Your Wednesday Legal IT Update
For all the wins, deals, moves and news from the past week from across the world look no further.
eDiscovery Day news
Exterro acquires AccessData for nine-figure sum ahead of IPO
eDiscovery leader Exterro Inc announced last week that it has acquired digital forensic investigation technology provider AccessData, citing converging market forces in DFIR, eDiscovery, privacy and information governance. The combined organisation will have 500 global employees and 3,000 customers, as it looks to an IPO in 2021. While exact deal value has not been disclosed, we can confirm that the acquisition is nine-figures.
The acquisition means that Exterro can now provide companies, government agencies, law enforcement, law firms and legal service providers with a solution that addresses all Legal GRC and digital investigation needs in one integrated platform.
“Converging market forces in DFIR, e-discovery, privacy and information governance are the driving factors behind this acquisition,” said Bobby Balachandran, CEO at Exterro. “To effectively address these critical challenges requires the ability to identify, preserve, analyze and present data in a contextual manner, quickly and inexpensively. It also requires a consistent, defensible process. Ensuring the integrity of the data supply chain is of the utmost importance. With the acquisition of AccessData, Exterro combines all of these capabilities in a single, integrated platform to give organizations a holistic framework for addressing their Legal GRC challenges and obligations.”
Organizations today are faced with continually expanding legal and regulatory obligations and ever-increasing security risks around their data and the data they hold on behalf of others. However, there is significant overlap between critical components of data management, especially with regard to e-discovery, internal investigations, incident and breach response, and privacy. AccessData’s forensic collection, processing and analysis capabilities complement and round out Exterro’s existing e-discovery, privacy, information governance, and incident and breach management solutions.
The acquisition follows a fundraise in 2018 of $100m by Exterro.
Jennifer Hamilton Joins HaystackID as deputy GC
Jennifer Hamilton has joined HaystackID as deputy general counsel for global discovery and privacy. Hamilton comes from John Deere, where she spent 14 years leading the development of the company’s eDiscovery operations and was senior counsel and head of the Global Evidence Team.
Hamilton’s addition comes on the heels of HaystackID’s recent merger with NightOwl Global. The merger, funded by Quad-C Management, Inc., is HaystackID’s fourth major investment since April 2018.
“I have known Jenny for many years and her knowledge of and passion for HaystackID underscores our commitment to invest in the very best talent in the industry,” said Haystack ID’s president, Andrea Wallack. “Her expertise will be key as we continue to expand the suite of services available to our clients through the Global Advisory Group.”
Hamilton has extensive experience in data privacy, electronic records management, investigations and litigation. An industry thought leader, she serves as co-chair of the Corporate Counsel Committee for The Sedona Conference Working Group 6 on Data Protection & eDiscovery, and serves as faculty for the Federal Judicial Conference, training 60 federal judges on digital discovery issues.
UK and EMEA legal IT news
MDR LAB announces two new ‘Improve Programme’ companies
DraftWise and Jur have joined MDR LAB’s Improve Programme, which is closely modelled on the original programme that has been running since 2017 but runs all year round.
Improve is designed to help legal tech start-ups become product-market-fit. Over the course of the 12-week programme, successful applicants will get the chance to work within their target market, access users and data and pilot and improve their products.
Find out more about the new MDR LAB Programmes here.
Founded in 2020 and based in New York, DraftWise is a knowledge management platform integrated with Microsoft Word that helps lawyers find precedents and language faster and collaborate better using machine learning and data integration.
DraftWise is backed by Y Combinator, and was founded by 2 ex-Palantir engineers and a former Clifford Chance lawyer.
Founded in 2018 and based in Switzerland, Jur aims to solve the problem of access to justice with its multi-jurisdictional online dispute resolution platform, the Open Justice Platform. The platform enables small and medium enterprises across the world to access a time-efficient dispute resolution method system that will help to settle any issues arising from contracts and real-world business complexities.
