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Takeaways from the key stories
In recent developments in the legal tech, New Zealand's Actionstep accomplished the acquisition of Soluno, a legal accounting software from Toronto. The acquisition is aimed at amalgamating Soluno's exceptional legal accounting provisions with Actionstep's comprehensive practice management services. Other notable developments include an ongoing copyright lawsuit between Thomson Reuters and Ross Intelligence, where a jury now awaits a decision on copyright infringement issues. Moreover, Simmons & Simmons have entrusted Drew Winlaw, a partner from Simmons Wavelength, to lead a team focusing on generative AI. Lastly, a study conducted by the Association of Corporate Counsel New Jersey and law firm Lowenstein Sandler highlighted that just over one-third of surveyed legal professionals use generative AI tools.
Two key trends from these updates. Firstly, consolidation in the legal tech sector is ongoing, with Actionstep ramping up its market presence through strategic acquisitions to enhance its services. This move suggests that firms are realizing the benefits of integrated, comprehensive solutions for legal practice management and accounting.
Secondly, law firms are increasingly acknowledging the potential impact of AI. Though current usage remains relatively low due to concerns over accuracy, privacy, and risk management, the anticipation of increased AI usage remains high once its potential is fully comprehended and corresponding policies are put in place.
The aforementioned developments exhibit the fast-evolving landscape of legal tech. Actionstep's acquisition reflects a strategic move for the expansion and enhancement of a comprehensive suite of services tailored to the specific needs of midsize law firms. The integration of Soluno's legal accounting software could potentially streamline financial operations, driving efficiency and productivity for these firms. Simultaneously, the lawsuit between Ross Intelligence and Thomson Reuters portrays the inherent complexities and challenges that surround tech-based companies in the legal arena, particularly concerning copyright issues. The appointment of Drew Winlaw signifies the growing commitment of legal firms towards investing in AI to transform their services. While acceptance and usage of AI currently lag, the future of AI in law firms seems promising and substantial once misconceptions are clarified, beneficial strategies are developed, and potential threats are mitigated. The survey results provide valuable insight into challenges faced by the legal industry in adopting AI, mainly revolving around accuracy, privacy, and data and risk management issues. Overcoming these barriers will be crucial for the wider adoption and efficient utilization of AI in legal firms.
You'll find original sources and summaries of all key stories below.
Takeaways from all the other stories
Management solutions provider Elite has made strategic changes in its C-suite, with the appointment of Lindsey Moorley as the CFO, marking its growth phase post-acquisition by TPG from Thompson Reuters.
Gowling WLG, a large global law firm, has taken steps to simplify dispute handling by incorporating an AI-based decision-making tool, Eperoto. The industry also saw the introduction of AI-generated case law summaries in eDiscovery Assistant, providing precise insights into prominent court decisions. Industry events are gearing up to address law firms' adaptation to the evolving legal technological landscape.
A prevalent trend observed has been the strategic integration and deployment of Artificial Intelligence within various spectrums of the legal industry. At the same time, the Elite group and Gowling WLG are using AI to drive growth and decision-making, respectively. In addition, there's a significant focus on team expansion to strengthen the technical interface of companies, as seen with Actionstep and Bundledocs. Another noticeable trend is the shift towards cloud-based systems, as seen with Ballard Spahr adopting NetDocuments' platform, moving away from on-premise document storage.
The consistent growth and development within the legal sector indicate a definite consolidation phase and a shift towards integrating advanced technologies like AI, cloud computing, and data analytics. This digital transformation suggests that law firms and legal tech providers are recognizing the potential of technology to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and ultimately deliver better service to clients. Embracing AI shows a clear trajectory toward employing machine learning and cognitive computing to handle complex tasks and make informed decisions. The rise of cloud-based solutions further underscores the importance of data security and accessibility, essentials in modern law practice. With several law firms expanding their teams globally, we can expect a surge in opportunities for legal professionals with a good hold on law and technology. However, as one article noted, law firms must be cautious about innovation saturation and take a phased approach toward technology adoption.
Ultimately, these advancements are all aimed at instilling efficiency, reducing manual labor, and providing top-notch legal services.
