Legal tech wins & deals: SOS; Linetime; Aderant; Elevate; OpenText, ONIT; Reynen Court and FileTrail

In the UK it’s been all about the practice management system over the past week with wins for Aderant, SOS Connect and Linetime in the same week that we broke the news that Oracle is launching a dedicated legal PMS. Elsewhere, Elevate has bought flexible legal service law firm Halebury and in the US we bring you a mixed bag of wins including the news that Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP will be the first law firm to deploy OpenText Magellan; OpenText’s AI-backed analytics platform.
In the biggest win of the week UK top 60 law firm Brodies has selected Aderant Expert, swapping out its soon to be sunsetted Thomson Reuters Elite Enterprise practice management system. Brodies was the first UK client to go live on Elite’s Business Development Premier integral CRM solution, which it will continue to use.
Brodies, Scotland’s largest law firm, conducted what finance director David Edwards describes as a desktop assessment of all the leading practice management systems before receiving demonstrations from “a shortlist” which inevitably included Elite 3E and Aderant. He would not be drawn on which other PMS vendors, if any, were on that shortlist.
With regard to why Aderant won, Edwards said: “There was no one single thing. I’m a bit old fashioned and these things come down to both systems and people and Aderant seemed that little bit better than the others.”
When asked how the selection will affect BDP he said: “This doesn’t affect our CRM solution and we will be sticking with that; this selection has no way impinged on the work we’ve done there and we’ll be capitalising on our investment.” That story is here in full:
Elsewhere, West Yorkshire law firm Chadwick Lawrence has switched to SOS Connect from Solicitors Own Software.
The firm, which has seven offices across the county, offers a range of legal services for both personal and business matters and is one of the few law firms in the area which has specialist medical negligence and sports law capabilities.
Managing partner Neil Wilson said the firm had decided to replace its previous legal software with a view to creating a more flexible and efficient working platform as part of its strategic plan.
“We chose SOS Connect following a very thorough procurement exercise,” he said.
“During this process SOS clearly demonstrated not only that its practice management solution is one of the best on the market but also that its way of working sits comfortably within our established values.
“We are now working closely with SOS to go live in mid-2019 with a system which will deliver significant benefits to Chadwick Lawrence, as well as enhancing our client experience.”
And Portsmouth and Waterlooville based commercial and family law specialists Larcomes have become the latest law firm to invest in Liberate – Linetime’s single-system practice management solution.
Following a diligent selection process and extensive consultation with existing customers, the firm have chosen Linetime’s combined accounting, CMS and CRM system to assist with operational efficiency and to enhance their existing high quality of customer service.
Larcomes have a well-established reputation for providing personal and business legal advice. Service areas range from commercial property and litigation work to child care, conveyancing and personal injury. The Liberate system and in particular the Liberate Self-Serve mobile application will enable the firm to deliver a top quality legal service to both existing and new clients.
Janice Ward, Managing Partner of Larcomes said “We were impressed with the Linetime approach and feel confident that Linetime will deliver a future proof solution for the firm and feel that the technology, software and integrations will give the firm all that it needs to continue to give, and exceed, our high level of service to existing and future clients. We look forward to the forthcoming roll out and the benefits and improvements it will provide to our clients and staff.”
And while we’ve no win to announce as such, it’s worth noting that Oracle is launching a dedicated legal global practice management system that will initially be targeted at UK headquartered law firms, with the intention to later expand out to the United States.
Little detail is yet known about the legal PMS but we can tell you that Oracle is giving it high level sponsorship and currently looking for potential firms to work with. One IT leader at an international law firm told us: “They are aiming to bring a lot of Oracle’s cloud and AI technology into it, making it a rather different proposition.”
Oracle looked like a potential new entrant to the legal PMS market shortly after the turn of the century when it teamed up with Keystone Solutions in a winning pitch to Clifford Chance. The system, selected by Clifford Chance in 2002 and still in use at the magic circle giant today, integrates Keystone’s time and billing and client management applications with Oracle’s database and financial applications. You can read the story and multiple comment in full here:
Last but not least for UK wins and deals – not practice management this time – Elevate has acquired senior flexible resource law firm Halebury, in the process converting to become an alternative business structure (ABS) to facilitate the acquisition of the UK regulated practice.
Halebury will be an Elevate business, retaining its own team and building on its flexible lawyering capability most often utilised by in-house legal teams but seen recently in private practice in a programme led by Stephen Allen at Hogan Lovells. With UK-regulated Halebury on board, Elevate plans to provide both in-house legal teams and law firms with a 360-degree service offering spanning talent, resourcing, consulting, technology and managed services.
