Despite the August lull or perhaps because of it we have plenty of legal IT news to catch up on, including a brand new win for DW Reporting, wins for Luminance and Epona as well as a new integration for Peppermint Technology/iManage and partnership for Wilson Legal Solutions and American LegalNet. Plus all the latest people moves, accelerator announcements (Slaughter and May has called out today – 4 September – for the second cohort of its Fintech Fast Forward programme), innovation award wins and ILTA commentary.

Wins and deals

Mishcon de Reya has selected DW Reporting’s matter pricing and budgeting solution, Evaluate.

Simon Kosminsky, chief information officer at Mishcon said: “After a lengthy review of the market, and a very successful pilot, we have selected Evaluate Matter Pricing to help the firm provide a more detailed and personalised approach to our pricing of individual matters. Evaluate will allow the firm to be far more detailed and granular in our approach to pricing, with the ability to automatically review historical matter data and use that to help guide future pricing for similar matters. Once the budget has been approved with the client, the tool will also allow us to monitor the budget in real time against actual, thus providing an up to date picture of progress at any point in time, leading to a more informed relationship with the client.”

The win follows DW Reporting’s recent selection by UK top 100 law firms Foot Anstey and Pennington Manches.

Top-tier Danish law firm Bech-Bruun has adopted Luminance’s artificial intelligence technology to enhance its due diligence processes for M&A transactions. This is another major win for Luminance, which at the end of August announced that leading independent Australian firms Corrs Chambers Westgarth has signed up as a client.

Bech-Bruun will benefit from Luminance’s ability to understand documents in any language much faster than humans can, freeing up its expert lawyers to spend more time on evaluation. Lawyers will be able to advise their clients on key negotiation points that might never surface in standard data room reviews.

“In using Luminance to examine documents in both Danish and English, we have found the technology makes our current processes even more efficient, eliminating large amounts of administrative work and ensuring we can focus on key documents faster. Luminance is already assisting us with the high volumes of M&A we conduct, and we look forward to rolling the system out to wider use across the firm.” said Christian Ejvin Andersen, CEO at Bech-Bruun.

Peppermint Technology is to provide iManage integration with its innovative, next generation legal software platform, Peppermint CX.

The integration follows the news – as first revealed on our site on 21 August – that Peppermint is to adopt a modular approach to buying and deploying its CRM, case and practice management system in a radical change in strategy.

The integration, for which the design work is already underway, will allow Peppermint customers to use iManage as their single content store repository for all Work Product Management.

Mike Walker, Peppermint Chief Technology Officer at Peppermint said: “Our integration with iManage reflects the introduction of a modular approach to buying and deploying Peppermint. Peppermint has recognised that some firms may only wish to deploy certain modules of Peppermint CX, therefore this approach provides choice. One of the benefits of being on a modern, open industry platform is the ease at which you can connect other applications and content to Peppermint. Our new partnership with iManage is a great example of this.

Geoff Hornsby, iManage General for EMEA, added: “A number of current iManage customers are Peppermint users. The Peppermint CX integration with iManage gives customer choice to those wishing to integrate Peppermint CX with a best-of-breed document and email system.”

Epona has achieved 100 production deployments of Matter Center, which provides law firms and corporate legal departments the means to deploy the Matter Center with Microsoft’s Office 365 and SharePoint, delivering a document management system “which costs tens of thousands of dollars less to purchase, install, implement and support.”

Epona has enjoyed a strong presence in Europe but says it is seeing “rapid acceptance” of its products and tools in North America, where wins include LA law firm Karlin & Peebles and Minneapolis firm Greene Espel.

Epona’s USA Senior Consultant, Keith Vallely, said: “It’s quite simple. Epona tools enable law firms to use the Microsoft platform of Office 365, SharePoint on-line and the Matter Center as a document and email management system. We can prove it. Epona has pulled it all together for hundreds of law firms, including Groups and soon to be announced, Teams capability.”