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New Zealand-based legal tech provider Actionstep has strengthened its platform with the acquisition of Toronto's Soluno, a specialist in legal accounting software. The move enhances Actionstep's comprehensive cloud practice management solution, extending its capabilities further into accounting. Actionstep intends to offer the Soluno product as a standalone solution and incorporated into its own system. This is Actionstep's latest strategic acquisition, following the earlier purchase of FilePro and LawMaster to consolidate its market position in Australia and New Zealand. The firm is experiencing rapid expansion in the US legal sector also, with close to 1,000 clients on its books. The addition of Soluno propels Actionstep's ongoing modernization of midsize firms with adaptable and innovative practice management technology.
Legal tech giant Thomson Reuters' copyright lawsuit against the now-defunct startup Ross Intelligence will proceed to trial, based on a memorandum from U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephanos Bibas. While Ross Intelligence stands accused of stealing copyrighted content from Reuters' legal research tool, Westlaw, to develop its own product, Judge Bibas has ruled that it will be up to a jury to decide on the contested points of copyright infringement. While both parties’ motions for summary judgment were mostly denied, the judge did find that Ross copied Westlaw's headnotes and other copyrighted content. Ross's assertions that the key numbers and headnotes are compilations unprotected by copyright law, or restatements of judicial opinions that cannot be copyrighted, are yet to be resolved, as are other remaining legal issues in the case.
Simmons Wavelength co-founder, Drew Winlaw, has been chosen as the global large language model leader at Simmons & Simmons. He will head a team of six, with the goal of examining generative artificial intelligence for business services teams, fee-earners, and clients. This group will be comprised of consultants from both Wavelength and new hires. Since his company's acquisition by Simmons & Simmons in 2019, Winlaw's work there has been focused on legal engineering. His new role will further embed the use of innovative technology within the law firm, with an emphasis on safety and client confidentiality. The introduction of this technology could require persons within the firm to learn a new "language" to best understand and utilise its potential.
A survey by the Association of Corporate Counsel - New Jersey and law firm Lowenstein Sandler shows a disparity in the awareness and usage of generative AI among in-house legal professionals. While 88% are aware of such technology's existence, only 36% have actually utilized it. The study indicates that AI adoption may be increased by the implementation of data handling policies and risk mitigations. Indeed, the main concerns expressed by legal professionals are centered around AI's accuracy and privacy issues, emphasizing the importance of human review and regulation of data use. To efficiently leverage AI, entities will need "prudent policies and thorough training", as stated by Mary Hildebrand of Lowenstein Sandler.
Elite has appointed former NielsenIQ SVP, Lindsey Moorley, as its new CFO. Moorley brings significant experience in developing international finance organizations and driving strategic growth within SaaS portfolios. This follows Elite's acquisition by TPG from Thomson Reuters, as the firm continues to expand its executive team. CEO Mark Dorman expressed confidence in Moorley's skills and her ability to contribute to Elite's growth.
International law firm, Gowling WLG, has introduced the Eperoto disputes decision theory tool to its Canadian offices. The tool, which was launched to 300 litigators, uses decision tree structures to evaluate potential outcomes and costs of legal disputes, minimizing the need for guesswork. The firm has trained 'super users' in using Eperoto, and the tool has been praised for its effectiveness in settlement negotiations.
The LinkedIn Live event, The New Legal Paradigm: Challenges, Trends, and Strategies for Success, will address the difficulties law firms encounter due to technological advancements. Scheduled for Sept. 26, the event will host David Lat, author of Original Jurisdiction, and Mike Fouts, global VP of sales and marketing at ShareFile. They will discuss the main challenges faced by law firms and propose potential solutions.
eDiscovery Assistant, a legal research platform, is introducing AI-generated case law summaries using ChatGPT. The new feature provides concise overviews of court decisions, aiming to help legal professionals swiftly grasp the relevance and implications of a case. The company asserts that this AI feature, which focuses on the core e-discovery issue, will revolutionize the legal industry by offering precise insights into pertinent court decisions.
New Zealand's law practice management firm, Actionstep, has purchased Soluno, a legal accounting software from AffiniPay, to strengthen its presence in the U.S. and Canada. The company intends to merge Soluno with its existing software, aiming to provide a comprehensive platform for midsize law firms. This acquisition follows Actionstep's recent purchases of Australian firms FilePro and LawMaster, as part of its expansion strategy in Australia.
