Legal IT Insider
'The Orange Rag'
Issue 333, June 2020
Hi and welcome to the June Orange Rag!
The newsletter comes out as the COVID-19 lockdown is easing globally, albeit the majority of the legal sector continues to work from home, and those of us with kids wonder how the bloody hell the summer holidays are going to work, particularly as we’ve sworn not to drink any more gin.
Thanks for your overwhelmingly positive feedback on the new look Orange Rag. Now much easier to navigate (click the 3 lines in the top right corner to jump straight to the stories you want), the Rag is more than ever your definitive source for the month’s biggest moves, deals and stories.
On our front page is the breaking news that legal management consultancy business Janders Dean has been acquired by Morae Global - Morae, you will recall, acquired Phoenix Business Solutions last year (and Clutch Group in 2017). The acquisition follows several joint ventures and collaborations between Janders Dean and Morae, which plans to further invest and expand the advisory team over the coming year.
Keep checking in each day with us at legaltechnology.com for all the latest breaking stories and send your news to email@example.com.
We have lots of webinars coming up - see inside the newsletter for details - plus (stop press) I'm one of four hosts on Litera TV over the summer so check out this web story for more info and timings! https://legaltechnology.com/litera-unveils-new-summer-lineup-for-litera-tv/
– Caroline Hill, Editor-in-Chief
Morae Global Corporation has acquired respected legal management consultancy Janders Dean in a deal designed to give Morae a UK-based legal advisory practice group with a particular eye on the large law private practice and corporate legal market.
The eight-strong UK and APAC-based Janders Dean team will complement Morae’s existing US-based advisory team and will assist clients with legal spend management, resource management, process and policy enhancement, and technology and knowledge service transformation.
Morae, which now has around 600 staff off which around 120 are in the UK, is headquartered in Texas but in May last year began further building out its UK presence with the acquisition of document and information management company Phoenix Business Solutions. Morae is now organised along the lines of managed services, headed by James Rojas; legal technology, now headed by David Boswell (who took over the role in January); and strategic solutions, headed by Joy Saphla. Boswell took over from Phoenix founder and former CEO Matt Crocker, who has been promoted to chief strategy officer for both managed services and legal technology.
The Janders Dean team of senior analysts and consultants in the UK and APAC will continue to be led by founder Justin North in his new role as a managing director. The team will report into Rojas and help to effectively weaponise Morae's legal tech capability but will work with both groups.
The acquisition follows several joint ventures and collaborations between the two companies and Morae plans to further invest and expand the advisory team over the coming year.
Founded in 2007 in Australia, Janders Dean expanded into the UK in 2010 and works with many of the world’s largest law firms and corporate in-house legal departments such as Hall & Wilcox, Clyde & Co, Baker McKenzie, Ashurst, Allen & Overy, DLA Piper, BAE Systems, Vodafone and UBS. The company has been in due diligence since the end of 2019.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Crocker said:
We now have ability to offer strategic advice to general counsel and managing partners of law firms and make sure that we're up to date on what their needs are, particularly coming out of COVID-19. I want to be in the best position to help them so let's have those conversations. My expectation is that Justin goes in and does the advisory work and maybe we're looking at costs savings or maybe taking over the contract lifecycle with people, process and technology: Justin's team will feed both sides of the business.
North told Legal IT Insider:
This is a great time for Morae. They are in a very interesting growth stage and bringing new people on board and it's a great opportunity for us because they are the engine and will give us even greater access to clients.
In a statement out today (1 July), North said:
This is an extremely exciting deal that opens up a range of opportunities for our team and clients, who stand to benefit from the scale and coverage of Morae’s impressive global operations. Now more than ever, the legal industry is reimagining the way it works, from evaluating working practices to assessing cost models. There is a huge appetite to move beyond hype and towards implementing major transformation programmes that deliver measurable value.
By joining forces with Morae, we can help drive meaningful improvement and lasting change for our clients. We have worked closely with the Morae team over the years and have always shared a common view on the possibilities for the future of the legal industry. This belief crystallised early last year when we worked together on a major transformation initiative for one of the world's leading financial institutions. It was at that moment our conversations began about coming together. I could not think of a more appropriate place to bring the Janders Dean team. With our collective skills and experience and the strong proven history of the Morae leadership team, we are now able to significantly amplify the delivery of our services to clients around the world.
Shahzad Bashir, CEO of Morae Global Corporation, said:
I welcome Justin and the whole Janders Dean team to Morae. Transformation is at the heart of what we are about and for years I have admired Janders Dean’s dedication and unwavering focus on innovation and influencing the market towards new ways of thinking. I have also witnessed first-hand how the ideas they’ve sown across their community have evolved into commonly adopted working practices. These are the skills and characteristics that others try to imitate, but ultimately it is a cultural piece that few have nailed, and that is what makes Janders Dean such an ideal fit for Morae.
In May 2017 then Morae Legal Corporation merged with Washington-headquartered legal, risk and compliance analytics and consulting firm Clutch Group, leading to the launch of Morae Global.
