New LITI website goes live!
The new look Legal IT Insider website is now up and running, which is hugely exciting both in terms of what we can offer readers and advertisers going forward.
The site is still a work in progress in terms of its UI, but we hope that you’ll see from the outset that it is now mobile-friendly and fully responsive on desktops, tablets and mobiles.
One important thing to note is that while we have (unusually) resisted the trend towards paid-for-content of any description, you have to register in order to access the free content.
So far, the majority of readers have had no problem in registering but, not surprisingly, some have had issues. The main reason for that is where readers have historically registered/signed up, uploaded content to or downloaded content from the old site. So, if you have ever done any of the following:
Posted a comment on a news story; submitted a newswire story; added a job posting; posted an event/webinar listing; downloaded a Top 200 chart, a report or any content that required you submit a form, or requested to be added to the monthly distribution of the Orange Rag, you must make sure that the site has not automatically logged you into what it believes is your account (see image). If you are logged in, please logout and then begin the registration process or else you will not receive the necessary confirmation email.
To date this is the only issue we are aware of (apart from the occasional user error!).
If you do experience any other issues/glitches email Lum – firstname.lastname@example.org – who is our technical guru or Jez – Jeremy.email@example.com – who isn’t technical at all but will be very charming and get it resolved ASAP. The new site is very much a work in progress so please do let us know your thoughts, feedback, functionality you would like, what works/doesn’t work: we can guess what you want but it would make sense if you told us by using firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the site for all the boring GDPR and privacy notices.
For advertisers, our analytics are now spot on. Previously we weren’t able to tell you in an awful lot of detail about our readers. We now can and we will be transparent about it.
It really was eye-opening during our slightly eventful migration how many people contacted us to say that they can’t access the website – thank you for your patience and support. As many of you know, Legal IT Insider launched in 1995 and has been “on-air” since that time so the downtime was frustrating for all of us.
If you have any editorial queries, contact email@example.com – we’re looking for even more senior industry comment so don’t hold back with your (good) ideas.
If you want to market your business on our site for the first time or explore the new ways we can help you – and there are lots – please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to attend #GlenLegal20 please contact email@example.com.
Here’s to the next 25 years – let’s imagine what the market will look like in 2044!
Kemp Little to launch IP company
UK top 200 law firm Kemp Little is set to launch an IP company called Dupe Killer, which focusses on creative brand protection to help its clients protect their designs and prevent copycats stealing their ideas. The launch, which is part of a plan to create a series of separate tech entities, follows the hire of chief digital officer Gerard Frith, who previously helped large corporates to create start-ups and digitally transform their businesses.
The plan is to leverage Frith’s experience to launch the companies in which Kemp Little will seek external investment as well as partner with other entities. Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Frith said: “We’re creating not a lab but a way of creating new technology that will be spun out and that Kemp Little will retain a share of.”
We asked COO Siddartha Mankad if this is the right role for a law firm and he told us: “That’s not the right question – it suggests that law firms are vocations and professionals that should just be doing law. A law firm is a business serving its client and where there is an idea and a construct that is right for the market you should do it.”
Kemp Little has already launched one subsidiary: in September it won the Innovation in the Business of Law: Technology award at the FT Innovative Lawyers Awards for its development of 4Corners, a database designed to convert complicated contracts into useable business data.
We spoke to Frith about his new role and the launch of Dupe Killer.
Can you tell us who you are and what your role is?
I’m Gerard Frith, chief digital officer at Kemp Little, which is a newly created role. I report to the managing partner and my role is to transform the organisation digitally, lead innovation and create new ideas for services and products to transform the way we relate to our clients.
When did you start at Kemp Little?
In April this year.
Where were you before that?
I have run various start-ups but immediately before I was helping large corporates to create start-ups. I’ve worked with companies like Experian and British Gas and prior to that I developed software using AI and machine learning.
Since April what changes have you introduced at Kemp Little?
There is now a different tone to a lot of the conversations, which none of us would have had without a framework for innovation internally. We are just bringing to market a new AI start-up that we’ve created in the IP area. We’ve created it from scratch and already have three clients on board and its patent is pending. It will be a separate entity when we launch.
Is the ambition to create more than one company?
Yes, we’ll create a series of entities and the law firm will own part of them and we’ll have external investors in some and will partner with other entities. We’re creating not a lab but a way of creating new technology that will be spun out and that Kemp Little will retain a share of.
Is that the right role for a law firm to take?
The role of a law firm is to deliver great service to its clients and for that you need great AI and technology and firms need to understand their clients better and deliver what they need.
“Largest ever” EMEA Aderant Momentum
October saw Aderant host its largest ever EMEA client event, with 140 delegates attending Momentum Europe in London.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, regional director for strategy and growth, Karen Bailey, told us that Aderant this year doubled the number of Momentum EMEA sponsor partners as it increases its partner network to help absorb new work – a move that will be welcomed by the industry and which follows the creation this year of the Aderant Expert Services Partner Network. New partner faces at the conference included Wilson Allen and iTrain, which has been working with Aderant users at Travers Smith.
Inevitably there was a big focus on Aderant’s hybrid multi-tenant cloud offering, and it may come as a surprise that Aderant has 18 live sites on Aderant Expert Sierra in the US and 38 in total signed – it will be launching the cloud legal case and matter management software in the UK at the beginning of 2020.
Sierra is hosted in the US on AWS, but the Atlanta-headquartered software company is still deciding which cloud platform to go for in the UK. Initially Sierra is aimed at smaller firms. In the US the firms that are on Aderant Sierra include Evans Petree; Martin Pringle; Adsero LLC; Meriwether Tharpe; and O’Donoghue, O’Donoghue. Bailey tells us that there is a six-month average implementation time.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider at the event, executive vice president Chris Cartrett said:
“Four years ago we said that mobile options would be a requirement by 2020. Today, it is a no-brainer to have mobile time, inquiries on cellular devices, etc. In five years’ time, cloud is going to be the no-brainer.”
Popular sessions at Momentum EMEA included an opportunity to play with new software: Aderant set up 40 PCs and conducted a series of exercises for attendees to become familiar with new software such as the partner dashboard, where solutions consulting and client experience manager Ian Emery demonstrated how users can create their own tiles.
Aderant also used Momentum EMEA to launch its new Handshake extranet product. It is notably going to launch a series of UK roadshows next year and is currently looking at the most popular sessions and topics.
“We’re taking the new Handshake extranet out to the regions so that people can play with it. We’ve done roadshows for a while in the US and we did them in the UK a few years ago but we are doing it again in Q1 next year.”
Aderant “working with client” after YouTube incident
Aderant says that it is “working with the client” after it this month came under fire from RollonFriday for posting confidential Watson, Farley & Williams client and partner information on YouTube.
According to the legal news and gossip website, the five-and-a-half-minute video showed someone with administrator-level access moving around the shipping firm’s website demonstrating various features. Three minutes in, the cursor opens a ‘Business Development’ section which reveals a list of ‘Deals’ and a list of ‘Pitches’. Several matters are shown, two of which are labelled explicitly as ‘Confidential’.
The video also takes a look at Watson Farley’s billing system, revealing client names and the matters that the firm was working on. Details of client invoices are also shown and the balances on client account.
A third video is reported to show lawyer utilisation rates, specifically naming two Watson Farley partners.
While RollonFriday reports that the footage was uploaded in 2017 by an employee of Aderant, we understand that it was an employee of Handshake Software prior to its acquisition by Aderant. It had been viewed 17 times.
Our understanding is that it was uploaded as a private video – undiscoverable by search – but can be viewed once the link has been shared.
The video was deleted from YouTube within hours of RollOnFriday alerting WFW.
Watson Farley said in a statement sent to RollonFriday and later to Legal IT Insider that the video was created and uploaded by Aderant “without the knowledge or consent of WFW”. The video was created for internal use to demonstrate some of the UI/UX features developed for WFW. The firm said: “We take data breaches very seriously and are concurrently conducting our own investigations including, among other things, action relating to breach of confidentiality on the part of the supplier. We take this opportunity to remind third parties that the information contained in the video is confidential and should not be disseminated. The video or any parts of it should be deleted.”
A spokesperson for Aderant said:
BRYTER expands into the UK
Germany-headquartered decision automation software provider BRYTER in October formally expanded into the UK with the hires of Sam Spivack as managing director of the UK and Ireland and Sharan Kaur as head of strategic partnerships in the UK as its client base in the region grows. Both joined in September.
Spivack until August was AI practice consultant at Kira, responsible for client relationships across EMEA and Australia (he took a lead role in Allen & Overy signing up with Kira in July 2018), and before that was an associate in Berwin Leighton Paisner’s, now Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s, real estate team.
A member of The Law Society of England and Wales‘ Technology and Law Committee, Spivack arrives as BRYTER’s customer base grows in the UK, including new customers such as Hogan Lovells, Fieldfisher, Taylor Wessing and Simmons & Simmons. It also counts Ashurst Advance and Deloitte among its client base.
BRYTER provides easy to use decision trees with “draw, drag and drop” functionality plus built-in document generation (where notably many of the recent hires have come) and real-time analytics. Stibbe is trialling the software (as we revealed in July).
Michael Grupp, CEO of BRYTER, said:
“Sam is a brilliant strategist and a hands-on leader with a profound understanding of the legal and regulatory markets. He has impressed us with his strategic approach and exceptional track record in negotiating global, high-profile deals. We are honoured and stoked to welcome him as managing director for the UK and Irish markets. He is second to none in understanding the challenges and opportunities for business software for professional services firms today and we are eager to continue our fast-paced growth story with him as a leader and manager.”
BT tech and transformation restructure
BT has appointed Dave Hart as its new legal transformation director whilst former general counsel for BT Technology and Transformation, Chris Fowler, focuses all of his attention on the technology business.
Hart, who started out at BT as head of litigation and began moving into a data role as legal director in 2018, is now responsible for defining and delivering the optimum delivery model and the technology vision for the legal function, as well as the operational management of the function globally. He was previously head of litigation at Barclays.
Fowler is now responsible for legal support to the unit responsible for the design, delivery and management of BT’s fixed and mobile network infrastructure. The move happened in the late summer but, speaking recently to Legal IT Insider, Fowler said:
“Given BT Technology is key to BT’s overall transformation and the focus on 5G, rural coverage, converged networks and cyber security, I’m focused on supporting that business and now have the networks & research, mobile property, Intellectual property and security legal teams working into me. Since we signed our managed services deal with DWF Dave Hart is dedicated to leading the next phase of BT Legal’s transformation as our transformation director. Dave will be responsible for the BT legal operations team which consists of finance, vendor management (led by Neil Willson) and systems and change (led by David Griffin).”
Docassemble: The open source rebel alliance
I’ve changed my mind about whether lawyers should learn to code or not, and one of the main reasons is speaking to the attorney founder of Docassemble, Jonathan Pyle, who has developed a free, open source expert system for guided interviews and document assembly that can plug in external sources such as client credit reports in bankruptcy proceedings. Oh yes, and Radiant Law has just open sourced a library that integrates Docassemble to DocuSign so that you can generate a document, including bulk generation, and send it straight out to the signatories without any additional steps.
Pyle is an attorney at Philadelphia Legal Assistance, providing free legal advice to low income people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Frustrated by the lack of affordable technology available to the not-for-profit sector, Pyle taught himself to code and tells me: “I’ve been using lots of different programming languages – once you teach yourself one you can teach yourself others.”
Docassemble allows people to create web applications incorporating decision tree and document assembly functionality and Pyle says: “It is completely extendable so if you want to add different features or have the screen look completely different or have it look up your case, you can.”
The platform was released a couple of years ago and is now used in 17 countries globally with two start-ups based on building with its code: Documate and Community.lawyer. Pyle tells me: “They are trying to serve the market for lawyers who don’t want to code but want to create apps.”
Pyle’s quiet ambition is more revolutionary, and he tells me: “I’m focussed on changing the way the law is practiced by having people on staff who aren’t afraid to code and will spend all day developing sophisticated apps. If they are doing it all day long, why wouldn’t you give them a sophisticated tool? If you’re a photographer, you don’t want a children’s camera to take photos.”
He adds: “Proprietary technology tries to make things easy but has less functionality. They don’t want to give too much leeway or users get in trouble. I come from an open source culture where you should have the power to do something advanced even though you might make an error.”
One of the ways that Docassemble is being used in the A2J space is that it is helping people in 48 US states file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy for free: Upsolve automates a vast number of mandatory questions and obtains outside information such as the client’s credit report, replacing the $2,000 sum that you normally have to pay a lawyer to prepare and file the paperwork.
