Continuing an acquisition sprint that started with three acquisitions last year and two the year before, legal technology company Litera has acquired Foundation Software Group, developer of a firm intelligence platform for larger law firms, and announced the formation of the Litera Firm Intelligence business unit.
Foundation’s platform, which can run in the cloud or on-premises, is designed to enable large law firms to transform their disparate data about clients, matters, people, and parties into usable and actionable information.
It includes integrated applications for experience management, expertise location, and strategic relationship management, and can be used by firms to pitch for new business, improve client service, and gain insight into a firm’s practices and operations.
Foundation was founded in 2011 by Nate Fineberg and Brett Balmer. Fineberg was the founder in 1997 of Interface Software, which he sold to LexisNexis in 2004 and which formed the basis for Interaction, the trailblazing CRM software for large law firms. Balmer was director of technology for the Interface/Interaction software after LexisNexis acquired it.
Executive vice president of Foundation was Barry Solomon, another veteran of both Interface Software, where he was executive vice president, and LexisNexis InterAction, where he was vice president, client development. After stints as chief marketing officer at Microsystems (now part of Litera) and Sidley Austin, Solomon joined Foundation in 2018.
All of these executives, as well as Foundation’s entire staff, will remain with Litera. Fineberg will stay on in a reduced capacity for several months to provide strategic consulting during the transition.
‘Best of All Worlds’
This continues an acquisition sprint for Litera that saw its acquisitions in 2020 of litigation management platform Allegory Law, AI contract drafting platform Bestpractix, and table-of-authorities generator Best Authority, and in 2019 of U.K. company Workshare and deal-management platform Doxly.
In an interview yesterday with Avaneesh Marwaha, Litera CEO, and Foundation’s Barry Solomon, Marwaha said that this acquisition furthers Litera’s ability to offer its customers a range of integrated, best-of-class products through a single technology vendor.
“With this acquisition, current and future Foundation customers get the best of all worlds, from crafting and staffing a pitch to document drafting to managing transaction and litigation matters to completion to leveraging the resulting experiences to continue to grow firm business,” Marwaha said.
He described the acquisition as consistent with Litera’s continuing expansion towards covering a full range of matters workspaces and collaboration tools used by lawyers in their day-to-day practices.
“We stepped back and said, ‘Where can we have an impact at the earlier stages of matter formation,'” he said. “Foundation is focused on helping firms find the right data, and its story mirrored what we are doing on the drafting side.”
Solomon described the acquisition as the perfect fit and said that he is thrilled to be acquired “by a software company that really gets it.”
“What Litera is about is helping lawyers delight their clients and helping them have increased realization and profits,” Solomon said.
The added element that Foundation brings to Litera’s customers, he said, is the understanding that, “even before you practice, you’ve got to win the business.”
“For Litera to buy us and create a new business unit, but have it be part of the matter lifecycle, allows us to immediately create value,” Solomon said.
Standalone Business Unit
Foundation will continue to operate as a standalone business unit within Litera and its software will continue to be available to customers old and new without change.
Over time, Marwaha said, Litera will explore ways to leverage some of Foundation’s back-office capabilities in other ways, and the combined product teams will explore other avenues for innovating that the acquisition enables.
That said, Solomon noted that Foundation is a platform that was designed to integrate with a law firm’s other systems and that already does integrate with many products. While those integrations with other products will continue, that ability also means that the combined companies will be able to provide immediate value for customers.
“Everything we’re doing we probably would have done as partners,” Solomon said, “but the synergy comes in doing it as part of a family.”
“We want to be known as the best-of-breed platform,” Marwaha told me. “We don’t want to be subpar anything. Foundation is best of breed at what they do. We are excited to keep our promise up of being focused on being the best we can at what we do.”