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Legal IT: Wins, deals, product launches and people moves

This week’s round up of legal IT industry news sees a high volume of client wins announced from the likes of Encompass Corporation, Redbrick Solutions, LexisNexis, NiKec Solutions, Linetime, Solicitors Own Software and Converge Technology Specialists. We bring you news of product launches and upgrades from Lex Machina and ZL Technologies, as well as people and industry news from iManage, Epiq Systems, TCDI and eDiscovery standards organisation EDRM.

This week’s round up of legal IT industry news sees a high volume of client wins announced from the likes of Encompass Corporation, Redbrick Solutions, LexisNexis, NiKec Solutions, Linetime, Solicitors Own Software and Converge Technology Specialists. We bring you news of product launches and upgrades from Lex Machina and ZL Technologies, as well as people and industry news from iManage, Epiq Systems, TCDI and eDiscovery standards organisation EDRM.

Wins and deals

German real estate and renewable energy boutique Jebens Mensching is deploying customer relationship management solution Lexis InterAction, from LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions.

Post integration with the firm’s document management system, the solution will automatically collect personnel data from emails and matter-related correspondence in the document management system and combine with the corresponding information in InterAction to give the firm a comprehensive view of its network of connections.

“Our business is specialised, we primarily undertake high value transactions,” said Dr. Philipp Jebens, partner at Jebens Mensching. “Consequently, it’s imperative that we have a shared, 360 degree view of our network of relationships across the firm to help us deliver the best client service possible.” 

Nikec Binder has been successfully adopted by Travers Smith, a top 100 UK law firm. Nikec Binder is an electronic binder that helps law firms with their less paper initiative.

Initially, Travers Smith was looking to adopt Nikec Binder in order to digitise one of their most paper heavy departments. However, given the success of the initial pilot, Travers Smith is now extending their use of Nikec Binder into more departments in the move towards increasing business efficiency in its office environment.

The news come as fast-growing Australian business law firm Hall & Wilcox, which has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Perth and Canberra, has also implemented Nikec Binder and Nikec Docstore to improve the efficiency with which it creates legal document bibles and audits.

Hall & Wilcox, who pride themselves on delivering “smarter law”, have been using Nikec Binder to enhance their less paper initiatives. A recent surprise audit in their insurance section was a perfect example of how Binder speeds up the process of using electronic documents and saves time. Instead of spending hours finding, printing out and binding the documents into a paper file needed for an audit, Hall & Wilcox staff can create an electronic Binder straight out of iManage in minutes, allowing the auditors to flick through these documents within the Binder on a surface pro as easy as if it was in a physical binder.

Hall & Wilcox have also recently implemented Nikec Docstore, a secure file sharing and collaboration platform.  

Linetime has won Scottish firm Gillespie Macandrew as a client and its Linetime Liberate practice and case management system has just gone live within Gillespie Macandrew’s plot sales team.

Plot sales at the Edinburgh and Perth-based firm is a busy high volume, lower-margin department which needs to run extremely efficiently and have status information immediately available for both national and small scale developers. A team of four full-time paralegals led by a young qualified solicitor manage this high-pressure work stream, processing over 1,100 sales per year, making up 6% of the firm’s £10m turnover.

The firm’s existing practice and case management solutions were unsuitable for the plot sales unit and a number of team changes led to increased client pressure on service, making the existing way of working untenable.

“We needed to mitigate the impact of team changes and show clients our commitment to their goals,” said Chris West, chief executive officer at Gillespie Macandrew. “Plot sales is a busy area – if people are away, backlogs can be quickly created. That means pressure on our people and the client relationship.

“We were looking for a solution that would give us the ability to make workflow and document changes within the team, with no special IT skills, just reasonable aptitude that the team innately has to create and produce the system they need, not one designed by IT.”

Wards Solicitors has become the latest law firm to sign up to the SOS Connect practice and case management system from Solicitors Own Software (SOS).

The firm, which has ten offices throughout Bristol and surrounding areas, carries out a range of legal work for businesses and individuals.