You can read our coverage of the Phoenix acquisition here:
Movers and Shakers
Neil Davison joined Macfarlanes as CTO on 22 June. He joins the firm from a very brief stint at Ascertus, and was previously IT Director at Farrer and Co. The move follows news that Macfarlanes has selected Aderant as their practice management system. Commenting on the move, Davison said: “I am delighted to be joining Macfarlanes at such an exciting time. I am looking forward to working closely with Andrew, the team and the wider business on the next stage of the firm’s technology development.”
Macfarlanes’ CIO, Andrew Powell, added: “I am really pleased to welcome Neil into Macfarlanes‘ IT Team. Lockdown has very clearly demonstrated the importance of high quality IT services to the firm and also the progress we have made with agile working in recent years. We have an ambitious programme of work ahead of us and adding Neil’s broad experience to the team will help us keep up the momentum across a wide range of projects.”
Tony McKenna is to join Howard Kennedy as IT director on 15 June 2020, taking over from Clive Knott, who left at the end of 2019 and is currently a consultant. McKenna joins the firm from Gowling WLG UK where he was director of information technology.
McKenna is well known in the legal IT world, having held senior roles at magic circle firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Allen & Overy LLP.
As well as his professional role, he is also a council member of the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) and Chair of the ILTA UK Programming Team. In this role he oversees the development and expansion of ILTA in the UK, devising and delivering a new membership, volunteering and educational strategy.
Howard Kennedy's chief operating officer, Paul Roberts, said: "As the legal industry continues to adapt and modernise, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, strong IT capabilities now, more than ever, are a necessity for any legal firm, and we look forward to Tony spearheading our continued IT development.”
Elevate at the start of June announced that Stephen Allen will join the company on July 1, as “vice president of enterprise solutions and get sh*t done”, with responsibility for consulting, enterprise solutions, strategic pricing, and account management.
Allen, who at Hogan Lovells introduced a flexible lawyering programme in partnership with Elevate, joins as a member of the executive leadership team reporting to Liam Brown, Elevate’s chairman and CEO.
Leading Intapp implementation partner Aurora North today (18 June) announces that a trio of legal IT veterans have joined its Intapp consulting and services organization. The new hires are Jim Boyle, David Robinson and Adam Friedman.
While many law firms have a freeze on spending and are making COVID-19 related cuts, Aurora North principal Brian Lynch told Legal IT Insider: “We learned from the 2008 recession that letting people go or passing up on the chance to grab great talent is a mistake and a debt you pay for a long time. You need to make that investment because the economy does recover.”
Prior to joining Aurora North, Boyle was the founder at Legal IT Partners, where he focused on helping law firms manage risk and optimize operations using Intapp products. Boyle started his career in legal technology over 30 years ago, and spent many years working with Pepper Hamilton LLP, in a variety of capacities, including director of applications, master data architect and knowledge management committee member. Most recently, Boyle worked with Pepper Hamilton to implement Intapp Intake and Intapp Conflicts. A serial entrepreneur, he has also started several successful technology businesses over the years.
Robinson also joins Aurora North as principal consultant, bringing nearly 30 years of law firm time management and integration experience.
Robinson has been involved in developing some of the leading time capture products in the legal marketplace. He was instrumental in the development of Carpe Diem while at ProSoft and then later Sage, which acquired Carpe Diem.
Sage in 2010 sold Carpe Diem to Tikit. Robinson has worked on time capture systems at Advanced Productivity Software (APS), where he managed all aspects of the DTE time entry product line, and most recently at Intapp, where he started over 12 years ago as a product manager for the Time Builder time capture product line, before moving on to roles as principal consultant and senior solution consultant for Intapp Time, Intapp Pricing, and Intapp Terms/Compliant Time. He worked very briefly as vice president of products at ZERØ software.
Friedman has joined Aurora North as sales manager. Based in Atlanta, Friedman was previously a managing director at Intapp for seven years, working mainly with law firms in the Southeastern US. Before moving to Intapp, he worked for nearly 10 years with solution providers for risk and compliance, as well as identity verification.
Litera has appointed Doxly-founder Haley Altman to global director of business development and strategy. In her new role, Altman, who since selling Doxly to Litera last year has held the role of general manager of transaction management, will focus on expanding customer development opportunities and helping to define and execute the strategic vision of the company.
Altman said, “I’m thrilled to move into this role. During my time here, I’ve become very passionate about how the Litera products can really improve how legal teams work and look forward to deepening my understanding of our customers’ needs so we can continue to evolve Litera’s product suite, including evaluating acquisition targets. I'm also excited to help expand our presence in the legal industry and how we engage with the market.”
Wins and Deals
Capita has sold mid-market case, matter and practice management vendor Eclipse Legal Systems to Access UK Limited – a mid-market software vendor selling to multiple sectors from industrial and manufacturing to financial and professional services.
The total agreed consideration reflects an enterprise value of £56.5m on cash and debt free basis and represents a multiple of 14.1 times Eclipse’s adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and capitalised development costs.
The transaction is due to complete on 30 June 2020 and is not subject to any conditions.
The statutory gross assets of Eclipse at 31 December 2019 were £20.5m and the statutory profit before tax for the year ended 31 December 2019 was £5.5m.
All of the Eclipse Senior Management Team will be transferring with the business.
Jon Lewis, Capita’s chief executive officer, said “This disposal forms part of Capita’s strategy to simplify, strengthen and succeed. It will help us simplify by disposing of a standalone business, while the disposal proceeds will help strengthen Capita’s balance sheet. At the same time, our colleagues at Eclipse will benefit from a committed new owner, supporting further investment and growth.”
