The ILTA Sessions: Advologix; BigHand; Levit & James; American LegalNet and Keesal, Young & Logan talk growth, wins and new ventures
In our penultimate set of ILTA briefings, we speak to the senior execs at Advologix (cloud matter management), BigHand (digital dictation), Levit & James (supplier of Best Authority to automatically format a Table of Authorities); American LegalNet (provider of ‘desktop to courthouse’ solutions); and the CIO of defence ligation firm Keesal, Young & Logan about growth (a notably recurring theme); client wins and product launches. Yes, we did A LOT of running so you don’t have to.
Jonathan Reed, CEO and co-founder of Advologix
Advologix, headquartered in Sugarland, was founded 2006 with a vision to create the first cloud legal matter management platform on a cloud platform. Based on the Salesforce platform, it is seeing revenue growth of 50% a year.
Who are your clients?
Large to mid-sized law firms and in-house teams such as Uber, Murphy, Falcon & Murphy and Zurich Insurance. 85% of our clients are in the US and 15% outside but we are seeing much more growth in Europe and just closed a big bank in South Africa.
Because our platform is cloud-based it’s very adaptive and can conform to law firms that need workflow – there are lots of configurations built in which allow our clients to define their processes and embed them in our solution.
The Salesforce AppExchange means that if we don’t provide an app our clients can find it there.
Tell us about any recent growth?
We’ve been very successful over the last three to four years as cloud adoption has accelerated. We’re growing 50% year on year and we continue to expand into deeper matter management capability. In-house counsel users really appreciate the ability to quickly prioritise their workstream through our portal. Work comes into the matter management systems and is automatically triaged and assigned to the right legal team based on relative risk.
On the law firm side, we’re doing a lot of work streamlining client intake for mid to large size law firms and it’s that automation that firms really appreciate.
The other aspect is the depth of the matter management. For repeatable tasks you can apply legal project management capability to manage it as a project. Once its automated you can staff appropriately to the workload and be up and running in a matter of days instead of months.
A big trend over the last five years has been running a law firm as a business. Legal project management is totally integrated within our matter management side of things so when you first create a matter we would recommend you apply an action plan template. It will build out a mini project plan and create a Gantt chart with the dates, appointments and documents and give you a mini work plan where you can all the tasks and manage them. The Card Wall has tools that are very orientated to project management that are very easy to use.
The other thing we have is the concept of participant mapping and matter relationship mapping – you can see all the interactions between people.
Eric Wangler, president, North America of BigHand
Leading digital dictation software provider BigHand, which is headquartered in London, has 32 staff in Chicago and two in Temecula.
What was the key focus at ILTA?
We had two main focuses from a product perspective:
– The improved integration of our Voice and Produce Suite which was realized earlier this year.
– The continued development of BigHand Now to include Deadline Management and Team Tracker. These two features will make a big difference for our clients, particularly those with centralized or outsourced teams.
In addition to catching up with our clients, as always, we use ILTA as an opportunity to bring our Products Team along to meet with clients and prospects and dig in on trends and needs in the industry. This helps us to validate new product ideas, and work with our customers to develop products for the future.
Highlight one recent product launch
Voice/Create Integration. This functionality will allow users of our Voice Product to seamlessly move a dictation through BigHand directly into the appropriate template and move bits of intelligence across to Create to minimize steps by the administrative personnel and save time.
Tell us about any recent client wins
A Top 5 AMLAW Firm has purchased our workflow management tool, BigHand Now and is currently implementing it across thousands of users. Their initial focus is to roll it out to three internal support teams that support the majority of their attorneys. The second phase will to be to roll the technology out to their outsourced support teams. Their intent is to better understand the trends and metrics within their back-office staff. Most notably to understand if the right work is being completed by the right people and have a tool by which to objectively measure that. They also know that having the work in a proper tool will significantly reduce the back and forth associated with ambiguous instructions and expect with just their outsourced work, this will lead to 300 hours of additional productive work being performed per month.
Did you grow in the last financial year/by how much?
BigHand NA has grown over 20% annually for the last 3 years. Our attrition rates are just over 2%. We continue to grow our SaaS business substantially (approximately 90% annually) and expect our Delegate suite and our partnerships with a few of the largest outsourcers in the US to substantially impact the coming years. We have also added more than 30 net new clients to the Produce suite and expect that growth to continue.