Legal tech expert, Zach Abramowitz, suggests that the swift rise of generative AI is triggering a shift in the legal tech industry, potentially replacing most user interfaces. Abramowitz will discuss this and other topics such as the development of Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs), the influence of legal ops groups and pioneering General Counsels (GCs) at the Legal Innovators UK conference in London.
The article focuses on stress management for legal professionals, emphasizing the impact of the autonomic nervous system's overactivity on health. The author advises techniques to stimulate the 'guru brain' or parasympathetic nervous system, including smiling, using cold water, humming, practicing Hakalau, and eye movement exercises. These strategies aim to help lawyers mitigate stress and increase job satisfaction.
Wolters Kluwer's Corporate Performance & ESG division released a whitepaper on technology's role in global ESG regulation compliance. The paper underscores the need for digital transformation to manage data complexity and regulatory changes, and the rising significance of ESG performance as an operational health metric. It also presents five priorities for C-suite leaders to leverage integrated ESG and financial reporting for competitive advantage, anticipating new mandatory disclosure requirements in multiple countries.
Elite, a law firm management solutions provider, has named Lindsey Moorley as its new CFO. Moorley, previously with NielsenIQ, will leverage her experience in developing finance organizations, driving SaaS portfolio growth, and creating robust operating processes to guide Elite's growth. Her appointment follows Elite's recent acquisition by TPG Capital.
Exterro has introduced Exterro FTK® 8.0, a digital investigations tool aimed at expediting forensic workflows and aiding in quicker case resolutions. The tool provides automation, artifact-based filtering, and an interactive timeline for evidence comparison, reducing manual data search time. It is designed for both experienced investigators and non-technical users, featuring a new user interface and a super timeline evidence view.
Cloud-based software provider Dye & Durham Limited has introduced the Unity® Global Platform in the UK. The platform offers services such as client intake, due diligence, workflow and document management to streamline legal practice operations. It will also support UK firms operating internationally. The company plans to improve the platform by integrating its data and insights with practice management capabilities.
Cloud-based practice management platform, Actionstep, has acquired Soluno, a legal accounting software firm based in Toronto, from AffiniPay. This acquisition will enable Actionstep to incorporate Soluno's accounting software into its platform, thereby improving its services for midsize law firms in the US and Canada. The purchase forms part of Actionstep's continuous expansion, which has led to a tripling of its workforce and a global subscriber base of 35,000 since it received investment from Serent Capital in 2020.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that San Antonio-based senior companion service, Helping Our Seniors, LLC, must pay over $83,000 in lost wages and damages for retaliation, as it falls under the purview of Title VII. The company had argued that it wasn't subject to Title VII as it didn't employ 15 workers. However, the court determined that its 50 caregivers were employees, not independent contractors, making the company liable for Title VII violations.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered GTT, a managed network provider, to cease and desist for overstating its operating income. The issue stemmed from difficulties in integrating accounting systems after several acquisitions, leading to unsupported financial adjustments in 2019 and 2020, violating federal reporting and control requirements. GTT avoided penalties due to voluntary disclosure and rectification efforts. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2021 and reemerged as a private entity in 2022.
Amazon is set to invest $4bn in AI startup Anthropic, making it the primary cloud provider and offering its foundation models to AWS customers through Amazon Bedrock. This partnership is part of Amazon's intensified competition with Microsoft, Google, and Nvidia in the AI sector. LexisNexis Legal & Professional CTO, Jeff Reihl, confirmed they are collaborating with AWS and Anthropic to deliver large-scale AI solutions with emphasis on data privacy and safe AI technology.
Am Law 100 firm, Ballard Spahr, has selected NetDocuments as its cloud-based document management system, under the guidance of CIO Robert Holloway and eSentio Technologies. The firm plans to utilize the system's features to enhance collaboration and integration with M365 and Microsoft Teams. NetDocuments was chosen for its efficiency, user-friendliness, and potential to enhance the firm's legal work.
LexisNexis Legal & Professional has introduced Lexis+ Ireland, a comprehensive legal platform offering practice notes, precedents, checklists, legislation, and Irish judgments. The platform, an extension of the successful Lexis+ in the US, UK, and Canada, features Search Term Maps and Search Trees for easy navigation, and Pinned Sources for quick access to popular publications. It aims to continually update with new features and content specific to the Irish market.