Pete O’Brien, managing director of Eclipse, said “We are excited about this transaction. With the support of Access, we are committed to delivering continued growth and investment in our products for our clients as well as working with Access to identify areas of potential revenue synergies”.
Dentons advised Capita.
Capita acquired Eclipse in September 2014 and while the sum was undisclosed we hazarded a guess of around £24m based on factors including its results and trading record, meaning – if our ballpark was right – that the price has more than doubled in six years.
UK top 30 law firm Macfarlanes has swapped out Thomson Reuters Elite Enterprise for Aderant Expert, in a major win for the Atlanta-headquartered practice management vendor. The decision follows a tender process that we understand also looked at Elite 3E, Fulcrum Global Technologies and Oracle. The process began around six months ago and interestingly much of it was conducted during lockdown.
One factor that swung the decision firmly in Aderant’s favour was the user experience. “The project team was impressed by the UX for time recording and the workflow engine that will allow us to improve core business processes. Elite Enterprise has served us very well for many years but we now have a once-a-decade opportunity to review and improve,” CIO Andrew Powell told Legal IT Insider. It was also key that Aderant integrates with Macfarlanes' existing tech stack including Intapp for client inception, iManage for document management and Prosperoware for confidentiality management. Macfarlanes continues to use PLC, Westlaw, Contract Express and HighQ Collaborate and Publisher from Thomson Reuters.
The tender process at the 500 fee-earner firm was run by Powell, who appointed Lights-On Consulting and involved a project team including finance, lawyers, secretaries and IT. Demonstrations were conducted largely over Zoom.
In a bold move in the practice management space, City law firm Fox Williams has become the first UK firm to select Thomson Reuters Elite's newly-launched cloud version of 3E, after a competitive review to swap out its sunsetted incumbent Elite Envision system. 3E Cloud, which just recently became available in the UK, is a SaaS financial management solution, providing an Elite-managed cloud environment using the Microsoft Azure platform.
Fox Williams is an independent business law firm founded in 1989 and based in the City of London, which positions itself as a cost-effective alternative to the larger City firms. The adoption of 3E Cloud is being described as a natural next step for the firm, which already has other cloud-based solutions in place. It also builds on the firm’s long-standing relationship with Thomson Reuters, with the firm using a number of solutions such as Practical Law, Westlaw, and HighQ.
“Being able to benefit from a large law firm solution was a real differentiator for us,” says Jeremy Gubbay, partner and chief operating officer of Fox Williams. “3E Cloud gives us the benefits of 3E plus the security, managed service, and automatic upgrades of a cloud offering, all without the upfront investment that would be needed for an on-premises system.”
While Fladgate will continue to use Workshare/Litera DocXtools, it has switched to DocsCorp compareDocs and cleanDocs, with the roll out taking place during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, head of information technology Chris Stedman said the swap out came because the Workshare add-ins made Microsoft Outlook crash at the firm.
He said: “We were looking at competitor products including using just Office but the way compareDocs and cleanDocs are written is much more efficient, so it wasn’t a difficult decision. They look at the underlying file structure rather than loading the application – you don’t need Word running and are able to compare between multiple versions, not just two.”
Osborne Clarke, a leading international legal practice, is switching to pdfDocs for PDF creation, editing, and bundling. Osborne Clarke now has the complete DocsCorp desktop productivity suite, including compareDocs for legal document comparison and cleanDocs for metadata management, which replaced the firm's previous solutions in 2017.
"In terms of key factors in our decision to purchase pdfDocs, the iManage Work 10 integration was an absolute necessity for us. As was better integration with our existing DocsCorp suite. Having all the tools in one ribbon makes them easy to access and use," explained Stuart Chapman, Osborne Clarke's head of IT applications. pdfDocs integrates with iManage Work 10 out of the box.
Through the right-click menu or Microsoft Office DocsCorp ribbon, users can send documents to pdfDocs and redact sensitive information, add a digital signature, edit text and images, and much more. The updated documents can be saved back into iManage Work 10 as a new document, or as a new version.
"We feel that our people will benefit from a much cleaner UI, with many of the more advanced features hidden from the casual user. The simplicity will certainly help with the adoption of the tool," Chapman explained.
And UK firm Birkett Long, LLP and RACINE from France both purchased compareDocs from DocsCorp. The software lets their staff quickly see what has changed from one version to the next, saving them time.
In Peppermint Technology's biggest win to date, listed UK law firm DWF has signed up for its cloud-based case & matter management system. The adoption of Peppermint CX365 is a key step for DWF in building out its global managed services platform, tying together data and analytics capabilities and client-facing services.
Daniel Pollick, CIO, DWF said: "Our technology choice reflects our vision that the future is not about traditional 'legal' applications towers, but about integration of world-class technologies to drive our entire business. Peppermint's ability to help us leverage the entire Microsoft stack is at the heart of this decision."
iManage announced in June that North-East London law firm Thirsk Winton is continuing to build off its successful move to iManage Cloud by rolling out iManage Security Policy Manager and iManage Threat Manager for enhanced protection of sensitive client data.
