Legal technology and operations providers SYKE and Calame will announce today (10 May) an exclusive strategic partnership to enable SYKE to gain a foothold in the French market, while providing Calame with much greater bandwidth including access to a large pool of engineers, we can reveal.
Launched in 2016 by Alistair Maiden, former head of contracts and data protection officer at UK retailer ASDA, SYKE is based in the UK, with teams operating across the globe. It now employs over 200 legal technologists, with clients include Unilever, HSBC, LSEG, easyJet and Springer Nature.
Seven people strong Calame, meanwhile, was founded in 2019 by Emilie Calame, former head of legal (France, Spain, Italy) at Dell Software, and is based in Paris. Also led by COO Jonathan Williams, who is British, Calame serves in-house legal teams across all sectors of the economy, both in France and the US. Its clients include Aircall, Dassault Systèmes, CMA CGM, CEVA Logistics (logistics) and Vinci Energies.
SYKE attempted to launch in Paris in 2020, reaching out to the market for lawyers who wanted to retrain as legal engineers. Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Maiden said: “We have tried to work in France but it’s difficult to operate unless you have local knowledge and the kind of network that Emilie and Jonathan have. A lot of the larger enterprise companies based in Paris need local support on the ground in a kind of quarterback role.
“We provide that role to our big customers in London but at the moment are unable to do the same in France. From Emilie’s point of view, we have a lot of legal engineers with technical expertise that can help them to deliver large implementations.”
With approximately 40% of large French corporates now having a legal operations function, demand for Calame’s services has grown year-on-year since 2019.
Calame told us: “Alistair created SYKE with the same perspective and background as me. We were both GCs previously and the objective to join forces is to address the French market but with a larger scope.
“There are seven of us at Calame so we’re small compared with SYKE. It’s good to know that we have back up and we can help them with the French market, where we know the people and the problem. The objective is to unite to address a much wider market and make legal operations emerge even stronger.”