Legal IT news roundup: All the latest wins, deals and people moves

Wins and deals

LexisNexis has made it easier for law firms to collaborate and complete legal documents by integrating the DocuSign electronic signature solution into its drafting and proofreading tool, Lexis Draft.

Lawyers can now use DocuSign to manage the eSignature process from their Lexis Draft toolbar within Microsoft Word – removing the need to move back and forth between applications and streamlining legal document workflows.

Head of integration and partnerships at LexisNexis, Andrew Woollatt, said “From the outset, Lexis Draft was designed with the capability to integrate with third party applications. For some time, electronic signatures have been a legally-enforceable alternative to pen and paper and so it made sense for us to partner with an industry leader like DocuSign to offer our customers a more streamlined solution.”

It’s been a good week for iManage, as Linklaters’ Australian ally Allens announces is to swap out OpenText eDOCS for iManage Work Product Management after a competitive pitch involving both NetDocuments and iManage.

The firm also selected iManage Mobility to enable staff to access the entire electronic file from any device or location. Phoenix Business Solutions was selected by Allens to assist with the design and delivery of its iManage implementation.

This is the second eDOCS – iManage swap out in the past seven days, after Stikeman Elliott announced on 14 November that it has selected iManage Work, Threat Manager and Records Manager.

There was also good news last week for Ascertus Limited, a provider of document and information lifecycle management solutions to law firms and corporate legal departments, which has won the contract to provide iManage Work Product Management system support services for RadcliffesLeBrasseur. Additionally, this UK-based law firm, which provides business, regulatory, not-for-profit and private legal advice; is planning for Ascertus to upgrade the firm to iManage Work 10, the latest version of this next generation of email and document management system.

Australian legal technology and information provider GlobalX has announced its latest integration partnership with NetDocuments.

The partnership allows legal and financial professionals across Australia to work more effectively and efficiently when using the two solutions.

GlobalX Search integration with NetDocuments allows firms to significantly increase their productivity and reduce internal costs by facilitating live access to more than 2,000 regulatory information searches, real-time sharing of files and automated billing.

GlobalX CEO Peter Maloney said: “Integration and interoperability is integral to firms seeking efficiency gains. This integration stimulates efficiency by removing the need to manually save and transfer regulatory documents.”

Keystone Law Group has raised £15m to float on the AIM London Stock Exchange, with a key factor in its oversubscribed listing said to be that it operates in “a significant addressable market, ripe for disruption” and that it already has the necessary infrastructure, including IT.

The dispersed model law firm, which becomes the third to float after Gordon Dadds and Gateley, on 16 November announced its intention to float on AIM following a successful fundraising, which was “significantly oversubscribed.”

The announcement highlights the fact that the UK legal services mid-market, which has an annual revenue of £8.8bn, is ripe for disruption and says “all types of legal work…are capable of being delivered by lawyers within the Keystone model.”

Keystone’s lawyers are self-employed, work from their own offices and have no fixed salary. The announcement says: “A scaleable, proven business model which has demonstrated a history of growth: Keystone already has the necessary infrastructure, including IT, developed and deployed with capacity to support substantially higher lawyer numbers without significantly increasing the working capital requirements of the group.”

In another major US private equity-backed acquisition, AbacusNext, a San Diego headquartered technology-as-a-service provider for the professional services industry, has acquired UK document automation pioneer HotDocs, with CEO and founder Russell Shepherd to exit the company.

https://www.legaltechnology.com//latest-news/consolidation-private-equity-house-abacusnext-acquires-hotdocs/

A member of the team behind consumer legal support forum LegalBeagles has launched a new legal search and comparison site – JustBeagle – having raised £970,000 in seed round financing from high net worth investors.

Online crowd funding investment platform SyndicateRoom supported the fundraising by bringing a number of its investors to the round. JustBeagle promises to directly connect consumers and SMEs to over 10,000 + law firms across England and Wales.

https://www.legaltechnology.com//latest-news/legal-comparison-spin-off-site-justbeagle-launches-with-970k-seed-financing/

 

In the Midlands Lodders Solicitors has turned to iomart company Cristie Data for Backup-as-a-Service after encountering issues with its existing backup solution.

The leading regional law firm was using traditional tape backup when issues were noticed during a routine security patch. When the IT team attempted to restore to a backup it quickly became clear that the system being used was inefficient and not performing satisfactorily.

Alex Loquens, IT Director for Lodders Solicitors, said: “Protecting confidential client data effectively and efficiently is vital to our business. Our clients are at the heart of everything we do. As it happens, we had already been in talks with Cristie Data as part of a cyber security review and the issue we noticed recently with our traditional backup escalated our concerns. The usual monitoring and log files had all been telling us everything was ok, but when it came to the crunch it was clear to see the old system no longer catered to the growing needs and demands placed on it.”

And in the US, InOutsource, an industry-leading global legal consulting firm celebrating its 15th anniversary, last week announced that Loeb & Loeb will work with the company to upgrade to FileTrail records management from ARM/FileSurf.  InOutsource will lead the implementation process and advise on information governance policies and procedures.

The firm realized the need to have a system in place to support compliance requirements after hearing that ARM/FileSurf would no longer be developed.

