In further significant consolidation of the mid-tier practice and case management software market, The Access Group has acquired DPS Software, vendor of SaaS-based practice management system Spitfire. The acquisition comes hot on the heels of Access’s acquisition of case, matter, and practice management system Eclipse Legal Systems for £56.5m from Capita. 

Access – best known in the legal sector for Access HR – is a fast-growing UK software company jointly-owned by private equity firms TA Associates and HG, which owns Litera and is a majority investor in Mitratec (also alongside TA Associates.)

In a move that will be welcomed by existing customers, post-acquisition, DPS Software’s managing director and founder Osman Ismail will stay on in his current role for six months before moving into a consulting role with the group as a whole. IT director Scott Ridley will then take over from Ismail to lead the DPS team. 

Spitfire is a web-based system that includes integrated case management functionality, so users can access email, calendar, tasks, case management and practice performance reports in the same space. Spitfire’s app, DPS Mobile, enables users to conduct all of the above from their mobile phone. 

Ismail told Legal IT Insider: “Spitfire has come on immensely every release and grown at every stage. They love our technology and the SaaS that Spitfire brings. Of course, they get One Office & Outlook Office as well. Spitfire uses the same databases as One Office, so they can co-exist and the databases are MS SQL, so far more industry established.” 

Ismail added: “There is no other true SaaS based full function practice management system on the market at Spitfire’s maturity. I’m proud if what we’ve achieved in moving from the desktop to the full design UI, UX model that Spitfire represents.” 

Access in June announced the agreement to acquired Eclipse, signaling its intention to further expand its presence in the sector. At the time of that acquisition, Access Group’s CEO Chris Bayne said: “The sector is exhibiting solid growth signals with the legal market forecast to grow at CAGR of more than 14% prior to Covid-19, reaching a total market size in excess of £1.8bn by 2024.” 

Other recent acquisitions by Access include CoreHR and The Payroll Service Company. 

BCMS advised the shareholders of DPS on the deal. Legal advice was provided by Freeths, led by Leon Arnold and supported by Ben Filmer.