The Watercooler: Your latest global legal IT news 

Well, it’s another beautiful week here in legal IT land and we are here to help you with all the news you need to chat about around the watercooler. That is, if you are in the office and not working from home, feeling smug and relishing your pyjama bottoms. 

Most of the news is from North America, but we’ll follow the sun by starting with the UK and EMEA. 

UK and EMEA 

Cosine solutions launches in the UK 

Cosine solutions has launched a presence in the United Kingdom, hiring Bristol-based application consultant Jamie Furby. Furby joined the Philadelphia-headquartered company earlier this year from outside the legal sector, but during 2013 and 2015 worked at DLA Piper as IT finance and commercial analyst.  

Cosine has also recently hired former Litify executive account executive, John Rowley as US-based director of sales and business development, following 50% year-on-year growth despite the pandemic, according to managing director Lucas Garlepp.  Before Litify, Rowley, who is based in Phili, was director of corporate sales at Onit, and prior to that, global customer success account manager at Elevate.   

Cosine effectively fills the gaps in 3E and has expanded its product set to include matter planning; expenses and AP invoices; billing and collections. Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Garlepp said: “In terms of our strategy, technically, we’re building to fill the gaps in 3E but by this time next year we’ll have a full lawyer experience.” 

EU regulators asks questions of Microsoft rivals in Teams probe – survey here 

EU #antitrust regulators are asking whether Microsoft Office gives MS Teams unfair advantage in a move that Reuters says is a sign they may open an investigation. 

It’s early days and the regulators are just at the stage of speaking to MS competitors, but any investigation into whether Teams ought – as rival Slack maintains – be unbundled from Office could throw up issues for organisations with Teams-based collaboration strategies. 

Will this development affect your investment in Teams going forward? Please take part in a survey we are running on LinkedIn, link below. To share your views on this topic contact 

PracticeEvolve launches new client success team and new mobile app  

PracticeEvolve Group, which you’ll recall includes Linetime and SOS, has announced the recruitment of a team of client success consultants, who are responsible for ensuring that customers make full use of their practice management software. PracticeEvolve has also in the past couple of weeks launched a new mobile app which connects with customers on-premises software.  

The client success consultants do not have a sales role and CEO David Boland said: “While similar to the conventional account manager roles, the CSCs are not sales driven in any way. Instead, their sole purpose is to ensure firms are accessing all functionality and resources available to them. Research shows businesses tend to only use up to 40% of their systems so firms are often spending time and resource employing additional software without knowing our software already offers a solution. Assigning CSC’s to our clients will help firms realise the full potential of PracticeEvolve, Linetime and SOS.”  

Philip Culbert, head of professional services at PracticeEvolve based in Ireland, added: “The CSC team is fundamental to the future success of law firms and will work alongside our professional services team who will focus on training, product development and continual service enhancement. Our ambition is for the CSC’s to engage users with the services we provide, offering advice and guidance, arranging bespoke training plans with clients and ensuring clients’ competency within the product is constantly being reviewed and renewed.”  

The new mobile app, meanwhile, is called EvolveMobile, and it gives users the ability to record time wherever they are. It integrates with Android and Apple phones and connects with PracticeEvolve’s on premises software.   

To find out more, and to find out how to contact PracticeEvolve if you want a job, (they are recruiting across the business), see here: 

North America 

Litera – Deadline for the 2021 Changing Lawyer Awards is Approaching 

The deadline for Litera’s Changing Lawyer Awards 2021 is fast approaching. You need to get your submissions in by 12pm CDT on Monday, October 25. The awards are part of the 4th Changing Lawyer LIVE! Summit, which will take place on November 10. 

The Changing Lawyer Awards recognizes five categories: 

The Law Firm of the Year Award for the law firm that has most successfully reimagined the way they serve their clients. 

The Legal Innovator of the Year for the individual who has driven the most significant change and provided strategic vision within their firm. 

The Disruptor of the Year Award for the alternative legal service provider or legal tech supplier that has most successfully disrupted the broader legal profession. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award for an individual who has been influential throughout their career as a champion of change, demonstrating a commitment to driving the evolution and beneficial impact of technology within legal services. 

WFH Creative Award (new this year) for the most innovative way to work remotely; or product/service offering unique to 2021. 

Nominations can be submitted through the awards webpage: 

“The Changing Lawyer LIVE! brings together the legal community to discuss how lawyers, law firms, and legal service providers are adapting to the changing environment,” said Avaneesh Marwaha, CEO of Litera. “The Changing Lawyer Awards program, now in its fourth year, acknowledges members of the legal industry who have implemented change and innovation this past year. We will be announcing the finalists and winners as part of the summit program.” 

FileTrail Names Harold Westervelt as its CEO 

Information governance and records management vendor FileTrail has appointed Harold Westervelt as its chief executive officer.  

FileTrail’s co-founder and president Darrell Mervau, who remains with the company in a strategic role, identified Westervelt for the newly created CEO position to lead FileTrail through its current high-growth phase. 

Westervelt was most recently CEO of Sapiens Decision. Prior to that he was president of INVeSHARE, where we’re told he was instrumental in fuelling the company’s expansion, ultimately selling the firm to Broadridge Financial Solutions.  

“At this point in FileTrail’s evolution we saw a need to bring in additional leadership to help us navigate and execute on our product and market strategies. We are excited to have someone of Harold’s caliber join us,” says Mervau. “Taking care of our global clients and developing our product suite to meet the market’s changing needs are paramount to FileTrail’s continued success, and Harold brings the expertise required to move us forward. 