Wilson Legal Solutions and American LegalNet, Inc. have announced the formation of a services partnership. The agreement solidifies Wilson Legal Solutions’ relationship with ALN and establishes it as a preferred implementation partner of ALN’s eDockets – Critical Dates docketing, legal forms, and calendaring software.

ALN is a leading US provider of risk management workflow solutions for law firms. The company’s flagship product eDockets – Critical Dates is the platinum standard in court-rules-based calendaring and docketing systems and has been chosen for use by many of the AMLAW 100 firms.

And let’s not forget that Robot Lawyer LISA and Clerksroom Billy Bot now have a brand presence on each other’s websites, as well as ongoing joint marketing campaigns between the pair.

Announcing what is being pitched as the first ‘robot relationship’ between two legal bot solutions providers Chrissie Lightfoot, CEO and co-founder of Robot Lawyer LISA, said: “From day one we have been focused on making access to legal services cost effective, time saving and transparent for consumers and businesses to acquire their legal needs by using technology wherever possible in the first instance before moving on to garner human lawyer support, if at all necessary or desired. That’s why we developed Robot Lawyer LISA.

“Today we are delighted to reveal with this announcement the bigger picture in relation to our vision to bring together the right AI solutions and partnerships under the Robot Lawyer LISA website portal and brand to fundamentally change the way the average person can achieve affordable self-help, self-serve access to quality legal insight, documentation and advice.”

New products and initiatives

KrolLDiscovery has launched Nebula, an end-to-end eDiscovery solution optimized for the cloud. Nebula is the next generation version of eDirect365 and builds on eDirect365’s strong processing and review capabilities.

Nebula offers a user-friendly approach to the eDiscovery process, automating and simplifying typically complex tasks. As a web-based application, it is accessible from all modern browsers and mobile devices, including iPad and Android tablets.

Nebula can be deployed within the Microsoft Azure cloud network, bringing scalability and rapid deployment capabilities across the globe. Alternatively, Nebula can be hosted in one of KrolLDiscovery’s state-of-the-art ISO 27001-certified data centers.

“We are excited for the future of Nebula,” said Chris Weiler, President and CEO of KrolLDiscovery. “Expanding our eDiscovery capabilities to the cloud is a benefit to our multi-national and international clients as they can now process, store and access their data across the globe. All the while, we are dedicated to providing the same industry-leading service we are known for by our clients.”

The news follows the recent announcement in the eDiscovery space that kCura is to rebrand as Relativity, dropping the name it has traded under since being founded in 2001 for the better-known name of its flagship global eDiscovery platform.

kCura was founded by Andrew Sieja as a software consulting firm but its success has been driven by Relativity, which is used by over 13,000 organizations globally, including the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 70 Fortune 100 companies, and 199 of the Am Law 200.

Thomson Reuters has created more than 70 “Matter Maps” based on its leading Practical Law service that guide law firms and in-house lawyers through key phases of work and tasks associated with a legal matter.

The Practical Law Matter Maps introduce an accessible overview of the phases of work and core tasks that a legal team need to carry out as required by law and practice when undertaking a legal matter. Displayed as a visual representation of the legal matters, the maps are designed by experts on the Practical Law editorial team to allow a user to find the right Practical Law content for the task in hand by following links to selected, directly relevant content on the map.

Cloud-based legal practice management software vendor Clio is releasing an enhanced version of its accounting sync with longtime partner Intuit, a global leader in cloud accounting. With this update comes a number of performance and functionality enhancements including the new ability to sync amounts held in law firms’ trust accounts. These improved workflows have resulted in faster sync transactions.

“At Clio, we’re always striving to improve our software to better meet the needs of our customers,” said Jack Newton, CEO and co-founder of Clio. “We have ongoing conversations with them to understand how to better support their businesses, and we know that meeting trust accounting requirements are a key part of that. As such, we’ve worked to incorporate a fully automated trust workflow that aligns with our customers needs and goals.”