Ian Levit, co-founder and vice president of Levit & James
Levit & James is a legal software company that counts 88 of the Am Law 100 as clients, has 20 employees including five developers, and is headquartered in Virginia.
Tell us about your growth last year
We have had consistent growth – we have over 950 customers now and that includes 88 of the 100 largest US firms but we also work with the Federal Government as well as one division of the US Department of Justice and the California and New York State Department and we expect more growth in the federal area.
What new product launches have you announced at ILTA?
We’ve made two key announcements. First is the next release of our Best Authority for Tables of Authority. There are two key new features: people will get hyperlinks of citations with no charge through an alliance with FastCase. It’s a big deal.
New customers will also have a ‘pay by the document’ option, or pay-as-you-go, and that is something which even existing customers have been talking about – people like the idea of consuming resources when they need them. We recently met with the CIO Office of the US Department of Justice and they were thrilled. People like the idea of paying by need and usage.
You mention you have some serious legal tech bug bears?
There’s a lot of new technology – the cloud being one that’s most talked about – and it’s all good but people really function in a heterogeneous environment and are trying to find out what’s appropriate now and in the future. Some people are operating way back on 5-10 years old technology.
Justin Hectus, CIO at Keesal Young & Logan
The San Francisco-headquartered firm has five offices, 150 staff, and a strong focus on defence litigation.
What was hot at ILTA?
It’s a really challenging time for legal and law firms but a really exciting time: cross-functional teams and business professionals are being coupled with lawyers to make a complete team. It’s emblematic of what ILTA has stood for – the idea of not just collaboration in the firm but cross-border collaboration.
Tell us about any recent initiatives
We’ve spent the last seven years responding to client data audits and complying with their guidelines and regulatory pressures. Over the last two years we have turned that into an outwards facing client service. In early July we formalised that with the hire of Wendy Riggs from Twitter and formed our brand new compliance operations and data control advisory group. We now have four marquee clients which include some of the biggest clients in the world in the tech space. [Not for publishing but we have seen the names and trust us, they’re huge. Ed]
Obviously, there is a tech element but a lot is about understanding the influx of new tech and increasingly competitive regulatory framework.
And client wins?
Most of our clients are explicitly against naming names. We’ve developed a great relationship with Connie Brenton at NetApps and collaborated with MoFo, ThinkSmart, Elevate and Everlaw to create a discovery workflow that crosses borders between in house legal and outside counsel. That project started 14 years ago at ILTA and we realised there was an opportunity to be a trusted resource.
NetApp is not a client but for the good of the industry we all came together.
If you have an appetite for innovation and strong focus on client service this is a really exciting time and there are so many opportunities.
We just became Box customers. Their solution for governance and for data retention and data loss prevention tools are as good as I’ve seen.
Erez Bustan, president and CEO of American LegalNet
American LegalNet, which is based in LA and counts Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom among its clients, provides ‘desktop to courthouse’ workflow solutions.
Tell us about your recent announcements at ILTA?
We are launching our new and enhanced forms workflow site in beta and a new toolbar will allow lawyers to auto fill forms and be able to be more efficient. We are announcing a new partnership with Wilson Legal Solutions and we are also showing some new enhancements to eDockets.
Any recent client wins?
We can’t talk about new clients but some of our existing clients are Skadden Arps, Foley & Lardner and Seyfarth Shaw.
Tell us about American LegalNet
We’re headquartered in Los Angeles, California and have over 50 people working for the organisation plus an offshore team of 20.
We are a player in the risk management field. We design workflow products for lawyers: eDockets and Forms Workflow and three others all around risk management, managing data and having the appropriate content. We call it desktop to courthouse. eDockets automates the insertion of all your court dates allowing you to meet those dates.
40% of malpractice suits stem from missed dates when lawyers miss courtroom hearings and we are ensuring that’s not going to happen. We also update the forms on an ongoing basis so lawyers aren’t using outdated content.
Large firms are picking us because we consolidate systems for them – a lot of them have four or five systems and we consolidate them into one.