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Legal IT News: All the latest wins, deals and moves

Added on the 8th Jan 2018 at 6:15 am
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As we ease gently into 2018 (yeh, right) private equity news has dominated the past week, with investment or acquisitions in the UK and US for Converge TS and Xact Data Discovery (XDD) respectively.

Starting in the US with the most recent news, XDD on 3 January announced that it has been acquired by JLL Partners, a mid-market private equity firm based in New York. This is an acquisition from Clearview Capital, which acquired XDD in January 2015.

As part of the transaction, JLL is partnering with XDD founder and president Bob Polus.

“As part of our growth strategy, finding an investment partner with a similar culture, strategic vision and focused energy was critical to our success,” said Polus. “We look forward to advancing our common interests, experience and capital as we pursue additional acquisitions to add new locations and service capabilities.”

XDD is the fifth platform investment for JLL Partners Fund VII.

In the UK, we kicked off 2018 with a UK private equity exclusive, with UK-based lower mid-market investor Tenzing Private Equity announcing its investment in Converge Technology Specialists (Converge TS).

Founded in 2006 by MD Nigel Wright, Converge TS is a dedicated cloud provider to the legal sector, providing infrastructure as a service, hosting and business continuity as well as other managed IT and infrastructure services.

Tenzing, which closed its debut £200m fund in January 2016, targets high growth UK-based companies with an enterprise value of between £10m and £50m. This is the second investment from that fund and Converge TS has notably achieved exceptional organic growth – over 50% revenue growth year on year in the last three years – through new client wins and an increased demand for services from its existing client base.

Tenzing, which has declined to provide the sum invested, has backed the incumbent Converge TS senior management team, led by Wright and technical director Andrew Taylor. Rob Jones led the investment in Converge TS on behalf of Tenzing, supported by Milan Kellner and Natalia Mann. Jones and Tenzing’s co-founder, Guy Gillon will be joining the Converge TS board post completion. For the full story click here: https://www.legaltechnology.com/latest-news/exclusive-uk-mid-market-investor-tenzing-buys-into-converge-ts/

Cybersecurity

Cloud computing businesses will be a big target for hackers in 2018 according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which also warns that there will be more huge data breaches along the lines of Equifax in the year ahead.

In an article out on 2 January the MIT Review points out six cyber threats to worry about in 2018 – nothing like starting the year on a high – which in addition to the above also includes the weaponization of AI; cyber-physical attacks; mining cryptocurrencies; and hacking elections.

Ransomware in the cloud is identified as a serious threat and the MIT Review states: “The biggest cloud operators like Google and Amazon and IBM have hired some of the brightest minds in digital security, so they won’t be easy to crack. But smaller companies are likely to be more vulnerable, and even a modest breach could lead to a big payday for the hackers involved.”

And as the computer industry scrambles to patch security vulnerabilities in their processor chips in the wake of revelations over ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ security flaws, Intel Corp was last week hit with a class action lawsuit in the US claiming that all Intel x86-64x core processors (CPUs) manufactured since at least 2008 suffer a security defect that renders them unfit for purpose, given that patching will “dramatically” reduce their performance.

Meltdown and Spectre take advantage of major security flaws in the microprocessors in the majority of the world’s computers, potentially allowing hackers to steal sensitive data such as passwords and log-in keys, including from mobile devices, personal computers and servers running in cloud computer networks.

The lawsuit, brought by San Diego lawyers Doyle APC and Tennesee lawyers Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, is brought on behalf of “all persons who purchased a defective Intel CPU.”

Commenting on our story on LinkedIn, Nick Watson, managing director at Ruby Datum, said: “Unfortunately I think 2018 will be the year of security breaches!”

In cyber product news out last week, Technology Concepts & Design, Inc. (TCDI), has announced the launch of SecureLaw 365, a cybersecurity service designed specifically to address the complex data privacy obligations of law firms. The program delivers an in-depth evaluation of a firm’s current level of security by identifying cyber exposures and then developing an action plan for improving cybersecurity.

“TCDI’s cybersecurity team has provided proactive security services for more than a decade, and now has developed SecureLaw 365 to further assist small and medium-sized law firms meet their ethical obligation to safeguard client data,” said Tim Opsitnick, executive vice president and general counsel of TCDI.

ISO 9001:2008

We can expect more ISO certifications this year but Tikit has kicked off 2018 with the announcement that it has retained its global ISO 9001:2008 certification for its international support desks for the eighth consecutive year.

Tikit’s support procedures have been rigorously audited by an external body to ensure that the principles of the ISO standard are being upheld by all of Tikit’s support staff around the world.

Innovation

Appointed as Dentons first-ever global chief innovation officer on December 13, we caught up with John Fernandez to find out some of the objectives of the new role and how he will progress Dentons’ innovation agenda. If you missed that interview it’s well worth a look.

Based in Washington D.C., prior to joining Dentons, Fernandez was Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development under President Obama and was one of the chief architects of President Obama’s regional innovation strategies. At Dentons, he collaborated with Dentons’ leadership on the founding of Nextlaw Labs, a wholly-owned subsidiary that focuses on developing and investing in new technology with the ambition to transform the practice of law.

Talking to Legal IT Insider, he outlined the desire to create a global infrastructure to help accelerate innovation; says working with clients presents a huge opportunity to revisit law firm service delivery models; and comments that he’s bullish on technology such as AI transforming the legal sector.

You can catch the interview in full here: https://www.legaltechnology.com/latest-news/a-platform-for-change-dentons-global-chief-innovation-officer-john-fernandez-on-his-new-role/

The Legal IT Department of the Future

Our world is changing fast but is this a massive opportunity for legal IT professionals or the end of life as we know it? asks Derek Southall, head of innovation and digital at GowlingWLG, founder of Hyperscale Group and chair of www.litig.org.

Commenting on the article, Andy Stokes of Andy Stokes Consulting says:

“…We are entering a golden era for tech professionals but we need to shape the future if we want to be one of them.

The stand out comment I think, Derek.
We’re now entering, or indeed in, an age where domain level expertise is not either technical or legal, but will need to be a mixture of both – from whichever side the individual comes from.
I certainly found that being a bit of a ‘hybrid’ (in my case accountancy/technical, before adding legal) was very advantageous to my career, and those that are young enough to adapt would be a little foolish not to embrace which ever other side of the skill set they will require in order to flourish.
Hopefully law firms will be encouraging and enabling such cross overs within their teams.”

Southall replies:

“Andy – I totally agree (and have seen first hand the benefit of your hybrid skillset).
I guess the other way to approach this is for everyone to recognise what they don’t know and to really work as team players to optimise how they join up law (every sub domain as well), technology, KM, Data and client service. Today’s world absolutely needs mixed skill sets and so perhaps people need to ask and listen more before just doing or following the crowd. We can’t confuse action with progress or rely on any one person to get this right. The judgement calls are too multi-faceted.”

If you haven’t already read the post in full you can catch it here: https://www.legaltechnology.com/latest-news/guest-post-the-legal-it-department-of-the-future/

 

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