Pyle says: “It has more functionality because of the nature of open source – so much already exists, so if you’re making an open source product you have the advantage that you can include all that great functionality. My code can send text messages because somebody else already did that.”
From an access to justice perspective, this represents an exciting step in the right direction. Radiant Law’s founder Alex Hamilton built the DocuSign integration to encourage other industry players to back Docassemble. He tells me: “It’s important both because (a) we need as an industry to take seriously the access to justice disaster and pro bono will never be enough, so we have to look to and support scaleable open-source solutions, and (b) because there is a roll-up going on in legal tech and we need flexible, cost-effective, simple platforms to build solutions for clients that don’t require huge IT projects, massive budget and lock-in.”
This is likely to accelerate the still fairly nascent trend among law firms towards hiring legal tech engineers. And while I stick to the belief that the world has enough crappy code and that lawyers who can’t use Word shouldn’t be stuck in a mandatory Python course, I find Pyle’s argument convincing that lawyers can achieve great things if the knowledge in their head doesn’t have to go through a technical translator to become code. “Lawyers need to concentrate on how you drive down the cost of law and one of the ways they can make it more affordable is by automating whatever goes on that they can automate. They can’t stay away from the idea of reducing their knowledge to something that can be automated,” he says.
“There are a lot of advantages to the lawyer programmer brain: they can be faster and take less communication if they are willing to climb the learning curve. Although, he adds: “You need to think of all the possible things that might happen and just as some lawyers aren’t good at writing contracts or regulation from scratch, some lawyers aren’t good at that.”
While this is happening in the A2J space, it doesn’t take a genius to see that open source is becoming more mainstream in the legal sector.
With his customary grin, Hamilton tells us: “If industry players are set on building Death Stars, it’s time to start a rebel alliance.”
Later in this issue, we talk to John Tredennick, founder of the Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation. It’s no coincidence that on October 17, Pyle was designated as a member of the Advisory Board of the Merlin Foundation, which is a foundation for furthering the adoption of open-source technologies in the legal sector. Docassemble was also added as a featured product on the Merlin Foundation web site: https://www.merlinfoundation.org/projects-1.
GC Privacy roundtable
Legal IT Insider is co-hosting a general counsel roundtable on privacy with Prosperoware in January.
This is going to be an extremely valuable and informative session. To register your interest and find out more please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exciting legal L&D?
Crafty Counsel in October launched online subscription-based learning and development via a series of videos recorded by specialists in the area.
The new subscription content covers technical legal topics, as well as advice on transforming internal legal functions across legal operations and legal tech. To that end it has partnered with general counsel and lawyers from law firms and legal tech companies: current presenters include Linklaters, Simmons Wavelength and the in-house legal teams at RBS, Vodafone Business, Lonely Planet and The Crown Estate.
The videos are organised into boxsets (sort of like Breaking Bad) and playlists of bite-sized (<15 minute) studio-quality episodes to provide users with a curated library of content. Subscribers can access their watch history and download it into a report, with each video tagged against the competency requirements set by the SRA.
One reason for bringing it to you now is that Crafty Counsel has been flagged to us recently by a couple of industry leaders who are impressed with the way the company is transforming the legal L&D experience.
Crafty Counsel’s CEO and founder Ben White, a former Clifford Chance associate and latterly group corporate counsel at the Global Fashion Group, said:
“The legal industry is lacking accessible and structured learning & development resources. As I found in my own legal career, training does exist, but is usually expensive, hard to find and often not putting the needs of the in-house lawyer front and centre.
I left my own legal career to set-up Crafty Counsel as I believed the industry could do so much more to service lawyers in this area and in a modern way. I am delighted to be able to launch our new subscription service which will give individual lawyers and entire legal teams access to on-demand learning and development video material that is both affordable and targeted at what in-house counsel really want and need to hear about.”
Tim Smith taps out of OnePlace
OnePlace’s founder Tim Smith has largely exited the client lifecycle management business following its acquisition by Intapp, as Intapp formally rebrands its entire business around the OnePlace name.
Smith is taking on the role of external strategic adviser but the vast majority of his focus is now directed on the launch of a non-legal Salesforce-based project lifecycle management application called HardHat.
Speaking to us about the move, Smith told us: “My role is now a strategic one. I did have a sales role but I’m not a sales guy. I’m loyal to the business and the people, so I said, ‘Why don’t I take this role and give you advice on running the business and dealing with any issues.’” Smith is officially retained one day a week by Intapp.
Intapp acquired OnePlace at the end of May 2019 and, at the time, it appeared from the rhetoric that the intention was very much for Smith to lead the charge in integrating OnePlace with DealCloud – the financial services-focussed client lifecycle management system acquired by Intapp in 2018.
However, speaking to Legal IT Insider about the move, Intapp’s president Dan Tacone said: “To me this seems totally natural. Any time you acquire a business it’s a major shift for the CEO, who goes from owning the company and making the day-to-day decisions to a place where you sold the company and don’t make those decisions, albeit that doesn’t mean you don’t have influence.
“We went in with our eyes open that Tim is a great person and contributor, but we knew about HardHat and there was always a risk that he would move on in a different timeframe than he originally thought. He has a deep passion for the business and the people and his initial thinking was that he wanted to stay on and protect that but, as he thought about the integration, he got to a level of comfort that the people, product and customers were well taken care of and he didn’t have to worry.”
In terms of roadmap, the legacy OnePlace platform (based on Salesforce, with around 60 clients) is being maintained but the main focus for development is a best-of-breed DealCloud-based platform called Intapp OnePlace 2020 that integrates with other Intapp products. Within the financial services sector the name DealCloud will be retained.
Smith said: “The DealCloud platform is sensational and they have incorporated all the OnePlace IP into it so it’s so much more robust. It’s really humming and gaining momentum.” Baker McKenzie was the first law firm to sign up to DealCloud but we understand that there are other big deals in the pipeline.
Intapp acquired OnePlace for the name, the expertise of the team (many of whom are ex-LexisNexis InterAction) and to incorporate the OnePlace IP into DealCloud. Speaking to us at the time of the acquisition, CEO John Hall said: “OnePlace is such a great name and the name says it all. The firms recognise that we are trying to create one place for partners, so our two companies completely agree on the vision.”
Perhaps it is no surprise that Intapp has now rebranded the entire company Intapp OnePlace.
Intapp is led by Hall who is assisted with strategy by Mark Holman, who joined in July and is helping the company in its ambitions to integrate its products, become a single platform and further expand the business.
According to his LinkedIn page Holman is there to “help Intapp become one of the largest and most successful of the next wave of ‘Industry Cloud’ companies servicing the $5 trillion professional and financial services industry.”
The company is increasingly targeting the high-level C-Suite, and we admire its ambition, but it is stretched thin and, in many cases, failing to deliver on existing day-to-day services, leading to dissatisfaction among a swathe of its existing legal client base. This will hopefully be resolved by closer partner relationships with the likes of Wilson Allen, Pinnacle and Stickleback.
Intapp is backed by Temasek and Great Hill Partners and it has long been rumoured to be looking to float.
Integreon partners with Seal
Alternative legal services provider Integreon in October announced a new partnership with Seal Software, in what will start as a LIBOR repapering offering but is expected to expand far beyond that. We spoke to Integreon’s CEO Bob Rowe and Integreon’s senior VP of contracts, compliance and commercial services, Jeff Catanzaro about their plans.
Seal’s contract analytics LIBOR Insight Accelerator will immediately be a key component of Integreon’s recently launched LIBOR Transition Readiness Task Force, which is led by Catanzaro, who joined Integreon from UnitedLex in September. Incidentally he rejoins Rowe: the pair previously worked together at Huron Legal.
The LIBOR Task Force assists banks and financial institutions to move away from the LIBOR Reference Rate which ends in 2021. Industry estimates suggest that phasing out the LIBOR reference rate will impact over $350 trillion worth of contracts and render obsolete LIBOR contract clauses residing in 100+ million documents.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider at Legal Geek, Catanzaro said: “We looked at various tools specially for LIBOR and selected Seal as a result of both product analysis and speaking to clients in the market – the banks that we spoke to as part of our market research and exploratory meetings are picking Seal.”
Rowe added: “We started with the premise that our financial services clients have a big problem, so rather than saying ‘We need to find technology’ we said, ‘How do solve LIBOR?’ That led to this partnership: a point solution that’s a starting point but that we expect to grow and be needed for problems outside of LIBOR.”
Accenture recently conducted a survey which showed that organisations are not nearly as prepared as they should be for LIBOR. Rowe said: “The client doesn’t want to have to put the puzzle together, but they have a lot of people approaching them saying ‘we provide this piece’. We want to make sure that when we walk in, we provide the whole solution. Seal out of the box can get to a deep analysis where others require more effort.”
LIBOR is not just a legal problem, it involves multiple stakeholders and Catanzaro told us: “The stakeholders aren’t talking to each other. There are compliance, contract and regulatory issues and each of those stakeholders is looking at how to solve LIBOR so we’re saying we take a holistic approach. It will cost you £1 to find the contracts but for £1.10 you can address all of the issues. We’re saying don’t just spend £1, be more thoughtful about it.”
Integreon now has 300+ staff in the UK and says it has the ability to scale as necessary. Catanzaro said: “We have people being trained on Seal right now and it’s going to be a continuing education. Our team is building analytical models specific to LIBOR. We’re not just licensing the software, we’re truly partnering with them.”
K&L: Consolidating the desktop
For K&L Gates’ director of business transformation, Melissa Speidel, there are strong parallels between the legal sector now and the finance sector in 2008 and the healthcare sector before the Affordable Healthcare Act (often referred to as Obamacare): none were ready for the changes coming down the track and many people didn’t believe until the last minute that change would happen.
“When the Affordable Healthcare Act came up, I was consulting with some of the biggest national insurance companies on how to become B2C – they were B2B – and the people we were meeting with said ‘we don’t have to do this’. The legislation said they had to do it, but they couldn’t fathom that change would happen,” says Speidel. “They said, ‘things won’t change that much.’ I remember thinking ‘your world will change overnight.’
“It’s funny how those companies have adjusted but they saw a lot of turmoil. And finance did the same thing with the recession. All these new regulations came in and you saw massive lay-offs and a technical shift towards ‘how to do things more effectively and efficiently using technology’.
“Whether change is being thrust on you or clients are demanding it, every industry has their time.”
I’m speaking to Speidel and K&L Gates’ CIO Bart Gabler about signing up to the Litera desktop earlier this year, cutting five vendors to just one, and Gabler says: “We saw the value a year ago in single source and working with one vendor. But now we appreciate the roadmap, enabling lawyers to work where they live. The less time we spend on our change effort and the more trying to meet where they are and improving their experience in their application is where we see the greatest value lies.”
K&L Gates was an early adopter of Litera and had a small installation of Contract Companion and also DocXtools. Speidel says: “We had a conversation about where Litera was going and it’s on the right path. Interestingly, Litera came to our partner retreat in 2018 and we highlighted some of our ongoing efforts. There was such an interest in engaging with them and in talking to the 900+ partners and demo-ing the tool they were very open to different ideas and listening to partner feedback.”
Partner feedback is very much in keeping with the human-centred design approach that the K&L Gates IT and innovation team are taking. Gabler says: “It’s been one of the cooler things: highlighting the technology we’re rolling out and getting partners’ feedback but also using human-centred design to understand their challenges.”
Speidel adds: “We’re focusing a lot of our time on legal project management and people: the technology will come but we need to understand the problem that we’re trying to fix.”
Litera’s strategy is seen as supporting that and Gabler says: “I look at Litera and think ‘here is a strategic ship’. The fully integrated solution creates significant time savings.” Speidel adds: “We’re having conversations with other vendors because we can modularise and combine the tools to offer a very unique customised solution.” That approach with the likes of Kira Systems and HighQ came from talking to partners about their needs.
As we’ve discussed many times in these pages, Litera is backed by private equity house HG and Speidel observes: “It’s a natural flow – VCs will follow where the opportunities are. They did in finance and healthcare and they will follow the opportunity to do something better and provide more value in legal.”
The K&L Gates IT team incorporates business transformation. Other key players include Bethany Smocer Knoblauch, director of pricing and legal project management, and Caroline Austin, director of knowledge and practice support, who looks after the firm’s precedents and drives innovation.
