In a major expansion into the United States for cloud case management provider LEAP Legal Software, the Sydney-headquartered company has entered a joint venture with LexisNexis to offer a migration pathway to the 15,000 law firm customers of PCLaw and Time Matters in the United States, Canada and Australasia. But what does the JV mean in practice?
Chris Stock, formerly CEO of LEAP in the US, is the newly appointed CEO of PCLaw | Time Matters. The JV is jointly operated by LEAP and Lexis Nexis at board and executive levels.
There are around 130,000 users of PCLaw and Time Matters involved as paying clients in the JV and Mariska Lloyd, global transitions manager of LEAP says, “We have the capability of moving firms from PC Law and Time Matters to LEAP and the track record of doing so.”
LEAP will start by improving the customer support experience for PC Law and Time Matters users with the introduction of its online support experience built on the Salesforce technology stack that LEAP has used for more than a decade.
Executive chairman of LEAP and now also PCLaw and Time Matters, Richard Hugo-Hamman said: “We are also very aware that the crucially important Certified Independent Consultant (CIC) network is ready for a more focussed and active program to help them better serve their clients. They play a crucially important advisory role to many law firms, and we will make sure that they have all the information they need to provide good informed advice and to help them build their businesses. We think that a strong CIC network, well supported by the JV, will be good for our thousands of customers.”
While both parties in the JV were at pains to stress that clients are not being forced to migrate to LEAP, this is an absolute coup for LEAP, which currently has a global customer base of 8,000 firms. In the UK, where it formally launched in 2015 with the acquisition of Peapod Legal Software, LEAP already has 2,000 law firm clients and 12,000 users.
A spokesperson for LexisNexis strongly denied that LEAP is in effect acquiring the customer base of PCLaw and Time Matters product lines, commenting: “We respectfully decline to discuss the LexisNexis-LEAP announcement further. However, the following statement may be attributed to LexisNexis Legal & Professional:
“On May 8, 2019, LexisNexis Legal & Professional issued a joint press release with LEAP Legal Software, announcing the creation of a joint venture, PCLaw | Time Matters. The announcement includes the PCLaw and Time Matters products.”
We were also provided with this quote from Scott Wallingford, vice president of strategy and product management for LexisNexis Legal & Professional: “In LEAP, we have found a trusted partner with longevity in the legal market, providing cloud-based solutions and high levels of customer support. Through PCLaw | Time Matters, our customers can utilize all aspects of law firm practice management software – time recording, billing, legal accounting, document production and more – in a single elegant cloud solution, ready for any customer when they’re ready to adapt their current IT infrastructure. Our goal remains helping customers work more efficiently, make more informed decisions and drive success for their clients, practice and business.”
And we were directed to a press release confirming the deal, which states: “Under the agreement, PCLaw | Time Matters LLC will be jointly operated by LEAP and LexisNexis, and will provide law firm customers with product enhancements, improved customer support for LexisNexis’ leading on-premise solution, and a simple migration path to LEAP’s best-in-class cloud solution.”
You’ll recall that LexisNexis in 2014 entered a joint venture with Internet Brands to run Martindale Hubble. Internet Brands took the lead in managing the JV and in October 2018, having acquired lawyer directory Avvo in January 2018, announced that it is rebranding as Martindale-Avvo.
LEAP, which started out life in 1992 as a Mac platform, began to develop a cloud service offering during the financial crisis of 2008. After nearly five years of significant investment and product development LEAP began rolling out the cloud version of software to law firms in January 2013. All LEAP data is stored in AWS in dedicated facilities around the world.
It’s worth noting that of the 8,000 law firms using LEAP’s software worldwide on a single cloud platform, over 50% have undergone a successful data transfer by LEAP to transition to the cloud platform. 3,000 firms started anew with LEAP cloud and kept historical data on premise.
Hugo-Hamman said: “We are first and foremost a legal software company. It is all that we do. We focus all our efforts on providing the highest standards of customer support, and the most innovative and useful software for lawyers and support staff. We help our clients to build great law firms.
“We believe that profitable and healthy law firms that ‘help people like us’ in the common areas of law such as family law, real estate, immigration, probate and the like are good for our communities. Surprisingly many small law firms don’t do well financially. It is our job to give them the tools to do more work with the same number of people and grow the profits of their firms. Our global success has been built on delivering on this promise.
“Our intellectual property and data transition experience around this change management means that we can help firms through this transition with minimum disruption to day to day operations and delightfully for the lawyers, when they start using LEAP all their familiar data is there for them.”
He adds: “We are very proud to have been chosen to work with LexisNexis to move their loyal clients to the cloud in as smooth and affordable a way as possible, when they choose to.”