Litera expands into the business of law with Foundation Software acquisition

In an acquisition that has the potential to bring about the much-needed centralisation of experience management, Litera has acquired law firm intelligence supplier Foundation Software Group: a move that sees Litera widen its platform from the practice of law to the business of law.

The acquisition sees Litera launch a new intelligence business unit, and the Chicago-headquartered company says that it will invest heavily in the development and support of Foundation’s data platform. Litera is owned by private equity fund Hg and this is the latest – albeit arguably one of the most impressive – in a run of recent acquisitions. 

Foundation enables law firms to pull together disparate data about clients, matters, people, and parties into usable intelligence. It has recently entered into a number of partnerships with the likes of LexisNexis and Morae Global; partnerships that Litera tells us it intends to maintain.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Litera’s CEO Avaneesh Marwaha said: “The business will run as it is, but what it means for the broader brand is that we’re getting ourselves into matter lifecycle. We’ve done well in document creation but sat back and asked where can we advance in knowledge management and business development: it’s time that they worked more closely together.”

Litera is active in transaction management (Transact) and litigation management (Litigate) and global director of business development and strategy Haley Altman, who sold transaction management platform Doxly to Litera last year, told Legal IT Insider: “The nice thing about Foundation is that it can take data from the end of a transaction or piece of litigation and use it for the next one, so you have actionable data. It will tell you what the key data points are for a deal.”

Marwaha added: “If you do a transaction it gives you a lot of metadata and right now it takes a lot of manual work to reuse it, but we hope in the coming years we can start tying to toggle it together.”

There is no question that to get from where Litera is now – in effect a group of moving parts – to toggling it together, will take a considerable amount of work, and bedding in six acquisitions in just over a year is no mean feat. Customers will be hoping that Litera is not biting off more than it can chew.

However the ambition behind the move will be welcomed by customers and Altman said: “It about how you aggregate the intelligence from different perspectives and deliver it in real time when it’s needed. I remember as an attorney sending out lots of emails asking ‘who has done a deal with this person’ and ‘I need an attorney with this expertise’ when putting together an RFP. Firms are often large and the data of who has worked on what is disparate. So to aggregate it really helps firms to better understand what their knowledge is.”

She adds: “If you came in on budget and on time you’ll want that data to help you pitch for the next deal – you need the right data, at the right time, with the right people. That’s particularly the case no you can’t just walk into office and say ‘Hey, I know you did that deal in 2010.’”Foundation was founded in 2012 by Nate Fineberg and Brett Balmer. Foundation’s executive vice president Barry Solomon, who joined from Sidley Austin in 2018, told us: “Our vision fits perfectly with Litera’s, which has the goal to provide lawyers with an easy solution that runs throughout the whole matter lifecycle.

“What does a prospective client care about now? It’s not can you take me golfing like they used to, it’s what five deals have you done that are similar to this, or what do you know about that barrister? It all comes down to the business of law and in the months and years ahead creating a solution across the matter lifecycle.”

At Litera the Foundation team will continue to be in charge of product direction and sales but Solomon said that, given the support and infrastructure that Litera will provide, the team will now be able to focus exclusively on the product development and customer support.

The UK is firmly in the company’s sights and Solomon said: “We’re doing great but in the UK only have a handful of firms – it was very smart of Litera to figure that they would get in early.”