Legaltech startup investment more than doubles
Investment into UK legal technology start-ups reached £61m in 2018, more than doubling the £22m invested in the previous 12 months, according to the Legaltech Start-up Report 2019 in October, a report by Thomson Reuters and Legal Geek, which also says that startups have received more than that sum already in 2019.
The report shows that investment in UK legaltech start-ups has risen dramatically over the last five years – less than £1.5m was invested in the whole of 2014, according to the report’s findings.
Legaltech start-ups received at least £62m through the first nine months of 2019, surpassing the 2018 total.
The UK is the hub of European legal technology, with UK legaltech start-ups making up 44% of all legaltech start-ups in the EU. This is far higher than the UK’s share of the European legal services market (23%) – see the report for further details on those stats.
The report suggests the rapid development of the legaltech sector in the UK is the result of an extensive network of incubator programmes and tech labs created by law firms, corporates and universities. We’d include the increasingly competitive private equity interest in the sector and, not going for any popularity votes, have previously reported that this level of start-up investment, particularly when you look at it on a global scale, is at times like “throwing spaghetti against a wall”.
Jim Leason, vice president, customer markets at Thomson Reuters, said: “The UK benefits from a unique mix of a large tech and data science talent pool and world-leading law firms as well as easy access to capital through financial markets. This has enabled the fast-growing legaltech sector to thrive.
“Legaltech is now attracting funding from a variety of sources, including law firms themselves, private equity and venture capital funds. This interest has given start-ups the crucial leg-up they needed to take their products quickly through to the next stage of development and testing.
“The speed at which the legaltech market is maturing is evidence both of demand for these products and the quality of the support infrastructure in place for start-ups. Investors from across the world have clearly spotted the growth potential.”
Legal open source platform launches
John Tredennick, who founded Catalyst Repository Systems and sold it for $75m has launched the Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation, a non-profit company that is creating a central platform for legal professionals to collaborate on open source development projects.
“Open source has revolutionised the way software is developed worldwide,” Tredennick said as Merlin launched in mid-October. “It represents a new and powerful alternative to proprietary software and has great applications in legal. Teams of developers and legal professionals worldwide are collaborating to make software that improves access to justice for clients and makes legal and regulatory compliance less costly.”
The Merlin Foundation is managed by a volunteer board of directors, an advisory board and the foundation director. Its chief financial officer and treasurer is Lewis Visscher, who was CFO at Catalyst.
On the advisory board is Mary Mack, former director of ACEDS, who said: “At its heart, open source is about collaboration. What makes it so powerful is that people can come together worldwide to develop and release free, fully featured software tailored to legal needs.”
Communicating after the launch, Legal IT Insider asked Tredennick, given that law firms like products that are as close to off-the-shelf as you can get and that are supported, whether he is optimistic that the majority will embrace open source technology? Do they have the expertise and inclination?
He told us: “Ironically, I faced the same question when I started Catalyst in 2000. You could have pointed out that law firms like to keep their servers on premises, usually in a network closet. That changed pretty quickly once people realised the benefits of having the data hosted by a company that specialises in secure hosting.
“I think we are at about the same point with respect to open source software. Those same law firms and legal departments are realising that off-the-shelf software has severe limits, particularly for compliance needs. And are beginning to recognise they can build systems together through open source.
“I founded the Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation because I am convinced that the open source model can be important for the legal profession both to improve access to justice and make legal processes more efficient and cost-effective. The initial response has been encouraging, with people reaching out from around the world. My hope is to provide a rallying point for others who believe in the cause and to support open source efforts in every way I can. It seemed like the least I could do for an industry and people who have always been good to me.”
The Merlin Foundation plans to achieve its mission by:
- Fostering worldwide education about the advantages of open source software and secure cloud computing;
- Providing a central platform for legal professionals to collaborate on open source development projects, and;
- Distributing open source software under free licenses to individuals and organisations around the world for legal and regulatory compliance processes.
The goal is to develop a central repository of active legal open source projects and provide a home for legal technologists to collaborate on great software that will benefit both the legal profession and those who need legal services at an affordable price.
NetDocs launches new data centre
As we first revealed on 8 October, NetDocuments is to launch a new data centre in Germany, bringing the number of jurisdictions in which it has data centres to four. The announcement came at its ndElevate 2019 user conference in Utah, where NetDocuments also formally launched CollabSpaces (which replaces ShareSpaces). It also formally announced the launch of quantum entropic encryption, which two CIOs at the conference told Legal IT Insider now “future proofs” the technology. The data centre follows those in the UK, US and Australia.
NetDocuments also at the conference formally launched NDFlexStorePro, meaning that content can be stored where the end user is located, be that a global or a remote data centre, solving the issues of speed for people working in areas with poor internet connection and helping to overcome issues of sovereignty. This will appeal to NetDocuments’ international firms.
“For the first time in our history we have been able to place and distribute content anywhere and eliminate the distance factor,” said chief technology officer Alvin Tedjamulia, who raised some eyebrows by referencing Ghandi, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King in his keynote.
Of the switch from laser to quantum physics for its entropic encryption – which has already been implemented in the US and the UK – Judi Flournoy, CIO of Kelley Drye & Warren, told Legal IT Insider at the conference: “Quantum makes a huge difference. They are changing it to make it completely random. It’s in every data centre and will be in Germany when that goes online.”
The release of Workspace Security Manager enables you to build ethical walls and need-to-know security more easily. Today there is a fair amount of user complexity around the setting and administration of these security rules but, using CollabSpaces, users will be able to attach permission to, for example, a project or matter. Jed Cawthorne, newly-appointed director of security and governance solutions at NetDocuments, said: “The whole idea is to make it easier to set up access on a workspace basis. We are moving away from document level access control to creating a policy for the workspace.
“This is where CollabSpace comes in, because it is already there as a mechanism for sharing documents. We’re trying to make things much more simple.” It’s anticipated that Workspace Security Manager will be available in Q2 of 2020.
The announcements and emphasis on creating a place of work – not just document creation – were largely welcomed by clients. Speaking to Legal IT Insider at the conference, Gene D’Aversa, director of project management IT at Husch Blackwell, said: “This means attorneys will be able to stay in one platform and not have to shift between different platforms. We can store documents of record in one place, which improves the governance.”
SCL seeks female tech law heroes!
To celebrate the first 100 years of women lawyers, the Society for Computers and Law is inviting you to nominate your female tech law hero!
She can be a lawyer, technologist, academic, in fact anyone who has inspired your professional life in the tech law sector.
Send your nominations to email@example.com telling them why you find them so inspiring.
The deadline is 22 November and the results will be published on legaltechnology.com and on the SCL website later in 2019. There will be multiple winners so get nominating.
Death of the billable hour
I was recently on a panel to discuss the death of the billable hour and thought I’d share (with his permission!) a behind-the-scenes conversation with Hans Albers, general counsel and head of legal operations at Juniper Networks, who is also president of the Association of Corporate Counsel.
Albers told me: “The bottom line is that change is happening much slower than some people predicted. Susskind’s predictions haven’t been true. The billable hour is still here and predominantly what people are using to pay their lawyers. My feeling is, yes, there are a few large US multinationals who say they have moved away from the billable hour but there is also a bit of hype and bullshit at play.
“The problem I see in all the discussions I have is that most in-house lawyers still feel comfortable with the billable hour because it’s the model they know and understand. When I bring up fixed fees, they say ‘how do I know I’m not paying too much?’
“Maybe ‘I’m paying too much’ comes down to value-based pricing – value is a different conversation and not many people are happy to have that conversation right now.
“Lawyers and law firms that are using alternative fee arrangements (AFA) do it by breaking up legal tasks into chunks that they can price differently. The price for due diligence will be priced differently to high-end negotiation and use different people.
“What is often neglected – and there are only a few law firms starting to do things more scientifically – is that you can use data to understand pricing. If you’re a big law firm and do 10,000 employment tribunal cases, you have a lot of data on the average cost and time they take and with that you should be able to give an accurate estimate in terms of a fixed fee.
“The trouble is that where firms do offer an AFA they often also use shadow billing – so if they charge £50k and it comes out as £70k on the clock, they come to you afterwards and say ‘can we talk about this.’ What the hell, if I buy a car the dealer doesn’t phone me up afterwards and say ‘we’re making a loss.’ Lawyers like to run their business with no risk.
“What other business charges you for photocopying?
“It’s not changing because most big law firms are all stuck in the partnership model – the likes of Alex Hamilton at Radiant Law are able to break out of it because they set it up as a different business. I’m still surprised that there aren’t more alternative law firms that are set up to sell legal services at a fixed fee, not on the billable hour. ‘You want a contract, here is how much’. Not many people are doing that. Most in-house lawyers are still very proud that they have agreed a 20% discount.
“The Big Four are acting the same way. They might be slightly better at using technology or offering technology, but the bottom line is that they have the same partner model and they hire people from big law firms.”
With me on the panel at the Legal AI Forum were Jeffrey Brandt, CIO of Jackson Kelly and chair of the conference; Nora Teuwen, strategy consultant and former group general counsel at Swiss Federal Railways; and Alex Hamilton, founder of Radiant Law, which is still rare in using value based billing and has turned work away if the client insists on using the billable hour.
TrialWare hit by ransomware
Florida-based case management software company TrialWorks has reportedly been hit by a ransomware attack that shut down its platform for four days, forcing at least one law firm to seek a deadline extension in federal court.
According to the Miami Herald, Florida law firm Whittel & Melton was forced to request more time to meet a filing deadline in a gender-discrimination employment case because it could not access its electronic documents stored with TrialWorks.
“My request for information has fallen on deaf ears,” attorney Jason Melton, a managing partner with Whittel & Melton in Spring Hill, reportedly told the Miami Herald. “They have kept us in the dark. It has been one of the more frustrating events [at this law firm] in a long time.”
TrialWorks users have been venting their frustration on Twitter, with Lawyers Lake Worth @LakeLawyers on 16 October asking: “Is anyone doing an article on the TrialWorks malware? They service 2,500 firms and firms cannot access their files at all!!! 3 days!!! No end in sight!!!” On 21 October, in response to a tweet from @_ashlynn_b saying “We’re back up and running, albeit with multiple glitches/inconsistencies” @LakeLawyers said: “We’re not. Some employees have limited access but can’t view anything. Others just get a black desktop and nothing else.” The Twitter account was only set up in October – seemingly for this communication – and has just one follower.
TrialWare has yet to reply to our requests for comment but, in a statement reported by the Miami Herald, said that it had started an internal investigation and retained independent cybersecurity experts, commenting: “We have been working around the clock to restore normal operations for our customers as quickly as possible, and nearly all customers have had access restored within a week.”
Thomson Reuters partners with OpenLaw
Thomson Reuters and OpenLaw say they are exploring the future of legal documents with a cutting-edge proof of concept that combines smart documents powered by blockchain technology with document automation.
The initial proof-of-concept shows how Contract Express can be used to create a contract from a Practical Law standard document and turn specific provisions into smart contracts to be executed on the Ethereum blockchain, using the OpenLaw protocol.
“This proof of concept demonstrates how users could incorporate blockchain-enabled smart contract provisions into any legal template they create within Contract Express, including the many automated standard documents available from Practical Law,” said Andy Wishart, global head of drafting tools & productivity solutions at Thomson Reuters. “And the process is seamless and intuitive to the extent that lawyers will not need specialised technical or blockchain expertise to create smart contracts. This represents a jumping-off point for further efforts to make blockchain technology and smart contracts more accessible to the mainstream legal industry.”
“By bringing OpenLaw and Contract Express together in this way, we have demonstrated that smart contract technology can be integrated into the automation tools that lawyers are using today,” said Aaron Wright, co-founder of OpenLaw. “This opens up the possibility for lawyers to capitalise on the future benefits of blockchain-enabled legal services, and this proof-of-concept represents a first step in exploring how blockchain-based smart contracts can be applied to a full commercial transaction.”
This video explains how the smart contract proof-of-concept works.
As we first wrote in February, Contract Express is working with Integra Ledger on a blockchain proof-of-concept. You can read more here: https://www.legaltechnology.com/latest-news/blockchain-separating-the-fact-and-fiction/
Book #GlenLegal Now!
We have finalised the dates for #GlenLegal20 – 29-31st March 2020 @ The Gleneagles Hotel. Naturally we are somewhat tied to the venue what with the brand being #GlenLegal2020. The irony is that the hotel has worked this out too, so much so that during the contract negotiations early this year the FD sniggered “GlenLegal” when we suggested we were going to put the venue selection out to tender!