“InOutsource’s expertise in information governance and records management was invaluable in helping the firm evaluate FileTrail as a replacement for FileSurf,” said Heather Morrow, Loeb & Loeb’s manager of training and special projects. “They created a proof of concept environment and were very responsive during the evaluation process. Our records managers were impressed with InOutsource’s presentation of FileTrail. We quickly discovered that any option could be configured to meet the needs of respective offices, practice groups and staff. We are looking forward to InOutsource’s implementation expertise and project management skills as we transition to FileTrail.”

New consultancy offerings

Strategic consulting has never been more in demand and Dentons on 15 November launched Nextlaw In-House Solutions, a strategic consulting service, with more than 50 former general counsel across the globe ready to provide integrated, multi-disciplinary solutions to in-house counsel.

In-house counsel play an increasingly important role in companies all over the world, but often times have limited resources to build contemporary, effective operations. Managing new legal problems, legal technologies, procurement processes, and varying types of legal service providers is more challenging than ever before. A significant gap exists between client expectations of value, innovation and efficiency, and the effectiveness with which law firms are responding.

Nextlaw In-House Solutions is designed to answer these challenges: bringing together general counsel from major organizations around the world, along with legal technology and process management experts and professionals across the spectrum of legal operations disciplines, to provide advisory services, market insights and experienced perspectives.

LexisNexis also last week announced a new offering in Australia under its Lexis Legal Analytics umbrella. Custom Analytics is a new consulting service which law firms, corporate teams, universities, courts and government departments can use to help them identify insights into legal information and strategy.

Simon Wilkins, general manager – Australia, LexisNexis said: “As clients approach us with their unique challenges and needs we will develop the necessary legal analytics tools for them. We’re uniquely placed with both the content and the technology to produce this.”

New product offerings

Allen & Overy’s online legal subscription business aosphere has launched three Neota Logic-backed RegTech apps to help financial services clients reduce their risk.

The apps recently launched to aosphere subscribers are as follows:

https://www.legaltechnology.com//latest-news/aosphere-launches-three-neota-backed-regtech-apps-for-financial-services-clients/

Hires

National law firm Weightmans has hired a new group finance director to help lead the firm through further growth, after a record half year revenue of £44m, up 7.3% on the 2106 half year.

Group FD Bob Granger joins from Lakeland, where he was finance and retail director for 13 years and instrumental in the transformation of the business into a digitally focused and international business.

Granger said: “I’m delighted to be joining Weightmans at a time when we are reporting record results. Weightmans prides itself on being an ambitious firm that not only hires and retains the leading experts in their field, but also genuine team players who care about their clients. We see this ethos reflected in our strong client relationships and these latest financials. It’s a great result for us and I’m looking forward to playing a part in the next chapter of our success.”

And OnePlace has made a further senior hire from LexisNexis, bolstering its London office with the appointment of principal solution consultant David Harris as client solutions director.

Cyber news

As Equifax Inc. continues to face fallout from the massive data breach announced earlier this year, the consumer credit reporting company has selected one of its in-house attorneys to oversee its response to the disaster, reports the American Lawyer on law.com.

Taking on this role is Julia Houston, whose official title is chief transformation officer. Along with leading the company through the aftermath of the breach, Houston will coordinate Equifax’s efforts to “build a new future,” according to the company’s corporate leadership page.

You can read the story here.

Product launches

Redbrick Solutions last week released the latest version of their practice management solution, marking the 18th version of ‘Redbrick Practice Management’ and includes a number of enhancements and new functionality to benefit clients including a new secure online document portal and interactive reporting module.

Existing clients will automatically receive the latest version of Redbrick Practice Management at no cost as part of Redbrick Solutions unique business model, which also provides support and training at no cost.

Awards

BigHand has won the ‘UK Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award’ at the UK IT Industry Awards.

For the UK Innovation and Entrepreneurship category, the judges looked for a new product or service that has delivered measurable benefit for customers and can demonstrate the potential to be an important product for customers worldwide. BigHand was recognised for its task delegation tool, BigHand Now, and the notable results it has delivered for its customers in the legal industry.

Ian Churchill, CEO of BigHand, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the UK Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award. At BigHand, we are proud to have a customer-led product strategy, and it’s fantastic to receive recognition for creating the tools that help our customers to deliver their services with ease.”

One to watch

Hull-based law firm rradar.  After achieving significant growth during its first four years in business, rradar has been welcomed into the London Stock Exchange Group’s ELITE Programme.

Each year, the ELITE Programme welcomes two exclusive cohorts of ambitious companies through its doors with the aim of guiding them through the next stages of company growth.

rradar has been selected due to the magnitude of its growth from 2013 – 2017.  rradar as a concept started with a single employee, and it is now home to a team of over 100 staff. It reached an impressive growth in turnover of £4m in 2016. It has already well exceeded this figure during 2017.

Good news – the legal sector is ahead in digital transformation!

The legal industry has been dubbed “the soft underbelly” of UK PLC when it comes to cybersecurity but according to figures from Advanced 2017 Trends Report, the sector is leading the way when it comes preparation for the UK’s digital transformation.

Findings showed 92% of law firms in the UK are prepared for the threat of a cyber-attack and a further 84% of firms are ready for the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

We’re not convinced but for more details see https://trends.oneadvanced.com

To be included in our weekly and monthly roundup of news contact caroline.hill@liti.co.uk

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