Legal IT Latest: All the wins, acquisitions, launches and comment you need to know about, in brief
Catch up on all the latest wins and deals as Wiggin joins a raft of new firms to select Aderant Handshake; Mewburn Ellis selects NetDocuments and Tikit; and Trethowans selects Linetime. Plus we speak to Elevate’s president John Croft about the law company’s acquisition of LexPredict; bring you news of DiAnna Thimjon’s appointment to global CIO at Clyde & Co and bring news of all the latest law firm and vendor launches.
Leading UK media, technology and IP firm Wiggin on 13 November signed on the dotted line with Aderant Handshake’s knowledge management solution, joining seven other new law firms wins including Sackers and DMH Stallard in the UK, and US top 100 firm Blank Rome.
The other new firms to sign up in the past couple of months are Williams Kastner; Gray Reed & McCraw; Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers; and Goldberg Segalla as Handshake, which was acquired by Aderant in August 2017, feels the benefit of the weight of a larger organisation.
Handshake helps firms to centralise their knowledge and make it accessible through intranets, extranets, search applications and mobility solutions. Despite its acquisition by practice management vendor Aderant, the KM provider has remained agnostic and Blank Rome and Sackers, for example, are Elite customers.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider about the recent spike in new wins, vice president of knowledge management Glenn La Force said: “It’s been a little more than a year since the acquisition and the initial concern among customers was that we were not going to be agnostic. Over the course of time we’ve seen that Aderant has done a good job of investing and allowing the product to be agnostic.
Mewburn Ellis pick NetDocuments and Tikit to supply DMS
Legal 500 firm Mewburn Ellis has selected Tikit to supply NetDocuments following an ambitious digital transformation plan that has seen it implement new PMS, CMS and finally DMS systems.
The IP specialist firm has over 200 staff spread between offices in London, Munich, Bristol, Cambridge and Manchester.
Andrew Newland, Head of IT at the firm said; “To initiate this project, DMS providers were invited to showcase their software and also required to respond to a series of detailed user stories written by the firm, so that the suitability of each product could be assessed in the unique context of Mewburn’s preferred ways of working. Once this was done, a selection review was carried out ranking the products against the key criteria identified by the firm.
“The result of this process led to clear winners: NetDocuments, implemented and supported by Tikit. NetDocuments clearly demonstrated best-in-class security, cloud infrastructure and disaster recovery functionality. The single tenant “true” cloud model means that Mewburn Ellis will seamlessly benefit from future enhancements without “upgrade” pain. The user interface is slick, intuitive and extremely functional. In addition, Mewburn Ellis have an internal development team and the firm intend to make full use of NetDocuments comprehensive REST API to drive maximum value from their implementation. The amount and diversity of apps in the NetDocuments Marketplace clearly demonstrated that the NetDocuments API will be up to any task required.”
Trethowans selects Linetime
Contracts have been agreed with UK top 150 law firm Trethowans for the implementation of the Linetime Liberate software suite to service 250 users based in their five regional offices.
Following a careful selection process, the firm has selected Linetime’s single database solution for accounts, case management and CRM. The project will also include links to the DocsCorp portfolio and SmartSearch AML checking and the further development of a sophisticated integration with the iManage DMS.
Andy Duckworth, finance director at Trethowans said. “Trethowans takes great pride in providing a high-quality service to all its clients whether they be individuals or large corporates. We see the partnership with Linetime and the investment in Liberate as an essential part of continuing and improving our service delivery.”
Elevate has expanded its AI and data science capabilities with the acquisition of enterprise and technology firm LexPredict. The move is the legal company’s latest deal since it received a round of debt financing from Morgan Stanley in April. More acquisitions are expected to close imminently.
Elevate and LexPredict have been collaborating closely for more than a year, leveraging AI to improve speed and accuracy in M&A due diligence and contract analysis for client Cisco.
“We have known (chief strategy officer) Dan Katz, and the LexPredict team for many years and have always been super respectful of what they do,” said Elevate president John Croft (pictured). “I would say Dan is in the top three in the world when it comes to really knowing and understanding AI and data science and its application in the legal space. This has been the perfect way to due diligence each other. We have been building up to this deal over a period of time which has been great.”
Following her appointment in July as interim chief information officer, Clyde & Co on 16 November announced the appointment of DiAnna Thimjon as its global CIO.
Thimjon joined Clyde & Co in January from San Francisco-based law firm Sedgwick, where she led its international IT operations. Her appointment sees the global IT head seat shift to the US, following the departure this year of London-based global CIO Chris White.
In a statement chief executive officer Peter Hasson said: “How law firms develop, deploy and utilise technology to the benefit of their business and clients is one of the biggest challenges in the industry today. DiAnna’s extensive experience and know-how puts us in an excellent position to navigate those challenges.”
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has become the latest law firm to launch a legal operations consultancy division. Cantilever will bring together 20 process engineers, data scientists and technologists from both sides of the Atlantic, to support the legal operations needs of inhouse counsel.
