SAGlobal will acquire the LexisOne cloud-based practice management application from LexisNexis, according to an agreement the two companies planned to announce tomorrow.

SAGlobal had notified me of the news earlier today on the condition that I agree to an embargo and not publish it until tomorrow morning. Since then, however, Legal IT Insider broke the story.

SAGlobal will combine LexisOne with its Legal360 client relationship management (CRM) software to create an integrated, cloud-based practice management and business development product for law firms.

Both LexisOne and Legal360 are built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and CRM.

SAGlobal is a consulting and development company that specializes in Microsoft Dynamics implementation and industry-tailored applications. It has 700 employees in 19 offices worldwide, and has customers in more than 80 countries.

LexisOne is a practice-management suite that has primarily been marketed to law firms in the UK. It provides practice management, time and billing, accounting and human resource management capabilities.

Legal360, which SAGlobal acquired last year, is a product that provides Dynamics 365 applications for law firms. Based in Atlanta, it has customers in several countries, including some 35 law firms in the U.S..

As of today, SAGlobal and LexisNexis have reached agreement on the intention for the acquisition to take place. It is expected to close within the first quarter of the year. The LexisOne leadership team and staff will transition to SAGlobal, along with all of the existing LexisOne customers.

I spoke briefly today with Whit McIsaac, SAGlobal Americas CEO, who said that he believes the U.S. legal market is ready for a practice management product built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud platform.

“We think this is really important news,” McIsaac said. “It’s a huge opportunity for us, a really great thing for the legal marketplace, a really great thing for existing clients and employees, and a good thing for Microsoft.”

The integration will be based on SAGlobal’s Projects+, a set of ERP extensions to the Dynamics platform designed for professional services firms, covering business development, project accounting, resource management, time management and invoicing.

The Legal IT Insider story suggested that the acquisition of LexisOne would be a blow to early law firm adopters of Dynamics, which it said has failed to gain traction in the legal sector, with some firms enduring “prolonged and difficult” LexisOne implementations.

But McIsaac said his due diligence has found that the firms that are using LexisOne are very happy with it and that the product is really good.

He emphasizes that SAGlobal is highly regarded for its Dynamics implementations and is one of the top-10 Microsoft partners worldwide. Last year, it successfully installed some 60 ERP systems in professional services firms, he said.

Once the deal closes, SAGlobal will move quickly to integrate the products, McIsaac said. Initially, its sales efforts in the U.S. will be very strategic, looking for a couple of firms that are interested in becoming foundation accounts here.