Most of the legal IT work parties are over and we’re beginning to wonder if Pink Floyd wrote ‘Is anybody out there?’ in the last week before Christmas. Here at Legal IT Insider HQ, we bring news of the first product to arise from the new partnership between RAVN Systems and leading legal IT consultant Neil Cameron; a partnership between Phoenix Business Solutions and DocuSign; a business growth injection for national firm Setfords; a win in Australia for Aderant; new analytics capability for Salladore in the US; and Relativity’s first premium hosting partner based solely in China and exclusively servicing the country.

UK

RAVN Systems has begun developing an AI-assisted matter costing system based on a concept by Neil Cameron, after the pair entered into partnership earlier in December.

‘AI Matters’ will use RAVN’s AI methodologies and software to assist how lawyers cost their matters by reference to previous similar cases but also taking into account key differentiating factors.

It will use heuristic algorithms to identify the key factors (‘complexity factors’) such as the expected duration of the transaction; the number of third parties involved; the number of subsidiaries involved; the overall value of the acquisition; or the likely volume of documents in the deal room.

A statement from RAVN said: “Over time, the system will be able to get better and better at such fee estimates due to the accretion of more and more useful source data. It will also be able to monitor the initial assumptions of factors that were unknown at the start of the matter, and alert the partner that the initial fee estimate will need to be revised. This will help the firm manage the client’s expectations over the life of the case.”

Phoenix Business Solutions has launched a new partnership with DocuSign, the global market leader in electronic signature solutions. Derek Kindercliff-Jones, Phoenix Business Development director said: “Our business is immersed in document management technology so this is a natural extension for us. Our customers are law firms and legal departments, accountants and property firms – all of which traditionally rely heavily on signed contracts. DocuSign offers excellent features, and we further enhance the experience by offering further integration with iManage. This way, neither the document or the signing process leaves the iManage system and seamlessly becomes part of the lifecycle.”

Phoenix and DocuSign formalised their partnership at the end of October with a digitally signed agreement. Phoenix will use DocuSign to facilitate digital signatures for all of its contracts and agreements going forward.

National law firm Setfords Solicitors has secured a £3.75m investment from BGF (Business Growth Fund) to support its expansion plans.  The funding will be used for investment in digital marketing, technology enhancements and the recruitment of additional legal consultants.

Founded in 2006 by Guy Setford, the company has grown into a nationwide firm with over 160 consultant lawyers, and a 60-strong infrastructure team based at its Guildford head office, providing industry-leading back office and administrative support to the consultants.

Setfords recently opened new offices in Chancery Lane in London and in the last financial year revenue rose by over 20 per cent to more than £8m.

Ben Kirby, an Investor at BGF who will join the board of Setfords commented: “As a relatively young law firm, Setfords has already built a nationwide footprint under the leadership of CEOs Guy and Chris Setford. Through a combination of innovative thinking, smart technology and a great brand, the company is well-placed to become an even bigger business and we are delighted to be supporting their ambitions.”

Australia

Sydney-based law firm Bartier Perry has selected Aderant Expert and Case Management as its technology solution after an extensive due diligence process, which included product reviews, attendance at vendor conferences, and conversation with existing Aderant clients.

One of the attractions of Expert for the 100+ employee firm are said to be that the resources and expertise required to support Expert are not highly demanding. Bartier Perry’s chief information officer Yucel Cifci said: “This is important for a mid-tier organization with fewer technical resources of a large firm.”

Bartier Perry is also adopting Aderant’s Expert Case solution and Cifci added: “One of the biggest pluses of Expert Case is the single common database between the core practice management system and the case management module.”

Implementation will begin in first quarter of 2017.

US

Attorney work assignment tool Salladore has announced the availability of two-tiered advanced analytics in its workflow technology.

Partners and senior-level attorneys will now be able to assess individual associate performance using objective data including the rate of assignments turned in on time, early or late; and the number of assignments that need to be sent back for revisions. Other metrics include the time taken to reply to partners; turnaround time; hours billed for each assignment compared to the average associates; and workload in terms of how many expected billable hours committed versus uncommitted.

The software will help partners and senior-level attorneys flag and address issues before they have an impact, as well as monitor capacity and set performance targets.

Adam McDonell, founder and president of Salladore and a former practising attorney said: “This new level of two-tiered analytics is unprecedented in software for attorneys, in that it presents real-time data that anyone in a law firm or corporate legal department can use immediately to make a business decision.”

China

Chinese-owned professional eDiscovery service provider China Ediscovery Info-Tech Co. (CED) has added kCura’s Relativity platform to its litigation support service offerings – Relativity’s first premium hosting partner based solely in China and exclusively servicing the country.

“As a Relativity Premium Hosting Partner, CED is bringing the full range of Relativity solutions to both local clients and any company with a business presence in China. E-discovery is a relatively new phenomenon for local companies in this region, whereas it has already been conducted for many years in the United States.  As we see the increase of cross-border investigations that involve Chinese companies, it is important to show how innovative and best of breed technology like Relativity can help our clients make informed decisions”, said Mark Zhou, president of China Ediscovery.

Andrew Sieja, president and CEO of kCura added: “e-Discovery in Asia is evolving and its complexity requires a lot of expertise and a flexible solution.  We look forward to helping CED make e-discovery faster and easier for their customers.”