Former law firm director sets up marketing club for lawyers
A former marketing director at a top 100 law firm in the south-east, Clare Fanner, has launched a marketing club, aimed at offering help and advice to UK lawyers wishing to increase their firm’s client base and marketing know-how.
Fanner was previously marketing director for Moore Blatch (now Moore Barlow) and Trethowans, who is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and previous founder of LegalCX, launched the Law Firm Marketing Club* in November.
The launch follows the establishment of Clare Fanner’s marketing business, Find Get Grow, in 2016, which she set up recognising the need for law firms to have easy access to expert marketing support.
Fanner said: “The marketing club aims to provide invaluable resources, research and insights to lawyers and is a game-changer for firms serious about getting more clients and saving time and money. Whether you are a small law firm with limited marketing resources, or a larger firm with a marketing and BD team, and looking for specialist support we can help.”
Take part in LawCare’s mental health survey
Legal mental health charity LawCare is urging legal professionals to take part in their research study ‘Life in the Law’ to determine the impact of work culture and working practices on the wellbeing of legal professionals. Anyone working in the legal industry, including those in training and support staff, can complete the anonymous online questionnaire across the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man until December 31st. The results, which will be announced next year, will help LawCare improve the support available to legal professionals and drive change in the profession, as well as forming the basis for an academic paper.
The research seeks to understand the day to day realities of life in the law and uses three academic research scales for burn-out, psychological safety, and autonomy. It includes questions about sleep, workload, hours worked, self-care and working environment, as well as asking what wellbeing support is offered at work. There are also questions about bullying, discrimination and harassment, sleep, alcohol, and experiences of stress, anxiety, and depression. The research will also examine how the legal profession has been affected by COVID-19.
Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said: “This is the biggest ever piece of academic research into wellbeing in the legal industry in the UK and Ireland. We’ve been absolutely delighted with the number of responses so far and we urge all legal professionals to make their voice heard and tell us about their life in the law. This will give us a clear picture of how the culture and practice of law affects mental health and help us not only to improve the support available to legal professionals, but drive long lasting change in legal workplaces so that people working in the law can thrive.”
The charity teamed up with leading academics in the field Dr Emma Jones (University of Sheffield), Professor Richard Collier (University of Newcastle), Caroline Strevens (Reader in Legal Education, University of Portsmouth) and Lucinda Soon (Solicitor and PhD researcher) along with Nick Bloy (Executive Coach and founder of Wellbeing Republic) and Kayleigh Leonie (LawCare trustee and solicitor) to develop the research study.
Take part at lifeinthelaw.org.uk
Survey shows that paralegals under pressure during COVID
A new survey by Athennian reveals that paralegals feel more productive working from home and that their workloads have increased during the pandemic, but a significant chunk said that their mental health has been negatively affected.
The global survey of over 323 paralegals, law clerks, and legal administrators found:
- 41% reporting that their workloads had increased during the pandemic
- 65% of paralegals told us they felt more productive at home than in the office
- 37% said that their mental health had been negatively impacted by the pandemic
- While a quarter had seen their personal income reduced, with overall household incomes also reducing due to unemployment
- Those in work struggle to unplug after work, stay motivated, and cope with distractions at home
- 28% also reported their biggest struggle was communicating and collaborating
- Lawyer responsiveness to paralegals has remained at the same level as office working
Adrian Camara, CEO of Athennian, says: “We all know that paralegals, law clerks, and administrators are a critical, but often undervalued, part of the legal process. They are at the forefront of forging and maintaining strong relationships, both internally and externally, and with stakeholders, clients, and colleagues. The lack of support for paralegals, and their fellow legal administration professionals, places law firms at risk, including firms managing immense amounts of entity and corporate governance data.
“We found that, in general, paralegals are experiencing significant pressures, including increasing workloads and anxiety around Covid-19, all of which have had an impact on mental health. They are experiencing family health issues, the loss of colleagues, lost income, and isolation.”