The plan for 2020 is to invite a larger number of IT Directors, CIOs and innovation heads to attend but to keep sponsor numbers similar to last year, enabling an increased CIO to supplier ratio for two reasons:
- To keep the number of sales pitches to a minimum for the CIOs;
- To increase the number of CIOs the sponsors can pitch to – it’s a win-win situation!
While we jest, anyone who has attended over the last five years will know that #GlenLegal has always been about the experience being “just right”. Naturally, the venue, the surroundings, the activities, the content and the networking all play a part in the success of the event. But the key has always been about keeping the numbers low enough not to lose the boutique feel the event offers, unlike many other events that are driven purely by profit and growth.
We have booked 163 rooms, so if you want to join us either as a sponsor or a delegate let us know so you don’t miss out! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s Hot & What’s Not: Wins & Deals
UK & EMEA Forensic Risk Alliance, a global forensic accounting and consulting firm, has announced a partnership with Infinnium, a software company delivering innovative solutions to transform information governance and corporate decision-making using artificial intelligence for forensic accounting and related consulting services in the EU. The agreement meshes FRA’s global expertise in forensic accounting and consulting expertise with Infinnium’s 4iG platform, the suite of technologies empowering the data governance and privacy law compliance needs of the enterprise. Both companies have global cross-border and cross-sector litigation and investigations experience and, working together, will offer a distinct competitive advantage in the marketplace. Frances McLeod, FRA founding partner, said: “We are the first global forensic accounting and consulting firm to offer the Infinnium 4iG suite of information governance technologies and are pleased to offer our clients a modern AI technology platform to address data governance, privacy and protection and ensure compliance with GDPR, EU-US Privacy Shield and other data privacy and compliance regulations.” The exclusive agreement is specific to the European market. Harsh Sutaria, Infinnium co-founder and chief success officer, added: “4iG is an advanced technology conceived from the ground up to solve today’s very large, very complex information governance and privacy problems for organisations with evolving needs. Information governance strategy has become a core component of overall business strategy – and right now, organisations are actively seeking to meet primary requirements to identify and organise their data in better ways. With 4iG organisations can accurately ascertain what data exists where, assess the risk it carries and, most importantly, act upon it.”
North West law firm Bell Lamb & Joynson has chosen pay-as-you-go legal document bundling software from Zylpha for use with their LEAP case management system. The software’s single-view digital approach streamlines and simplifies the arrangement and pagination of documents. Mike Leeman, managing partner at the firm, said: “Traditionally, document bundling has been a complex, labour-intensive and time-consuming activity. In transforming this process, Zylpha has reduced what used to take days and hours into just a few minutes. The quality of the bundles produced is beyond question, too. Overall, this is truly impressive as it frees up considerable time for use with clients.” Zylpha’s managing director, Tim Long, added: “Bell Lamb & Joynson is a venerable practice that has built its long-standing reputation on driving quality in all it does. We are delighted, therefore, that the move to our pay-as-you-go electronic bundling software will save considerable time and free up vital resources.”
Bristol-based case and knowledge management software company, Iken, has announced the arrival of a new cloud-hosted product, alongside significant upgrades to their existing on-premise desktop offering. The launch of Iken Cloud, and the development of Iken Desktop, is testament to the company’s desire to cater for all customers, regardless of their IT strategy. It was Iken’s user-led approach that drove this decision, which allows customers to select technology that best fits their business needs, both now and in the future. Tanya Corsie, Iken CEO, explained: “By developing Iken Cloud we can support customers who are working through Microsoft Office 365 or the Google G Suite and require secure remote access to caseloads. Our commitment to, and continuous expansion of, the Iken Desktop, in particular the client portal, means that those who prefer an on-premise solution continue to benefit from new features and functionality. It’s a win-win.” Andrew Chester, Iken executive chairman, added: “The announcement of a brand-new cloud product and our continuing commitment to desktop is reflective of Iken’s founding principle: ‘Know what matters’. Both solutions ensure that no organisation is left behind and that all are empowered to digitise at an appropriate pace.”
Norwegian law firm Simonsen Vogt Wiig is using Neota Logic’s platform to digitise the firm, which is planning a range of self-service applications and has started with the release of a Dawn Raid application and a GDPR Checklist. Neota is a no-code AI automation platform providing professionals with a wide range of easy-to-use tools to build applications rapidly to automate any aspect of their services. The Neota platform and applications were implemented by Neota’s partner, Transform Data International. Simonsen Vogt Wiig see Neota as a vital tool in helping their clients achieve their goals as well as helping their lawyers put standard processes into digital applications. Peter van Dam, chief digital officer at the firm, commented: “We wanted to find new ways to serve our clients as efficiently and effectively as possible. By having these applications available on our website, in our client portal and on the Simonsen Vogt Wiig mobile phone app, our clients will be able to access them at any time of day and night. By productising our legal knowledge in these applications we also save our lawyers more time to focus on higher priority work. We are also working on a more complex MiFID II and other regulatory and competition applications that will be released in the coming months. The real value, however, lies in the interaction with students from the universities of Bergen and Oslo who can see how technology is being adapted in everyday processes”. Kim Massana, CEO at Neota Logic, added: ‘We are excited to be working with Simonsen Vogt Wiig as they digitise their legal expertise to offer transformative services to their clients. Neota’s no-code automation toolkit allows for complex, easy-to-use digital applications to be developed from a blank canvas.”
Philip Lee, a commercial law firm headquartered in Dublin with offices in Brussels, London, and San Francisco, has chosen DocsCorp’s pdfDocs for PDF editing and bundling, and compareDocs for document comparison. Significant factors in Philip Lee’s decision were the close working relationship DocsCorp has with iManage, the firm’s document management system provider, and the convenient timing of a firm-wide upgrade to Windows 10 – considered to be an ideal time to refresh the firm’s document tools since it minimises disruptions and reduces costs. The firm’s head of IT, Jason McGovern, said: “pdfDocs is a powerful tool that will be used for editing, redacting and encrypting PDFs at Philip Lee. We chose compareDocs because the right-click comparison workflows within iManage mean staff don’t have to leave the DMS environment to see what has changed between versions.” Samantha Jeffries, DocsCorp VP, EMEA, added: “Combining a Windows 10 upgrade and a move to more powerful document tools is an opportunity to reduce costs and streamline systems. Additionally, our close relationship with iManage will mean Philip Lee will benefit from continuous innovations in the integration.”
Anaqua, the provider of innovation and intellectual property management solutions, has reached an agreement with European annuities service provider PAVIS. With this partnership, the most innovative companies and law firms in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) will benefit from Anaqua’s software platform and PAVIS’ expertise in the DACH market. Customers in the region will have the opportunity to adopt ANAQUA software with a seamless integration to PAVIS’ payments management service. Through this integration customers can leverage PAVIS to reduce administrative burden and to benefit from timely patent, utility model, trademark and design renewals. “To provide our customers with a seamless exchange of data between their systems and PAVIS we have developed interfaces which offer state-of-the-art two-way connectivity with many common IP management systems,” said Thomas Gruber, CEO of PAVIS. “We are delighted with our new partnership with Anaqua, which adds connectivity to the leading IPMS provider serving some of the largest IP filers in the world. This enables us to offer an integrated end-to-end solution to our combined customers in the German speaking markets.” Bob Romeo, president and CEO of Anaqua, added: “We have been serving the unique needs of DACH software customers since 2010, effectively addressing complexities such as inventor remuneration and the high volume of technically complex patents filed annually in DACH.”
Further news from Anaqua: Swiss medical technology companies Hamilton Bonaduz and Sonova have both selected the ANAQUA platform to manage their global patent and trademark portfolios. The agreements further expand Anaqua’s presence in the DACH region. “We are excited to welcome two more global innovators, Hamilton Bonaduz and Sonova, to Anaqua’s growing client community,” said Bob Romeo, president and CEO of Anaqua. “Their joining reflects Anaqua’s continued growth in the DACH region as well as our collaboration with clients around the world to transform IP into business success.” Hamilton Bonaduz specialises in the development, manufacturing, and customisation of precision measurement devices, automated liquid handling workstations, and sample management systems. With ANAQUA, Hamilton Bonaduz’s IP department now has access to a unified, end-to-end innovation management system – from idea capture through prosecution to portfolio management and monetisation. The company will also leverage ANAQUA’s Financial Management solution to support the IP team’s full spend lifecycle. Sonova is a provider of innovative hearing care solutions. The company offers its customers one of the most comprehensive product portfolios in the industry – from hearing instruments to cochlear implants to wireless communication solutions. Sonova will use ANAQUA software to ensure the efficient management and prosecution of the company’s valuable intellectual property assets, including the acceleration of its patent and trademark management processes. Sonova can also access Anaqua’s patent search and analytics platform AcclaimIP, a database of over 100 million global patent records users can leverage to track competitors, make more informed filing, licensing and renewal decisions, and monetise their patent portfolio.
West End of London law firm Seddons has joined a recent series of firms who have chosen to invest in the matter-pricing and planning tool BigHand Evaluate, along with business intelligence solution BigHand Quantum. The fast-growing firm has selected BigHand Quantum to uncover key financial data in real-time, which can then be used by the firm’s management to make informed business decisions to drive future growth. BigHand Evaluate was chosen to provide a timely and comprehensive insight into the delivery of legal transactions, along with the ability to price accurately and manage the financial performance of matters within the firm. James Temple, the firm’s COO, said: “As a firm we pride ourselves on our tech-forward approach to innovation and after an extensive selection process, we knew that BigHand were who we wanted to partner with on this project. The BigHand team really went the extra mile to understand our objectives, and their solutions will provide better visibility into our key financial data whilst enabling us to better analyse matter-level pricing and profitability. With increasing pressure from clients to price more and more competitively, we’re confident that the technology will provide the insight we need to gain an advantage in the market while supporting our future growth plans as a firm.”
Ascertus has successfully upgraded Danish law firm Bech-Bruun to the latest version of iManage Work document and email management system (DMS). Over 500 users of the DMS across the firm’s offices in Copenhagen, Aarhus, New York and Shanghai are now benefitting from the latest iManage functionality which, in turn, is delivering enhanced security and improved productivity across the firm. Ascertus provides document and information lifecycle management solutions to law firms and corporate legal departments in the UK and across Europe. Bech-Bruun has also contracted Ascertus for ongoing support and maintenance of their iManage installation. Explaining the firm’s reasons for selecting Ascertus, Stefan Winquist, CIO, said: “Ascertus is known for being a reliable IT support partner in the market, this was an important consideration for us. On the technical side, the company has in-depth knowledge of the iManage product set alongside a good understanding of how law firms operate. We’ve seen this first-hand with the upgrade. Ascertus’ approach to IT implementation and support is solid from every standpoint – resourcing, knowledge and customer service. Having them look after the ongoing maintenance of the solution was therefore logical.” Roy Russell, managing director and CEO of Ascertus, commented: “There is business value in upgrading to the latest version of any application as there are enhancements across the board – from user functionality to security. Given how important a DMS application is for law firms, iManage Work opens up many options, especially for those who are looking to adopt newer technology strategies in the future, including cloud and machine learning.”
In another win for Ascertus, Leeds-based law firm Clarion Solicitors has chosen the company as its implementation partner to migrate the firm from its on-premises version of iManage Work document management system to the iManage Cloud. Ascertus will deliver the iManage Cloud to over 230 users in the firm’s Leeds office, migrating nearly 6.5 million documents. This move will deliver IT cost savings to Clarion, whilst ensuring the highest levels of data security for the information residing in their document management system. Dan Mitchell, head of IT at the firm, said: “Ascertus is iManage Cloud Partner of the Year, which speaks volumes of the organisation’s capabilities. On meeting the team, it became abundantly clear that they had a good grasp of the iManage solution – their experience and expertise showed. They understood our requirement and suggested a migration approach that would be suitable for our environment.” Based on the company’s well-devised best practice approach to cloud migrations, Ascertus has undertaken a detailed Health Check of the IT environment at Clarion. Roy Russell, managing director and CEO of Ascertus, commented: “It’s important to understand a firm’s IT infrastructure prior to starting an implementation as we can plan for and pre-empt issues before they turn into challenges.” The iManage Cloud fits in well with Clarion’s outsourced IT strategy. Elaborating on the reasons for moving from an on-premises version of iManage Work to the iManage Cloud, Mitchell added: “The security delivered by the platform is unquestionable. With iManage maintaining the platform, we won’t need to worry about product updates and patches (including Microsoft), which can be resource-intensive and difficult to stay on top of. We have reduced 10 servers that previously needed to be maintained, and simultaneously eliminated the cost of up-skilling staff to manage this application. This move will be cost neutral for us.”