It has used SOS practice management software for several years but has now signed up to replace its incumbent case management software with SOS Connect.

“With a growing network of offices in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset, we are looking for a more consistent approach across the whole firm”, says David Sheridan, managing partner at Wards Solicitors.” 

Harrisons, one of the UK’s top business recovery and insolvency specialists, has chosen Uncover, a visual information management product from Encompass Corporation. The product is used across the practice, by professionals working in each of the firm’s seven offices across England and Wales.

“Our clients value both the quality of our advice and our responsiveness,” says Paul Walker, managing director at Harrisons. “As soon as we are contacted to provide advice on a matter, Uncover presents the information we need, in real-time at the press of a button. With Uncover we look further, faster.”

“Insolvency Practitioners System from Turnkey is accepted as standard across the industry,” added Paul Walker. “The integration between IPS and Encompass Uncover is the big news this year. Transferring information critical to a case electronically from Uncover to IPS saves our teams valuable time while reducing the possibility of errors.” 

Surrey and Sussex-based law firm Goodlaw Solicitors has implemented Redbrick Practice Management in their conveyancing department and can now offer home movers text and email updates, 24/7 online tracking and a home redirection service.

The system manages the conveyancing process from quote through to billing and completion.

Francesca Gill, head of residential conveyancing (Surrey) said: “Having viewed other systems, we were most impressed with how user friendly Redbrick Practice Management is. The flexibility to customise the system has been excellent and the support from Redbrick first class.  With integrated services such as SDLT, Land Registry and AML checks, there really is no need for us to use additional systems.  As a growing firm focusing on offering accessible, relevant and quality legal services, having the right system in place is essential for us.”

UK-headquartered business intelligence provider Artesian Solutions has unveiled its first legal sector client. FBC Manby Bowdler is currently rolling out the Artesian solution, which gathers and tracks intelligence on customers, prospects and competitors from millions of online resources including blogs, news sites, editorials and social platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

Neil Lloyd, sales director at FBC Manby Bowdler said: “We are using Artesian in a variety of ways, firstly to deepen our relationships with current clients, keep abreast on what is going on within their businesses, to ensure that we are engaging with them in proactive ways. Secondly to identify and attract new business, and thirdly to encourage greater collaboration across the firm so that we are able to identify and fulfil any opportunities in the legal service requirements that our clients may have. In addition, Artesian are working with us to train and educate our team not just on how to use the tool itself, but how to be proactive in consuming and utilising content to drive improved performance for our clients and our firm.”  

New Zealand company Kōwhiri has acquired Documents Plus Ltd, which trades as DPL Professional, a UK-based specialist software company with over 20 years’ experience in the development of intelligent will drafting systems internationally.

Kōwhiri managing director, Andrew Barnes said: “The acquisition of DPL gives us reach into the global markets for our consumer product line and also enables us to provide solutions at the professional level in our existing marketplaces.”

UK cloud computing provider Converge Technology Specialists has announced that it has already won £1.5m of new contracts in 2016 on the back of 50% growth in 2015.

New clients for the Cheshire-based firm include Southport-based serious injury specialists Fletchers Solicitors and Wilmslow flight delay and consumer rights specialist Bott & Co.

Converge Technology Specialists has seen revenues rise 50% in both 2014 and 2015 and is predicting another 50% revenue rise this year. managing director, Nigel Wright said “We are seeing a growing trend for law firms moving some or all of their IT to the cloud and we are positioning ourselves as the provider of choice. More law firms are choosing to go cloud first, when it comes to upgrades or network refreshes, in order to maximise productivity gains from greater flexibility, agile working and lower cost of ownership.”

Product launches and upgrades

Lex Machina has released its Attorney Data Engine, which dramatically improves the quality and accuracy of attorney data for District Court cases.

District Court data provided by PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) includes attorney and law firm information that is frequently inaccurate or incomplete. For example, PACER IP cases in the districts of Delaware and New Jersey fail to include 46% of attorneys who have worked on those cases.