IP Law Firm Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch selects 3E Cloud 

Virginia-based law firm Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch LLP (BSKB) will be transitioning from Thomson Reuters Enterprise to 3E Cloud and will be adopting 3E Workspace and 3E Data Insights. 

Founded in 1976, BSKB is a respected intellectual property (IP) law firm. It selected 3E Cloud after what is described as an extensive competitive review. We’re told that the firm valued the “modern approach and user-friendly interface offered by 3E Cloud, as well as its advanced templates and array of built-in tools and analytics capabilities.” 3E Cloud is hosted in Microsoft Azure. 

“Thomson Reuters is clearly one of the industry’s most formidable suppliers of legal software and was the right choice for our firm as we look to the future,” said Ronald DeWitt, Jr., executive director of BSKB. “They were very attentive to our needs, despite our relatively small size compared to many of the larger industry players. The 3E Cloud offering fit our needs perfectly and will provide a powerful platform for our future growth.” 

Kaye Sycamore launches own consultancy and joins Wilson Allen as CRO  

Kaye Sycamore has left Thomson Reuters and formed her own go-to-market consultancy practice called Saliant, with her first role to provide strategic advice to Wilson Allen in the executive role of chief revenue officer.  We’ve called this a North America story because Wilson Allen is headquartered in Pennsylvania, but Sycamore is not based in the States and spends much of her time in New Zealand.  

“Kaye’s decision to channel her vast experience as an executive for major software vendors into growth consulting for tech-enabled services companies is a great development for Wilson Allen,” said Norm Mullock, VP Strategy at Wilson Allen. “We’re at a critical juncture in our business with strong opportunity in key areas: managed services, billing workflow automation, our specialist capabilities in analytics and training & adoption across all business functions, and ongoing high demand for our project services. We want to re-structure our go-to-market approach to better serve our clients, and to better represent the full breadth of our expertise and offerings. Kaye has lived this opportunity as a strategist, as a key account owner, and as a sales and marketing leader. Her insight and counsel can help us accelerate this transformation.”  

Sycamore, who was previously head of software solutions for global large law at Thomson Reuters, will be working with Wilson Allen’s executive, sales and marketing, and practice leadership teams to establish structure and processes to help take the company to the next level.   

Sycamore said: “I think we’re at a very interesting place in the market now. Many firms have acquired a portfolio of best ‘point’ solutions over recent years and are now wanting to optimize these. What’s needed goes beyond implementation – it’s about end-to-end process automation, cross-system analytics, plus the right process and user engagement. That means the next set of challenges center on data, integration and interoperability, and change management. I think it’s the expert technology services companies that are best positioned to assist professional services organizations to meet these challenges. Wilson Allen has strong partnerships with the major software providers, knowledge and skills in the key applications that are in use in these firms, domain expertise right across the client engagement lifecycle – from initial business development to final financial results, and an excellent reputation in terms of service quality and customer satisfaction. I am excited about working with the team at Wilson Allen, and helping them to maximize this opportunity.” 

Encompass Corporation enters North American market in major US expansion 

Encompass Corporation, a provider of automated know your customer (KYC) solutions, has expanded into North America, with office headquarters in New York, as it looks to scale up quickly. 

Alex Ford, who joined Encompass in 2012, has been appointed president, North America. Ford, who was based in Glasgow until 2020 and most recently was based in Sydney, has held executive responsibility for several business functions at Encompass Corporation including customer success, operations, marketing, product and delivery.  

Joining Ford in the US will initially be six senior staff members before increasing to more than 10 by the end of 2021 and doubling again in 2022.  

Anamaria Meauta, who was part of the core team that established KYC as-a-service for Refinitiv, will join Encompass as head of operations for North America. Alongside Howard Dilworth an experienced sales leader from Exiger, Fenergo and Alacra, who was recently announced as head of sales, North America. 

Ford said: “Encompass is diving into the North American market following an extremely successful 24 months, defined by new hires, partnerships and boosted revenue – an incredible achievement given the challenges posed by the pandemic. 

“We will use our new presence in the US to better serve our existing global customers who already have divisions or branches in North American territories, whilst simultaneously securing new clients and partnerships and strengthening our foothold in the market for automated KYC technology.” 

DocuSign launches legal tech investment arm      

DocuSign has unveiled a new investment arm dedicated to investing in and partnering with companies involved in all stages of the agreement process.  

DocuSign Ventures will be investing in entrepreneurs and startups that are “changing the future of how we all will agree.”  

The fund is DocuSign’s way of attempting to stay close to the startups disrupting the agreement process. It says the technologies it is interested in include agreement process automation and workflows; AI and smart contract technology; identity verification and management; digital payment platforms; legal and compliance automation technologies; and vertical solutions in areas such as mortgage and lending.  

DocuSign already has investments in BlackBoiler, DataGrail, Pactum, and Snapdocs, and a recent investment in The LegalTech Fund, an early-stage investment fund focused on startups that are disrupting the legal space.  

The San Francisco-headquartered company has also made investments in, and subsequently acquired, Seal Software and Clause. These relationships have led to enhancements to the DocuSign Agreement Cloud platform.  

“Agreements are fundamental to everything, traversing how we conduct business and defining the important life commitments we make and depend upon. Despite their essential nature, the agreement process today is still largely manual, static, and rooted in paper,” said Eric Darwin, head of corporate development at DocuSign. “More and more businesses are recognizing the power and urgency of digitizing their agreement processes in order to meet the new ‘anywhere expectations’ of their customers, partners, and employees. DocuSign Ventures is excited to partner with the disruptors who are propelling smarter, simpler and frankly better ways of executing and fulfilling agreements.”