Rick Hellers announces his retirement from nQzw 

Rick Hellers, who is a founding member of the International Legal Technology Association and co-founder of nQ Zebraworks, has announced to his team internally that he is retiring. 

Hellers, who relocated to Thailand in May, was previously president and CEO of nQueue Billback. He founded nQueue in 2003, which merged with Billback in 2009. nQueue Billback merged with Zebraworks in August 2020.  

NQueue has long provided printing, scanning and cost-recovery solutions to law firms and Hellers has been at the forefront of a drive towards digitisation of back-office functions.  

Hellers told his team on 11 October: “I’ve delayed my retirement twice in the last two years, but it’s now time for me to say goodbye to nQzw.  I want to be a full time DAD to my two young children (now 4 & 5 years of age). I want to watch them grow and help them learn and find their future.   I’m going to take the time to read the 800+ books in my library that I’ve collected over the past 35 years and explore other passions that I’ve put aside for the good of the business and the needs of the client.” 

Hellers points out in his note that building his business has been bumpy at times, such as when he sued market leaders Equitrac and Control Systems (Copitrak) for patent infringement. As you might expect, it wasn’t plain sailing. In 2012, nQueue granted a license to Equitrac through a settlement agreement. In August of 2012 nQueue sued Copitrak, which was acquired in December of that year by Nuance – owner of Equitrac. Copitrak attempted to argue that it had become, through acquisition, a party to the settlement agreement – a motion that was denied. 

“Everyone questioned our desire to take on two companies (Equitrac & Copitrak) that already controlled nearly 100% of the market,” Hellers says in his note, adding that no-one believed they could compete against “companies with deep pockets and established relationships.” 

“Most everyone we met told us it was IMPOSSIBLE.   We didn’t believe them and pushed forward,” Hellers said. 

When Hellers co-founded nQ Zebraworks with Bill Bice, he says his goal included building on nQueue’s legacy; providing positions for everyone; and creating his own exit plan. “I remain confident in nQ Zebraworks’ ability to grow nQ’s legacy.   Likewise, I’m proud that every member of both nQ and Zebraworks was offered continued employment.  It’s time now for me to speak to my third objective, my exit plan,” Hellers said.

Between now and the end of the year, Hellers will stay involved with nQzw to wind down his activities and long term. He said: “I expect to remain a substantial shareholder.  Sometime in early 2022, I will begin taking on select and limited engagements with companies looking to enter LegalTech and/or companies that would like to sharpen and enhance their messaging and sales direction.   Likewise, I expect to work with a few law firms to help them embrace their digital transformation and the elimination of the paper chase.” 

caroline@legaltechnology.com

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