Commenting on the acquisition, John Croft, president of Elevate, said: “Halebury’s expert talent gives our customers access to an even deeper pool of senior in-house resources and a combined team that can lead and manage complex legal projects from end to end.”
He told Legal IT Insider: “We now have an ABS license as a law company – we might be the first. The massive benefit to clients of our acquisition of Halebury is that until today they have been able to offer flexible lawyers but they are working with the kind of law departments who are trying to become more efficient and asking for consulting and technology and a more managed or offshore services and until today they have not been able to offer that but now they can.”
North America
OpenText has announced that leading international law firm LLP will be the first law firm to deploy OpenText Magellan, OpenText’s AI-enabled analytics platform.
“Technology is rapidly disrupting the legal profession and Pillsbury is leading the transformation. We were pioneers in the use of technology-assisted review and cloud-based eDiscovery, and we have achieved remarkable efficiencies for Pillsbury’s clients using our OpenText Axcelerate platform,” said Pillsbury litigation partner, David L. Stanton. “Now, we are working with OpenText to integrate the Magellan AI suite, another industry first. It gives us flexible machine learning capabilities and an adaptive suite of text-mining and visualization tools, which will change how we approach big data—driving faster and more in-depth legal analytics and permitting us to leverage custom data models and taxonomies to streamline labor-intensive tasks.”
Magellan complements the firm’s existing OpenText Axcelerate Cloud deployment and will deliver extended machine learning abilities beyond traditional eDiscovery—enabling Pillsbury’s attorneys to interact with large data collections in new ways that will make it easier to understand and present legal case narratives and to unearth investigatory facts.
Enterprise legal and contract management software provider Onit has secured a whopping $200 million from West Coast private equity firm K1 Investment Management which it says it will use to scale operations to meet increasing client demand for its process automation technology and enhance its scalable platform. Additionally, the investment will help fund go-to-market strategies, accelerate new product development and enhance functionality of existing product offerings.
“Onit’s platform has raised the bar on what users expect from software that extends across the enterprise,” said Neil Malik, managing partner at K1. “We’ve seen the company more than triple its customer base and revenue in two years and we have tremendous confidence in the management team’s long-term vision. It’s exciting to partner with a team that pioneered the enterprise legal management software space nearly 20 years ago and to now see how their innovative solutions are transforming the way Fortune 500 companies and legal departments operate.”
In news that we first broke last week, Clifford Chance and Latham & Watkins have each injected north of $2m into startup services automation platform Reynen Court, which has heavyweight law firm backing to become the legal tech app store that will enable law firms to access new tech in a secure and integrated way. Clifford Chance’s CIO Paul Greenwood has become a director of Reynen Court as has Latham’s CIO Kenneth Heaps as part of the substantial funding round.
Reynen Court in December announced that it had closed its Series A with investment from Clifford Chance and Latham, however the terms of the Series A were not disclosed, leading one Legal IT Insider reader to suspiciously query, “Why wouldn’t you publish the amount if you’re doing a press release on a Series A?” and questions have been raised in the market as to whether the amounts injected were substantive or a something of a publicity play.
Forms filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission should quieten those suggestions: Reynen Court has now raised a total of $6,999,999, which, after deducting the $1.5m injected at its inception, leaves just under $5.5m of new capital, the lion’s share of which is split between Clifford Chance and Latham.
While the legal market has recently seen a number of huge Series A funding rounds (think Kira Systems’ $50m) the average Series A round is between $2m and $15m and Reynen Court’s founder and chief executive officer Andrew Klein told us: “For a Series A this is quite a mid-range number.
And FileTrail, a supplier of information governance and records management software, has announced that prominent U.S. law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP has selected FileTrail to expand its existing records management implementation and advance the firm’s IG program.
Davis Wright chose FileTrail GPS, Governance Policy Suite, for both its automated retention and disposition and its advanced matter mobility tools.
FileTrail integrates with popular document management platforms including NetDocuments, which Davis Wright uses as a combined solution to access physical records without leaving the DMS. The platform also includes connectors to synchronize data from new business intake, provisioning (ethical walls) and billing systems to eliminate redundant data entry and ensure consistency, yielding greater efficiency and improved productivity.
The firm is now adding FileTrail GPS to gain a modern, holistic approach to IG. GPS improves the implementation of firm IG policies and outside counsel guidelines by managing retention policies across all repositories within firms’ ecosystems and automating their review cycles to achieve auditable, defensible disposition. Recent GPS updates further improve processes and reduce costs associated with lateral moves and records transfers to clients.