People moves

Legal360 – 360 Vertical Solutions has hired Tim Kenney to the position of Vice President of its newly announced “Legal360” product division as it focuses on accelerating its momentum in the legal vertical.

Kenney is a long-time legal industry veteran with over 25 years in the vertical as a practicing attorney, consultant and legal software executive.  He recently spent 14 years with Handshake Software, helping to bring the company from startup mode to one of the most respected Microsoft SharePoint products and services companies in the legal market.

As Vice President of the Legal360 division of 360 Vertical Solutions, Kenney will leverage his expertise and knowledge of law firms, the Microsoft technology stack, law office technology and consulting best practices to ensure that Legal360 achieves the same type of success as its sister division—AEC360—which recently was named as Microsoft Dynamics CRM “Partner of the Year”.

encompass corporation has appointed Jon May, former CEO of market leading KYC utility, kyc.com and global head of Regulatory and Compliance Managed Services at IHS Markit, and Yasmeen Jaffer, former Managing Director and Global Head of Business Development at IHS Markit, as industry advisers. Jon is currently CEO, and Yasmeen, Partner, of the KYC, Regulatory and Compliance FinTech firm, JJCFinTech.

AI-driven document extraction and management vendor LEVERTON has hired DLA Piper senior associate Tom Braegelmann as its general counsel, based in its Berlin headquarters. The move comes as Leverton builds its senior leadership team, including promoting Abhinav ‘Abe’ Somani to chief revenue officer and Richard Belgrave as head of Europe as the company, which counts Clifford Chance and Baker McKenzie as clients.

Somani and Belgrave, who joined LEVERTON in 2016 and have been responsible for leading teams in the US and the UK regions respectively, will be working towards building a global platform. The two will continue in their current roles, in addition to taking on their new responsibilities. The pair will work closely with Dan Wucherpfennig, chief operating officer, and Florian Kuhlmann, chief technology officer at LEVERTON.

Law firm legal tech announcements

Bryan Cave has announced the launch of a new data center and cloud infrastructure team within its real estate client service group.

The multidisciplinary team will aim to provide enhanced value to data center developers, owners and users worldwide, providing a global coverage to serve clients in the locations where data centers are clustered.

Slaughter and May today announces that applications for the second cohort of Fintech Fast Forward, its fintech entrepreneurs programme, are now being accepted.

The firm is looking for a further five UK-based, technology-driven businesses to each receive £30,000 of value add services. In March this year, the firm announced the first five companies selected to join the programme: Enforcd, Garrison, Just Miles, Tide and WorldRemit.

The latest application round, which closes on Monday 2 October, is open to any UK-based start-up or high growth company operating in fintech, insurtech, regtech, datatech, legal tech, DLT, data analytics and AI or similar fields.

“In the first round we received over 25 applications to join the programme and we were delighted to welcome Enforcd, Garrison, Just Miles, Tide and WorldRemit to Fintech Fast Forward” said Rob Sumroy, partner at Slaughter and May.

Ben Kingsley, partner at Slaughter and May, added: “We have greatly enjoyed working with the initial cohort and we look forward to continuing to work alongside them as we now look for another group of innovative and entrepreneurial companies to join the programme.”

Innovation awards and accelerator wins

Amiqus has today been announced as regional winners in the startup category of the Scotland and Northern Ireland Barclays Entrepreneurs Awards and are now in the running for the UK prize to be announced on 11th October 2017.

Amiqus is a tech startup based between Leith and Cambridge that aims to make civil justice more accessible through innovative software. Their first product Amiqus ID handles anti-money laundering and compliance checks online, turning hours of manual admin into minutes of automated process for regulated markets.

LexisNexis and Janders Dean have just announced the winners of the 2017 Legal Innovation Index, where data literacy was a common trend among winners that once again include Herbert Smith Freehills and Gilbert + Tobin, resulting in greater capacities for automation in knowledge sharing and access to legal resources.