Respondents to the global survey were from North America (USA 50% and Canada 38%). With 10% from the UK. There was a smaller, but valued, response from Australia. 64% of respondents work for a law firm, while 32% work in a legal department. Areas of work varied, but most respondents worked in corporate law. Other areas included contracts, litigation, real estate law IP, tax law, wills, and family law.
“The message to employers is loud and clear – it’s time to take notice of employee health, both physical and mental. If the well-being of your employees is not supported, there is likely to be a real business impact on client relationships, talent retention, and the ability of legal teams to work effectively,” adds Camara. “It must be the priority of employers to provide the right tools, systems, and resources to support paralegals. In doing so, legal teams can enable better communication and collaboration, empower legal teams to be more efficient and profitable, and improve employee health and happiness.”
Nelson Mullins Completes Disposition of 1.5 Million Electronic Documents with FileTrail GPS
Information governance and records management software leader FileTrail this week announced that Nelson Mullins, an 800-attorney Am Law 100 firm, has successfully completed disposition of 1.5 million electronic documents using FileTrail GPS (Governance Policy Suite). Nelson Mullins, a NetDocuments user since 2010, used FileTrail GPS Policy Manager to conduct a thorough review of its electronic documents.
“Timely disposition of electronic records is a critical task that many firms haven’t prioritized enough, in part because of the effort required. At Nelson Mullins, we decided to take disposition of information assets in our DMS head-on, with an eye to reducing ongoing costs and risks associated with keeping records longer than needed,” says David Worth, CIO, Nelson Mullins.
The close integration between FileTrail GPS and NetDocuments enabled Nelson Mullins to automatically identify documents due for disposition based on client matter numbers and their associated retention schedules. Automated workflows managed via FileTrail GPS Policy Manager made the review, approval and disposition process fast and efficient.
“The entire review process went very smoothly. Our partners appreciated how easy it was for them to review and approve documents for disposition and escalate decisions requiring further consideration,” adds Worth. “The transparency and intuitiveness of FileTrail GPS, the visibility it provides across all electronic and physical information repositories and the fact that it automatically captures a record of all activity and approvals make it an extremely valuable tool for any organization that is serious about information governance, compliance and long-term cost control.”
Moving forward, Nelson Mullins will use FileTrail GPS to manage annual reviews of electronic documents according to the firm’s retention schedules, as well as any retention periods specified by clients in their outside counsel guidelines. The firm plans to follow up with review and disposition of aging documents in other information repositories including file shares and its IP database.
“Ensuring that electronic records are disposed of in a timely manner is essential to maintaining security, confidentiality and data protection. We’re thrilled to be working with IT and information governance leaders at forward-thinking firms like Nelson Mullins to help reduce risks and costs by automating the disposition process,” says FileTrail president Darrell Mervau.
Nelson Mullins has used FileTrail GPS Records Manager to manage its physical records since 2017, expanding its FileTrail system to include FileTrail GPS Policy Manager in 2019.
Morae Global partners with ‘so-hot-right-now’ Foundation Software Group
Morae Global Corporation has entered into a technology partnership with experience management law firm intelligence provider Foundation Software Group, which was unforgettably described to us by a would-be partner as ‘so hot right now – like Hansel in Zoolander.’
This is the first international technology partnership for Foundation – Morae will provide implementation and support services for Foundation’s Firm Intelligence platform.
The Foundation platform provides a better way for law firms to find and manage knowledge about clients, matters, people, and parties for greater responsiveness to client and prospect needs. Foundation works by passively collecting information from critical internal and external systems − intelligently transforming and normalizing data along the way, while also adding contextual information − to provide the firm with an actionable source of firm intelligence to achieve business objectives and drive revenue growth. The platform brings the needs of the law firm’s Business Development and Knowledge Management functions more closely together, and replaces the need not only for multiple solutions, but also for heavy manual contributions in data harvesting, data maintenance, and search and retrieval of experience, expertise, and relationship intelligence.
