Legal IT US/UK Latest: Catch up on the past week’s wins, deals, and moves

UK & EMEA

VENDOR HIRES

Law technology specialist Access Legal has hired a new head of customer success. Bishu Solomon Girma most recently spent three years as vice president of client services and forensics for the European division of legal solutions provider Epiq. She began her career in law practice articling at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto, and has also served as in-house counsel at a North American auto manufacturer where she focused on corporate commercial law.

In her new role at Access, Girma will manage a portfolio of over 3,500 legal customers and take direct responsibility for the management of the professional services, support and customer service teams.

Commenting on the appointment, Doug Sawers, managing director of Access Legal, said: “Our investment in Bishu is an investment in our customers and we’re thrilled to welcome someone of her calibre. Working alongside the team, Bishu will help accelerate our growth and enhance the quality of our service delivery. The legal industry has been in a period of transformation for years and historically has taken longer to adopt new technologies and a customer centric focus, relative to other sectors. Part of our ambition is to change that view and the arrival of Bishu is furthering our focus on customer success.”

Organisations already using Access Legal software solutions include Eversheds, Minster Law, Winn Solicitors, Wolferstans, Neves Solicitors LLP and The MAPD Group.

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LAW FIRM NEWS

Herbert Smith Freehills has developed a new web-based app to help in-house counsel quickly navigate the complexities in determining which documents are likely to be privileged, or not.

The ‘English Law Legal Privilege’ web app, which has been designed and built entirely in-house using Neota Logic’s platform, allows clients to quickly access the information they need both on their mobile phones and via their desktops.

The tool guides users through a short series of questions and then uses the answers to analyse whether a document is likely to be covered by legal advice privilege and/or litigation privilege under English law.

Notes providing guidance and interpretation of relevant case law are accessible directly from the question screens. Once all the necessary questions have been answered, an on-screen report provides a summary of the answers given and the likely privilege status of the document.

The app was developed by Herbert Smith Freehills partner Alexander Oddy; professional support lawyer Maura McIntosh; senior legal automation specialist Bilal Syed; and senior associate Andrew Wells, with support from the firm’s legal operations and innovation teams.

Oddy said: “This is an exciting example of digital transformation of our business in practice. We’ve built this app entirely in house on a no-code platform in a matter of weeks through Practice Group, Innovation and Legal Ops collaboration. I think it will be a real help for busy in house lawyers.”

To find out more, click here.

Wedlake Bell has published a case study with BigHand detailing the templating automation work they have done with BigHand Document Creation.

David Hymers, head of IT, Wedlake Bell, said: “We were previously using another system for managing our templates. They were automated to a fashion, but there were issues around the automation, plus the speed and ease of use, particularly with regard to the creation of engagement letters.”

Sandra Pawley, IT Business Engagement Specialist at Wedlake Bell took the lead on the implementation, working with the firm’s users and BigHand consultants to understand existing processes and how these could be improved and automated with the new Document Creation platform. She said: “We identified that our users had to go to multiple different places – for example a page on the company intranet where everyone’s charge rate was listed – to manually create the engagement letter. We had the idea of building that into the automation, which BigHand was easily customisable to do, so now you can type a fee earner’s name into the template and it will automatically pull in their rate from our practice management system. We also enhanced individual and specific ways of working, such as how footers might be populated. BigHand was extremely responsive and easy to work with on all aspects of the implementation.”

You can read that case study in full here: https://www.bighand.com/en-gb/resources/case-studies/wedlake-bell-adds-automation-and-sophistication-with-bighand-document-creation/

And global law firm Ashurst has announced the launch of a new career development framework specific to its ‘new law division’ Ashurst Advance to help the next generation of legal professionals develop their careers.

The framework sets out clearly the core skills, knowledge and behaviours required for the full range of Ashurst Advance roles.

Mike Polson, head of Ashurst Advance Delivery, commented: “At Ashurst, we believe one of the key drivers of our success is our people. We are committed to investing in their personal growth and supporting

each other to be at our best. The aim of this new careers framework is to provide a better-defined pathway built around clear role expectations and the stages within a long term career in NewLaw. It will remain fluid and we can adapt it as new roles inevitably emerge within Ashurst Advance, but we wanted to ensure that everyone at Ashurst has the opportunity to explore and clarify development areas that support people to hone their craft, increase their impact, and develop their career.”