Top 100 law firm Ward Hadaway has chosen BigHand SmartNote, a tool that uses both speech recognition and an advanced workflow engine to create and store attendance and file notes. Ward Hadaway have in recent years enjoyed consistent and considerable growth, however with this growth came an increased pressure on both staff and processes, namely in the production of these types of documents. David Bullock, the firm’s director of IT, explained the issues and main drivers behind the project: “BigHand SmartNote comes as an extension of our existing investment in BigHand. We already had BigHand Digital Dictation and wanted to improve the way we completed time-consuming documentation like attendance and file notes. The time it takes to dictate and type up an attendance note, for example, meant that the secretaries were at capacity with low-priority work”. With BigHand SmartNote the process is simple. An author dictates on their desktop, mobile or tablet, and routes the dictation directly to BigHand SmartNote, where the text is transcribed and a Word document automatically created. The file, along with the original audio transcription, is then exported and saved for review at a later date, if ever needed. Currently, the technology is being piloted by a number of users in the healthcare department at Ward Hadaway. Bullock continued: “We use iManage Work (formerly WorkSite) as our document management system so we needed to find a solution that ticked all the boxes, including an integration with our existing systems. BigHand SmartNote is the only product on the market that gives us not only the integration with iManage but the peace of mind in knowing that two of our technology suppliers can work together to create efficiencies for the firm, and on a larger scale – the legal sector. It’s great to see”. Bullock concluded: “With this technology we’re not only seeing a reduction in the time it takes to produce such documents, but it also helps greatly with resourcing. BigHand SmartNote enables secretaries to spend their valued time more effectively. It’s an exciting time for us as we embrace new ways of working.” Moving forward, following a successful pilot, the firm plans to roll out BigHand SmartNote to a number of other departments.
Ward Hadaway have been busy: their dispute resolutions team has also undertaken a review of systems to support its debt recovery work and Liberate Debt was the winner. Key factors in the selection were its integration with the firm’s iManage document management system and the pre-built interface to the court services (SDT). It was also clearly a specialist and purpose built debt recovery system as opposed to a generic case management system modified for the purpose. Steven Petrie,head of commercial dispute resolution, said: “We selected Liberate as it provides the firm with the tools to service our clients efficiently whilst still providing a personal service. The implementation of the Liberate client portal will provide our clients with 24/7 access to the latest case information and allows two way communication regarding the case and action to be taken.” The firm prides itself on delivering what it promises and tailoring solutions to meet the individual needs of the client. Liberate’s workflow flexibility was seen as key in assisting the firm meet these goals.
Infographics has launched its latest major FloSuite legal application – a specialist pre-built suite of money management solutions for law firms that integrates with existing legal practice and document management systems. Developed in close collaboration with some of the world’s largest law firms, the integrated pro-forma billing and forecasting suite connects the front and back office, and replaces disjointed money management tools and tasks with best practice-driven workflows. It empowers the front office team to undertake billing-related work previously carried out by the finance department, supporting them with automated rules and workflow, and embedding a detailed understanding of matter status and client data. Approval cycles allow finance, or other relevant teams, to input where required and review important adjustments prior to completion. Russell Wood, director of sales, said: “Working in conjunction with leading legal clients, we have combined our FloSuite case and professional service delivery framework with our specialist legal knowledge and integrations to provide an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution that – for the first time – connects the various roles, teams, systems and workflows across the billing lifecycle, from forecasting through to collections. The system is purposely designed to be able to run alongside different practice and document management systems as required, and enhance their capabilities. The RoI calculations are therefore strong, particularly in larger law firms where the solution has the capability of driving significant efficiencies and process improvements that directly affect cash at bank and the bottom line, and provide the ‘big picture’ of operational status.”
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has launched BCLP Cubed, a new service for high volume, business-as-usual legal work. The initiative brings together some 150 people across the global firm for the first time. BCLP Cubed embodies the firm’s commitment to addressing clients’ needs by offering complex, volume and legal operations services across one platform. The integrated approach enables cost savings, faster transaction times and data-driven insights. Neville Eisenberg, BCLP Cubed’s CEO, said: “In June we announced our intention to invest in developing this new service and today’s launch marks the start of our integrated approach to legal service delivery for business-as-usual work. BCLP Cubed gives clients the option of a one-stop-shop for their high-volume work in a way that integrates complex advice and legal operations support, all within the framework of a major law firm. In addition to speeding up transaction cycles and reducing costs, the service will enable better risk management for clients.” BCLP Cubed will provide an initial suite of solutions in a number of areas where BCLP already has experience and in which clients typically experience high volume demands: supporting real estate asset management; delivering commercial contract services; streamlining the generation and management of loan agreements; and responding to European data access requests. Katie DeBord, BCLP’s chief innovation officer, has been leading the development of the solutions. She said: ”These solutions can be quickly deployed to clients, customised to meet their needs, and the BCLP Cubed team is now working on expanding this initial range of services in order to meet other client requirements. We have been delighted with the reaction from the market to the concept. Clients immediately appreciate the issue we are addressing and we are very happy already to be working with high-profile companies on developing solutions for their business-as-usual work.”
Thomson Reuters Elite has announced that international law firm Withers Worldwide will be moving from Enterprise to 3E, making it the latest firm to choose the market-leading enterprise business management solution. Withers – which has more than 600 lawyers in 17 offices across Europe, the US and Asia – is a long-time customer of Thomson Reuters Elite, and 3E was selected after an extensive review process. Among the many reasons why the firm chose to stay with Elite was its global reach, senior-level engagement and partnership approach, and the robust product roadmap for 3E which will enable Withers to improve efficiency and drive innovation. “With many offices across Europe, Asia and the US we need a cutting-edge practice management system which enables our users to act on insightful data and provide up-to-date financial information on a device agnostic basis,” commented Simon Eldridge, Withers’ global finance director. “After careful assessment of the key providers, we’re delighted to have selected Thomson Reuters Elite and are confident that 3E will meet our requirements as a business today, as well as providing us with the means to continue to evolve in the changing landscape for global law firms.” The firm will also be adopting 3E Budgeting and Forecasting, the only Microsoft Excel and web-based budgeting and forecasting application built specifically for the legal and professional services industries. It enables visibility of operating expenses, fee earner revenue, fee earner compensation and capital expenditures, and quickly plugs into human resources and payroll systems to eliminate errors, instantly correct issues, and reduce implementation and training time.
ThoughtRiver, a provider of intelligent legal pre-screening, has announced that its core platform, which standardises the interpretation and review of legal contracts, will now be available on the Microsoft Office platform via a Microsoft Word plug-in. The new plug-in will give lawyers and other legal professionals the ability to automatically review and remediate contracts directly within Word. Tim Pullan, founder and CEO, commented: “The power of the plug-in within Word gives lawyers the right tools where and when they need them. There are immense efficiency gains to be recognised. Having been a pre-screening company for several years, we took a step back to work out how we were going to extend ourselves to cover the complete lifecycle that begins when a contract comes into a lawyer’s inbox and ends when it goes out to the counter-party or client. We realised that if this was going to fit hand-in-glove, we had to leave our own environment and go to where the lawyer is in Word, in order to have world-class usability for our clients. Understanding how our clients work and being sensitive to that when we design our products is a core part of our success and this plug-in is a clear example of our user focused design. It’s not just about creating a new bit of interface in Word. This directly impacts our core system and we have made changes to make this work in a simple way for users. Now, the plug-in will allow lawyers to standardise comments when reporting mark-ups to clients or feedback on contracts to their business team colleagues.” According to Soren Lundsberg, group general counsel for G4S, the global, integrated security company and a ThoughtRiver client: “For in-house lawyers, constant resourcing pressure means that the review of contracts is simultaneously mundane and mission-critical. Now, being able to access ThoughtRiver’s insight and edit contracts directly in something we use every day like Word means that lawyers will be able to work in a more informed, efficient way, increasing their value to the wider organisation. This new plug-in looks like a real game changer, a vital addition to lawyers’ working processes and, based on our review of early versions of the prototype and being allowed to input into the development, we expect that this will help us create a significant improvement in efficiency and quality. ThoughtRiver’s new plug-in will allow lawyers to quickly insert preloaded comments into the document for business colleagues or counter-parties to kick off negotiation or discussion of contracts, while also offering up standard clause suggestions for immediate insertion, helping firms to standardise and speed up the way departments are working on agreements. ThoughtRiver is further enabling seamless workflow via integration with Microsoft Flow and a pre-configured email connector so that lawyers and business users can leverage ThoughtRiver’s intelligence simply by sending an email and receiving the results back via email without ever leaving Outlook. ThoughtRiver’s clients can now also create their own connectors using Microsoft Flow between their own commonly used apps and services to further streamline their personal workflows.
Meanwhile, ThoughtRiver has also announced that its core platform, which standardises the interpretation and review of legal contracts, is to be used in a broader technology play that represents a significant investment by PwC. PwC has the largest and longest-established legal practice of the large professional services firms. This collaboration with ThoughtRiver represents an entry into the LawTech space which has, until now, been dominated by start up brands. Mike Bailey, PwC legal market leader, said: “We are at an inflection point at which we have the opportunity to enshrine PwC’s legal expertise in cutting edge software. We look forward to working with ThoughtRiver to develop an AI solution that will offer significant benefits to our clients.” Tim Pullan, founder and CEO of ThoughtRiver, commented: “For us, this is more than just a strategic partnership. We’re excited to work with PwC on a project that will open up new efficiencies in 2020 and beyond.” PwC plans to launch the first of its ThoughtRiver-powered products in Q1 of 2020.
Start-up motor claims specialist Teepee Claims is implementing Proclaim, the case management software from Eclipse Legal Systems. Established in 2019, the Glasgow-based firm specialises in motor claims, arranging repairs and credit hire through strong relationships with partner agencies that also utilise Proclaim. Proclaim will enable Teepee to operate with a high level of efficiency from day one. As a new firm, Teepee required a solution that will facilitate growth of the business – by establishing efficient processes for managing claims that ensure greater profit margins. Staff will benefit from this additional efficiency that permits them to focus on new business opportunities. Proclaim’s self-service portal TouchPoint+, which includes an app that allows clients to access case information from their smartphone or tablet – will allow Teepee to differentiate from the established competition with increased levels of client care. Tony Parris, managing director of the firm, said: “Proclaim is going to be a game-changer for our firm – it’s exactly what we’ve been looking for. The flexibility it provides will really enable us to get the most out of this software so we can concentrate on delivering a great service to our clients. TouchPoint+, in particular, is going to be very well-received by our clients. The ability to keep them up to date in real time will help to create a smooth client journey during what can often be a stressful time.”
HighQ has announced a strategic relationship with SYKE, a legal engineering consultancy that helps in-house departments and law firms procure and utilise technology to improve their business operations and service delivery. More specifically, HighQ and SYKE are working together to advance on their shared interest in helping the industry realise how technology can transform and improve the business and practice of law. “The legal industry is being confronted with new technology every day and, at every point, a new piece of technology is introduced, new opportunities are presented for both law firms and law departments to become more efficient in how they do business,” said Stuart Barr, HighQ’s chief product & strategy officer. “Our ambition is to help clients make sense of these options by pulling together the tools that can help them solve real problems facing their businesses, and SYKE will be an exceptional partner in this endeavour.” SYKE, headquartered in Leeds, helps corporate legal teams and law firms across the world buy and implement legal technology, with a focus on document automation, contract lifecycle management and repapering. One of the first priorities for HighQ and SYKE is to better articulate how available technology can address challenges faced by the industry, both in-house and within the law firm environment. “Our work with HighQ is all about addressing that challenge,” SYKE founder and CEO Alistair Maiden said. “Lawyers will use new technology when it offers a better solution to a problem than the current process, is easy to use and doesn’t require significant training, and is implemented by a team that considers the legal user’s perspective.” As the industry continues to search for innovations in legal technology that increase efficiency and collaboration for clients, this partnership enables SYKE to help clients remove unnecessary tasks, save money and free lawyers’ time to focus on what they do best – practice law. “As lawyers ourselves, we recognise the industry we love is going through an unprecedented period of disruption,” Maiden said. “But rather than fear the change ahead of us, we see great opportunities to do things better, save firms time and money and improve outcomes for our clients and customers.