“This year’s entries have shown that companies are becoming more aware of the importance of understanding the client experience as a differentiator. We are also seeing that innovation has become more embedded within organisations’ cultural blueprint and there has been a rise in collaboration between and within organisations – between disciplines that were previously isolated within their own function,” said Justin North, Director of Janders Dean.

The winners from the Organisation category are Gilbert + Tobin; Helix Legal; Herbert Smith Freehills; Lexvoco; Minter Ellison; and the Westpac Legal Team.

The winners from the Individual category are Andrea Perry-Petersen, LawRight; Clarissa Rayward, Happy Lawyer Happy Life; Claudia King, Automio; and Matthew Robinson, FCB Group. For details see: http://www.legaltechnology.com//latest-news/lexisnexis-and-janders-dean-announce-legal-innovation-index-winners/

Elsewhere Allen & Overy has confirmed the eight companies which will work in its tech innovation space Fuse – with RAVN Systems (now iManage) confirmed as one of those companies.

Fuse, which is based in A&O’s London office, is intended to create a space where A&O lawyers, technologists and clients will collaborate to explore, develop and test legal, regulatory and deal-related solutions. The appointment of RAVN/iManage raised some eyebrows given that this was anticipated by the market to be a group of startups.

The other companies selected include ‘entrepreneurs in residence’ Nivaura, which is developing an automated and vertically integrated cloud based service for the issue and administration of financial instruments by small and medium-sized issuers.

The remainder are Avvoka; Corlytics; Ithaca; Legatics; Opus 2 International; and Vable. For all the details on all the companies in Fuse click here.

The news comes as LexisNexis at the end of August announced completion of its first 12-week accelerator program for startups and called for a new round of applicants interested in participating in its second legal accelerator program. The new program begins on September 15, 2017.

Other Legal IT news

Over the past five years, there has been a 484 percent increase in the number of applications filed worldwide for patents covering new legal services technology, according to an analysis from the legal business of Thomson Reuters.

Data from the World Intellectual Property Organization shows 579 applications for patents relating to new legal services technology were filed worldwide in 2016. That’s up from just 99 patent applications in 2012.

The figures reflect the rise of alternative legal services, such as virtual law firms, and the rapid expansion of the online legal industry. This trend is in large part being driven by businesses and individuals looking beyond traditional channels for legal advice.

Top three legal technology countries by patents filed (2016)

Country  % of total patents filed

  1. United States 38%
  2. China 34%
  3. South Korea 15%

Source: World Intellectual Property Organization

ILTA comment

Vendors have been debating on the Orange Rag whether ILTA represents the best bang for their buck.

Responding to a post from Greg Bufithis – How to run a technology conference: lessons for LegalTech and ILTACON – Andrea Foot, Tikit Australia general manager said: “Spot on, Greg. As I stood on our booth at ILTA this year, all of these points came to mind. I always ask myself the question – ‘is this the best return for a vendors marketing $?’” To read her comment in full click here.

Jon Busby added: “Trade shows fascinate me. Typically underwritten by vendors so buyers get in for free. In return the vendors are given strictly controlled access to buyers.

“Another money spinner for the event organiser is sponsorship of a keynote which is usually vacuous and basically states the bleeding obvious, things such as ‘law firms need to be more efficient.’” You can read the rest of his comments here: http://www.legaltechnology.com//latest-news/comment-greg-bufithis-on-how-to-run-a-legal-it-conference-the-lessons-for-iltacon-legaltech/

Finally, last week we flagged a post on LinkedIn from Ben Weinberger at Prosperoware which is his overview of ILTA and is worth a read. His feedback is that everything was no longer about cloud but the latest buzzword, AI – albeit that much of what’s being touted as AI isn’t, well, that. Other topics of interest included BI and analytics, while DMS remains hot and the competition between NetDocuments and iManage hotter. Firms are – and we would agree with this but only to a certain extent – paying better attention to what they do with technology, not just what they buy.

Happy September everyone.