“When it comes to technology, we've always tried to be innovative and forward-thinking,” said Jason Winton, partner at Thirsk Winton LLP. “We’d seen larger firms in Central London successfully using iManage, and we wanted to jump straight to the best available technology to get those same types of capabilities for our firm. As a smaller firm, with an aggressive growth and acquisition strategy, iManage provides us with a powerful competitive advantage by delivering a platform that can keep pace with us as we grow and evolve, addressing all our needs – from document and email management, to security and governance.”
And in June Lundgrens – a leading independent Danish law firm with approximately 150 employees and 90 lawyers – announced that it has successfully moved to iManage Cloud, after using iManage Work for document and email management on-premises for several years across the organisation.
The move gives the firm access to iManage’s leading work product management capabilities, delivered through a high-performance cloud built for professionals.
“When a decision makes sense for us, we move on it – we don’t need to wait and see what other firms are doing,” said Nikolaj Brandt Clausen, CTO of Lundgrens. “It made a lot of sense for us to give the responsibility for managing our work product management platform to the people who actually develop the software. iManage are the experts, and they have more resources than we do, from an IT perspective. It was quite an easy decision to make.”
South West UK insurance company Legal Protection Group is implementing the Proclaim Case Management solution from Eclipse. The group, led by several industry experts, specialises in legal protection insurance for various areas of law.
Following what is described as an in-depth search for a case management solution that could be easily configured to meet specific requirements, Legal Protection Group determined a claims specific version of Proclaim was the standout choice of software. Proclaim will enable employees firm-wide to deliver a consistent approach at each stage of the claims process.
South African law firm Adams & Adams is deploying Repstor Custodian for Legal, the Microsoft 365-based legal matter management solution. It follows the formation of an alliance between Repstor and Microsoft Gold Partner, Cloud Essentials.
Cloud Essentials is a leading provider of cloud migration and information governance solutions to enterprises throughout the UK and EMEA, with extensive experience in delivering solutions to large customers, including law firms, banks, insurance companies and government agencies.
“Custodian for Legal has outstanding functionality – it is a class above the other products out there and it integrates so seamlessly with Outlook that our users barely know it is even there,” explains Colin Short, CIO, Adams & Adams. “It also allowed us to standardise our processes across practice areas, saving significant time and money.”
By using Zylpha Document Bundling, Kerseys can produce and amend electronic document bundles in a fraction of the time it would take to produce them manually.
Trudy Hooper IT & business operations manager at Kerseys, said, "There are many products in the marketplace. We considered the financial cost of service versus use of stationery and time spent for staff photocopying and scanning, along with delivery service levels from the supplier and ease of use for our family team. I was also looking for a product that was easy to use for members of staff. Having worked with Tim Long and his team at Zylpha previously, I knew I was going to receive great service. Zylpha was installed in just 5 minutes and I tested and used the product myself, setting up templates for future use to reduce even more time for the end user preparation of manual front page templates.”
Advanced has signed a new deal with Morrish Solicitors LLP which will see the Yorkshire-based law firm implement Tikit Partner for Windows (P4W) to handle its practice and case management as well as Tikit Connect for its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing activities.
P4W, already used by over 600 legal firms across the UK, is the flagship system of Tikit, the global legal, accounting and professional services software business acquired by Advanced in March this year. Morrish Solicitors is the first customer to select P4W since Tikit’s takeover.
Litera has acquired Tel Aviv-headquartered contract drafting startup Bestpractix, which it will use to transform the way it surfaces content within the drafting process. Bestpractix CEO Omer Hayun and CTO Elad Hayun are joining Litera, with Hayun taking on the role of vice president of a newly-formed AI products team. One of the first priorities will be to integrate Bestpractix within Litera's existing drafting tool Clause Companion.
Bestpractix, which was founded in 2018 and so is an early stage startup, uses natural language processing and machine learning to help fee-earners find the most relevant content within the document management system. “The concept of ‘smart’ documents is one which we’ve been focused on for some time, and the acquisition of Bestpractix accelerates our plans for delivering a smarter drafting workflow, where technology is complementing the way lawyers work. We’re very excited about the ways in which we see the Bestpractix technology working with existing and future products”, said Avaneesh Marwaha, CEO of Litera.
And Dickie McCamey & Chilcote (PA) has purchased contentCrawler from DocsCorp to ensure that all the documents in their iManage document management systems are 100% searchable and therefore retrievable. Elsewhere Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz (TN) went with cleanDocs from DocsCorp to reduce the risk of data leaks resulting from a failure to clean documents of metadata or simply sending the email to the wrong person. Krieg DeVault LLP (IN) choose compareDocs from DocsCorp to quickly compare two versions of a document for accurate and reliable comparison reports.
As part of their move, they also will be implementing eBillingHub. Davis & Kuelthau—based in Wisconsin—has 60 attorneys who work with business owners and corporations of all sizes across Wisconsin and nationally. After a competitive review, the firm chose 3E Cloud because of the 18-year relationship with Elite and the proven track record of many successful conversions from Enterprise.
Under the terms of the agreement, UnitedLex will broaden and deepen the technology options available to Paul Hastings’ lawyers and clients via significant additional technology investment and execution of aggressive development roadmaps. As a result, UnitedLex will further its competitive advantage in the areas of advanced analytics and AI as applied to a broad range of legal areas across its Litigation, Investigation, Regulatory and Compliance, Contracting, and Intellectual Property businesses.
