Breaking news: Lexis acquires Henchman to meet “one of customers’ top requests” – searchable internal data

LexisNexis Legal & Professional today announced it has agreed to acquire Belgian-founded contract drafting startup Henchman. Henchman, which was founded in 2020 by Jorn Vanysacker, Gilles Mattelin and Wouter Van Respaille, now has 170+ legal and corporate customers globally including Deloitte, Freeths, Cuatrecasas, and Cirio. Last year it reported growth of 1300% over the past year and a half.

By acquiring Henchman, LexisNexis says it will deliver personalized generative AI solutions to customers around the world. Henchman core product functionality will be available to existing and new customers. Speaking to Legal IT Insider about the acquisition, Vanysacker said that everyone from Henchman is joining LexisNexis and it will be business as usual for customers.

Vanysacker said: “This is a strategic acquisition for LexisNexis. We regularly got the request to access third party precedents while LexisNexis were told by customers that they would love to access data from their own repositories. This is super complimentary and as our conversation progressed over the past year it became clear that our vision was completely aligned.”

LexisNexis has immediate plans to utilize Henchman’s technology with its proprietary Retrieval Augmented Generation 2.0 (RAG 2.0) platform in its flagship Lexis+ AI solution. Henchman’s capabilities will also be added to Lexis Create, the Microsoft 365 add-in solution that enables point-of-workflow integration for generative AI drafting in Microsoft Word, Outlook, Teams and Copilot.

Henchman interacts with the DMS of a law firm or corporation, indexing the organization’s precedent documents at the clause level, making the data available for contract insights and drafting. Its technology works with legal‐specific DMS providers and general enterprise content management systems and is language agnostic. Henchman’s technology incorporates security and conflict settings that mirror document permissions within the DMS, preserving firm confidentiality and privacy requirements. These benefits are available to customers in days, not months, from deployment of the technology. Vanysacker said that Henchman solves the problem that most law firms face in that the DMS can be a sprawling mass of data. “That’s what we’re solving for,” he said. “Say you prompt something specific from a contract type we will look into your database and then give it to the generative AI (which can be any gen AI, like Copilot) to prompt accurate input.”

LexisNexis will incorporate this enhanced document enrichment capability to deliver new generative AI drafting solutions.

“This is an exciting moment for our customers and the LexisNexis and Henchman teams,” said Mike Walsh, CEO, LexisNexis Legal & Professional. “We’re continuously engaging with customers to determine where AI can deliver the most value. Now, we’ll be able to address one of our legal customers’ top requests – to have searchable internal firm data, combined with our current drafting and AI offerings, allowing legal professionals to rapidly extract language and insights, and generate higher quality work using both internal data and LexisNexis solutions together.”

Mattelin added, “We see this union with LexisNexis as an extension of our drafting vision to proactively surface valuable and strategic insights for customers – delivering a center of knowledge to legal teams. We believe the combination of our teams and tech will empower customers to make informed decisions faster, generate outstanding work, and drive economic value for their organizations.”

Closing of the transaction is subject to customary regulatory consents and is expected early in the second half of 2024. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.