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FUNDING

Contract drafting and review startup Definely has announced a £2.2m Seed+ funding, co-led by Microsoft’s venture fund, M12, and CRE Venture Capital. The latest funding follows a Seed round raised in September 2020, bringing Definely’s total investment to date to £3.4m. Definely was previously just called ‘Define’ and it came to our attention partly through being selected by Allen & Overy for its startup incubator Fuse. Its customers now include some of the world’s largest law firms, financial institutions and multinational corporations including Deloitte, Allen & Overy and Dentons. Ben Brooks, an associate at Allen & Overy said: “Before Definely I would have to have multiple copies of the same contract open on my screens or a printed copy in front of me. Definely allows you to work logically through the contract whilst viewing and editing other areas, never having to navigate away from the provision you are considering. I would not want to draft a contract without using Definely.”

You can read that story in full here: https://legaltechnology.com/microsofts-m12-leads-2-2m-seed-investment-in-legal-tech-startup-definely/

WINS

Clifford Chance has selected Austin-headquartered records management provider FileTrail GPS (Governance Policy Suite) to replace and upgrade its incumbent OpenText LegalKEY system.

“The last 18 months have transformed the way we work, challenging how we’ve traditionally stored, moved and consumed information,” says John Hayward, office services manager, Clifford Chance, which has over 3,500 fee earners across five continents. Hayward added: “Our business services team has made significant changes to how we support our lawyers, regardless of where they are working. At the same time, we’re keenly aware of the need to adhere to information governance policies, particularly around data protection and retention. Technology that enables us to make records more accessible to our lawyers and staff, while allowing our facilities and IT teams to maintain tight control over who is allowed to view them, enhances our ability to deliver high-quality services to our clients.”

Clifford Chance is initially deploying FileTrail GPS in London and the United States to approximately 1,400 users. You can read that story in full here: https://legaltechnology.com/records-management-clifford-chance-swaps-out-legalkey-for-filetrail/

Bournemouth-based, full service commercial law firm, Steele Raymond, has selected Ascertus Limited to help the firm adopt best practice document and email management, with the implementation and support of iManage Work in the cloud.

This implementation is said to be core to Steele Raymond’s IT strategy as the firm looks to future-proof its infrastructure and deliver the best possible legal service to achieve its ambitious business growth goals. Once deployed, iManage Work will be the central hub and “go to” application for all client matters as well as internal firm-related information, facilitating a paper-light, digital and hybrid working environment.

Lee Taylor, business development director at Steele Raymond, said: “We work with some highly recognised brands in business and typically compete

and pitch for work against other significant regional and national firms. So, to maintain our competitiveness, we want to provide a work environment that attracts the best talent, and is conducive to high quality service delivery. The right technology infrastructure is core to this, with best practice information management in the cloud being among the most important capabilities. It will support hybrid working, and facilitate a digital and paper light environment, transforming our way of working.”

ThoughtRiver and World Commerce & Contracting have announced a partnership which when launched, will allow any user of the ThoughtRiver contract acceleration platform to instantly review a third-party NDA against the WorldCC contracting principles.

This partnership between WorldCC and ThoughtRiver has involved the ThoughtRiver team ingesting the WorldCC contracting principles into its AI tool and effectively treating the principles as a risk policy for the AI to review against. ThoughtRiver has also used WorldCC’s own standard NDA as the template agreement for any clause suggestions that the tool offers back to users during the review.

Paula Doyle, chief legal innovation officer for WorldCC said, “WorldCC is delighted to work with ThoughtRiver on this pilot which effectively productises our contracting principles and brings them to life. Since inception, the principles have been a regular go to for many of our members focused on a more balanced starting point for negotiations. ThoughtRiver’s tool takes this several steps forward and allows its customers to automatically leverage the principles in drafted form. We are very excited about this new partnership and look forward to embedding our principles deeper into the ThoughtRiver tool for the review of multiple contract forms.”

The next phase of the partnership is to expand the use cases beyond NDAs into broader commercial agreements with work on services agreements and ‘as a service’ agreements already started by the legal content team at ThoughtRiver to align to the WorldCC principles.