As part of the DSAI acquisition, UnitedLex will gain an elite team of legal, mathematical, and data science experts, along with the underlying technology platform developed by the group.
Shook Lin & Bok from Singapore has bought compareDocs from DocsCorp to compare document versions quickly and accurately for changes.
Sydney firm Turner Freeman Lawyers went with pdfDocs for creating and managing PDF documents.
With more than 400 employees across five offices, McCullough Robertson sought new technology they felt would match the innovation of their clients and evolve their systems to meet client needs.
The firm’s commitment to innovation is evident by their decision to begin implementation immediately, in a remote environment, despite the pandemic lockdown.
“As a firm with a strong focus on innovation, we are really excited to be partnering with Aderant,” said Kim Trajer, COO for McCullough Robertson. “With clients becoming increasingly sophisticated, the ability to be agile and adaptable has never been more important, and we believe that by working with Aderant, we will be able to meet changing needs and continue to deliver high quality outcomes for our clients.
iManage unveils trio of new offerings
iManage has launched three new offerings including its first ‘solution’ in the knowledge management space.
iManage Tracker is a brand new matter-centric task and checklist designed for knowledge workers that are tackling more complex and collaborative cognitive projects like deal closings, contract re-papering, mergers & acquisitions, and other knowledge work. It is organised around clients or projects and legal matters and provides an aggregated view across projects. Being integrated within iManage means that users don’t have to switch their working environment to use Tracker, which is also integrated with Security Policy Manager.
Chief marketing officer Dan Carmel told Legal IT Insider: “We’re not trying to do real-time collaboration we’re focussing on tasks and checklist management and we’ve created a matter centric environment where you can turn a checklist into an electronic one associated with a matter. Tracker puts you one click away from the document or email associated with the task.”
iManage is leveraging RAVN’s technology to launch two knowledge management solutions, Knowledge Unlocked and Contract Intelligence.
Carmel said: “Three years ago at ConnectLive iManage announced the acquisition of RAVN and said we’d make the DMS smarter. Since then we’ve done a lot of interesting projects that have shown us what’s not a good application in legal and what is good. We’re fulfilling our promise to bring AI to the wider community.
Of Knowledge Unlocked he said: “This is our first solution – traditionally we sell products but this solution combines our products for specific licensed scenarios and business problems. Knowlege Unlocked comes in three flavours – Essential; Professional; and Enterprise. Knowledge Unlocked Essential is designed to be ‘AI for the rest of us’. It’s AI and KM for organisations that don’t have a formal KM function. We’ve packaged the projects we’ve done into applications or search capability that you can plug in.”
Contract Intelligence identifies and extracts key terms from contracts, such as dates or parties, and comes as an iManage plug-in. Carmel says: “There are seven ways to search in order to light up knowledge without the need for specialised staff – we’re democratising AI by making it available to everyone.”
Aderant expands eBilling
Aderant's eBilling solution BillBlast will now be available through regional data centers for firms doing business in Canada, UK, Europe and the Asia Pacific region, expanding its reach to the global law firm market.
“At this time, many law firms are faced with economic uncertainty. Now, more than ever before, firms must focus on streamlining the billing process and improving accuracy to ensure compliance and accelerate payments. Revenue leakage is not an option,” said Aderant senior director of product management, Marie Burgess. “We’re excited to expand the reach of BillBlast in order to bring the global law firm market the competitive advantages that our existing customers experience.”
BillBlast removes the complexities of eBilling coordination and management by simplifying and centralizing multiple eBilling systems into one location. It integrates with major practice management systems, ensuring simple and timely processing of eBills, from anywhere around the globe. BillBlast is now available in all of these regions.
Solomonic launches claim form tracking
Solomonic in June launched an advanced claim form tracking solution to help litigation practitioners keep an eye on key trends in High Court claims.
Solomonic will update users on the legal and factual subject matter of each claim, what remedies are being sought, and which lawyers are involved. The service will also allow users to track individual claims (sending notifications each time a new document in the claim is filed), or parties and law firms (sending notifications for each new claim involving that party or firm). Users can also view aggregated analytics on different parties’ litigation behaviour, for example the rate at which particular parties settle claims.
The tracking has already revealed a flurry of claims against News Group Newspapers Limited, as reported in CityAM (https://www.cityam.com/news-group-hit-with-45-new-phone-hacking-claims/). Analytics on phone hacking claims shows 103 have been issued against News Group since May 2018.
While this type of offering is more established in the US, tracking and reporting on litigation in the UK is usually service, not software-based, with litigation analytics still in its infancy.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Solomonic’s managing director Ed Bird said: “The benefit to being systematic is that as the claim is issued, we start the DNA of a claim: who the claimant and defendant are and we grow data about what the claim is about, the lawyers, the value, is it COVID related -we are starting to tag that. We track the claims as they come out and do some basic analytics but we are starting to categorise and analyse them: we are doing analysis in the same way as we do for the judgement.
“You can start to ascertain what sort of claims settle. Do banks settle more than shipping companies? You can get a lot from the judgment but the value is hard to get and you can imagine it’s all the intelligence but 18 months too late. The value of our data and analytics is that it helps law firms to build leads.”
