LOD and SYKE announce today (5 March) a strategic partnership that brings together the flexible resource and managed services capability of LOD and the tech development capability of fast-growing UK legal engineering company SYKE. LOD has invested in SYKE and while the sum is undisclosed, SYKE founder Alistair Maiden told Legal IT Insider that it is enough to double in size to 200 people by this time next year.
While the partnership will start with engaging SYKE as required by LOD clients, and Maiden and his team will be helping LOD to develop their managed services offering, it is envisaged that it will develop over time, including potentially creating shared workflows. However it is not exclusive and Harper said: “We are not blocking out other relationships; it’s important that neither of us do that and that the ecosystem is evolving.”
In terms of why the pair are tying up, Maiden told us: “We have over 100 people and are growing incredibly quickly – we had 40 this time last year – but what we don’t have is market reach. LOD has been telling us over a period of time that their customers are asking for our services and this is a no-brainer.”
He added: “Right back to my days at ASDA I have had a vision of people and tech working in harmony. For something basic like a service request maybe you can use routine tech to deal with it but say it requires people? You can imagine how we can plug in the LOD people and have a properly end-to-end solution.”
Launched in 2016, SYKE recently announced that it has opened a service centre in India that currently has 20 people and that will be the source of much of the growth. Maiden said: “The facility will be critical for our ongoing development and there is exceptional talent in India.” However SYKE is also looking at growing in other geographies including Germany and the United States, as well as developing its presence further in Australia.
Its partnership with LOD will help to facilitate that. Founded in 2007, LOD is the original alternative legal services provider, with over 1,000 legal professionals based in the UK, Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East. In 2018 it announced its partnership with Bowmark Capital, facilitating greater access to finance and fuel the next stage of its growth.
As to whether this partnership will lead to a merger, Harper said: “That’s not the current roadmap, that’s not what this is about.”
In a statement out today, Tom Shelford, Partner at Bowmark Capital, adds: “The alternative legal services market has continued to grow apace since we became LOD’s principal investor in 2018. We are delighted to have been able to support this exciting new partnership with SYKE, which offers legal teams compelling independent and bespoke solutions to meet the challenges of both growing demand and increased efficiency.”