Global law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has teamed up with legal training company AltaClaro to create a generative AI training program for its summer associates. The program aims to promote responsible AI use in the legal field. AltaClaro, founded by lawyer-entrepreneur Abdi Shayesteh, provides experiential learning for law firms and individual lawyers to improve their skills. The company recently secured $2.5 million in seed funding.
Isabel Cervantes, a legal innovation expert at Volkswagen, discussed the changing role of legal teams and the effects of AI and data analytics on the legal industry. She stressed the potential of AI to boost efficiency and profitability, and the necessity for firms to adopt legal tech solutions. Cervantes also underscored the importance of shifting corporate mindsets to see legal innovation as a benefit, not an obstacle.
Alternative legal services provider, QuisLex, has appointed Suzanne Ganier as its new director for legal spend solutions. Ganier, who has significant experience as an attorney, head of legal operations, and consultant in legal bill review, will lead the team in providing services related to legal audits and spend management. Her role aims to assist clients in improving business operations and help law firms adapt to changing client needs.
CallRail, an AI-powered lead intelligence platform, has partnered with legal software provider MyCase to enhance law firms' understanding of their marketing ROI. The collaboration will offer data on the client journey, pinpointing effective marketing sources. This will aid law firms in optimizing their marketing strategies and minimizing wasteful expenditure. The integration also provides call summaries and insights, saving billable time.
Am Law 100 firm, Ballard Spahr, is adopting NetDocuments' cloud-based content management platform as part of its operational strategy, moving away from its on-premises document management system. The move aims to enhance organization, access, and collaboration. The decision was made after a thorough evaluation process. The firm intends to use the platform's features to update internal and client collaboration, integrating with M365 and Microsoft Teams for improved security and privacy.
Enterprise legal software provider Mitratech has teamed up with Mindcrest, the legal operations division of DWF, to improve technology-led solutions for clients. The partnership will enable Mindcrest to offer its services via Mitratech's software, enhancing its legal services and providing clients with access to Mitratech's suite of legal, risk management, and HR solutions. The collaboration is designed to meet the increasing demand for tech-enabled legal solutions, particularly workflow automation.
Access Legal, a legal software provider, has partnered with The Dorset Law Society to offer tailored services to law firms in Dorset. The collaboration will provide members with free webinars on compliance and cybersecurity, along with access to case and practice management software, compliance tools, and legal learning resources. The goal is to improve the digital offerings of member firms and enhance services to the public.
LexisNexis has introduced Lexis+ Ireland, a comprehensive legal intelligence platform for Irish legal professionals. It offers access to case law, legislation, practical guidance, and industry news. The platform also includes advanced research tools and collaborative features. LexisNexis intends to continuously update the platform to cater to its users' changing needs.
Anaqua, a global provider of intellectual property management technology, has appointed Futoshi Saito as the President & General Manager of its Japan division. Saito will oversee business development and client solutions. The company also unveiled its new Japan headquarters in the TOKYO TORCH Tokiwabashi Tower. The appointments and expansion come amid a 50% increase in new sales YTD, leading to further investments in personnel, infrastructure, and solutions, including a second client datacenter on Microsoft Azure.
Legal intelligence platform Darrow has secured $35 million in a Series B funding round. The round was led by Georgian and saw participation from F2, Entrée Capital, and NFX. The investment will be directed towards hiring, expanding into new legal areas, and enhancing its AI models for detecting potential class action litigation. Darrow's platform uses AI to identify legal violations and estimate their financial consequences, thereby simplifying the business development process for litigation teams.
The Legal IT Insider is hosting a memorial for its founder, Charles Christian, and exploring the influence of generative AI on the legal sector. The latest newsletter discusses new product launches, the growing use of Microsoft Teams in the industry, and a unique partnership with Allen & Overy. Drew Winlaw from Simmons Wavelength has been selected to head a team focusing on generative AI at Simmons & Simmons.
E-discovery firm Relativity plans to launch an AI tool, Relativity aiR for Review, to help legal professionals locate pertinent data for discovery requests, legal issues, and crucial documents. The tool is developed using Microsoft Azure OpenAI Services. Relativity has also released two AI-based products, Relativity Personal Information Detect and Relativity Data Breach Response, available immediately. The company will continue to invest in AI solutions to improve its services.