Lupl: What it is, what it does, and what it's not
It's been a few weeks since Lupl first launched, becoming the most talked about legal tech product or venture for a long time, partly because it's backed and driven by three major law firms and partly because it promises to do what no other legal IT vendor does - matter synchronisation. From speaking to people since the launch, it's clear that many are still very unclear of what that means.
Lupl is the brainchild of founding firms Cooley, CMS and innovative Singapore firm Rajah & Tann, which came about after a conversation between Cooley partner Adam Ruttenberg and CMS partner/former managing partner Duncan Weston.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Ruttenberg said:
"Lupl started because Duncan and I were doing a project for a client and we said 'if we are going to solve this is can’t be that all law firms have their own portals and it can’t be via a client portal – we have to allow everyone to do it by themselves – we realised that can’t be done so we convinced our respective firms and others and started doing research and putting together an advisory board." The firms also approached Rajah & Tann - between them the three firms quite deliberately cover Europe, the US and APAC.
That was two years ago, and while we started to hear about Lupl just before the launch, it was kept extremely quiet, with Ruttenberg commenting: "We realised it wouldn't have credibility if we announced before we were ready."
Lupl is headed by chief commercial officer Matt Pollins, who is a partner at CMS but moved across to Lupl about a year ago and has been helping to lead conversations with law firms and general counsel about how they handle legal matters.
Pollins told Legal IT Insider: "It was critically important to avoid the trap that other legal tech falls into – client-law firm friction. We had to make sure we're solving the painpoint of both, and in order to do that, before we started writing one line of code, we needed to make sure we identified those and that they are solvable. So we sat down and said 'let’s recruit a set of clients and law firms and we spent six months talking to them about the painpoints and how we could solve them." Lupl put together a client advisory board incorporating clients from different industries and spanning very large Fortune 500 companies to small start ups: legal departments of one to 500+ across banking, real estate, life sciences and technology and Ruttenberg says: "We wanted all of their different perspectives." And Pollins says: "We also spoke to paralegals and people in legal operations. Not just partners but trainees - what works for one doesn't always work for others."
Ruttenberg, meanwhile, spent six months with developers building wireframes with the advisory board. "They'd say 'yes but don't do it that way or it will drive me nuts' or 'I see it, I get it, but can we do this or that.' While Ruttenberg admits he'd have a product feature backlog of about two years if they responded to every comment, he says: "We were very focussed on feedback across all levels." Lupl, fyi, has a team of around 50 of which there are 36 developers made up of independent contractors experienced in platform development, primarily based in the US. The reason for that was to ensure that the work didn't end up being a Cooley, or CMS or Rajah & Tann focussed project. Ruttenberg says: "The best and only way to do that was to get a dedicated team."
But what does Lupl actually do?
Pollins tells us: "The idea behind it is helping people in legal departments and firms to connect different systems, documents and data so they get a real time, 360 degree view of what is happening on their matters. It is a cloud based app available on web and mobile and brings together different parts of a matter. We’ve built the bedrock, end-to-end workflow from planning a legal need to bringing in outside counsel, from doing the work to post matter feedback."
Ruttenberg says: "A good example is we had a client doing a series of complex deals around sub-licensing. The client needed these six licenses and I was able to open a matter called sublicenses, invite associates into the room, I was able to load up a bunch of information which we shared with the team and create a bunch of milestones and tasks I had visibility and was able to deliver to the client and able to get the work product done with no friction over how the client shares their data or works internally."
Pollins adds: "We integrate with the systems the client already uses, eg iManage. We're not trying to be a DMS, we're enabling people to work where they want to." Similarly with Teams, Pollins says: "We're absolutely not trying to compete - we'll be integrating with it. The concept is 'bring your own system' and it's about bringing them together. We are very focussed on that bedrock workflow to reduce friction between law firms and legal departments. We have bui
If you're wondering where Lupl fits within the various legal tech categories, you're not alone, but Pollins says: "I do think in legal tech we have a tendency to put things in buckets but users don’t think about technology in terms of portals v collaboration v practice management – Lupl doesn't naturally fit into the existing definitions because it came from users rather than a vendor coming up with a point solution." lt an integration with Teams and will make sure that is frictionless."
In terms of competitors, there are smaller startups such Workstorm trying to solve a similar problem but Ruttenberg is keen to stress that Lupl doesn't want and won't try to own the tech stack, commenting: "We want people to bring their own systems and behaviour. They've invested a lot in the DMS and if we ask them to dump it we'll lose, but we won't, we interoperate and have taken a very open approach."
Pollins adds: "Where we're different is that we don't require people to live in Lupl, we can be in Teams or elsewhere and use the native functionality of Lupl to work together on a single matter."
Ruttenberg says: "If you want to live in email, you can interact from there. When I open a eg sublicensing matter, documents are stored in iManage and I'm able to link to iManage, and all my documents to live there. With clients using Google Drive I can make that the system of record for the documents. The beauty is that you live where you want and can surface in Lupl."
This is incredibly complex and potentially fragile tech and right now Lupl is still in beta - what it's not is fully developed and Pollins says: "We have got several hundred beta testers and off the back of the announcements about Lupl we have hundreds on the waiting list. The goal of this beta is that it will run through this year and we'll get feedback. What's exciting is that people seem to be itching to use it on real projects."