The Bar Standards Board (BSB), the regulatory body for barristers in England and Wales, is implementing NetMaster Solution‘s CaseLines digital evidence delivery and review platform. The CaseLines platform is being integrated with a new custom-built case management system and is part of the BSB’s new regulatory operations programme of work. The platform is part of a suite of changes designed to streamline processes and increase efficiency. The BSB is responsible for investigating concerns about barristers and for making sure that the highest standards of the profession are maintained. CaseLines is being used to collate and store evidence in digital form, allowing the evidence to be easily and securely shared between members of the BSB’s staff and the independent decision-making body (IDB). The IDB is responsible for taking decisions on whether reported concerns should be referred to disciplinary action. “The implementation of CaseLines alongside our new case management system will deliver significant efficiency savings,” said Sara Jagger, director of professional conduct at the BSB. “It makes the task of collating, reviewing and annotating evidence so much easier for everyone involved, and crucially helps to speed up the decision-making process. In the future we hope to extend the use of CaseLines to supporting tribunals and other panels.” Jon McNerney, CEO of NetMaster said: “The Bar Standards Board is a forward-thinking organisation, committed to delivering efficiency savings for those whom it regulates. The use of CaseLines allows the BSB to benefit from cloud-based collaboration and the highest levels of security while eliminating rising paper-handling costs and reducing carbon footprint.”
iManage, the company dedicated to transforming how professionals work, and Cognia Law, a next-generation law company today, have announced a partnership to deliver meaningful and practical artificial intelligence solutions to organisations globally. The iManage RAVN engine, combined with Cognia Law’s professional consulting and managed legal services expertise, will help law firms, in-house legal departments and financial institutions deploy AI solutions that solve their real-world business problems, help mitigate risk and deliver quantifiable value. This partnership with Cognia Law is part of iManage RAVN’s strategy to create an ecosystem of service providers for the platform. “Law firms and corporate legal departments realise the potential of AI to solve business problems and deliver innovation but are often constrained by resources and expertise to adopt the technology,” Nick Thomson, general manager at iManage RAVN, said. “Through this partnership with Cognia Law, we are providing the technology platform, the broader consulting and legal sector expertise, and the physical resources so that customers can genuinely leverage AI for business advantage and innovation. Cognia Law is trained to use the RAVN engine and is already helping customers build comprehensive AI solutions to meet specific business requirements. It’s a win-win situation for all, especially our customers and, indeed, the wider market.” The partnership is focused on helping organisations build tailored solutions for contract management, due diligence, knowledge management and regulatory reform, the first being LIBOR. The joint services range from scoping and design, building, training, and scaling the AI models through to implementation and post-deployment support. Janet Taylor-Hall, CEO at Cognia Law, added: “This collaboration allows both of our organisations to offer services that go beyond our typical remit. Together, we are providing value to clients that is far greater than the sum of its individual parts. We are responding to a resounding market cry for aggregated solutions that enable organisations to build AI tools to help overcome business problems and continue to innovate.”
French commercial law firm De Pardieu Brocas Maffei has selected Litera as its transaction management platform. Litera’s platform enables legal teams to securely organise, track and collaborate within every step of a deal. Stakeholders can create checklists, interact with and track all versions of documents needed for closing, and get real-time status updates on the deal progress. “Litera’s deal management solution is a very innovative tool which proves very helpful and efficient handling large volumes of documents in the transactions in which our firm is involved. It has been very rapidly adopted internally and by our clients and counter-parties,” said Emmanuel Fatôme, the firm’s managing partner. “We are delighted to extend the reach of our services throughout Europe by partnering with De Pardieu Brocas Maffei, one of the most influential firms in France,” said Haley Altman, Litera’s general manager of transaction management. “Our mission is to provide a simpler, more collaborative process for law firms and their clients at every step of the deal process.”
North America Infinnium, delivering solutions that transform information governance and corporate decision-making using artificial intelligence, has announced the integration of ObscurePI with the Relativity eDiscovery platform to enable mass redaction and anonymisation in native files. ObscurePI is a key module of the company’s flagship 4iG platform, a suite of technologies which advances significant time and cost efficiencies related to eDiscovery investigations. It redefines redaction workflows and solves a substantial compliance challenge for organisations of all type by detecting sensitive information and enabling direct, mass redactions and anonymisation within native documents. Harsh Sutaria, co-founder and chief success officer at Infinnium said: “Governance over data is the top business challenge organisations face. We are not changing what organisations ‘want’ to do, we are changing ‘how’ they do it by applying technology solutions that enable modern processes. We are thrilled to bring these solutions to Relativity users and look forward to driving even more value to the Relativity ecosystem.” “As data volume and complexity increases, it’s important that our Relativity users have the necessary tools to handle the variety of structured and unstructured data types they encounter throughout the review process,” said Drew Deitch, director of strategic partnerships at Relativity. “We’re thrilled to welcome these two new apps from Infinnium to the App Hub so that our users can streamline their redaction workflows.”
JND Legal Administration, a legal management and administration company serving law firms, companies and government entities, has been recognised as the best claims administrator for the second year in a row in the 10th Annual New York Law Journal Best of Survey. JND was ranked first among dozens of service provider nominees in the claims administrator category, as well as one of the top three legal notice and advertising services, and among the top three end-to-end eDiscovery providers. “We are honoured once again to be recognised by the New York Law Journal as the best claims administrator,” comments Neil Zola, executive co-chairman and founder. “Our team continues to work diligently to provide premier legal administration and notice services to our clients.” This award marks the fourth consecutive year that JND has been voted the top legal administration firm by the readers of leading legal publications, continuing to establish its reputation as an industry leader with unmatched service and expertise.
AdvoLogix, a provider of cloud-based law practice and legal matter management solutions, has announced new features and improvements that expand how law firm and legal department users communicate via email with matter participants and automatically associates communications with every matter, which improves productivity and eliminates the risk of errors. In addition to more than a dozen other improvements, AdvoLogix has incorporated calendar and matter timeline enhancements that allow users to customise how and where they view their calendar and matter timelines to fit their unique workflows. The system now accommodates mass email to matter participants, eliminating the time-consuming process of sending one-on-one emails and the need to purchase additional email plug-ins. Email communications can seamlessly be sent, tracked and automatically associated with a matter from within the platform. All matter participants can be quickly notified of the status of a matter, which can increase client satisfaction and decrease the time needed in the past to keep all participants up to date. With enhancements to the calendar feature users now have seemingly endless ways to view their calendar in a format that fits the way they work best: hourly, daily, weekly or monthly formats, see multi-day events and filter calendar entries by matters, tasks, time or events. “At AdvoLogix, we are constantly looking for ways to add productivity-enhancing features to support the way legal professionals work today. We understand that no two organisations or even two legal professionals work the same, which is why we develop the product with multiple ways to use every feature,” said Jonathan Reed, CEO and co-founder. This latest release also gives users many more options when it comes to viewing matter timelines and matter participation maps.
Alternative legal services provider Integreon has announced a partnership with Seal Software, which will power the company’s global managed services contract lifecycle management business with Seal’s artificial intelligence contract analytics technology. Seal’s LIBOR Insight accelerator will immediately be a key component of Integreon’s recently launched LIBOR Transition Readiness Task Force. “We are excited to partner with Seal Software,” commented Bob Rowe, CEO of Integreon. “Seal’s reputation in the artificial intelligence and contract analytics market is outstanding, and we see a huge advantage in applying their technology to our LIBOR Task Force services. Banks and financial institutions have a massive undertaking as they transition from LIBOR, but we are confident that our services teams, equipped with Seal’s technology, will provide the best solution available to navigate the process successfully.” Led by Integreon’s senior VP of contracts, compliance and commercial Services, Jeffrey Catanzaro, the LIBOR Task Force assists banks and financial institutions to successfully move away from the LIBOR Reference Rate which ends in 2021. Industry estimates suggest that phasing out the LIBOR reference rate will impact over $350 trillion worth of contracts and render obsolete LIBOR contract clauses residing in 100+ million documents. Since banks and financial institutions must start preparing for this colossal LIBOR transition now, Integreon’s LIBOR Task Force, in conjunction with Seal Software, will work with clients to assess the scope of applicable contract changes, create a strategic transition plan, and execute the plan to ensure a full and compliant transition when LIBOR is no longer supported. Catanzaro added: “Seal’s best-in-class artificial intelligence provides both pre-trained models and trainable solutions to execute complex contract analytics and data analysis. The combination of Integreon’s 20 years of experience handling complex regulatory and other trigger events and Seal Software provides clients unparalleled quality, accuracy and speed simultaneously.” Catanzaro continued: “Clients that select Integreon and Seal for LIBOR and similar engagements will also reap long-term strategic benefits well after their projects have ended. Data and analytics gathered and organised during the process provide invaluable intelligence about risk, cost and efficiency planning for future regulatory events.” Jim Wagner, Seal Software president and chief strategy officer, concluded: “We are excited to partner with Integreon in this important initiative. Putting the power of Seal enterprise contract analytics in the hands of Integreon’s highly skilled people is truly a winning combination for both organisations and the market.”
Still with Seal Software, the company has released Seal Now, a new contract analytics product specifically designed to address the review and negotiation of third-party paper (draft contracts prepared on another party’s templates), the most complex, risky and time-consuming aspect of the contracting process. Seal Now leverages the full AI capabilities of the Seal enterprise contract analytics platform and provides the results to the end-user via a simple scorecard delivered directly in Microsoft Word. To simplify the process, Seal Now delivers real-time scorecards providing AI insights of the extent to which draft contracts conform to or diverge from a company’s legal standards. Seal Now delivers these simple risk and compliance scorecards directly into Word, leveraging a user-friendly “traffic signal” interface (red / yellow / green). Seal Now also delivers the same scorecards via email in a format that can be easily shared internally to create a greater degree of transparency of the negotiation process, to help set expectations around negotiation timelines and to highlight the risks and opportunities contained in the most recent draft agreement.
Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC has selected Aderant Expert as its law practice management software. After a rigorous selection process, it was clear that Aderant Expert was the favourable partner to guide Lightfoot on the path to elevated agility. Lightfoot’s client-focused mindset is driven by the quality work of its lawyers. Aderant Expert’s efficient integration of the front and back office will give the firm the tools it needs to provide the best legal services to clients. “Aderant Expert is the ideal solution to help Lightfoot’s processes evolve with modern challenges and boost profitability,” said Chris Cartrett, Aderant’s executive vice president. “We are thrilled to welcome Lightfoot to the Aderant family and support the firm on its journey to long-term success.”
National law firm Carlton Fields has selected the Neota Logic no-code AI automation platform to build a host of applications. Kim Massana, CEO at Neota Logic commented: “We’re excited to be working with Carlton Fields, whose focus is on improving internal processes, driving efficiency and offering new methods to interact with their clients. Through these intelligent applications clients can quickly get a sense of how the rules may apply to their unique business situation, allowing for a more focused and valued relationship with their advisors.” Peter Hitson, director of legal project & practice management at the firm, said: “Clients demand efficient, consistent and predictable legal services. Neota Logic allows us to build and deploy applications quickly to engage with clients in new ways while enhancing our client service and adding value. Law firms that are thinking strategically will work hand-in-glove with their clients to assess what both the client and the firm will need to maximise efficiency and quality.” Carlton Fields has already identified a number of applications that will capitalise on the Neota platform’s full range of capabilities, including the development of expert advisors, document automation and streamlined workflows. The flexibility of the Neota platform will allow Carlton Fields to continue developing both internal and client-facing applications. The firm has already deployed several applications.
