Axiom spin off Axiom Managed Solutions (AMS) today (15 January) announces a wholesale rebrand under the new name Factor as the company differentiates itself from the Axiom brand and distances itself from other ALSPs that focus on commoditised ‘low end’ legal services. AMS was hived off from Axiom alongside Knowable in February last year in order to focus exclusively on complex managed solutions as Axiom, at the time, looked to float.

AMS had been rumoured to be in talks over its sale to MML Capital Partners but is still owned by Axiom’s original owner investors Benchmark Capital and Carrick Capital. Knowable was sold to RELX in July 2019 and Axiom to Permira in September.

While Benchmark and Carrick remain as “long term” investors in Factor, the rebranded organisation will now take on new investment to build its infrastructure, hire new legal talent, enter technology partnerships and generate new productised offerings.

Factor is comprised of around 500 staff of which over half are lawyers. The remaining staff include legal specialists, technologists, and process consultants across offices in New York, Chicago, London, Belfast and Poland.

The company is keen to emphasise that its rebrand has the endorsement of long-term clients such as Vodafone, and Christian Sommer, group legal director at the telecoms giant, said: “We look forward to continuing to work with Factor as they mark this important turning point.

“For years we have entrusted them to handle important and valuable work and have seen very positive results. We have other solutions for low-complexity, commoditized work but our team at Factor handles sophisticated contract negotiations that previously would have been handled by senior in-house lawyers.”

Factor provides solutions for complex legal work at scale. It helps clients to manage their legal spend by providing delivery models for legal projects and processes ranging from one-off regulatory projects to long term managed services. Chris DeConti, head of strategy for Factor said: “Factor represents Legal Innovation 2.0 aimed not at the fringes of low-value work but at the transactional legal work that takes up most of a legal function’s time.”  

He describes it as ‘2.0’ to represent that managed legal services has moved up the food chain and that the managed legal service market has matured. “Applying innovation to commoditized work delivered real savings but ultimately didn’t move the dial because most legal work isn’t commoditized,” DeConti said.

At the time of the spin off last February DeConti, at the time chief revenue officer at AMS, said: “Both Knowable and AMS require and deserve the sharpness of focus, capital, and leadership energy that come with being independent growth companies.”

Comment

This rebrand of Axiom Managed Solutions to Factor is an attempt to differentiate the company’s offering from other ALSPs that typically focus on volume commoditised legal work as opposed to high-end transactional work.

The company has, since its spinoff, been clear that its USP is complex legal work at scale and so the relaunch isn’t so much about change as emphasising what it says is the uniqueness of its offering to the market.

Speaking to me earlier, head of strategy Chris DeConti said: “We have a foot in new law and in old law, meaning we do sophisticated legal work with expert lawyers and market know-how and expertise, combined with new law processes, legal technology and data analytics in order to bring together the best of both worlds.  The ALSP world are all focused on commoditised lower end work but we’ve always been different.”

What has changed, then in order to generate this relaunch? DeConti tells me: “What has changed is our awareness and what we’ve heard from clients – that there is a huge gap in the market. There is lots of hype around legal innovation but the industry hasn’t changed in reality. We’ve pieced together from clients that there is an ecosystem of providers around the fringes: the advisory suited to big law firms and the other fringe is the commoditised, bottom of the pyramid work that LPOs are suited to. But the big piece of work that keeps legal departments busy is the transactional work and none of the providers focus on that piece. Our recognition is that’s all we focus on – and the relaunch is to articulate the space were covering and the fact we’re really unique in focusing on it.”

Factor is now looking for new investment which will go into ‘old law’ hires of expert lawyers and ‘new law’ tech partnerships, new infrastructure (with a heavy focus on data analytics) and creating new commercial offerings. “We’re really taking a more productised approach to the likes of LIBOR or capital markets trading documentation,” says DeConti.

Partnerships are becoming commonplace in the LIBOR space, as vendors seek to collaborate to help corporates overcome the colossal repapering exercise as LIBOR is replaced as the benchmark for interest rates. DeConti says: “What’s different about what we’re talking about relative to LIBOR is that typically the missing ingredient in the new law offerings is expert lawyers – tech is great and process efficiency that LPOs can bring is great but until you make expert lawyers – the old law component – you can’t tackle the complex work and that is where we sit. We are the bridge.