The past week has seen Wilson Legal Solutions announce that it is bolstering its fledgling London office with three hires as Linex Systems rebrands as Vable; Eclipse Legal Systems announces UCL Consultants as a new case management client and Thomson Reuters Legal publishes its ninth annual research survey among finance directors.
In the US, Jonathan Sachs, formerly with Kroll Ontrack, has joined Catalyst Repository Systems; Morae Legal has launched a new eDiscovery offering; and John F. Kennedy University has selected TutorPro’s student technology portal.
Not to be forgotten, in Australia Herbert Smith Freehills has launched a new Alternative Legal Services centre in Melbourne.
Wilson Legal Solutions – a Pennsylvania-headquartered Thomson Reuters Elite 3E services partner – has bolstered its London team by three with the hire of former Intapp solutions engineer Daryl Quadros; former Aderant project manager Paul Steeples; and former DNE Resources director of sales Victoria Laliberte.
Quadros, who until 2013 was a senior consultant at Phoenix Business Solutions, joins as a senior technical consultant. Steeples, who before Aderant was a project manager at Atos Origin, joins as a senior project manager, while Laliberte will take on the role of sales executive, focusing on sales of the company’s professional and technology consulting services and its Wilson Ideate software.
The London office, which opened in 2014, helps law firms and professional services organisations improve performance through the more effective use of practice management software and business intelligence.
Content automation platform Linex Systems has rebranded as Vable. Vable is said to signify a new era of innovation and growth for the company, following Linex’ successful fundraising in May, when it closed out a $1m investment. The new funds have enabled the company to substantially increase its investment in technology and talent with the goal of bringing game changing technologies to market. Vable’s clients include top UK and US law firms such as Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, White & Case and Clifford Chance.
Eclipse is implementing its Proclaim Case Management Software solution at UCL Consultants, a wholly-owned subsidiary of University College London (UCL) and one of the UK’s leading providers of academic consultancy services.
Offering a bespoke consultancy service, UCL Consultants handles a variety of projects for a range of clients – from small, single day projects, to large, milestone-focused multi-party projects. The team provides organisations with world-class expertise from over 6,000 academic staff across a wide range of disciplines, to help solve the many challenges faced by society and businesses today.
Roger de Montfort, managing director of UCL Consultants, said: “As a leading provider for academic consultancy services, we’ve seen a huge increase in business volume – so much so that we’ve over doubled in size in the last three years – and as a result, it became clear that we could benefit from enhanced automation of our processes.”
Thomson Reuters Legal has conducted its ninth annual research survey among Top 100 law firms, in which law firm finance directors predict that technology will be one of the fastest-growing sectors in 2016, with 28% of respondents foreseeing a rapid growth in work from this sector.
“The technology industry in particular has seen massive investment in recent years which has propelled growth in the UK and we expect this trend to continue into the long-term,” says Samantha Steer, director, large law segment for Thomson Reuters UK&I Legal business
This is set against a backdrop of wider fears among 24% of FDs that the current slowdown in M&A activity is now a major risk to law firm profitability.
The study – Threats to Profitability and Opportunities for Growth: A Survey Amongst the UK’s Top 100 Law Firms – found that downward pressure on fees remains the biggest threat to the profitability of law firms, as it has since the recession, with around three quarters (72%) seeing this as high risk – up from 60% in 2010.
Cost over-runs on fixed fee work is the next biggest concern, with 40% citing this as a high risk to profitability. “Although firms have become much better at pricing their quotes for work on a fixed fee, finance departments are still wary about potential cost over-runs,” said Steer.
Jonathan Sachs, a lawyer and former executive with Kroll Ontrack, has joined Catalyst as managing director for the East Coast, where he will lead regional sales and business development strategies and initiatives.
Sachs comes to Catalyst after more than 11 years in leadership roles at Kroll Ontrack. Most recently, he was director of strategic markets, where he created and executed strategy for engaging corporate and law firm clients, maintained responsibility for key strategic clients, and helped enhance the company’s visibility through speaking and publishing.
“Jonathan brings a proven track record and experience as a seasoned e-discovery consultant and sales manager to the Catalyst team,” said TJ Gill, Catalyst’s vice president of sales. “We look forward to Jonathan’s contribution to accelerating our current growth trajectory, but also his contribution to strategy and execution at Catalyst.”
Morae Legal has launched a public utility cloud-based eDiscovery service bureau that will service the entire eDiscovery spectrum from collection to review to production.
To support its services, the Houston-headquartered company has partnered with three platform leaders: Relativity, Servient and Brainspace. As a Relativity partner, Morae Legal will solely use kCura’s upcoming cloud product, RelativityOne.
“By deploying our service bureau platforms exclusively in a public utility cloud environment, we immediately realise and pass along the inherent economics, scale, security and speed,” said Jeff Seymour, Morae Legal’s president of information and discovery management. “We believe our service bureau offers clients a significant cost reduction, while providing a more powerful and capable solution supporting the most advanced analytics and processes.”
Core faculty member Juliet Jonas said: “The training obtained by way of the LTECH portal will make an immediate, positive impact on our students’ confidence and competence with regard to technology. Even more importantly, the skills gained will make our students more attractive to potential employers.”
Herbert Smith Freehills has announced the further expansion of its global Alternative Legal Services (ALT) business, with a new centre opening in Melbourne in November 2016. The new dedicated facility is the first of its kind to be opened and operated by a law firm in Australia.
The new centre is located on St Kilda Road and will initially be staffed by around 65 employees, including up to 50 fee earners. It follows the recent opening of an ALT office in Shanghai, also the first offering of its kind in China, and the opening of an ALT ‘pop-up’ in Perth in October 2015.
The firm’s global ALT business combines legal expertise, process efficiency and client technology solutions to process high-volume or document-intensive work more efficiently and cost effectively for clients, complementing the high-end advice offered by the firm’s lawyers from its existing Australian offices, and internationally.
Libby Jackson, Herbert Smith Freehills’ global head of Alternative Legal Services, said: “By equipping these new teams in Melbourne and Shanghai with the technology and processes proven at our existing centres, we can offer clients a cost-effective way of tackling the labour-intensive elements of their projects, complementing the high-end advice offered by the firm’s lawyers around the world.”