“Law firms have large amounts of data critical for winning and serving clients. But this data is typically scattered among numerous data silos, including time and billing, HR, and CRM systems, and lacks the contextual information necessary to make it meaningful. Our Foundation Firm Intelligence Platform enables firms to aggregate, synthesize, and transform their information into usable and actionable firm intelligence to better serve clients and lawyers while helping to drive the firm’s revenue,” said Barry Solomon, Executive Vice President at Foundation Software Group.
“Pressure is rising on law firms to rapidly locate and utilise relevant commercial intelligence and legal knowledge from across what are often disparate systems. Morae is excited to introduce this timely solution from Foundation to our clients in the UK, Europe, and Asia-Pacific,” said David Boswell, President, Digital Transformation at Morae. “We are an ideal partner for the implementation, integration, and support of the Foundation Firm Intelligence platform based on our many years of experience in designing solutions for some of the most complex law firm environments in the world. Our team has a deep understanding of how to transform knowledge into wisdom, and how to leverage technology to increase the quality and efficiency of legal service delivery to secure higher revenue and margins.”
Trellis expands coverage of trial courts
Trellis, a state trial court legal research and analytics platform, has expanded coverage to trial courts throughout Delaware and Cook County, Illinois. Trellis provides an instantly searchable database of state trial court records, including detailed analysis of judges’ decisions and ruling history. Trellis describes itself as the “Google” of state trial court records for the industry’s fiercest litigators to gain insights on judges, opposing counsel, motions, and their most complex legal issues.
“As part of our mission to improve access to state trial court records, we’re onboarding new courts in Delaware and Cook County, Illinois” said Nicole Clark, CEO and Co-Founder of Trellis. “Central to our ethos as a business is democratizing access to court records and the law.”
“We’re committed to bringing data-driven decision making to the practice of law by making state trial court data in Delaware and Cook County, Illinois accessible and effortlessly digestible for the first time adds Alon Shwartz, Co-Founder and CPO of Trellis.“
Jack M. Rubin, an associate at Newmeyer & Dillion focusing his practice on civil litigation, real estate, land use and construction litigation, agrees with Clark and Shwartz. “I have a moment with Trellis almost every day finding results I wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else,” says Rubin. “The information in Trellis changed my cases from being on defense to offense. Trellis is an essential tool for litigators.”
Trellis clients can now access a wide-range of case types for Delaware and Cook County, Illinois court records, including negligence, insurance, contract, property, personal injury, product liability and so much more. As with other cases included in the Trellis system, Trellis clients in Delaware and Cook County, Illinois can also get the basic case information they need on the dockets, parties, and attorneys involved in litigation. Trellis clients in those jurisdictions can now begin leveraging their favorite Trellis features to do strategic multi-state research on opposing counsel and other parties.
Keno Kozie Announces Webinar on Data Governance in the Microsoft Teams Era
Keno Kozie Associates has partnered with iManage, Prosperoware, and SeeUnity to talk about data management and governance, especially when it comes to Microsoft Teams, during a webinar taking place and December 10 at 12:00 pm CT.
This webinar will look at the large amounts of data coming from more places both inside and outside an organization and changing constantly. It will discuss how Microsoft Teams is a driver of a wealth of the data and how this data provides a tremendous opportunity – albeit a complex and challenging one – for organizations to make better decisions, run faster and even build entirely new business models.
Featured speakers include:
- Jay Kozie, Executive VP, Keno Kozie Associates
- Sue Keno, Managing Director, Keno Kozie Associates
- Dan Carmel, CMO, iManage
- Keith Lipman, CEO & Co-founder, Prosperoware
- Ryan Bond, VP of Professional Services, SeeUnity
“Given the growing decisions organizations need to make when it comes to data governance, we are excited to bring together experts from iManage, Prosperoware, and SeeUnity in a format where they can share insight on managing non-DMS data and how integration tools can help to gain efficiency and develop improved workflows,” states Kozie.
For more information or to register for this webinar, visit www.kenokozie.com/upcoming-webinar/.