NetDocuments, a secure cloud-based content services platform for law firms, corporate legal teams and compliance departments, has announced a joint technology integration with Kira Systems and SeeUnity, providing a simple way to pass NetDocuments content to Kira’s artificial intelligence engine for deeper content understanding. NetDocuments has pioneered an open, easy-to-use partner ecosystem that allows customers to choose which best-of-breed technology partners to integrate into their DMS so they can reap the benefits of AI today. Peter Buck, vice president of product strategy at NetDocuments said: ”This breakthrough integration gives joint customers true best-of-breed functionality – the security and simplicity of NetDocuments’ market-leading cloud DMS, the reasoning power of the Kira AI engine, and the efficiency of SeeUnity’s Echo content synchronisation product to integrate both platforms.” The business impact of this integration is that customers working inside NetDocuments no longer need manually to move documents to Kira for document review and analysis. SeeUnity’s Echo content Integration enables secure and seamless content marking in NetDocuments for modelling by Kira. SeeUnity customer Gene D’Aversa, director of project management IT at law firm Husch Blackwell, commented: “We strive to provide our users with applications and processes that drive productivity and mitigate risk. Utilising the SeeUnity Echo Content Synchronisation connector for NetDocuments and Kira will allow us to take several steps out of the process, increasing our users’ efficiency so they can focus their efforts on our customers’ needs. We are excited to be working with NetDocuments and SeeUnity to bring this new capability to our mutual customers,” said Steve Obenski, chief strategy officer at Kira Systems. “This integration will enable lawyers and practice managers to more efficiently manage their workflow for contract review and analysis.”
eBillingHub, an electronic billing solution from Thomson Reuters designed specifically for law firms, has entered into an affiliate partnership agreement with Wilson Allen, provider of consulting services and software that enable professional services firms to enhance business performance. The partnership enables seamless integration of Wilson Proforma Tracker software with eBillingHub to further streamline the billing process so firms can more quickly issue compliant invoices. More specifically, firms will now be able to validate proposed bill updates and edits against client guidelines in real time, avoiding invoice rejections and payment delays. “Billing delays and invoice rejections have a negative impact on a firm’s financial health,” said Shishir Shetty, VP, technology services for Wilson Allen. “By integrating eBillingHub and Wilson Proforma Tracker, we’ll enable firms to not only minimise delays in bill production but also help them distribute invoices that adhere to client billing requirements to improve the entire work-to-cash lifecycle.” Wilson Proforma Tracker allows firms to prepare, distribute, collect, and validate pro formas more effectively. The software already integrates with billing rules in 3E, the enterprise business management solution from Thomson Reuters Elite. With this new partnership Thomson Reuters and Wilson Allen can now offer customers a centralised view of the broader billing life cycle. Firms will be able to submit verified e-bills through Wilson Proforma Tracker as well as monitor the corresponding client approval processes. “Part of our incentive for pursuing this agreement is to deliver practical innovation that addresses the real-world challenges firms are facing,” added Alicia Kropelnicki, eBillingHub’s manager of global strategic alliances. “Many firms are mandating invoice delivery through e-billing systems, so effective compliance is a critical concern for a broad segment of the market. This partnership enables us to offer seamless functionality to our mutual clients and the ability to derive additional value from existing software investments.” Trevor Varnes, CFO at Perkins Coie LLP, an international law firm that has adopted eBillingHub and recently licensed Wilson Proforma Tracker, welcomed this new integration. “Currently 30 to 40% of our revenue is invoiced through e-billing systems,” he said. “Being able to validate invoices earlier in the process as part of pro forma review will result in significant gains – not only in process efficiency but also in client satisfaction with the quality of bills and turn-around time.”
X1, a supplier of enterprise-class, distributed GRC and eDiscovery software, has announced that its X1 Distributed Discovery eDiscovery solution for collection and pre-case assessment is being integrated with RelativityOne, Relativity’s cloud-based eDiscovery platform, via Relativity Collect, Relativity’s cloud-optimised data collection interface. RelativityOne is a scalable and secure SaaS platform that incorporates advanced analytics, machine learning and visualisations to sift through large volumes of ESI. RelativityOne’s added scalability and flexibility allows its law firm, corporate and consulting partners to meet their ever-changing data needs and offers a consistent user experience to customers across the globe. “Collecting ESI instantly, seamlessly and directly from laptops and desktops into an industry-leading review and analytics platform like RelativityOne is a major eDiscovery challenge that X1 uniquely solves,” said Craig Carpenter, CEO of X1. “We are thrilled to bring such a powerful, integrated solution to Relativity and X1 customers.” X1 Distributed Discovery allows enterprises to search across and collect from up to thousands of custodians in hours, with direct upload into RelativityOne. The X1 and RelativityOne product integration will enable Relativity users to drive collections of on-premise data directly into RelativityOne via Collect, thereby providing a streamlined end-to-end enterprise eDiscovery process. “The ability to collect directly from custodian laptops and desktops into a RelativityOne workspace without impacting custodians is a game-changer,” said Marc Zamsky, COO of Compliance DS, an X1 partner. “The ability to reduce collection times from weeks to hours so that attorneys can quickly begin reviewing and analysing ESI in RelativityOne will drastically expedite eDiscovery workflows, saving time and money. Compliance DS clients are going to love this.” This improves the enterprise eDiscovery collection and EDA process by enabling a targeted and efficient search and collection process, with immediate pre-collection visibility into custodial data. X1 Distributed Discovery enhances the eDiscovery workflow with integrated culling and deduplication, thereby eliminating the need for expensive and cumbersome ESI processing tools. “Our exciting new partnership with X1 highlights our continued commitment to providing a streamlined user experience from collection to production,” added Chris Brown, chief product officer at Relativity. “RelativityOne users will be able to combine X1’s innovative endpoint technology with the performance of our SaaS platform, eliminating the cumbersome process of manual data hand-offs and allowing them to get to the pertinent data in their case faster.”
The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global legal association representing more than 45,000 members in 85 countries, has entered into a partnership with eDiscovery software provider Exterro as an ACC Alliance Partner for eDiscovery Software. With offices in the US, UK, and India, Exterro provides eDiscovery and information governance software specifically designed for in-house legal, privacy and IT teams at Global 2000 organisations. Included within Exterro’s legal GRC platform, Exterro’s orchestrated eDiscovery software suite includes legal project management, data inventory, legal hold, collection, processing, review and production. Exterro offers a broad set of integration capabilities with enterprise applications, content creation and storage technologies. “We are extremely pleased to be selected as the exclusive e-discovery software partner of the ACC Alliance Program,” said Bobby Balachandran, president and CEO at Exterro. “Our mission is to help organisations address their litigation and compliance risks more effectively and at a lower cost and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with the ACC and its extensive membership.” With this partnership ACC member organisations will be extended an exclusive ACC member discount on Exterro eDiscovery products.
National law firm Burr & Forman LLP has selected Handshake, Aderant’s knowledge management software, to assist with centralising their ever-increasing data. With 360 attorneys across 19 offices the firm needed to harness its data and information in one secure portal. Handshake was the clear choice for knowledge management integration across all systems and devices. “At Burr & Forman, knowledge sharing and collaboration are a competitive advantage in our continuously growing firm, and we are investing to maintain that advantage,” said Clinton Gary, the firm’s chief strategy & business development officer. “Handshake will provide the appropriate knowledge at the fingertips of our professionals to foster a culture of collaboration and enhanced client service.” “We know that firms need effective knowledge management to collaborate successfully and connect with every piece of data available to them,” said Chris Cartrett, executive vice president at Aderant. “Handshake, including the new Handshake Search, will give Burr & Forman the power to access desired data securely and quickly without limiting mobility.”
APAC LDM Global has partnered with Nuix to offer and support Nuix Discover (formerly called Ringtail) software for its clients. Continuing its commitment to streamline the discovery process and offer multiple eDiscovery tools for its clients, LDM Global will offer Nuix Discover globally. Nuix Discover is a complete end-to-end eDiscovery software, combining the patented data processing power of the Nuix engine with efficient review capabilities to rapidly index, search, analyse and extract meaningful material in a range of formats. “We are very excited to be able to add another software tool to our suite of products,” said chief customer officer Bernard Jarroush. “Many law firms and corporations in Australia specifically are familiar with Ringtail, now called Nuix Discover, and have asked us about supporting the tool. Now, globally, clients will have one more option to choose from as we make recommendations based on their specific case needs, and they have their own internal preferences.” Offered on-premise or as an SaaS model, Nuix Discover has powerful data analytic and processing capabilities that, when combined with LDM Global’s support, can greatly reduce discovery times and manpower costs associated with digital investigation, cybersecurity, litigation and governance. ‘’We are proud to be partnering with LDM Global, a trusted global litigation support firm, to extend our offering to the legal market,’’ said Nuix Group CEO Rod Vawdrey. ‘’Customers have been asking for more choice for eDiscovery, and with the growth of our eDiscovery platform, this partnership with LDM Global will help us to provide that choice and to meet market demands.’’
FTI Consulting’s Technology segment has expanded its partnership with Relativity to provide its eDiscovery software solutions to clients in Australia. Over the last two years, FTI Technology has expanded its Relativity managed eDiscovery services across North and South America, Europe and Asia. The addition of these offerings in Australia furthers the firm’s reach to help legal teams in the region deal with eDiscovery challenges and cost containment for local and cross-border matters of all sizes. “FTI Technology has a long history of offering eDiscovery services and software in Australia and delivers deep experience in the business climate and legal system in the area,” said Scott Gillard, a senior director at FTI Technology in Brisbane. “Our practice is experiencing rapid growth in this region so we are introducing new platforms and services to meet the needs of our client base. Adding Relativity to our portfolio gives us more ways to help legal teams reduce risk and navigate any range of eDiscovery challenges with a single, trusted service provider.” Mark Dewar, a senior managing director and Australia practice leader at the company, added: “As the demand for eDiscovery and digital forensics continues to evolve, expanding FTI Consulting’s partnership with the Relativity platform to Australia demonstrates our continued commitment to ensuring the most efficient and successful outcomes for our clients.”
iManage has announced that Australian law firm Lander & Rogers is moving to iManage Cloud, bringing new levels of security and mobility to the firm. The move makes Lander & Rogers the largest Australian firm that was already an existing iManage customer to move to iManage Cloud. The firm had long used iManage Work for document and email management. As part of an office move to new headquarters, the firm sought to reduce its physical infrastructure footprint. During its selection process the firm evaluated several cloud offerings for document and email management and selected iManage Cloud for its strengths around security and mobility. Built on the latest technologies adopted by the largest cloud vendors, iManage Cloud offers a comprehensive approach to security, including Zero Trust architecture, best-in-class (Tier III) data centres, data encryption at rest and in transit and a security and compliance programme that supports numerous regulations, standards and frameworks, including ISO 27001 and SOC 2. To further strengthen security, Lander & Rogers is deploying iManage Threat Manager for continuous 24/7 threat detection and iManage Security Policy Manager for managing need-to-know security and ethical walls. “We believe that iManage Cloud, combined with security and governance products like iManage Threat Manager and iManage Security Policy Manager, will deliver a level of protection that would be difficult for us to replicate in-house,” said Karen O’Connor, head of technology at the firm. “Protecting our clients’ data is of critical importance and we anticipate the move to iManage Cloud will strengthen our existing security posture. Moving to iManage Cloud isn’t just about freeing ourselves up from managing IT infrastructure – it’s about enabling future ways of working,” added O’Connor. “The rollout of smart devices across our firm has given our lawyers more flexibility and mobility. iManage Cloud will allow our staff to access their documents, files or communications whether they’re in the office or on the go.” Lander & Rogers is working with local iManage partner ACP Solutions on its move to iManage Cloud, which has allowed the firm to be confident of a well planned and executed transition with no disruption to the business. The firm is currently working with ACP to migrate its data over and expects to go live by the end of the year.
Movers & Shakers
UK & EMEA Deloitte Legal has hired legal tech trainer and consultant Catherine Bamford to lead its legal engineering efforts, as part of a spate of top hires made this year. Bamford, who begins in the role early next year, will help clients find legal tech solutions and will advise Deloitte Legal’s in-house attorneys on how to improve their document review and knowledge engineering capabilities. Bamford has been running BamLegal, a London-based automation consultancy to both law firms and corporate legal teams, since 2014. Before then she was a senior legal knowledge engineer with the law firm Pinsent Masons. “I have spent the last 10 years helping the legal sector implement and scale their use of legal technology,” Bamford said. “In today’s legal market, those that don’t capitalise on process optimisation and technology are at risk of losing out to more switched-on competitors.” General counsel and in-house legal teams are regularly looking to make everyday types of tasks more efficient, noted Michael Castle, the UK managing partner for Deloitte Legal. Bamford’s knowledge of legal engineering will add to “our legal and consulting expertise, as well as our deep understanding of the latest technology in the legal sector,” Castle said.