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NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA

END OF LIFE

iManage is to end of life DeskSite, FileSite and Work Indexer (powered by IDOL) in a move that will see those core legacy products no longer supported after December 2023.

iManage says that its desktop applications are being retired following the introduction and successful adoption of iManage Work 10. It is retiring all 9.x versions of the iManage classic clients and add-ons, including:

iManage DeskSite

iManage FileSite

iManage OffSite

Email management for Outlook and the Outlook Module

iManage Express Search

iManage Miner

iManage DealBinder Add-On

These applications, add-ons and modules are now in maintenance mode, meaning there will be no new enhancements – albeit in reality there haven’t been any enhancements for some time. Support comes to an end on 30 June,

and their end of life is December 29 2023. Customers using 9.x versions of those applications are being advised that they now need to start planning a transition to iManage Work 10.

iManage says that the decision was driven by the fact that the majority of iManage customers have upgraded to Work 10, and that all iManage technology partners have updated their integrations to support the Work 10 interface with the Universal API.

Meanwhile the IDOL Indexer is also in maintenance mode. Support will be provided until 30 June 2023 and its end of life date is December 29 2023. Customers are being advised to plan their upgrade to the RAVN Indexer now. You can read that in full here: https://legaltechnology.com/imanage-announces-end-of-life-for-desksite-filesite-and-idol-indexer/

VENDOR HIRES

Wilson Allen has hired James Baldassarra as director of data sciences. In his new role at the company, Baldassarra will be responsible for rolling out Wilson’s Managed Analytics Services, as well as accelerating the development and scale of the services offerings resulting from the company’s innovation efforts, including concepts coming out of the Wilson Think Tank and its work as a Microsoft AI Inner Circle Partner.

Baldassarra joins Wilson Allen from BigHand where he led the business intelligence consultancy and was responsible for a global team delivering best of breed solutions to law firms in the UK, North America, and APAC. His responsibilities included shaping the company’s business intelligence product, working with senior client stakeholders to define requirements, and managing service delivery to ensure that solutions addressed clients’ strategic objectives. These efforts ensured that the company met the needs of both clients and the market at large.

“Our data and analytics product and services portfolio has grown rapidly and we want to establish visionary leadership to accelerate our innovation efforts, including our vendor-as client analytics work, client engagement Think Tank, and various cognitive services and machine learning applications,” says Norm Mullock, vice president of strategy for Wilson Allen. “James is joining our team to help us connect even more effectively with the professional services firms we serve. He offers an understanding of what clients need as well as a unique knowledge of data and analytics that make him the ideal person for this role.”

Aderant has announced the promotion of Raphael (Rafi) Shure to executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO), with Shure making a further two senior promotions internally. Those promotions see Matt Graywood take over as vice president of global professional services and Samantha Rouse as vice president of global customer support.

Elsewhere, Litera has hired Ashley Miller into the position of vice president sales for North America. Before joining Litera, Ashley was a senior manager, legal function consulting for EY; and before that a director in legal managed services at Thomson Reuters. She has also worked at Kraft Kennedy and LexisNexis. Miller will be part of the sales and marketing team at Litera. You can read more on that here: https://legaltechnology.com/big-hires-and-promotions-at-litera-and-aderant/

No-code contract lifecycle management provider Agiloft has expanded its leadership team by three, amid, we’re told, a 100% increase in customer bookings and more than 50% growth in annual recurring revenue (ARR).

The three new roles fall within three primary areas of the company including business, product, and sales:

Business: Angel Lange, VP of Finance. Financial professional Angel Lange has over twenty years of experience in accounting, management, and financial planning and analysis, with twelve in the software industry. Most recently, Lange was Executive VP of Finance at Protegrity USA.

Product: Anne McNulty, Senior Director of AI Success. With her decade-long experience in the legal industry, Anne McNulty is responsible for maximizing customers’ return on investment through adopting Agiloft AI. Originally a corporate lawyer, McNulty most recently spent five years at Kira Systems where she built and led the team that trained AI to analyze contracts.

Sales: Dan Mosera, Senior Vice President, Strategic Accounts. A top performer in large, complex enterprise sales, Dan Mosera has a reputation for building strong executive relationships from the top down. Mosera most recently managed the top 20 strategic accounts for TIBCO Software with revenue in excess of $40M. You can read that story in full here: https://legaltechnology.com/agiloft-expands-leadership-team-by-three/

ACQUISITIONS AND INVESTMENT

Clio has acquired Lawyaw, a San Francisco-based company developing innovative digital workflows for legal documents. As part of the acquisition, Lawyaw’s team, along with Tucker Cottingham, CEO and co-founder of Lawyaw, will join Clio to continue their work connecting and streamlining information gathering, automated document generation, and e-signatures for legal professionals.

