Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for Sep 27, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently.
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Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
- Legal technology advancements such as AI and software-driven solutions are increasingly gaining momentum in the legal industry. They could play transformative roles in boosting growth, strategic planning, and efficiency. For instance, eDiscovery Assistant's AI-generated case law summaries and Actionstep's recent acquisitions to provide a unified platform could significantly streamline legal practices.
- Initiatives like Elite's new CFO appointment and the partnership between Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, and AltaClaro indicate that traditional law firms are actively seeking strategic collaborations and appointments to drive growth in SaaS portfolios and responsible AI use in the field. Legal professionals need to understand and embrace these advancements to remain competitive.
- While these advancements promise massive efficiency increases, they also pose new legal questions around copyright infringements, like the ongoing trial between Thomson Reuters and Ross Intelligence. Thus, it is important for legal knowledge workers to stay updated on legal developments related to the utilization and implications of new technologies.
Here's what happened in legal tech recently...
Several acquisitions and new appointments topped the news headlines while machine learning continues to make waves this week in legal technology, and companies are keen to optimize it for growth and efficiency improvements. A new CFO for Elite, acquisitions by Actionstep, and the introduction of new legal tech platforms were major highlights.
Legal technology advancements are gaining momentum. Elite's appointment of former NielsenIQ SVP Lindsey Moorley, as the new CFO signifies the legal firm's objective to drive strategic growth within SaaS portfolios. AI also continues to leave a footprint with its legal research platform, eDiscovery Assistant, introducing AI-generated case law summaries using ChatGPT. It provides concise analyses of court decisions and points to an exciting AI revolution in the legal industry. Actionstep, a New Zealand-based practice management firm, has acquired legal accounting firms Soluno and AffiniPay to enhance its position in the U.S. and Canada and become a unified platform for midsize law firms. Likewise, Global platform provider Dye & Durham Limited debuted the Unity Global Platform in the UK, which looks to streamline legal practice operations and support international firms.
Legal firms and technology innovators are fast recognizing the transformative power of AI and software-driven solutions, signaling a significant shift in the legal tech market. As seen in LexisNexis' introduction of Lexis+ Ireland for Irish legal professionals, companies are focusing on providing detailed and updated legal resources for specific markets, suggesting an increase in tailored solutions. With the influx of new AI-powered legal tools, experts predict a boom in efficiency. However, it raises new questions about copyright infringement. A shining example includes the ongoing trial between Thomson Reuters and defunct startup Ross Intelligence, set to define legal boundaries around copyrighted content. Exciting partnerships between traditional law firms and tech innovators, as seen with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe partnering with AltaClaro to create an AI training program, present an optimistic scenario for the adoption of responsible AI use in the legal field. Overall, the evolution towards a more automated, convenient, and connected legal industry is well underway. The increased integration of automation and AI services in legal tasks marks a potential change in professional roles and processes as law firms strive for efficiency and enhanced client services.
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Cloud-based practice management software provider Actionstep has announced its acquisition of Toronto-based legal accounting software firm Soluno. The New Zealand company aims to create a unified platform for mid-sized law firms by integrating Soluno into its existing offering. While Soluno will be integrated, customers will also have the choice to access both Soluno and Actionstep as standalone products. The acquisition is the latest strategic move by Actionstep to enhance its market position, having also recently bought FilePro and LawMaster in 2022. The steps reinforce the company's commitment to innovation and growth, especially in the US where it has nearly 1,000 legal professional customers.
In an ongoing copyright lawsuit where Thomson Reuters (TR) accuses legal startup Ross Intelligence of stealing proprietary content, the presiding Judge Stephanos Bibas partially ruled in favor of TR. Acknowledging that as a matter of law, Ross copied Westlaw headnotes and other TR copyrighted content, this aspect of the case was substantially based on evidence from LegalEase, who admitted to copying TR's content. Nonetheless, Bibas described the case as a "factual mess," deciding that other aspects of the presumed copyright infringement, including the validity of TR's copyright claim on its key numbers and headnotes, should be determined by a jury. Also unsettled were questions surrounding Ross's fair use defense and other remaining legal issues. This adds a complex layer to the evolving sphere of legal tech and copyright laws.
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.