The countdown to LegalTech is on. This week, I'll review some major recent developments in software and services for the enterprise and legal sector, plus trends to watch out for at the conference, starting today with service providers. I'll be able to write about more releases once they're announced at show-time, so check back for our wrap up.
Consolidation in the Services Sector
First let's recap some of the major deals in the space in the last year:
- This month, Siris Capital acquired Applied Discovery from LexisNexis, bringing on Stratify/Iron Mountain alum Ramana Venkata as CEO.
- EPIQ Systems bought De Novo, a legal staffing and managed review firm, for $68m in December 2011, after buying Encore Discovery Solutions in April for $100m.
- In July 2011, DiscoverReady acquired ACT Litigation for $65m and Navigant acquired Ignited Discovery.
Does consolidation spell doom and gloom for the services sector? Disruption, yes. But there's still plenty of room for innovation and differentiation in the market, as we'll see in the announcements around predictive coding and managed review. Also note that 35% of corporate counsel are currently re-evaluating their service providers based on e-discovery experience, as discovered in ESG's most recent corporate-counsel-e-discovery-survey-esg-report-out-now/index.html">corporate counsel survey. Only 6% of corporate counsel were selecting a primary national or global service provider.
2011 Developments and Future Trends
Many announcements are under wraps until show-time, but some interesting developments from the last year to keep in mind:
- Applied Discovery is going best of breed post-acquisition, adding Relativity and Nuix in addition to its proprietary Leverage offering and partnership with EMC-Kazeon
- Fios has gone for early adoption with Relativity Assisted Review, adding to existing integrations with Content Analyst, Equivio and Relativity Analytics - see our brief on the release here
- Kroll announced its SaaS-based review Verve for attorney DIY outside of service engagements in 2011.
Based on these (and announcements we can't talk about yet), look for these trends at the show:
- Software vs. Services: We expect big news from Applied Discovery as the dust settles on this deal. The awkward internal siloing between Lexis's footprint in legal and e-discovery software and Applied Discovery's own proprietary Leverage tool and services seems to have finally given way. Meanwhile, Kroll is betting that familiarity from service engagements will translate into productizing its proprietary tool in a SaaS form factor through Verve.
- Best of Breed: Kroll's move is bucking a trend towards best of breed, even among service providers with their own review tools. Note that Applied Discovery, Fios, and RenewData all now offer Relativity in addition to their own proprietary tools - as do EPIQ Systems and Ignited. Relativity continues its strength in the channel, as partner Nuix does for processing.
- Managed Review: Early players in Managed Review like FTI's Acuity have been using contract attorneys and advanced technology to streamline review for several years (look for customer results and success stories from FTI at the show). Many service providers have added it to their repertoire recently, either through partners with review services or acquisitions (as EPIQ's of De Novo).
- Predictive Coding: ...And with kCura's latest Relativity-Assisted Review release being integrated by partners like Fios, "predictive coding" continues its advance to an even broader potential channel of users. Look for advanced analytics and "automated review" in a number of new tools and services at the show.
We'll cover more on predictive coding and other trends in posts on review tool and enterprise software announcements later this week. More releases and updates will be out during the show. Stay tuned.