Cantilever will be led by co-founders Katie DeBord, BCLP’s chief innovation officer, and Chris Emerson, chief of legal operations solutions. Legal technologist Bruce Braude will lead the division’s activities in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
“Over the past 18 months, we have seen a huge growth in the legal operations movement globally,” said Braude. “General counsel are starting to look seriously at legal operations and the use of technology and the bigger departments are putting dedicated legal ops people in place. We have seen an increase in interest and need. Combining our expertise with that need, we believe, can add value to clients.”
Orrick is the latest law firm to launch a corporate venture fund, from which it says it will make investments in promising legal tech companies globally. The firm intends to create a strategicrelationship with each portfolio company, with Orrick typically acting as a beta customer, while making an investment in the range of $250,000. Orrick expects to be investing alongside well-known lead financial investors.
“We are extremely excited about the potential of this program to help legal tech companies understand how lawyers and our clients use their products. And of course, we’re excited about the opportunity to bring to our firm and clients next generation technologies,” said Don Keller, a partner in Orrick’s Technology Companies Group and leader of the firm’s Technology Sector practices.
The firm is hoping that strategic relationships with tech companies will enable it to offer better and more advanced solutions to clients and accelerate the pace at which it embraces “innovation.”
Extech Cloud launch new IT service to modernise legal SMEs
Alongside its core operations, Extech Cloud is launching a new dedicated IT service specifically designed to help small to medium law firms. After extensive research and by working with Legal 500 firms, Extech Cloud is applying their specialist knowledge to tailor IT services to meet the needs of SME law firms.
Whereas BigLaw (in theory) have bigger resources to invest, Extech says that regional and local law firms are struggling to utilise tech that has been available for years. Cloud technology offers flexible pricing structures and the agility to quickly scale up or down, so firms only pay for what they use at that moment in time.
Workstorm launch collaboration platform for corporate legal departments
Workplace collaboration technology provider Workstorm has expanded into the corporate legal sector. The Workstorm platform is designed to meet the unique needs of the legal industry, beginning with law firms earlier this year and now expanding out to help corporate counsel collaborate more easily.
With messaging, video conferencing, document management system (DMS) integrations, file sharing, email and more, Workstorm provides a secure, all-in-one platform for corporate legal departments to conduct everyday business, at their desks or via mobile devices. The platform integrates with a company’s existing email and document management system to facilitate seamless communication and collaboration in one tool. Workstorm also provides custom integrations for enterprise customers, thereby condensing existing systems into one easy-to-use platform.
AdvoLogix enhance productivity and workflow functionality
AdvoLogix has launched an integration with CalendarRules. This integration provides users with the ability to schedule matter-based tasks and events based on the court rules provided by CalendarRules directly within the AdvoLogix platform. CalendarRules offers general civil litigation-related court and agency rules for state, federal, appellate and bankruptcy courts across the United States.
This new integration creates a series of tasks and events within AdvoLogix based on the rules provided by the CalendarRules service. The resulting collection of tasks and events is grouped within a docket record assigned to the underlying matter. In addition to being able to view the resulting activities within the docket, the new tasks and events are available throughout AdvoLogix. This includes the Matter Calendar, Timeline, Kanban, Gantt, Personal Calendar and Task Manager.
Chapman and Cutler’s sale of deal management application Closing Room to NetDocuments is a rare example of a law firm selling technology to a legal tech vendor. But practice innovations and technology partner Eric Wood, the mastermind behind the app, believes that this is a model with potential as the firm eyes the possibility of developing its role as a software enterprise.
Amy Carroll spoke to the firm about Closing Room and its wider ambitions and you can read that interview here.
The longer read
This analysis first appeared in issue 317 of the Orange Rag newsletter. We spoke to Reynen Court founder Andrew Klein, Paul Weiss CIO Andreas Antoniou, Clifford Chance CIO Paul Greenwood, and Latham & Watkin’s deputy CIO Rene Mendoza, with comment from Chicago Kent Professor and LexPredict co-founder Dan Katz.
The single biggest bit of news in the past four weeks – and we’d argue potentially the biggest news this year – was the launch of Reynen Court, which aims to become the marketplace where IT directors procure all new legal applications and which so far has the backing of 12 heavyweight global firms co-chaired by Latham & Watkins and Clifford Chance.
Founded by former Cravath, Swaine & Moore associate Andrew Klein and formally launched at the end of September, Reynen Court will audit vendors and offer containerised cloud applications, enabling firms to buy and run the application in their preferred environment.
At its simplest, containerisation sees an app unbundled from its infrastructure and put into a container so that it is entirely portable. The platform works on top of any infrastructure a law firm runs, whether on premise (in virtualised data centres) or in private or public clouds hosted by AWS, Azure, Google or others.
Klein tells us: “The important point is that by running containerised applications, firms get all of the benefits of modern cloud computing without having to trust content to third party SaaS platforms.”
We bring you all the detail and commentary here.