German headquartered decision automation software provider BRYTER has formally expanded into the UK with the hires of Sam Spivack as managing director of the UK and Ireland and Sharan Kaur as head of strategic partnerships in the UK as its client base in the region grows. Spivack will be responsible for the expansion of BRYTER in the UK and Irish markets, together with a team of lawyers and technologists. The company’s customer base continues to grow in the UK, including new customers such as Hogan Lovells, Fieldfisher, Taylor Wessing and Simmons & Simmons. Spivack started his career as a lawyer in Berwin Leighton Paisner’s real estate practice in London before joining Kira Systems as their AI practice consultant. He is a member of the Law Society of England and Wales’ Technology and Law Committee, as well as the legal innovation expert group the Bionic Lawyer. Michael Grupp, managing director and CEO of BRYTER, commented: “Sam is a brilliant strategist and a hands-on leader with a profound understanding of the legal and regulatory markets. He has impressed us with his strategic approach and exceptional track record in negotiating global, high-profile deals. He is second to none in understanding the challenges and opportunities facing business software for professional services firms today and we are eager to continue our fast-paced growth story with him as a leader and manager.” Meanwhile, Kaur will be responsible for leading the enterprise sales team for the legal and regulatory areas and managing partnership sales with leading law firms in the City. As BRYTER has seen great adoption amongst leading law firms, Kaur’s team will further deepen relationships with corporate legal and regulatory functions in law firms. She has vast experience in the legal technology sector and the enterprise software field. She is a trained barrister, having worked as general counsel, consultant and solicitor advocate at several leading law firms. She joined Thomson Reuters in 2017 after their acquisition of Contract Express and was charged with the ramp-up of global enterprise sales. Michael Grupp said: “We have seen that the regulatory technology market in the UK is ahead of most other global markets and is both sophisticated and fast. Having one of the most prominent enterprise sales executives in the market joining our team is an important milestone for BRYTER. Sharan brings both the experience and the skillset it takes to keep the pace on a global scale.”
BCLP Cubed (see above) has hired Jody Jansen, former head of architecture and innovation at international law firm Gowling WLG. Jansen will join BCLP Cubed as its chief technology officer, having worked in legal technology and legal innovation for the past 20 years. Over the course of his career he has led the long-term technology strategy for large international law firms as well as developing unique and innovative internal and client-facing solutions. Jansen said: “I am delighted to be joining BCLP Cubed. It is an exciting new concept that will deliver significant benefits for clients and establishing a state-of-the-art technology platform on which to operate will be critical to its success. There’s already been a huge amount of progress in developing the new approach and I look forward to working with the team to maintain the momentum they have created.” Neville Eisenberg, BCLP Cubed’s CEO, added: “We are also very pleased with the progress that we have made in establishing the new service. The hiring of Jody Jansen as the chief technology officer is very exciting and we anticipate further hires in the near future. Jody brings with him a wealth of experience and will help lead the team as we continue to develop new solutions to meet our clients’ legal and business needs.”
LDM Global, a consultancy focusing on eDisclosure, digital forensics, document review and cybersecurity, has added two senior employees to their London office. Davide Migali has been appointed solutions consultant, supporting clients with their eDisclosure and digital forensics projects. Russell Geraghty has been appointed business development manager, customising solutions to clients’ specific needs. Migali is an experienced eDisclosure manager and qualified lawyer, having worked for several law firms and eDisclosure service providers. His experience includes managing all aspects of an eDisclosure project, including advising clients on workflow, review strategies and disclosure protocols. Migali assists client legal teams in designing eDisclosure protocols and predictive coding and advanced analytics workflows. “What fascinates me about the industry is that, through the intelligent application of different technologies, it is possible for a very small team of subject matter experts to quickly find fundamental evidence for their case,” Migali said. “Review and analytical tools augment the capabilities and effectiveness of legal professionals and, essentially, help them focus on the legal component of their task instead of having to spend hours manually working on low level tasks.” Geraghty started his career in law enforcement before moving into fraud, cybercrime and eDisclosure. He has several years of experience working for eDisclosure providers in the UK, where his clients benefited from his attention to detail, responsiveness and skills in customising solutions based on their needs. He currently oversees EMEA business development. “I enjoy diving into matters with my clients and understanding their objectives and challenges with the project,” Geraghty said. “No two matters are the same, and customising the solution based on the specific need always results in happier clients and more efficient workflows.”
North America Women in eDiscovery, a non-profit organisation that brings together women interested in technology related to the legal profession, has announced the expansion of its leadership team with the addition of Heather Townsend in the role of IT specialist. Since its inception in 2007, Women in eDiscovery has grown from 30 members to thousands of members in 30 chapters worldwide. The organisation provides women opportunities to help each other grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition. Townsend started Townsend Synergies LLC in 2019 to apply her business acumen to the eDiscovery space, while integrating and innovating traditional eDiscovery workflows to meet the unique needs of clients. She is a Relativity Certified Administrator with over six years of eDiscovery experience, with her expertise focused in IT and Relativity infrastructure. She obtained her paralegal certificate from Georgetown University; she has a BA in psychology from the University of Vermont and an MBA from the University of Virginia. “I am excited to begin working closely with the great minds at Women in eDiscovery,” said Townsend. “I truly admire the valuable work that WiE does for the eDiscovery community, and I’m looking forward to contributing my technical and business knowledge to further grow WiE’s impact.” Townsend joins Peg Gianuca, director of IT, and Vicki LaBrosse, director of global public relations and marketing, who currently serve on Women in eDiscovery’s leadership team. “We are excited to have Heather join the WiE leadership team,” said Beth Finkle and Jacalyn Rosborough, executive directors of Women in eDiscovery. “Her role and level of expertise support the collaborative efforts across WiE. We look forward to continuing to expand the leadership team with these critical roles, which will help accommodate our ever-growing organisation.” Women in eDiscovery members are women who work within the legal industry, including general counsel, secretaries, partners, associates, chief operating officers, paralegals, litigation support and eDiscovery professionals. Membership is free, and its executive board, regional directors and chapter officers operate on a 100% volunteer basis.
More Women in eDiscovery news: Aileen Borders has joined their board of executive directors. Borders is an IS senior eDiscovery case manager at AIG in Houston, Texas. She has a background in eDiscovery operational process development, litigation support management and legal technology consulting. She joins the WiE executive board after completing a two-year term as south central regional director in Texas. Prior to that appointment, Borders served for three years as a Houston chapter director and one year as a Houston meetings director. “It has been my true privilege to work and laugh alongside some of the most creative women in the legal technology industry and to be a part of such a strong knowledge-sharing organisation,” said Borders. “The opportunities to promote common goals in professional development and achieve new accomplishments by stretching beyond a comfort zone are the types of initiatives motivating all of us.”
DocsCorp has announced the addition of Maggie Smith to their North American sales team as sales director, central and southern US. This appointment comes as the company continues to expand their market presence in the US. Smith will be based in Chicago. Commenting on the hire, vice president Americas, Bob Moore, said: “We are excited to have Maggie join our growing North American team. She comes to us with a wealth of software sales experience and is particularly accomplished at working with large enterprise clients. Maggie will no doubt continue to deliver the same commitment to her clients that made her stand out during the hiring process.” Smith commented: “It’s an exciting time to join Bob and his team – I look forward to becoming a part of DocsCorp’s growth as its North American business continues to expand rapidly. I’m especially looking forward to working with new and existing DocsCorp clients to deliver smarter and more secure ways of working. Smith joins DocsCorp from her role as services account manager with AVI-SPL, a provider of communication and collaboration solutions. Previously, Smith worked as a client director for Arkadin and an enterprise account executive for PGi.
Litera Microsystems has announced the strengthening of its transaction management team with the hire of Tunji Williams, former CEO and co-founder of dealWIP. The hire bolsters Litera’s position in the market as a leading provider of document lifecycle and transaction management solutions. Haley Altman, Litera’s general manager of transaction management, said: “We’re lucky to have Tunji join our team. I’ve gotten to know him through our work in a similar space through the years and his vision and understanding of the market, passion to drive meaningful change and the intellectual rigour he brings to every opportunity is an incredible add to Litera.” As director of strategy for transaction management, Williams will be responsible for developing and driving strategic initiatives to establish and secure Litera’s leading position in the deal management space. Williams said: “I am so grateful and fortunate to have the unique opportunity to join the blockbuster team at Litera. I’m thankful to Avaneesh [Marwaha] and the entire leadership team at the company for bringing me into the fold. While the position is new for me, the vision and commitment are the same. One world, one software platform, for all transactions.”
Reynen Court has announced that Venky Srinivasan has joined as chief evangelist to further develop its relationships with law firms and corporate law departments and to create and promote transparency with respect to Reynen Court’s platform and the technologies that underline it. Srinivasan will also serve as a member of Reynen Court’s executive team. Srinivasan has more than 25 years of legal industry experience at a leadership level and has served on many customer advisory boards, including OpenText, Workshare and Xerox. For more than 20 years he served as chief technology officer at Stikeman Elliot LLP, a global leader in Canadian business law and one of the Seven Sisters group of prominent Canadian law firms. He has a proven track record of adopting and successfully implementing leading-edge legal technology solutions, including cloud computing technologies such as Office 365 and iManage Cloud. “Venky has an outstanding record of forward-thinking, ground-breaking innovation,” said Reynen Court founder and CEO Andrew Klein. “Having led one of Canada’s top firms towards early adoption of cloud computing, Venky is perfectly placed to help us explain how our platform enables the legal industry to fully embrace cloud-based applications without requiring firms or clients to sacrifice security or stability.” “As a technology executive with over 30 years of large law firm experience, I see enormous potential in the Reynen Court platform,” added Srinivasan. “The pressure on CIOs is growing exponentially as AI and other new tools are presenting opportunities and challenges to the industry. By taking time and cost out of sourcing, adopting and managing new technologies, this platform solves several significant problems standing in the way of real progress. I am truly excited to dive in and lend my skills and experience to building on the already significant collaboration underway.”
Reveal Data, a provider of eDiscovery and investigation software and services tailored for global use, has appointed Johanna Mustapic as vice president of business development for Canada. The addition complements a new data centre in Montreal. The expansion into Canada represents the company’s goal to continue worldwide growth and to provide solutions and services that make global eDiscovery accessible to all legal organisations. The eDiscovery needs of lawyers in Canada closely mirror those of US and UK legal professionals. Canadian practitioners seek sophisticated tools to reduce overall datasets efficiently and effectively, reducing costs and speeding discovery at the same time. They also have similar concerns with data privacy and security of important client data. With the investment in Canada, Reveal Data is uniquely positioned to help legal professionals there better serve their clients and stakeholders while still complying with data privacy regulations. “We’re pleased to welcome Johanna as we assertively expand our global presence,” said Wendell Jisa, CEO at Reveal Data. “Her experience, the knowledge of the entire Reveal Data team and our eDiscovery and investigation solution will help clients successfully navigate the complications of eDiscovery in Canada and worldwide.” In her role as vice president of business development, Mustapic will focus on growing the company’s presence in Canada. She began her legal career with positions at the Canadian Department of Justice and Miller Thomson LLP. In 2000, she founded Triage Data Solutions, a document management company that specialises in eDiscovery, litigation support and evidence gathering. Reveal Data and Triage Data Solutions will retain a strategic working partnership to further business development.
Relativity has announced that Shannon Brayton, chief marketing officer and senior vice president at LinkedIn, and Kevin Scott, chief technology officer at Microsoft, have officially joined its board of directors. “We are thrilled to welcome both Shannon and Kevin to the Relativity team as directors on our board,” said Mike Gamson, CEO at Relativity. “I have been fortunate to get to know both of these great leaders very well over the last 10 years and am extremely excited to bring them into the Relativity ecosystem.” Brayton, who has held the role of CMO at LinkedIn since 2015, brings more than 25 years of expertise in enterprise and SaaS marketing to Relativity. In joining Relativity, she will work with leadership to help mature the company’s brand and positioning in the legaltech market – and more broadly. As demonstrated through her previous roles at Yahoo!, eBay and LinkedIn, Brayton understands how to build and operate global teams and how to craft impactful corporate narratives for a global audience. “Relativity is experiencing exciting global growth, and I look forward to immersing myself to evolve the brand further,” said Brayton. “Working with Mike and Kevin is always a pleasure and I am looking forward to working with the extended leadership team.” As CTO at Microsoft, Scott thinks deeply about the future of technology and the potential ways it will empower others. He is excited to use his expertise to help accelerate Relativity’s continued development of its technical solutions, including its SaaS platform, RelativityOne. Scott has over 20 years of experience building dynamic engineering teams solving problems in areas like machine learning, artificial intelligence and cloud technologies. Scott is also the co-inventor on several patents in the area of search and information extraction. “I am super excited to work with Relativity’s talented group of technologists. The work they do within the eDiscovery space is impressive, and I look forward to helping them advance their technical solutions even further. It’s also great to see the tech sector’s growing footprint in Chicago where there is a wealth of talent and opportunity,” said Scott. “Shannon’s expertise in the marketing space is unparalleled, and she brings to the table a unique perspective from the heart of Silicon Valley. Pairing that with Kevin’s deep technical acumen will help us to achieve our mission of organising data, discovering the truth and acting on it,” added Gamson.