Cloud-based litigation management and paperless trial platform Opus 2 saw its UK turnover increase by just over 23% to £20.8m in the year ended March 2020 according to accounts filed for that period, with 2020/21 on course to grow by 30% according to founder Graham Smith-Bernal.

The London-headquartered company saw its profit increase from £3.4m to £3.8m in the 2019/20 period. Its consolidated turnover increased to £25.9m.

In its annual strategic report filed with Companies House at the end of October, the Opus 2 directors said that while the long-term impact of the coronavirus outbreak is not yet clear, the impact on trade is expected to be positive. When Legal IT Insider contacted Smith-Bernal to discuss the results, he told us: “Things are even better than the filed accounts show. Lockdown was disastrous in the first quarter, because hearings just stopped. So while law firms continued to use our platform to manage cases, things like courts hearings and arbitration froze.

“Then in July there was a complete turnaround because the powers that be realised things had to move forward. The only thing previously missing from us delivering full virtual hearings was video conferencing, so the market effectively came to us.”

The global shift to digital means that Opus is in many cases now being used for collaboration at a much earlier stage, and to facilitate the end-to-end delivery of trials using video conferencing technology such as Zoom or BlueJeans. 

There has been a realisation that it is not always necessary to fly witnesses around the world and Smith-Bernal said: “I expect that it will become normal to have a hybrid hearing where some people are on site and the passive participants access the live hearing online.”

Opus 2 had a record July and September, which is normally a quiet month for the company. October was also a record month.

Smith-Bernal said: “Even the most technophobe of general counsel are realising the need to go digital, so we’ve had a huge ramp up of cases because people can’t collaborate using traditional methods.

“There used to be almost a void between barristers working on their own with hard copy documents that they would mark up and wouldn’t share at an early stage. A far greater consequence of working digitally is that teams have begun to work more collaboratively. People are sharing their insights as a team and our platform can facilitate that.”

Opus 2 unveiled a raft of improvements in October, including a dashboard to provide a unified view of proceedings.

Other changes made over the past six months include building the solution and services around video conferencing platforms, depending on what specific needs the client has.