execute NDAs and instantly generate personalized documents, from letters to contracts.
Founded by lawyers Tom Dreyfus and Sam Flynn and engineer Kirill Kliavin, Josef grew from their its founders’ experience of the complexities of legal services, which they say were time consuming, costly and confusing.
Co-founder and COO Sam Flynn said the new funding is an opportunity for the startup to capitalize on their growth, expand their overseas business, and become a household name for LegalTech.
“Legal help is inaccessible. Most people can’t afford it, and those who can find it opaque and inconvenient. We set out to solve this problem by empowering lawyers to change the way they work,” he said. “This funding will help us to level up and take Josef global, building a world-class team throughout Europe and North America. With the support of the LegalTech Fund, we have the partners to make that happen.”
Since their $1m seed round in 2019, Josef has focused on growing their team and developing an enterprise-ready platform. Josef’s clients have grown to include major law firms such as Herbert Smith Freehills, as well as in-house legal teams from L’Oreal and Randstad. The COVID-19 pandemic delivered a boost as legal teams searched for ways to streamline their systems and processes and reduce friction points.
The LegalTech Fund partner Zach Posner said Josef is one of the most exciting investments he has seen in the space. “Every now and then we see a product that feels like magic, as it enables anyone to build automation into their workflows. Josef’s mission is to help all legal professionals capitalize on their knowledge and become developers themselves. They have built a simple, elegant, “automation workbench” for individuals to make their roles navigating the legal system easier and more efficient,” he said.
Jenna Adamson, L’Oreal Legal Counsel said the tool had empowered the company’s in-house staff. “Josef alleviates the time spent by our team on process-driven and low-risk tasks and yet is also seen as an engaging and efficient tool to the business. Josef also empowers us to up our game in the delivery of legal se