One North Interactive LLC, an agency dedicated to serving the creative, strategic, analytical and technological needs of legal and professional services organizations, today announced its formation and its agreement to acquire the Hubbard One web group from Thomson Reuters. The new independent company will deliver website and interactive solutions to its law firm clients, including 40% of the top 250 firms. Headquartered in Chicago, One North’s 65-employee team will be led by co-founders CEO John Simpson and COO Jeff Hirner, both former Hubbard One executives.

“We are extremely excited to launch One North Interactive today. Our clients’ interactive needs have evolved over the past few years. Global expansion, competitive markets and emerging technologies are forcing more complexity around how firms use interactive media for business growth. We’ve seen the need for more sophisticated technology, user experience and interactive design to help our clients meet their ambitious goals, and determined that being an independent business would best enable us to be singularly focused on servicing the interactive needs of our clients,” said John Simpson, One North’s new CEO. “While our immediate focus is to ensure a smooth transition for our clients through our continued close partnership with Thomson Reuters, the entire One North team is energized to redefine how we partner with our clients before, during and after each engagement to deliver impactful web and interactive marketing programs.”

“We will work closely with One North Interactive to ensure a smooth transition for our shared clients, and to help John and Jeff build upon the legacy of innovation and creativity that has always distinguished Hubbard One’s best work,” said Allison Guidette, managing director of the Thomson Reuters Large Law business unit. “We will support and enhance the Thomson Reuters business development applications that integrate with One North client websites, and will continue to provide hosting out of our data centers.  And, we’ll collaborate on client projects where we have a mutual interest. More than anything, our shared focus will be on our clients’ success.”

In addition to Simpson and Hirner, the One North team includes other experienced Hubbard One Interactive leaders, including Kalev Peekna, Nate Denton, Ryan Horner, Jennifer Bullett, Bill Nelson, Brad Vesprini and Dawn Michalak. The transaction is expected to close on October 1, 2012; financial details were not disclosed. For more information on One North Interactive, including management team profiles, work portfolio visit www.onenorthinteractive.com

COMMENT: We spoke to the One North CEO John Simpson a few minutes ago and he explained the context to the deal. One North is a new agency that John and his COO Jeff Hirner set up specifically to handle the spin off from Thomson Reuters, as distinct from an existing agency that bought the business from TR. Now for the complicated bit… although it is true Thomson Reuters recently did some internal reorganisation so Hubbard One is now part of the Thomson Reuters Elite business, this deal only relates to the interactive marketing/website development services etc part of Hubbard One. The more productised parts of Hubbard One – the intranets and the CRM software – remain firmly within TR Elite.

Although based in Chicago, One North Interactive will continue to serve its existing international customer base, which includes UK law firms as well as US law firms with international offices. John Simpson added “Serving clients across the globe has been part of our DNA for many years”. Incidentally, we like Simpson’s description of those photographs of partners that still appear on far too many law firm brochureware websites – you know, the ones showing grey-haired men in grey suits and shot in black & white just to add to the dreary image – as “the hostage photo”.