“We have been so impressed with the Lawyaw team and their dedication and innovation to streamlining the creation of important court forms and legal documents,” said Jack Newton, CEO and founder of Clio. “Acquiring their business and bringing their team in-house better enables us to support further development against the critical work they are doing for the industry.”

Founded in 2016 by Tucker Cottingham, Lawyaw and Clio have had a productive working relationship for several years, including a long-standing data integration. Lawyaw was also the first document automation company to offer an app inside of Clio’s app store.

Lawyaw focuses on digitizing entire workflows from information gathering to document assembly, e-signatures, and more in an easy-to-use, cloud-based interface that simplifies document generation for law firms whether they’re in-office or remote.

This announcement comes weeks after Clio’s announcement and acquisition of CalendarRules, which helps law firms manage their court deadlines specific to jurisdictions in all 50 states. Deposition and litigation support provider Veritext Legal Solutions has acquired Reportex and its family of brands in British Columbia, Canada. With this latest acquisition, Veritext says it will offer innovative and advanced litigation solutions across North America.

As part of the acquisition of Reportex in Vancouver, Veritext also acquired United Reporting in Vancouver and Kamloops Reporting Services in Kamloops. Both companies, along with All-Star in New Westminster and Island Reporting in Victoria (which were recently acquired by Reportex), will be integrated into the Veritext family as part of Reportex, making up the British Columbia arm of Veritext.

“By partnering with Reportex we are able to offer unparalleled legal solutions across Canada,” states Nancy Josephs, CEO of Veritext. “Because of this acquisition, our clients will have access to the industry’s most cutting-edge legal services, including a supportive and integrated network of court reporting professionals and legal technology solutions across North America. We look forward to what the future will bring.”

For more information on Veritext go to www.veritext.com

And eDiscovery and compliance provider Hanzo last week announced a substantial investment from Recurring Capital Partners totalling $10.5 million. eDiscovery and compliance provider Hanzo last week announced a substantial investment from Recurring Capital Partners totalling $10.5 million.

“Remote working and enterprise collaboration applications that power many of the increasingly digital-first workplaces of today, have fundamentally changed the way we create, transmit, retain, and interact with information,” said Hanzo’s CEO, Julien Masanès. “Legal, compliance, HR, and security teams face significant challenges searching, analyzing, and identifying the vast volumes of information within these complex data sources, leading to enterprises collectively spending hundreds of millions managing discovery and compliance processes. Hanzo’s mission is to simplify the complexity of managing this data so that companies can manage their risk affordably.”

You can read that story here: https://legaltechnology.com/icymi-hanzo-raises-10-5m%ef%bf%bc/

WINS

Am Law 200-ranked law firm Ice Miller has successfully implemented the NetDocuments native cloud platform, replacing its existing, aging, client-server system. According to our US top 200, Ice Miller was an OpenText customer.

Ice Miller, which began its search for a new document and email management technology several months prior to the pandemic, was already set on a cloud system. “As a firm, we embraced the idea of moving to the cloud. We know that the cloud is more secure, not less secure, than what we can deliver internally, and that a mission critical system like document management belongs in the cloud,” stated Steve Johnson, Ice Miller’s director of IT applications.

The firm’s document management system (DMS) review and selection process were extensive and included more than 65 people within the firm, ranging from attorneys to support staff and partners. Johnson added: “Document management was truly the software that required more feedback and buy-in from the firm than anything else we were going to do. We understood how vital user buy-in, and technology adoption are, especially with a new DMS.”

Ice Miller worked with Kraft Kennedy on the roll out. You can read the release in full here: https://www.netdocuments.com/press-releases/ice-miller-increases-productivity-and-efficiency-with-netdocuments

And Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos, one of Chile’s leading full-service law firms, has also selected NetDocuments.

“At Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos we focus on constantly innovating and that is why we are so thrilled to announce that we have successfully completed our migration to NetDocuments,” said partner Juan Pablo Matus. “This transformation takes us to another level, beyond our expectations, and will fully prepare us to lead future challenges.”

The firm will also partner with Alfredo Reátegui and Lima-based Pronet S.A.C. to help implement NetDocuments across the firm.

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