When I left for vacation 2.5 weeks ago, I jokingly sent out a tweet, “Dear #legaltech world: Please stop making news for two weeks. I’m trying to take some time off.” Unfortunately, the legal tech world did not get my message. The news kept coming, even if I wasn’t here to cover it. So allow me to round up some of what’s happened.
As for France, let me just say it wasn’t my fault, even though I happened to be there. Probably the most-discussed story of the past two weeks was France’s decision to ban judicial analytics. I had been in Paris just two days when Artificial Lawyer reported the news that the French government had banned the publication of statistical information about judges’ decisions. The next day, I tried to meet with the CEO of one of the companies affected by the law, Nicolas Bustamante of Doctrine, but we were unable to fit it in before I was scheduled to leave Paris. Meanwhile, the story took off, reported by a number of news sites and widely discussed on social media. For those of us in the U.S., I agree with the conclusion of Bloomberg Law writer Sam Skolnik that no such ban is likely ever to be seen here — or, for that matter, anywhere else.
On the investment front, in addition to the $50 million raise by Litify that I reported June 7, Los Angeles-based global law company Elevate announced that it had raised $25 million in funding from private equity firm Kayne Partners, bringing its total raise to almost $60 million, and said that it is aiming for a U.K. public stock market listing in 2021. Elevate has made a number of notable acquisitions recently, including of legal AI technology and consultancy LexPredict, contract lifecycle management (CLM) provider Sumati Group, UK NewLaw legal resourcing firm Halebury, law company Yerra Solutions, and Hong Kong-based flexible legal resourcing business Cognatio Law.
On the acquisition front, e-discovery company Exterro announced that it has acquired Jordan lawrence Group, a company that provides data privacy and data management software. Exterro made news last year when it received the year’s largest direct investment in a legal technology company, a reported $100 million. “This move is not a simple bolt-on acquisition,” founder and CEO Bobby Balachandran wrote in announcing the acquisition. “Jordan Lawrence, which specializes in data privacy and third-party risk management, helps companies manage their information cost-effectively, defensibly, and in compliance with state, federal, and international regulations. With 30 years of expertise in the field and over 1,000 premier clients, Jordan Lawrence’s expertise and leadership solidifies our position as the leading solution to organizations’ e-discovery, data privacy, and information governance challenges.”
In other investment news: Infinnium LLC, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to help law firms and corporations improve information management in areas such as data privacy, governance and e-discovery, announced a multimillion-dollar seed investment by Sahajanand Group; SeedLegals, a London-based legal platform for startups to streamline fundraising, closed a $4m Series A funding; and Berlin-headquartered Legal OS, which is creating a data-based library of legal content, has raised $2.2 million in a seed funding round led by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and joined by existing backer Speedinvest, alongside a number of German entrepreneurs.
Elsewhere in the world of legal technology:
- Lex Machina expanded its legal analytics platform into a new area of law, environmental litigation. The new module provides data and analytics on over 14,700 environmental cases in federal district courts dating back to 2009. Lex Machina now provides litigation analytics for 13 federal practice areas (antitrust, bankruptcy, contracts, copyright, employment, environmental, ERISA, insurance, patent, product liability, securities, trademark, and trade secret, as well as for the Delaware Chancery Court.
- BrightTALK, a B2B content and demand marketing platform for professionals to participate in online talks, has launched a community dedicated to legal services practitioners. The company says that the community is aimed at helping professionals learn how to take advantage of recent technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and predictive analytics to achieve career growth and success. More than 75,000 legal professionals already participate in BrightTALK’s platform, the company says.
- Intapp, a company that provides cloud-based technology for managing law firms, introduced Intapp Pricing, a tool that uses artificial intelligence to help law firms more efficiently and accurately scope, price, resource, budget and monitor engagements. The tool uses data from past engagements to help firms price and budget matters so as to avoid surprises for the client and ensure profitability for the firm. Read more about it at Intapp’s website or watch this video.
- LexisNexis and LEAP Legal Software have finalized formation of a joint venture by which the two companies will jointly operate and develop the practice-management products PCLaw and Time Matters, while also providing a migration path to LEAP’s cloud-based practice-management technology. The Australia-based LEAP has been making inroads in the United States in recent years, but this could mean a significant expansion of its U.S. user base.
- FileTrail announced that global law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has adopted the company’s FileTrail GPS product to support its information governance program. Akin Gump will use FileTrail to control information across the firm’s data repositories in line with its information governance policies, as well as its clients’ outside counsel guidelines.
There is even more, of course. And I will be writing about some of it in the coming days.