Our Startup Corner today (reports Insider associate editor Caroline Hill) focuses on Apperio, until very recently called Legal Tender, which helps in-house counsel to streamline their external law firm tender process and, in its latest incarnation, to access a live break down of external lawyers’ fees.
Apperio, meaning ‘revealed’ in Latin, is the brainchild of founder and managing director Nicholas d’Adhemar, a former CMS Cameron McKenna associate turned private equity investment manager. D’Adhemar’s first Django-based software offering to the in-house legal community was to standardise and streamline the legal tender process ‘so that a non-lawyer can manage a tender in a matter of days, not weeks,’ by comparing ‘apples to apples’.
As a result, Legal Tender became one of Seedcamp 2013’s 11 winning startups selected for investment and mentoring. Out of that investment and exposure, d’Adhemar says he constantly heard stories from in-house counsel about lawyers ‘busting through their cap’ or submitting sky high invoices four months after the project completed.
New billing tracking and alert software, which is compatible with most law firms’ time recording systems including Tikit’s Carpe Diem and Intapp Time (formerly DTE Axiom), enables in-house counsel to see which fee-earners have been working on a matter, access a live break down of the amount billed, and set up alerts to notify the law firm and client when certain thresholds have been met. “It sends you an email when you reach, for example, 50% of budget,” says d’Adhemar.
Apperio is focussing for now on the private equity sector where high profile clients include London-headquartered European mid-market firm CapVest and UK fund manager Octopus Investments, which have used the platform to manage their relationships with law firms including Kirkland & Ellis, Taylor Wessing and Olswang.
Octopus Investments company secretary Tracey Spevack said: “As a very busy company with multiple legal projects running at any one time with a real need to manage our legal panel and other sources of legal advice, we expect Apperio to revolutionise the way we manage our legal relationships and more importantly give us clear and timely visibility on our spend and projects.”
The appetite among in-house counsel to improve their monitoring of law firm billing recently saw Thomson Reuters announce in October that it is stepping up its plans for the international expansion of web-hosted e-billing and matter management system Serengeti Tracker, which also helps in-house counsel to monitor external legal counsel billing.