Attorney Data Engine extracts attorney and law firm data directly from the signature blocks of court documents, disclosing all attorneys who worked on a case– not just the lead counsel and firms that are listed in PACER meta-data fields. It also identifies and associates attorneys with cases for which they were admitted pro hac vice, which enables attorneys who are not licensed to practice in a jurisdiction to be admitted to practice a particular case. By keeping daily snapshots of PACER, Attorney Data Engine also provides a more accurate record when attorneys move firm.

“With our new Attorney Data Engine, Lex Machina continues to innovate and push the boundaries of Legal Analytics,” said Karl Harris, CTO & VP products at Lex Machina.

ZL Technologies, which provides unified information governance and analytics to large enterprises, has announced new eDiscovery features in the 8.0.3 version release of the company’s flagship archiving and governance platform, ZL Unified Archive (ZL UA).

ZL UA builds downstream discovery features directly within the framework of a single-platform information governance environment. It now allows preservations to be conducted and items/persons of interest to be preemptively placed on hold with one click – before early case assessment (ECA) even begins, and without the need to process on-hold items for review. Legal hold will preserve not only existing documents, but also any new documents created after the legal hold has been applied.

“eDiscovery functionality should be a feature of information governance, not a stand-alone product,” said Kon Leong, CEO of ZL Technologies. “It should enhance existing legal workflows rather than forcing them to be re-invented.”

Who’s in and who’s out

iManage has hired former Ince & Co IT director Frank White as subject matter expert in legal.

White, who joined Ince in 1995 as an IT manager and rose through the ranks to become global IT director in June 2006, has been brought in to help iManage understand the needs of its customers and deliver better products.

White said: “I’ll be helping iManage to develop the product and helping the client to get the best return on their investment.”

Epiq Systems has appointed Paul Gorup and Michael Suchsland to its board of directors, effective March 2, 2016, following Epiq’s 2015 earnings release and Form 10-K annual report on 1 March.

Gorup and Suchsland will replace James Byrnes and Charles Connely, who will retire from their roles as directors immediately prior to Epiq’s 2016 annual shareholder meeting.

Additionally, the board selected Douglas Gaston to succeed Bryan Satterlee as lead independent director, effective as of Epiq’s 2016 annual meeting.

Gorup is a co-founder and former chief of innovation of Cerner Corporation, a leading provider of health information technologies, while Suchsland brings 25 years of experience in executive and senior advisor roles for legal and information services and software companies, including Thomson Reuters where he was president of its legal business segment from 2012 to 2014.

“Paul and Mike bring in-depth knowledge and experience in leading large, technology-oriented organizations that will make them important contributors to our board,” said Tom Olofson, chairman and chief executive officer.”

Other industry news

TCDI, provider of litigation technology and services for mass tort management, second requests, complex litigation and MDL case management, has partnered with ILTA to bring roadshows to the East Coast of the United States.

The first roadshow – “Managed Services, Data Reuse and Collective Case Intelligence” – kicked off in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 9 February.

“We had great attendance in Charlotte and were able to have a great group discussion around the differences in transactional case-by-case management relative to the current managed services models and how reusing data can impact overall case intelligence,” said Rick Clark, senior sales and marketing director at TCDI.

The remaining cities include Orlando, Florida on February 16; Boston on March 22; New York City on March 30; and Washington, D.C. on March 31. 

And finally, EDRM, the leading standards organisation for the eDiscovery market, has launched a new education series in information governance (IG) and electronic records management (ERM), available to EDRM members under a partnership with the Institute for IG and IMERGE Consulting.

The purpose of the partnership is to offer education for e-discovery professionals who are seeking to build practical skills in IG and ERM. Participants will earn a certificate in Advanced IG or ERM. Live instructor-led sessions will be held March 22-24, 2016, at the University of San Diego, Kroc Center. Online sessions and on demand HD video content are also available. EDRM members are eligible for special discounts. Course details and registration can be found on the EDRM website.