What it is, is an ambitious attempt to synchronise both sides of a legal transaction, which, if they succeed, will potentially have huge cultural, not just technological, ramifications for the legal sector. There is still a long way to go.
Legal IT Insider is holding a webinar on the future of digital dictation and related technologies in the legal profession. By ‘related technologies’, we mean such things as speech recognition, task delegation and management.
At the same time as these technologies are getting new lease of life – partly from technology innovation and partly as a result of an increased desire to provide ‘work from home’ capabilities – they are also under pressure from several other developments. These include:
This webinar will be a discussion rich session and your participation is encouraged. We’ll also be actively taking polls during it and producing a short report and analysis to be available on the Legal IT Insider website.
Sign up here
With the move towards digitisation of legal processes, PDFs are set to become more important than ever. But how do you ensure that the workflow around PDF generation, sharing and signing is as efficient as possible, while delivering the best end-user experience? We take a look with Adobe at how its users benefit from the ability to scan, generate, review, mark up, securely share and sign documents in a cradle to grave workflow, benefiting from integrations with multiple vendors including Microsoft and iManage. We look at the latest regulations surrounding eSignatures and the benefits of adoption. And we look at examples of how the accounting sector is using Adobe's platform. Please join us and join in this live and interactive conversation on 9 July at 4pm BST.
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If you would like to be part of our webinar series, we would love to hear from you! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
#TalkingTech - Business continuity webinar with Litera's CEO Avaneesh Marwaha
Other news in June
UK-based legal spend tracker Apperio tells us that it will be hiring for a US office as soon as possible as it expands its sales operation into the States, with a particular focus on private equity firms.
The Apperio legal spend management platform is specifically designed for companies’ in-house legal and finance teams. At present, it is running U.S. sales operations from its London headquarters but following an announcement yesterday (24 June) that it will “vigorously” expand into the US, founder Nicholas d’Adhemar told Legal IT Insider: “Apperio will be hiring for a US office as soon as possible, and in the process we plan to bring some of the company DNA from our UK headquarters. We are hiring across the business at the moment and the US is no exception. The plan is to bring some of the team and DNA from our UK headquarters and mix that with new hires as we grow. Our culture and cultural values are what makes Apperio and it’s important that the new office is part of the team rather than just a satellite office.”
He added: “Our US efforts have initially been focused on certain geographies, namely New York, Boston and San Francisco. That is in part because there is a high concentration of PE firms and that is where we are being pulled to. Along with some of the sales team, we’d spent more time in the US than in the UK this year and we were due to open an office in the East Coast. That was the plan until Covid-19 hit. We have managed to add new customers and their law firms via Zoom since the crisis started. We are actively monitoring the situation and the plan is still to have an office and a team as soon as restrictions are lifted.”
d’Adhemar was formerly a lawyer and investor in private equity and tells us: “I realised first-hand the pain caused by a lack of transparency over legal spend, resulting from delayed and ambiguous billing. Apperio was designed specifically to address a gap in the market for spend management of both billed and unbilled legal fees.”
Arguably a litmus test of what's on Allen & Overy's radar in terms of new tech, tech innovation space Fuse will launch its fourth cohort virtually on 3 June, with BRYTER and Orbital Witness among the new companies in residence. For the first time, Fuse includes a FinTech stream selected in collaboration with key clients such as Citi Ventures.
Joining Fuse legaltech alumni Nivaura, REGnosys, Avvoka and Define are BRYTER; Serein AI; StructureFlow; Orbital Witness; and Clara. You can read more about those companies here: https://legaltechnology.com/ao-fuse-virtually-launches-fourth-cohort-including-inaugural-fintech-stream/
BRYTER has raised an impressive $16 million in Series A funding led by two of the global leading enterprise software venture capital firms Dawn Capital and Accel, who led the German headquartered company's seed round. Also participating in the round were existing investors Notion Capital and the fund of SaaS veteran Mike Chalfen of Chalfen Ventures. The capital will be used to accelerate BRYTER's international expansion, particularly in the US, and help enable international adoption across its growing global customer base.
Founded in 2018, BRYTER is a no-code automation platform designed to quickly build and deliver business expertise.
At the end of May it appointed Clifford Chance associate Konstantin Heilmann as its inaugural head of legal. He takes over the management of legal affairs at BRYTER, which has offices in Frankfurt, Berlin and London, and plans to open in New York this year.
Legal AI knowledge management platform INTELLLEX has completed a USD $2.1m funding round led by Quest Ventures with participation from Thomson Reuters, Insignia Ventures, K3 Ventures, an unnamed Singapore government-backed VC fund, and a number of individual backers. Thomson Reuters notably assisted for six months in the development of INTELLLEX as part of its Thomson Reuters Labs incubator programme.
INTELLLEX is a knowledge management system that automates the taxonomy-based classification of documents and provides Google-like contextual search. You can search by topic, document type, industry, and client. A key selling point is combining AI with industry knowledge - two of the founders are former lawyers.
