North America: LexFusion Adds CoParse, Kira and Hotshot to collective

We speak to co-founder Joe Borstein about the model behind LexFusion and why users will benefit from its ‘collective’ approach

New legal tech collective LexFusion announces today (19 April) that CoParse, Kira, and Hotshot have joined as member companies, bringing the number of members to 10. The new arrivals follow LexFusion’s recent announcement that Casey Flaherty has joined from Baker McKenzie as chief strategy officer and third co-founder.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with LexFusion, it is a ‘go to market collective’ launched in April 2020, which is assembling non-competitive providers across most, if not all, mature categories in the market. The other co-founders are legal tech veterans Joe Borstein and Paul Stroka, and LexFusion’s existing members include Agiloft, Factor, HaystackID, Frontline, Litera, Ping and Priori Legal.

The new entrants mean that LexFusion now includes a SaaS document viewer; contract extraction and analysis tool; and legal education and training capability.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Borstein described LexFusion as ‘the team we want to go to war with’, commenting: “Here we have a handpicked group that I think are amazing and that I hunted down.” The idea is that legal organisations looking to transform their practice or operations are saved the time of multiple pitches and can leverage the LexFusion’s leadership’s experience in identifying the best-in-class players. Perhaps most interestingly, Borstein says the vendors – who get to say who else joins the collective – will work together, and it will be interesting to hear how far they go in creating new integrations to help the end user.

Borstein rejects the notion that LexFusion presents a Maslow’s hammer situation, in which if the only tool you have is a hammer, you treat everything as if it were a nail. This was a concern raised by Jackson Kelly’s CIO Jeffrey Brandt writing in his Legal Technology Digest, where he queried whether LexFusion would naturally put forward a member of its collective regardless of whether it was the right vendor for the job.

Borstein says: “In each category we have a best-in-class member, and you can choose them or not choose them. We’re going to say, ‘this is why we love them, but you might also want to look at these two others.’”

However, the line is that if it’s not a ‘bet the company’ situation, you’re better off saving time and going with LexFusion’s recommendation.

Much rests on the senior leadership team’s knowledge and experience. Borstein and Stroka previously helped to build up Pangea3, leading up to its sale to EY. Borstein says: “Sales teams typically consist of 25-years old who will grow in expertise and knowledge, but we know that a call from a sales person is not the same as a call from Casey, who built a 60-project legal project management team, consulted for Microsoft and built a practice in an Am Law firm. I built a 1,500 strong ALSP. We’re super passionate, so when a firm talks to us, it’s not about a bunch of point solutions, it’s much more productive than that.”

He adds: “Often people have no idea who to call: we massively save them time and effort.”

But what may appeal to customers the most is LexFusion’s emphasis on the long game. Drawing a comparison with the manufacturing industry, Bill Henderson writes in his Legal Evolution blog: “At the end of the day, the most successful manufacturer reps follow a simple long-game strategy: focus on pairing the right customer with the right product, as that sets you up for repeat business on favorable terms.  Under this type of arrangement, the customer comes to depend upon the representative as an honest broker who values the relationship more than next month’s commission.  This is worthwhile for the manufacturer because it spares them the expense of building and maintaining a small army of (often average, mediocre) salespeople.  Over time, the speed and volume of sales go up, primarily because the rep always puts the customer first.  Yet, if the diversification is removed from the model—so the salesperson has only one thing to sell—the incentive structure can quickly unravel.”

What is certain is that now that LexFusion is gaining momentum, you can expect serious competition and kudos as to who is in their roster.

Here’s more about the new entrants:

CoParse was founded by Jacob Beckerman, 22-year-old alum of The Wharton School’s exclusive M&T program and is VC-backed by Cooley and BoxGroup. (The Wharton School is the business school of Ivy League University of Pennsylvania.) It improves users’ ability to review, annotate, and understand complex documents, from credit agreements to annual reports. We recommend you take a look at the four-minute demo on the home page (click See how it works)

Kira Systems, which is widely known across the legal tech industry, uses machine learning to extract key information from contracts and other related documents, is one of the most mature offerings in the space, having been founded over a decade ago.

Hotshot – founded by Ian Nelson and Chris Wedgeworth, former leaders of Practical Law Company – is an ed tech company that helps lawyers develop their legal and business skills through short, practical videos and interactive training programs. They offer over 200 videos and related materials across transactional, litigation, and business topics. Their subscribers include Am Law 100 firms, regional and international firms, and top law schools.