Law firm owners can reduce stress and improve business growth by embracing delegation and outsourcing. This shift can free up time for strategic planning, while the creation of standard operating procedures can enhance efficiency and profits. The key to success is managing a skilled team rather than attempting to handle everything personally.
Relativity, a worldwide legal tech firm, has announced new AI solutions to improve data discovery, including an AI tool, Relativity aiR for Review, designed to speed up litigation and investigative review stages. The company also launched Relativity Personal Information Detect and Relativity Data Breach Response. These offerings, revealed at the annual Relativity Fest, are anticipated to be available in the first half of 2024.
AI-powered platform ikaun has initiated a survey to study the effect of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) on law firms' marketing and business development. The 2023 RFP Impact Report for Marketing and Business Development Survey will evaluate how these sectors are managing in a competitive market, especially as clients are seeking expert services at reduced costs. The survey targets CMOs, CMBDOs, marketing and business development directors, RFP specialists, and CAOs/COOs/CEOs.
Leading legal technology provider Bundledocs announce appointment of Miles Osborne as Director of Customer Success, Global (Legal Technology News - Legal IT Professionals | Everything legal technology)
Legal technology firm Bundledocs has named Miles Osborne as its new Director of Customer Success, Global. Osborne, with 28 years of experience in the legal tech sector, will manage the firm's 1,400 clients across Europe, North America, and APAC. CEO Brian Kenneally praised Osborne's expertise in customer support. Bundledocs, a leader in electronic document production, operates in over 34 countries.
The Legal Technology Core Competencies Certification Coalition (LTC4) has expanded its board with three new directors: Siobhan Metcalfe-Poulton, Greg Tomlinson, and Chloe Parfitt. They bring expertise in legal technology training, information technology, and organizational design. Their roles will focus on improving liaison experiences, contributing to certification processes, and launching new competencies to further LTC4's mission of promoting proficiency in legal technology.
A study from Cornell and Duke Universities recommends that hiring managers should 'opt in' to view specific information about a job applicant to reduce hiring bias. The study found that managers were less likely to choose potentially biasing information when they had to actively select each piece of information. This 'opt in' approach could help organizations minimize hiring bias.
Legal tech expert, Mark Bilson, has been named the chief commercial officer of UK legal software startup, Xperate. Bilson, who has prior experience with Nexl, Persuit, Intapp, and LexisNexis InterAction, will guide Xperate's North American expansion. He commended Xperate's custom development and its capability to integrate legacy platforms for law firms. Xperate also provides its development team to other legal technology providers.
The article underscores the significance of digital and flexible payment options in law firms for attracting clients and managing finances. It suggests that technology has revolutionized the legal industry, increasing client service and convenience. The article recommends enhancing transparency, offering diverse payment options, adopting digital payments, and ensuring security. It concludes that adaptable payment arrangements can boost client satisfaction and adaptability, making legal services more accessible.
The legal sector is increasingly adopting automation tools such as AI chatbots and machine learning to improve efficiency and accuracy. However, adopting all these technologies at once could lead to innovation saturation, stunting growth. A phased approach, focusing on areas like contract management and legal research, could be more beneficial. Additionally, outsourcing client account management to automated third-party payment providers can enhance operational efficiency and cut costs.
The article suggests lawyers joining startups as first in-house counsel to thoroughly assess the financial health, growth strategies, and leadership expectations of the company. It warns against companies aiming to cut outside counsel expenses and underscores the in-house counsel's role in managing relationships with external lawyers. It also emphasizes the need to clarify the reporting structure, given the role's potential shift from functional to strategic as the company grows.
The International Legal Technology Association's survey reveals a surge in the use of collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams in law firms. Teams is used in 38% of conference rooms, outpacing Zoom at 33%. The report also indicates a rise in the use of Microsoft 365 and predicts Windows 11 to become the leading operating system for workstations. Additionally, there is a growing interest in generative AI tools, with 85% of firms reportedly utilizing them.
The article highlights the significance of branding in the legal industry, stating it goes beyond logo and website design. It suggests that a law firm's brand includes its identity, copywriting, messaging, and client interactions. Key elements such as logo, color scheme, and writing style contribute to the firm's narrative. A well-coordinated branding strategy can engage the target audience effectively, establish a strong brand identity, and foster stronger relationships with potential clients.