Chang Zi Qian co-founder and co-cEO of INTELLLEX said: "Professional Services firms traditionally create value in offering customized, knowledge-based services to clients. These services are derived from internal knowledge bases and advisory know-how accrued over years. Today, clients are demanding more value at lower costs, and they look to Knowledge Management to remain competitive. INTELLLEX believes underutilised Knowledge is dead weight. With the INTELLLEX platform, we convert such dead weight into Knowledge Assets that yield multiple and repeated value for our clients. With this round of funding, we will expand our service delivery across EU and APAC and accelerate development of new product offerings."
Onna is a data integration platform that enables companies to integrate and centralise applications, and conduct real-time discovery.
On 17 June it announced that it has raised $27m in venture funding from venture capital firm Atomico and – take note – past investors such as Slack Technologies.
Here are its vital statistics.
What does Onna do?
Onna integrates workplace knowledge platforms, whether that be 20 or 200.
It helps companies to find information buried in emails and other repositories. It charges a monthly fee and can search across Slack, Google Drive and Dropbox which, guess what, is an investor too.
How much has Onna raised to date?
$43m. Its venture round was 23 January 2018. It’s series A was 3 June 2019. And on 17 June was the $27m series B.
Who are the key players?
Onna was founded by Salim Elkhou (pictured above), who previously founded eStet, which was acquired by EY in 2017. You can find out more about eStet here: https://forimmediaterelease.net/ey-bolsters-its-fraud-investigation-dispute-services-practice-through-e-stet-acquisition-37508/
Vice president of revenue is Russ Grant and CFO is Jordi Pedrol.
Why do I care?
Onna is already establishing multiple use cases within eDiscovery, allowing users to conduct an initial assessment of your case by understanding the contents of your unstructured data. Onna provides pre-trained categories to immediately identify document types, like contracts, from all files found across your applications. It can process and OCR your data, and provide an integral collaboration and sharing platform – with open APIs. You can export data from Onna to review platforms like Relativity, Logikcull and Everlaw.
Here is a video on how to navigate eDiscovery for Slack. https://onna.com/blog/video-webinar-how-to-navigate-ediscovery-for-slack/
Who are its existing clients?
According to a press release last year and its own website, Onna’s customers include Google, AWS, Salesforce, Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, Electronic Arts, Dropbox, and Fitbit, which use the platform for legal discovery, compliance, knowledge management and enterprise search.
The Wider View
A heavyweight group of AI experts from the likes of Google and Microsoft plus researchers and academics has urged against the publication of a new study that claims to identify or predict criminality based on biometric or criminal legal data, saying that such studies are inherently racially biased and naturalise discriminatory outcomes.
The publication in question – A Deep Neural Network Model to Predict Criminality Using Image Processing – is planned for publication by Springer Publishing. But in a letter dated 22 June to Springer Editorial Committee, the group of around 1,700 expert researchers and practitioners says: “We urge the review committee to publicly rescind the offer for publication of this specific study, along with an explanation of the criteria used to evaluate it.” The group further says they want: “Springer to issue a statement condemning the use of criminal justice statistics to predict criminality, and acknowledging their role in incentivising such harmful scholarship in the past.” Also that: “All publishers refrain from publishing similar studies in the future.”
The signatories, who include professors from multiple universities including Washington, Massachusetts, Harvard, NYU and MIT as well as Berkeley School of Law, say that the upcoming publication warrants a collective response “because it is emblematic of a larger body of computational research that claims to identify or predict “criminality” using biometric and/or criminal legal data.”
The open letter says: “Such claims are based on unsound scientific premises, research, and methods, which numerous studies spanning our respective disciplines have debunked over the years. Nevertheless, these discredited claims continue to resurface, often under the veneer of new and purportedly neutral statistical methods such as machine learning, the primary method of the publication in question.
“In the past decade, government officials have embraced machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) as a means of depoliticizing state violence and reasserting the legitimacy of the carceral state, often amid significant social upheaval. Community organizers and Black scholars have been at the forefront of the resistance against the use of AI technologies by law enforcement, with a particular focus on facial recognition. Yet these voices continue to be marginalized, even as industry and the academy invests significant resources in building out “fair, accountable and transparent” practices for machine learning and AI.”
It adds: "Machine learning programs are not neutral; research agendas and the data sets they work with often inherit dominant cultural beliefs about the world. These research agendas reflect the incentives and perspectives of those in the privileged position of developing machine learning models, and the data on which they rely. The uncritical acceptance of default assumptions inevitably leads to discriminatory design in algorithmic systems, reproducing ideas which normalize social hierarchies and legitimize violence against marginalized groups."
In the original press release published by Harrisburg University, researchers claimed to “predict if someone is a criminal based solely on a picture of their face,” with “80 percent accuracy and with no racial bias.” The open letter to Springer says: “Let’s be clear: there is no way to develop a system that can predict or identify “criminality” that is not racially biased — because the category of “criminality” itself is racially biased.”
It concludes: “Recent instances of algorithmic bias across race, class, and gender have revealed a structural propensity of machine learning systems to amplify historic forms of discrimination, and have spawned renewed interest in the ethics of technology and its role in society.
“The circulation of this work by a major publisher like Springer would represent a significant step towards the legitimation and application of repeatedly debunked, socially harmful research in the real world.”
You can read the letter in full and sign the collective letter to Springer here: https://medium.com/@CoalitionForCriticalTechnology/abolish-the-techtoprisonpipeline-9b5b14366b16
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