Wolters Kluwer acquires Della; Insight Legal restructures its senior management; Ince shares are suspended pending auditor’s report; and online marketplace Lawclerk unveils hourly associate option.
The period between Christmas and New Year is never the most obvious to announce a big acquisition and for those of us who took the festive period off, we come back to the news that Amsterdam-listed legal information giant Wolters Kluwer has acquired AI-backed contract review vendor Della, which in the past year has won clients such as leading German firm Hengeler Mueller and UK top 50 firm Mishcon de Reya, as well as French construction giant Bouygues.
Della AI will become part of the legal software unit of Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory, which sells legal management software Legisway to the corporate market and legal practice management software Kleos to law firms.
According to Della’s founder Christophe Frèrebeau, the acquisition will have no impact on Della clients who are not also clients of Wolters Kluwer. However, the plan is for Della to apply its AI across the entire legal and regulatory product suite to improve customer experience.
Giulietta Lemmi, CEO of Wolters Kluwer legal & regulatory legal software, said in a statement: “By integrating the expertise and know-how of Della AI into Wolters Kluwer legal & regulatory, we are further enhancing the value we deliver to our customers, by investing in the continuous development of this key technology and the people behind it. Today, our customers already acknowledge the value of Legisway in all their legal activities. Together with Della AI, we will further enhance our customers’ experience and secure a leading position for Wolters Kluwer in the corporate legal market.”
Della AI, founded in 2018, has offices in London and Paris and employs 16 professionals. Wolters Kluwer says that it expects the investment to deliver a return on invested capital (ROIC) above its weighted cost of capital (8%) within three-five years and expects the transaction to have an immaterial impact on adjusted earnings.
Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, Insight Legal Software over the festive period announced changes to its senior management team. Insight Legal is a cloud-based legal accounts, practice management and case management software solution. Former COO Deborah Witkiss becomes chief product officer, while director of professional services, Paul Hobden, takes over as COO.
These core staffing changes allow Witkiss and Hobden to focus on product direction and service delivery respectively. The timing of Insight’s senior leadership reshuffle, and strategic direction towards a reinforced customer-centric stance, coincides with the software house’s tenth birthday.
Witkiss said: “The thinking behind these board-level adjustments in relation to Paul and myself is simple – we have solid foundations in place regarding growth and user volumes as well as a continually evolving and feature-rich software solution, the combination of which presents a real opportunity for market leadership.
“To differentiate ourselves further from our competitors, we’re channelling dedicated resources into our product and service channels.”
Also in the UK, trading was yesterday (3 January) suspended for listed UK law firm Ince, pending publication of the company’s annual audited accounts and half-yearly report.
The Law Gazette flagged on 23 December that trading would be suspended after issues were raised by incoming auditors. Ince’s new auditor BDO LLP requested more time to prepare accounts ‘because of the historic and legacy accounting issues’ it has encountered. The Ince board has said it is not aware of any material issues arising from the audit. You can find the AIM announcement here: https://www.investegate.co.uk/aim/rns/suspension—the-ince-group-plc/202301030730053601L/
This is not the first time that trading in Ince’s shares have been suspended. It happened in 2021 when The Ince Group announced its intention to acquire Arden Partners, in doing so breaching AIM rules.
And in the United States, online legal marketplace Lawclerk, which since being founded in 2018 has offered flat fee project-based help from freelance attorneys, now offers an hourly option.
Lawclerk provides law firms with fractional associates to fill the gaps in resource when conducting litigation or transactional work. It began expanding its offering in January 2021, rolling out a subscription-based option starting at 30 hours per month for more in-depth, ongoing hiring needs.
However, the start of January saw it announce a new hourly based working option. Hourly Associate is designed to be a flexible tool to help you and your firm to be better lawyers, get more work done and run a better business.
A blogpost from the company said: “Hourly Associates give you a flexible option to power your firm when it’s difficult or impossible to predict the amount of time or even the amount of work you need.”
Lawclerk’s terms of service do not allow hourly associates to do work like take depositions or attend court on a firm’s behalf.